Posted by News Express | 31 January 2021 | 1,032 times
It has been said that the right question to ask is not what the Buhari regime has done wrong but what they have done right, for the sake of time.
In this context, it is heartening to note the first commendable action of the Nigerian government in living memory by the appointment of the first female ambassador to the USA.
We welcome the appointment of Ambassador Uzoma Emenike as Nigeria’s Chief of Mission to the US firstly because it positions her strategically in terms of her gender to engage with the most diverse cabinet in US history.
Although it is not clear if her selection for the world’s top diplomatic station was premeditated given the administration’s lack of vision and its intellectual poverty especially since the confirmations were done months before the US elections outcomes, it is however quiet fortunate.
Similarly her meritorious appointment is laudable after the dubious appointment of her predecessor. Mjr Gen. Buhari had appointed Hon. Justice Sylvanus Nsofor (JCA retired), an octogenarian, as Ambassador to USA as a reward for ruling in Buhari’s favour while on the bench.
The Buhari regime then disgraced the aged jurist by announcing last year that he was being removed for non-performance when it was clear from the autobiography of Hon. Justice JO Ogebe (JSC rtd) that Justice Nsofor had ceased functioning optimally as far back as 21 years ago in year 2000.
In the distinguished jurist’s book “Justice Under the Shadow of the almighty,” his Lordship stated thus, “Justice Nsofor and Justice A.K.P Akpiroroh were elderly men – I was careful not to overwork them. The bulk of the work fell on Justice Pats Acholonu, Justice Ikongbeh and me.”
Ambassador Nsofor passed away in Washington last year before he could return home from his tour of duty making Nigeria the only country whose two successive ambassadors died in Washington.
MG Buhari singlehandedly appointed Justice Nsofor ambassador to USA as he was not nominated by his home state.
Buhari’s appointment of Justice Nsofor was despite knowledge that at the court of appeal he was not elevated to the Supreme Court so as not to burden him or the system.
The Nigerian senate refused to confirm Justice Nsofor as ambassador but he was forced through by Buhari despite their concerns.
It is therefore tragic that his Lordship Ambassador Nsofor died in USA due to onerous responsibility placed on him in his old age.
This was foreseeable and avoidable especially after the death of the previous ambassador Prof Adefuye in 2015 making it two Nigerian ambassadors to die in Washington back to back during the Buhari regime.
Incidentally, prior to Adefuye, the government of President Jonathan withdrew its ambassador designate to the USA. The adopted son of the ambassador designate was on trial for rape in the DC area and following legal advice we gave to Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Canada Prof. Hagher, he was replaced by Prof Adefuye.
Preceding that, Gen Olu Rotimi was removed as ambassador in Washington after a bitter feud between him and the Minister of Foreign affairs Ojo Maduekwe. Their quarrel was so strong that when the minister came for the Inauguration of President Obama, he had to sleep in a hotel outside DC because he couldn’t stay in the ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Olu Rotimi was removed shortly after.
It is sad that Buhari exported his same lethargic failure abroad to US too.
When Nigeria was tagged a terrorist nation by a previous administration, Nigeria’s ambassador then met with President Obama and got it over turned. Trump has banned Nigerians from migrating to the US and although there was no similar response from Nigeria’s ambassador, fortunately the Biden administration unilaterally reversed it.
It is hoped that Ambassador Emenike’s tenure at the world’s top diplomatic post will rectify the diplomatic deficit and we wish her well.
DEFENSE CHIEFS & CJN
We note the replacement of defense chiefs in Nigeria two of whom achieved the dubious distinction of institutionalizing crass corruption and cronyism by building universities in their homes towns instead of securing the country from terrorism.
Although way over due, MG Buhari managed to ruin even a modest step by appointing a general reportedly redeployed for having bungled the war on terror.
Like a current minister who is an indicted criminal for looting government funds under Abacha, Buhari has again chosen to elevate mediocrity and reward corruption.
It is hoped that the new service chiefs will undergo thorough senate screening, security and background checks so they’re not a continuation of the disastrous insecurity and interminable war on terror.
In the same vein, we note with concern the dwindling stature and declining role of the Chief Justice of Nigeria whose current occupant was imposed by MG Buhari and who seems overwhelmed by the responsibilities of that office.
If speculations about his ill health are true, it is in the best interest of the CJN, the judiciary and the country that he resigns to take care of his health rather clog the wheels of the administration of Justice. Nigeria cannot to have another incapacitated head of an arm of government
•Emmanuel Ogebe is of US NIGERIA LAW GROUP, Washington, DC., USA.
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