Buhari Relegated Osinbajo To ‘Coordinator’ And The Reaction Of Senators Is Shocking

Buhari Relegated Osinbajo To ‘Coordinator’ And The Reaction Of Senators Is Shocking

Buhari Relegated Osinbajo To ‘Coordinator’ And The Reaction Of Senators Is Shocking

The context of President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the Nigerian Senate notifying the lawmakers of his medical leave to London, United Kingdom has been greeted by strong criticisms from some lawmakers. In the letter dated 7th May, 2017, which was sent to the senate and read by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, President Buhari said Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would “coordinate the activities of government” in his absence. In January, when President Buhari departed the country for medical treatment in the UK, he stated clearly in a letter to the senate that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would “perform the duties” of his office while he was away. Buhari had said: “In compliance with section 145 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended, I wish to inform the distinguished senate that I will be away for a short medical vacation from Monday, January, 23 to February 6th, 2017 and while I am away, the vice-president (Osinbajo) will perform the functions of my office,” the letter read. The president spent forty nine (49) days abroad at the time with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo performing his duties as ‘Acting President’ before Mr. Buhari resumed duties in March. However President Buhari failed to state clearly in his latest letter to the senate if Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would perform his duties as the ‘Acting President’ but rather President Buhari stated in the letter that the’ vice president will coordinate the activities of the government’ in his absence. President Buhari’s letter dated 7th May, 2017, read in full, ” In compliance with section 145 {1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

“I wish to inform the distinguished Senate that I will be away for a scheduled medical follow-up with my doctors in London. “The length of my stay will be determined by the doctor’s advice. “While I am away the vice president will coordinate the activities of the government. Please accept the distinguished senate president the assurances of my highest consideration,” the letter added.

Displeased with the context of the letter, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa representing Abia North Senatorial district in the Senate, pointed out the “inscrutability” of the letter on the floor of the Red chamber on Tuesday, but he was ruled out of order. “Any letter should be unambiguous and very clear, so I’m saying that this letter really does not convey anything because coordinating has no place in our constitution. “We having been having letters like this, you tell us he is the acting president so we know who to deal with as a senate. “I am saying that this letter for me is not right and maybe it should be sent back,” Senator Ohuabunwa said. Responding to Senator Ohuabunwa’s assertion, Senate leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan noted that the wording of the letter was irrelevant because the president had followed the constitution by informing the national assembly of his absence. The Senate leader said, “Mr president, let me say that the point of order raised by my colleague and the explanation that subsequently follows shouldn’t have been and my reasons are simple. “I still rely on the first paragraph of that letter which Mr president wrote to this senate and read by the president of the Senate and I will read section (145) reads whenever the President transmits to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the house of representatives a written declaration but he is proceeding on vacation.
“Any other word in this letter or indeed anywhere else is irrelevant. I therefore feel that Mr president has done what the constitution requires him to do and I urge this senate not to go ahead to discuss this because it’s not an issue. We have the budget and so many other serious issues for us to discuss and Nigerians are waiting,” Lawan said. In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki who noted that there was no issue there in what was raised, however rule Mao Ohuabunwa out of Order. “I think it is a very clear issue and what should be guided by is the constitution and I think that it is clear, the letter has referred to the constitution and there’s no ambiguity in the constitution. So, I don’t think there’s any issue there. Let me first rule you out of order senator Mao,” Saraki said. So, has President Buhari relegated Prof. Osinbajo from ‘acting president’ to coordinator’?

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