A Senator on Tuesday raised objection to the letter by President Muhammadu Buhari informing the Senate he was proceeding on an indefinite medical vacation to London.
After the Senate president read Buhari’s letter on the floor of the senate, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa raised a point of order, saying the letter was ambiguous on the transfer of power.He said Buhari did not state who will act in his stead.The letter had stated that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would “coordinate” the governance of the country while he is on vacation.
Below is the letter:
“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.”
Ohuabunwa 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 Senate president ruled Ohuabunwa out of order because Buhari had met the provision of Section 145 of the constitution.