Editor’s note: President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill health has continued to assume a national discourse among Nigerians in the last few months. The Senate’s insistence that Ibrahim Magu should be removed as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and its demand that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo should withdraw the statement he earlier made about Magu’s appointment is a pointer that Nigeria’s democracy needs urgent rescue mission.
In this article sent to NAIJ.com, a Lagos-based journalist, Muhammed Subair, explains why Senate President Bukola Saraki should focus on his legislative functions and allow Professor Yemi Osinbajo to continue as Nigeria’s Acting President till President Muhammadu Buhari comes back from his medical trip.
Corruption, nepotism, greed and excessive thirst for political power by the country’s ruling class have been identified as bane on the nation’s socio-economic growth, democratic transition and political stability.
However, with Nigeria’s political experiment since the attainment of independence in 1960 and the election crisis that followed in the First Republic which led to the 1966 military coup by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu and the intra party crisis that accompanied it that led to the collapse of the First, Second and subsequent republics.
Undoubtedly, Nigeria’s political landscape up till today is characterised with endless power play, hypocrisy and distortion of the instrument of government with which those in power recycle to keep themselves in government against the will of the people.
And the constitution as evident in some senators’ unpatriotic machination to impeach Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and enthrone the country’s Senate President Bukola Saraki as the President and Chief Executive of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While I wish President Muhammadu Buhari a speedy recovery to return to the country to continue with his anti-graft war to sustain sanity and integrity in governance, it is worthy of note to examine the position of the Nigeria constitution in the case of prolonged absence of Mr. president on health ground or other reasons.
Section 145 of the Nigeria constitution states as follows: “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 transmit to them a written declaration to the contrary, such functions shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President”.
Further to this, Section 146 subsection 1 also held that the Vice President shall hold office in the case of ill health, death, incapacitation, impeachment or resignation of Mr. President.
From the foregoing, the above two sections identified the Vice-President and not the Senate president as next in line to act as President in the absence or death of Mr. President.
Now, the question remains, why are the Senators bent on removing Acting President Yemi Osinbajo from office to pave way for Senate President Bukola Saraki to become the President of the country?
In my opinion, the answer to this poser is not farfetched; it is to truncate the anti-corruption war which hunts many of the politicians, Senators and their allies for their misdeeds in public offices.
Let me refresh our memories with the cardinal focus of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari upon his assumption of office in 2015; it is to fight corruption to a standstill and ensure integrity in public offices.
And since Mr. President is seemingly winning the war being waged against corruption with the recovery of looted funds from some public office holders and the prosecution of some Senators including our dear Senate President Bukola Saraki until his case was recently squashed by the court of law.
It is expected that these affected politicians won’t give up the fight and that is why they wanted the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo impeached while the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu is still hanging.
The need for continuation in the anti-graft war and the fact that both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were elected on the same ticket are enough reasons for his stepping in as the Acting President.
But that corruption is personified in our politicians and now waging war against the unity of the country and stability of the polity is not in doubt.
What our Senators should know is that, wanting Acting President Yemi Osinbajo out of office is tantamount to wishing President Muhammadu Buhari dead and that is a sinful act punishable by God.
Acting President Osinbajo is not there on his own volition as he once said that he communicate with his boss when he needs to, why then the envy and covetousness?
Rather than for Senate President Bukola Saraki to covetously eyeing the presidency, I think he should concentrate on making the best out of his present office and be patient enough to take his turn possibly in the next election in 2019.
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He should also be mindful that leadership position is a trial and that it is not what a person that is conscious of his creator desperately seeks because it comes with a huge burden of responsibilities.
Leadership position comes by the grace of God and not through human desperation.
I want to believe that the All Progressives Congress has a manifesto which I believe the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is working to actualise. If this is so, then, Senator Saraki should cleanse himself of individual desire and join hands with the present administration to deliver on its electoral promises to the masses.
Just as I stated earlier, the position of the constitution is clear on who takes charge in the absence of the seating President. Also, the Seventh Schedule to the constitution is not silent on this as it affirmed that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Therefore, Senate President Bukola Saraki and other senators should hold the Nigeria project and constitution supreme and act in accordance to its letter and ensure that the country is stable politically and cleanse of corruption.
Further, that the constitution leaves room for impeachment process as an option does not imply that the tool should be misused for the promotion of personal agenda.
Our collective wellbeing should be the priority of this present administration both the executive, judiciary and the legislature and not the overheating of the polity.
May God continue to bless Nigeria and strengthened the bond that unite us.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that Osinbajo declared that despite the Senate’s rejection Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of EFCC, the Presidency had resolved to retain him as the head of the commission.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
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