President Muhammadu Buhari, and the cabal that run his presidency, have once again demonstrated the insecurities that plague his regime with regards to his ill health.
The ailing president embarked on yet another indefinite medical leave on Sunday night. A statement by Femi Adesina, one of Buhari’s spokespersons, said that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would act on the president’s behalf while he is away. He said that letters had been transmitted to the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives to that effect.
It turns out that President Buhari’s use of words leave Professor Osinbajo short of being an acting president.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the content of the president’s letter to the Senate was revealed and it said that Osinbajo will “coordinate” the nation’s affairs while Buhari is in the United Kingdom for his medical treatment.
This important omission in the letter raises questions as to what powers Professor Osinbajo would have the president’s absence.
Since coming to power in May 2015, this is the fourth time that the ailing former brutal military dictator Buhari would leave Nigeria and his vice president would act on his behalf.
This time, the president said his stay in the United Kingdom would be determined by his doctors.
But his latest correspondence to the Senate, read by the senate president, Bukola Saraki, was questioned by a senator who argued that Professor Osinbajo should have been designated “acting president”.
Mao Ohabunwa, a Peoples Democratic Party senator, representing Abia North, said it was not proper to name the vice president “coordinator” of the nation’s affairs.
He was however ruled out of order by Mr. Saraki, after the senate leader, Ahmed Lawan, defended Mr. Buhari, citing Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
That section says, “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”
Additional reports by Premium Times