Director, Centre for Leadership Values and Policy, Mr. Mike Igini, has said that the claim in some quarters that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has the final say on the choice of a would-be vice to President Goodluck Jonathan was of doubtful constitutional validity, in view of the clear and unambiguous provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Igini said in a statement that while it was true that the death of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua in office presented a new circumstance to the nationâ€™s fledgling democracy, it was, however, envisaged and provided for in section 146(1) of the 1999 constitution that the Vice President shall hold the office of the President if the office becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, etc.
He said: â€œThis provision has been complied with as Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has since been sworn in as the president.
â€œOn the resulting vacancy in the office of the vice president, subsection 3 paragraphs (b) and in particular (c) says …..the president shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new vice president.
â€œThere is no mention or reference to any political party or the rulingÂ party of the president in office in the appointment process of a new vice president either in the section above or any other section of the 1999 constitution.
â€œWe should not confuse or misapply section 142 of the constitution that deals with a pre-election condition precedent requiring a presidential nomineeâ€™s compulsory nomination of vice presidential candidate as associate, with the provisions of section 146 dealing with the express stated powers of a presidentÂ to nominate a vice president to be approved by the National Assembly.
â€œThe time-honoured admonition that relevant provisions of constitution or statutes should not be read in isolation but together is not and should not be seen as an all purpose doctrinaire Talisman to all situations.
â€œIts not applicable in the matter under consideration with respect to sections 146 and 142. Lets not create needless and unhelpful new controversies over this matter by adding or subtracting from what have been provided for clearly in the 1999 constitution.”