REPORT | Acting President Controversy: How Saraki Saved Buhari Again
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 ailing President Muhammadu 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.
Reacting to the development, a former Minister of Aviation and leading opposition voice, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode berated President Buhari’s handlers for referring to Osinbajo as a “coordinator” instead of properly addressing him as Acting President.
According to Fani-Kayode, the attempt to prevent the Vice President from being Acting President by referring to him in the letter to the Senate as a mere “coordinator” is insulting and dangerous.
“The attempt to deny him the right and role of Acting President by the corpsocrats is ominous and the implications are grave and far-reaching”, he said.
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