The ongoing debate over the wordings of President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the Senate is needless, says Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
There have been concerns raised by a member of the Senate, Mao Ohabunwa, who pointed out that the president said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will “coordinate the affairs of government” while he is away on an indefinite medical leave in the United Kingdom.
Though Ohabunwa was ruled out of order by Senate President Bukola Saraki, the debate has continued with legal practitioners giving varying explanations as to what the President meant.
But addressing State House correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mohammed said the debate was needless since the President had in his letter referred to section 145 of the constitution, and therefore there was no need to specifically state that Osinbanjo would serve as acting President.
The whole thing is a “needless controversy and distraction”, the minister said, adding that “the operative word is Section 145 of the constitution which the president has already referred to.”
Section 145 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended states: “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, a lawyer, Ebun Olu-Adegoruwa, on Wednesday asked the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Buhari, as according to him, the content of the letter did not transmit full presidential powers to Osinbajo.