Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, has joined a cross section of Nigerians condemning President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the Senate on his medical vacation.
The content read by President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, at the plenary on Tuesday,
: “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 has continued to generate debate, with many wondering why Buhari did not clearly refer to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as Acting President.
Recall that legal practitioner, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, called for the impeachment of President Buhari”for gross misconduct”.
Similarly, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, believes that a “cabal” was undermining Osinbajo and his office.
Adding its voice, Afenifere, stated that the letter showed a disrespect
to the Office of the President.
National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin said: “If on this occasion the President has written to the Senate to say that while away, the Vice President will perform the functions of his office and he now says that the Vice President will coordinate the activities of government, what the letter is saying is that they have deregulated the office of the President.”
“It means that everybody will be doing his own thing, Osinbajo will do what is brought to his table, the Chief of Staff will do what is brought to his table. That is not healthy for our democracy, it is dangerous.
“t is a bad signal and the constitution is very clear, that infraction is atrocious. I think there is is a kind of a hegemonous threat on the acting presidency of Osinbajo by that infraction.”
Former House of Reps Deputy Speaker, Austin Opara, lamented that President Buhari’s administration is causing distraction for Nigerians, having used terminologies not recognized by the Constitution.
“The position of the constitution is clear on this matter. When the President travels, he transmits power to his Vice-President as acting President and not as a coordinator. Coordinator is an aberration and such words are not recognized in the Nigerian Constitution.
“What will this government lose by using the words ‘Acting President’ for Osinbajo? Under President Goodluck Jonathan, we had positions like Coordinating Minister, so are we going to have a Coordinating President as well?
“The APC should stop distracting Nigerians with their use of words that are not provided for in the Constitution,” he said.
Shettima Usman Yerima, president of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, described the letter as mischievous.
“The situation as it is may lead to a constitutional crisis. The letter written did not state Osinbajo should act as president.
”Whoever wrote that letter did it deliberately to achieve a selfish interest. Those who wrote it did it out of mischief to limit the power of the acting president.
”The government should not tell us that this is a mere distraction because it concerns all Nigerians.”