- Human rights activist reacts
Human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong, has lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari for embarking on a three-week foreign trip without handing over to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, for the second time this year.
Effiong said in a statement, “This President is lawless. Buhari has gotten away with murder.
“In the spirit of the rule of law and due process, one would have expected Buhari to either comply with the mandatory requirement of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution by transmitting a letter to President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to empower Prof. Osinbajo to become Acting President during his vacation or await the court’s decision on the matter.
“Buhari has shown disdain for the law. Buhari is not bigger than Nigeria. It is a shame that we now have a tourist as President.”
The President, who has travelled to over 33 countries since he took office in 2015, transmitted power to Osinbajo in 2016, 2017 and 2018 but since his re-election in February 2019, the President has failed to do so.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Monday, announcing the President’s travel itinerary, there was no mention of power being transmitted to the Vice-President.
According to the statement, the President embarked on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Monday and then leave for the United Kingdom on November 2 for a private visit.
Although the Presidency failed to reveal the nature of Buhari’s “private visit”, the President has been known to pay several visits to the UK for medical reasons, having spent over 120 days there treating an unknown illness in the past four years.
Buhari’s private visit to the UK will be the second of such this year.
In April, the President travelled to the UK on a private visit without transmitting power to Osinbajo.
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Effiong, subsequently sued Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation over the President’s failure to hand over power to Osinbajo in April.
The case, with suit number FHC/L/CS/763/2019, was filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
In his response, the President said he decided not to hand over power to Osinbajo when he travelled because there was no constitutional requirement for him to do so.
The President further stated that the only time he needs to hand over to Osinbajo is when he is proceeding on leave or going to be out of the country for more than 21 days.
The PUNCH reports that in the past, Buhari had been known to hand over power to his deputy anytime he was travelling out of the country for unofficial engagements.
For instance, when the President travelled to London on a working leave on August 3, 2018 and returned on the 18th, spending a total of 16 days, he handed over to Osinbajo.
It was while Osinbajo was acting President during the same period that he sacked the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, a move that was said to have been vehemently opposed by those close to the President.
Incidentally, since Daura’s sacking over a year ago, the President has not transferred power to Osinbajo again.
The President has in recent weeks curtailed the powers given to the Vice-President by first removing him as the head of the economic advisory team and asking him to seek special approvals before taking certain actions.
There have been reports that the cabal which controls the Presidency is opposed to Osinbajo’s purported 2023 Presidential bid.
The President’s media aide, Adesina, refused to respond to an inquiry on Monday.
Credit: The Punch