By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”Contrary to popular claims, Lagos lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo yesterday said President Jonathan Goodluck cannot, under the law, appoint just anybody as the nationâ€™s vice president, without a recourse and endorsement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which he belonged to.
Former President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua died in office last Wednesday, a development that elevated Jonathan Goodluck from Acting President to substantive President.
By the death in office of his boss and his fateful elevation, Jonathanâ€™s former positionâ€”Vice President, is automatically vacant. Section 146 (3) of the 1999 constitution is clear on who has the powers to appoint a new vice president.
The said section reads: Where the office of Vice-President becomes vacant (a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution.; (b) by his assumption of the office of President inÂ accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or (c) for any other reason, the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice-President.”
But Keyamo who though admitted that section 146 (3) of the 1999 constitution which provides for who has the powers to appoint, in the event the position of the vice president, is vacant and the modality for such appointment, was silent on the role of the ruling political party in the matter, he however, said yesterday that the said constitutional provision could not be read in isolation.
According him, he saidÂ section 146 (3) must be read alongside section 142 of the 1999 constitution which provides for the qualifications of a candidate for the vice president slot.
Says PDP must approve choice of V-P
Although his argument is seemingly logical when the two sections are indeed read together, yet it is not only debatable but also circumlocutory.
In a statement yesterday and made available to Vanguard, Keyamo said: â€œThe provisions of the Constitution, if properly interpreted, will reveal that the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party must approve the choice of the new Vice President before he can assume the office.
â€œBecause we are in a developing constitutional democracy, these new situations must confront us and we must properly apply the law for future purposes.
â€œThe procedure for picking a person to fill the vacant office of the Vice President is provided for in section 146(3) of the 1999 Constitution which states as follows: Where the office of Vice-President becomes vacant (a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution; (b) by his assumption of the office of President in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or (c) for any other reason, the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice-President.