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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Coordinator Of Affairs Or Acting President? VP Osinbajo Speaks On Buhari's Alleged Refusal To Hand Over To Him

 
President Muhamamdu Buhari who left the country on Sunday, May 7, for medical treatment for the second time in few months, wrote to the Nigerian Senate informing them that he has duly handed over power to Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is expected to replace him in acting capacity.
 
The letter read: “In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), I wish to inform the distinguished Senate that I will be away for a scheduled medical follow-up with my doctors in London. The length of my stay will be determined by the doctor’s advice.

“While I am away, the Vice President will coordinate the activities of the government. Please accept, the distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.” 
The letter when read at the floor of the Senate during the plenary on Tuesday, was trailed with controversies and criticisms as a lawmaker, Senator Mao Arukwe Ohuabunwa, criticised the letter saying there was no position of coordinating president in the constitution and that Osinbajo should have been duly addressed as acting president. 
 
He said: “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 unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them the written declaration to the contrary, such function shall be discharged by the Vice- President as Acting President.

“Mr. President, I don’t think in our Constitution we have anything like ‘coordinating president’ or ‘coordinating vice president.’ It is either you are vice president or you are acting president and any letter (on transfer of power) should be unambiguous and very clear. So, I am saying that this letter really does not convey anything because ‘coordinating’ has no space or any place in our Constitution.

“We have been having (receiving) letters like this in which he will tell us who is the acting president and we will know who to deal with as a Senate. This is the highest legislative body of any country and if you are sending us a letter, it should be direct, unambiguous. So, I am saying that this letter, for me, is not right and maybe it should be sent back.”
 
The controversy surrounding whether President Muhammadu Buhari duly handed over power to him when he left the country, made rounds online and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, waded into the controversy when a Twitter user asked him to confirm if Buhari handed over power to him as acting president as specified by the constitution.
 
Here's Osinbajo's reaction below: 

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