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Senate clears 82-year-old retiree as ambassador designate
The senate has confirmed the appointment of Sylvanus Nsofor, an 82-year-old retired justice who was appointed ambassador designate by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nsofor’s appointment had earlier been rejected by the lawmakers during an earlier screening, but the president re-nominated him and this time around, his appointment was upheld.
During his first screening exercise, the retired justice, when asked why he wanted to be ambassador despite his age, reportedly asked the lawmakers to go and ask Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe what he was still doing as the country’s President.
And when he was asked to recite the national anthem, he reportedly asked the senators what it had got to do with the position of an ambassador.
But during Wednesday’s plenary, Monsurat Sunmonu, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Nsofor performed better than he did during his first appearance.
“The nominee answered all questions appropriately and his appearance was better than the previous one,” Sunmonu said.
Also, a report by the Department of State Services (DSS), had recommended that Nsofor was unfit to hold the office owing to his age, but the Senate committee “believes that he should not be penalised based on age since he was able to demonstrate the necessary skills during the exercise”.
“The DSS report did not state any criminal report against this candidate,” Sunmonu added. “Hence the committee resolved to give him a chance. The committee is satisfied with his second appearance and performance.”
Two other non-career ambassadorial nominees, Joseph Iji from Ondo state and Yusuf Hinna from Gombe state, were also confirmed on Wednesday.