Confusion in Senate as Buhari’s letter fails to address Osinbajo as acting President
By Titus Agbo
In his letter to the Senate President Muhammadu Buhari said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will “coordinate” the nation’s affairs while he is abroad for medical treatment.
A letter sent by the president to the Senate, notifying lawmakers of his trip, however raised questions Tuesday about Mr. Osinbajo’s powers after Mr. Buhari failed to address him as “acting president”.
Three times in the past that Buhari travelled out he had properly handed over to Osinbajo to act as President in his absence. This time, the president in a letter to the Senate Preident, Buhari only indicated that the vice president be be “coordinator” of the nation’s affairs in his absence.
After a debate on the propriety of the letter the senators had to made do with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution which clearly spelt out the roles of the vice president in the absence of the President.
That section says, “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.”