Yesterday, controversy followed the new letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly intimating it of his decision to proceed to the United Kingdom, for “a scheduled medical follow up.” The problem began from the President’s choice of words, which according to Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, were ambiguous. According to the Abia Senator, the President, in his letter stated that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would coordinate the activities of government on his behalf while he was away, insisting that by virtue of the President’s letter, the status of Osinbajo as acting President, was not clear.
In reaction, Kaduna lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Festus Okoye, told Newsmen that there was no cause for alarm. According to him, there was no ambiguity in Section 145 (1) of the constitution as it has a “mandatory and automatic application.
“Once there is a written communication from Mr. President to the effect that he is going on leave or vacation, no matter whether it is stated in his letter expressly or not, the Vice President automatically becomes acting President. Saying he will coordinate the affairs of government, to me, goes to emphasise that he (Osinbajo) is absolutely and completely in charge of government, no encumbrance in the performance of his duty as acting President.I believe it is because of this kind of situation that the framers of the constitution, went further to add section 145 (2) in the constitution, which stated among other things that if for any reason, the President fails to transmit a letter, after 21 days, the National Assembly will make the Vice President, an acting President.”