Journalism of Courage

Buhari’s failure to transmit power to Osinbajo is unconstitutional – Clark

Accuses president of importing foreign body (21 days) into the constitution 

The leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s not transmitting power to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo before leaving for London, United Kingdom, for his routine medical check-up, as illegal and unconstitutional.

 

“The Constitution Section 145 is very clear, simple. There is no issue of 21 days and the president cannot import into the constitution what is not there, the elder statesman said in a press conference in Abuja Tuesday.

“What Section 145 says, is that president shall transmits to the National Assembly, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, whenever he will be away on medical vacation. And in his absence, the constitution empowers the Vice President to act as the president. And the word shall is used there. Where does Mr. President get that one from? That one does not exist, except  that’s another constitution. I am a lawyer.”

Clark asked what the President was afraid of in handing over to his Vice who proved his competence while he acted as President in 2017, when he was out of the country for over 100 days.
He accused the president of taking Nigerians for granted and ignoring Section 145 of the constitution which mandates him to handover to this Vice when he is traveling.
He further accused the President of importing foreign body into the nation’s constitution.
Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution 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.
Persecondnews.com reports that Buhari left for the UK on June 6, 2016, for his first medical vacation, following reports that he had an ear infection. He returned on June 19, 2016.

On January 19, 2017, the President again travelled to the UK on medical leave and returned on March 10, 2017, after spending 51 days.

Barely 40 days after, Buhari travelled again to the UK for medical attention on May 8, 2017 and remained there till August 19, 2017, spending 104 consecutive days, a record which surpassed that of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

After attending the 72nd UN General Assembly, on September 21, 2017, he travelled from the US to the UK for medical purposes and returned to Abuja on September 25, 2017.

On May 8, 2018, four days after arriving in Nigeria, Buhari returned to the UK for medical reasons and he returned on May 11.

The President again travelled to London on a working leave on August 3, 2018 and returned on the 18th, spending a total of 16 days. His handlers said during interviews that “he may just see his doctors briefly during the visit.”

On April 25, 2019, Buhari arrived in the UK for a 10-day “private visit,” returning on May 5, 2018, though information was not given on the purpose of the trip.

Again, on November 2, 2019, he proceeded on a 15-day “private visit” to London, following bilateral talks in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the country on November 17.

In 2020, the President did not leave the country for a single medical trip, presumably due to travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But on March 30, 2021, he resumed his medical visits with  two-week trip to London.

On June 24, the President postponed another planned medical trip to the UK. He, however, departed the country for London on Monday to attend an education summit and have a check-up. He is expected to return in the second week of August.

President Buhari has so far spent over 200 days out of the country on medical vacation.

 

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