Sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s travel to the United Kingdom for a medical check-up which is a follow-up to his initial treatments and tests from his earlier trip to London, the Nigerian Senate today, Tuesday, May 9, read a letter from him (Buhari) regarding his departure.
In the letter dated 5th May, 2017 read by Senate president Bukola Saraki during plenary, the President clearly explained that there was no definite date set for his return as his doctors would be the ones to determine his return date.
However, while the president is away, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to continue to co-ordinate the affairs of the country until he returns after the medical check.
There was, nevertheless, a moment of drama after the letter was read when a senator, Mao Ohabunwa faulted the position given to Osinbajo in the letter.
Raising a point of order through order 43, Senator Mao Ohabunwa drew the attention of the Senate, stating that there was no provision of co-ordinating anything on behalf of Mr. President.
He noted that there is no provision in the Nigerian constitution for a co-ordinating vice president as stated in the President’s letter.
Mao expressed concern that Buhari’s letter ought to have been that of transmitting power to his Vice President as acting President.
Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan urged that he should be ruled out of order, noting that Mr. President has done what was in tandem with the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Mr. Senate President, I don’t think we need to waste our time on this motion, the Constitution is very clear on issues like this. I, therefore, called that my colleague be ruled out of order,” Ahmed said.
The Senate Presiident, Mr. Bukola Saraki, however, granted the petition of Mr. Lawan and ruled Senator Mao Ohabunwa out of order.
The section of the constitution being debated (Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution) 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.”
Meanwhile, not too long after arriving London (for the medical check), President Buhari sent a message across expressing confidence that his administration will run smoothly despite his indefinite absence.
In the midst of growing concerns about his health, the President who handed over the reins of power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has now assured Nigerians that there will be no lapses in governance. Via his Twitter handle @MBuhari handle, Buhari wrote:
“As I noted earlier, I have absolute confidence that government will continue to run smoothly while I’m away. God bless the Federal Republic.”
Also, the Presidency has expressed disappointment in the submissions of the New York Times in its report on the latest medical trip of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United Kingdom.
Personal Assistant to President Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmad denied that there was a vacuum in the leadership of the country as indicated in the report. According to him, the vice president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is now the acting president because President Buhari properly handed over to his deputy.
According to him, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is now the acting president because President Buhari properly handed over to his deputy.