Buhari Appointing Osinbajo as ‘Coordinator’ is an Impeachable Offence – Adegboruwa
A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has described President Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly referring to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as “Coordinator” of the nation’s affairs while he proceeds abroad for an indefinite sick leave as an impeachable offence.
According to Adegboruwa, the National Assembly should reject the letter from the President as it has brought the nation into a serious constitutional crisis.
Adegboruwa said “A coordinator is a Person of equal status with others. So the Vee Pee cannot make appointments or sack anybody while the President is away. He cannot discipline any erring minister. He is limited in policy decisions, as a coordinator. He has no power of control over the “Cabal” to whom the president has handed over power, albeit illegally.
“The Chief of Staff was recently reported to have moved vital documents away from Aso Villa. In effect, Nigeria has no leader presently. The existing office of Vee Pee is no more. The constitutionally created office of Acting President has been circumscribed by the President.
“The President is away on an indefinite medical trip abroad. The Senate lacks the power to pronounce Osinbajo As Acting President, without a WRITTEN RESOLUTION of BOTH CHAMBERS of the National Assembly, through a DECISION taken on the FLOOR of both chambers.
“The President cannot travel for medical check up for an indefinite period of time. The National Assembly should reject the letter from the President. There is therefore a serious constitutional crisis.
“Pro-government lawyers and activists, who have goaded the Buhari administration into dubious and reckless interpretations of the Constitution in the past, should be held responsible for the current crisis and all acts of impunity from Aso Villa.
“In all, the National Assembly should commence impeachment proceedings against the President for gross misconduct”, he said.
But for the decisive intervention of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the nation would have been thrown into another major constitutional crisis over the failure of Buhari to properly transfer power to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President.
President Buhari had transmitted a letter to the National Assembly as required by the Constitution, informing the legislative arm of his plan to travel abroad on medical grounds.
However, when the letter was read on the floor of the Senate, Tuesday, Mao Ohabunwa, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator, representing Abia North, raised a point of order stating that it was not proper to name the Vice President “coordinator” of the nation’s affairs as contained in President Buhari’s letter.
But in a deft political maneuver, the Senate President ruled Senator Ohabunwa out of order after the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan cited Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Senate President’s ruling on the issue averted what could have led to a tense debate on the Constitutional implication of not properly transferring power to Osinbajo as Acting President.
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