Drama ensued yesterday at National Assembly during the Ambassadorial screening conducted by the senate committee on foreign affairs as some of the ambassadorial nominees could not recite the National Anthem and pledge.
While some of them stuttered, reciting either the anthem or the pledge, others missed their lines in the process.
Mrs. Vivian Okeke, from Anambra State who was the first nominee to be screened of the 47 ambassadorial nominees failed when she was asked to sing the National Anthem.
During the screening, she was asked by the Chairman of the committee, Monsurat Summonu, to sing the National Anthem, Mrs. Okeke was only able to mumble the last stanza of the National Anthem but was aided by a member of the committee, Senator James Manager.
Ibrahim Isah from Niger State, who is currently serving in Turkey, was asked to recite the National Pledge. When he reached the third to the last line, he said, “To defend her unity and integrity,” instead of “to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory.”
The eight-man committee, including the chairman, Senator Sunmonu, burst into laughter.
Hakeem Balogun from Lagos State, who currently serves in the United States, recited the old National Anthem to a point and was asked to start again and he got it right.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who led the nominees before the panel, however, said the reports of nominees not been able to recite the anthem and the pledge, were not true.
But a Senator in the panel, in a chat with journalists after the session, said Enang lied on the performance of the nominees.
“That was a lie. Everybody saw what happened. We were there; journalists were there; the cameras and the tapes were there. How can diplomats not know the anthem and the pledge of their country? If it were lawmakers now, he (Enang) would come for us.”
It would be recalled that the president had in June sent names of 47 ambassadorial nominees to the senate for approval, he also requested the Senate to approve the list at the shortest possible time.
A total of 15 of 47 of the ambassadorial nominees were screened yesterday and the exercise will continue on Wednesday.