Calls Grow For Nigeria’s Acting President To Be Sworn In As President Based On The CONSTITUTION

by Ike Obudulu Last updated on March 10th, 2017,

Calls grow from various interest groups for Nigeria’s Acting President to be sworn in as President based on the provisions of Sections 144, 145 and 146 of the Nigerian consitution. The argument being  made is that the CONSTITUTIONAL requirements for Buhari to be declared incapacitated and unable to return to the role of President has been met and the Nigerian legislature needs to obey the constituion and declare Acting President Osinbajo as Nigeria’s President with immediate effect. Buhari is on an indefinite medical leave in London and says he does not know when he will return.

Here are the provisions of the consitution:

144. (1) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office, if –

(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the Federation it is declared that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and

(b) the declaration is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.

(3) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

(4) the medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria:-

(a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and

(b) four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the President of the Senate, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions.

(5) In this section, the reference to “executive council of the Federation” is a reference to the body of Ministers of the Government of the Federation, howsoever called, established by the President and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of government as the President may direct.

145. 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.

146. (1) The Vice-President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of this Constitution.

(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.

(3) Where the office of Vice-President becomes vacant:-

(a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution;

(b) by his assumption of the office of President in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or

(c) for any other reason,

the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice-President.

Meanwhile, Nigerian senator, Ibrahim Tsauri says President Buhari can stay as long as he likes outside the shores of the country if he has legally transferred power to the vice president to act in acting capacity.

Senator Ibrahim Tsauri who is a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has given the ground on which President Buhari could be impeached.

The senator who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District between 2003 and 2017 said the president could be impeached if he is confirmed incapacitated.

He said that: “The constitution says that if the President is certified incapacitated, he can be impeached whether he decides to resign or not.”

According to him, the president can stay on vacation as long as he likes provided he has transmitted power to the Vice President.

“The constitution is there and it clarifies it. If the President leaves the country for anything, he transmits power to the Vice President and Buhari did that and met all the conditions.“

The President is out of the country on sick leave and he did what the constitution says he should do. We do not need to bother ourselves about how long the President stays outside the country as long as he transmitted power to the next in command.

“That is why you do not even call him Vice President now, you call him Acting President.“

But the certification of that incapacitation has to be done by his executive council. If the executive council certifies that the President can no longer perform the functions of a president, which means he is incapacitated,” he added.

Also, an advocacy group, Concerned Nigerians, has given Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari a two weeks ultimatum to return to Nigeria and resume his office as the President as well as continue the mandate given to him by Nigerians during the 2015 elections.

The group said should President Buhari fail to return within fortnight, it would storm the streets of Nigeria on peaceful protest.

It said in a statement signed by its convener, Prince Deji Adeyanju on Saturday, that although President Buhari handed-over presidential powers to his vice and now Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, he still on two occasions performed two Presidential functions even while abroad on medical vacation, a development the group describe as a “constitutional dilemma”.

The group said President Buhari must return to Nigeria since even the circumstances surrounding his actual health status have been kept secret from Nigerians who ought to know the situation concerning their president.

“Today – March 4th, 2017 marks 45 days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence from his office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and from the country as a whole on a medical vacation in the United Kingdom.”

“During this period, he has not made any public appearances and has only clandestinely “communicated” with very few people.

“Furthermore, details of President Buhari’s health status have been kept away from the generality of Nigerians while his media team and other members of his cabinet/party make conflicting comments regarding his health.”

“We acknowledge that during this period, President Buhari has satisfied constitutional requirements by transmitting letters to the National Assembly handing power over to his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on an acting capacity.”

“However, during this period, President Buhari has created a constitutional dilemma by carrying out official functions. On February 13, 2018 in a capacity as President of Nigeria, he spoke to President Donald Trump of the United States with respect to bilateral relations between the two countries.”

“On Thursday March 2nd, 2017 again in a capacity as President of Nigeria President Buhari spoke to the King of Morocco with respect to bilateral relations between the two countries as well as Morocco’s application to become a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”

“These actions, as well as President Buhari’s continued vacation, constitute a constitutional dilemma capable of destabilising the country. President Buhari’s insistence on performing the functions of President after having transmitted power to Ag. President Osinbajo in effect creates de-facto and de-jure, which does not bode well for the country.”

“To this end, we urge President Buhari to return to the country on or before the 60th day after which he left the country (15 days from today) failing which we will begin a series of peaceful processions across the country aimed at sensitizing the public as to the legal & constitutional dilemma created by President Buhari’s continued absence from office and his insistence on performing official functions while away.”

NigeriaCIrcle.Com has learned that some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides have renewed attempts to return him to the seat of power in Abuja before the possibly eight-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The airport is scheduled to be shut down for at least six weeks starting from midnight on March 7, 2017.

President Buhari left Nigeria on medical vacation on January 19 announcing that he would be back in Abuja on February 6. However, on the planned date of return, President Buhari wrote to the Nigerian Senate extending his return to Nigeria indefinitely. The Nigerian leader told senators that he would remain in the U.K. to await the results of tests ordered by his doctors.
Presidential spokesmen have been adamant against revealing to Nigerians the specific nature of Mr. Buhari’s illness. Instead, they have either claimed that the president was merely resting in London or that he was undergoing some medical checks that necessitated a delay in his return to Abuja.

Sources close to Mr. Buhari disclosed that the president’s doctors in the U.K. have recommended that he stay in London for as long as four months in order to complete a rigorous regimen of treatment for a prostrate-related ailment as well as Crohn’s disease. Our sources revealed that President Buhari is afflicted with internal organ disorders that have caused him to lose weight and wrecked his appetite.

“Some of Mr. President’s associates are mounting pressure on him to return to Abuja as soon as possible, and especially before the [Abuja] airport is temporarily closed,” a knowledgeable source told our correspondent. He confirmed that President Buhari was yet to complete his treatment for his prostate ailment as well as Crohn’s disease, a condition that plagues his intestines.

Our sources said President Buhari’s inner circle, led by his cousin, Mamman Daura, and his personal assistant, Tunde Sabiu (also known as “Tunde Idiagbon”), were behind the decision not to disclose the nature of the president’s ailments to the Nigerian public. The two insiders are reportedly managing a cabal around Mr. Buhari to control and leverage power in Abuja.
Our investigation showed that the cabal had effectively shoved aside President Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari, relegating her to Abuja. Instead, one of President Buhari’s daughters, Halima, is now the only direct relative given free access to the ailing president in London.
Halima, a daughter from Mr. Buhari’s first marriage, recently returned to Abuja on a British Airways flight. One source claimed that her return to Abuja was possibly to prepare for her father’s temporary return to Nigeria.
Our sources revealed that, even if President Buhari returns soon, he would need to travel out again to London in a few months to continue his treatment.
“It doesn’t make sense for Mr. President to return to Abuja immediately just to serve the political interests of some people when his doctors want him to go through all his treatment,” one of our sources said.
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