Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Acting President for Nigeria!

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has been empowered by the National Assembly to step into the "shoes" of the ailing AWOLed President, Yar'Adua. The Senate President, Mr. David Mark said the telephone interview aired on the BBC served as the notification needed to allow Mr. Vice act as President. So based on the "telephone conversation" yesterday, the National Assembly passed a resolution empowering Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to assume power as the acting President, pending the return of the ailing President Yar'Adua. The Senate added that the moment they receive a "letter" from Yar'Adua informing the Senate that he (Yar'Adua) is back to the Country, then Goodluck will cease to act as President.

With all due respect to the "law makers", that is NOT the right way to go about it. The Senate has no power to confer power on the Vice-President to act as President! The applicable Latin maxim here is nemo dat qui non habet. Simply put, this phrase means "he who has not cannot give". That is, you cannot give what you do not have.

The Law is very clear on that. The 1999 Constitution is very explicit. Section 144 of the Constitution is to the effect that the President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office on the following grounds:
1) A declaration is passed by the Federal Executive Council (which is made up of all ministers, who incidentally were appointed by the President) stating that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office.

2) After this declaration is passed, it has to be verified by a medical panel comprising of 5 medical practitioners, appointed by the Senate President. The personal physician of the President shall be a member of the medical panel.

Sections 144 (2)&(3) state thus:
(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.

(3) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

Now, that is the LAW! The National Assembly, in my opinion, erred in law by empowering the VP with the Presidential powers.

The BBC conversation relied on by the National Assembly IS NOT the requirement as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. That conversation does not meet the requirement as set out in section 145 of the Constitution.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!


AlooFar said...

Well, let's just say we're making progress.

Dee! said...

ALOOFAR: Slowly but surely... We shall get there.

Writefreak said...

I was very delighted when i heard the news! It makes me thing when i joined the Save Nigeria protest, I didn't march in vain!

Dee! said...

So you participated in the march! Your march was not in vain my sister. God dey!

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