The Presidency has reacted to the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to either return to the country from his medical leave in U.K or resign as the President.
On Monday, August 7, a coalition of Civil Society and pro democracy group under the aegis of Concerned Nigerians staged a peaceful protest in Abuja asking the ailing President to resume or resign his office after spending 92 days in London for medical treatment without a definite date for return to work.
Led by controversial entertainer and activist, Charles Oputa (Charley Boy) and the convener Deji Adeyanju, the ranks of the protesters swelled by members of civil rights activists who defied the morning rain when they marched on to the National Assembly from the Unity Fountain by the Shehu Shagari Way.
The protesters, who tagged themselves ‘Union of All Angry, Vexed and Frustrated Nigerians’, distributed fliers and carried a huge banner with the ‘Our Mumu Don Do’ mantra conspicuously written on it.
Some of the fliers urged the members of National Assembly to trigger Section 144 that will lead to the impeachment of the president on medical grounds.
The protesters said they wanted to take back Nigeria so that the country can work again. They urged President Buhari to either resume or tender his resignation, saying he can not continue to remain in London indefinitely.
Claiming that acting President Yemi Osinbajo was not fully in charge of the country, the protesters demanded accountability and transparency from their leaders. They vowed to continue their protests adding that they would picket the State House until Buhari returns or resigns.
But the presidency has said the protesters have over-stepped their bounds, arguing that there is no vacuum in government.
In an interview with State House correspondents on Monday, President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu said the protest was baseless because Buhari handed over power to his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and wrote to the National Assembly.
“I wish to respond to media inquiries following a demonstration by a few citizens this morning in Abuja. The demonstration is in the exercise of their freedom under the Constitution, which guarantees their right to embark on peaceful protests.
“So long as they remain peaceful, we have no problem with them. What is a democracy if citizens can’t peacefully demonstrate?
“On the second issue, demanding the President’s return, or resignation or certain explanations, I would say that they have over-stepped their bounds. The President has complied 100 percent with the Constitution by handing over power to the Vice-President before proceeding on his vacation.
“He has not breached any law or the constitution by staying away from the office to take care of his health.
“Equally, there is nothing like a power vacuum in the country given the competence and general harmony with which the whole government is running. Any such calls as being made by this or any other group represent an irrational assault on the Constitution and should be ignored by well-meaning members of the public.
“The need of the hour for this country is to rid it of corruption, reform and reinvigorate the economy and to fight crime and insurgency.
“The government is busy with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure all over the country. It is creating jobs for the unemployed. It has set its sights on the larger picture of the country’s development; investing in rail and power projects and redeeming the country’s image from the mountains of corruption scandals that have marred it.
“We will not, therefore, be distracted by this or any other groups.”
Meanwhile, at the Abuja house in London where President Buhari is purportedly receiving medical attention, a lone Nigerian was also spotted on Monday morning calling for the return or resignation of the sick President.
In reaction, President Buhari’s aide on social media, Lauretta Onochie claimed the London protest failed due to lack of supporters. She also revealed that the few who came for the protest took to their heels after the police were called. Here’s what she wrote on social media:
Here’s what she wrote on social media:
“NIGERIANS IN LONDON SHUN PDP’S SHENANIGAN.
“This is Today’s Deji Adeyanju-led PDP-sponsored protest at Abuja House London.
“Four people turned up. Neighbours called the Police. As they had no Police Permit to hold a rally. They took to their heels.
“One of them said he had no money to pay his way back home. Our man who was on hand to monitor the situation gave him £5. He was happy and went home.
“Shame on insensitive PDP. Shame on them.
“Thank you, Nigerians for your love and prayers for our President, Muhammadu Buhari, the nightmare of corrupt people.
“God bless Nigeria”.