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Obasanjo speaks on presidential powers

IN apparent disap proval of the bickering and bitterness that once existed between him and his  former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, while in office, former President Olusegun Obsanjo yesterday charged both elected and other political office holders to always respect the office of the president of the country.

Speaking in his capacity as Chairman at the at the opening ceremony of a two day retreat for ministers, special advisers and permanent secretaries, at the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Obasanjo based his advice on the Constitutional provisions which made the President as the chief executive office of the country.

According to him “The first important thing that I believe that all members of the executive in government should know is the position of and the authority of the president as stipulated in our constitution,  in section 130 (2) of the 1999 constitution. The president shall be the head of state, chief executive of the federation and commander- in- chief of the Armed Forces of the federation”.

He stated further “All other things in government business flows from the powers and authorities of the president. But the president does not and cannot stand-alone. In section 147(1), there shall be such offices of Ministers of the government of the federation as may be established by the President.

He noted that the functions, powers and authority of the Ministers is devolved to him or her by the president as stipulated in section 148(1); saying that the president may in his discretion assign the VP, or any minister of the government, responsibility for any business of the government including the administration of any department of government.

He said further that the authority of the president, the former president said “148(2) stipulates that the president shall hold regular meetings for the purposes of determining domestic and foreign polices etc. this he said formed the basis of the regular federal Executive Council meetings”.

According to him, “advise can be given to the president at such regular meetings or one on one with the president orally or in form of memorandum, or through committees set up by the president for a particular business of government or through report of participation in international meetings approved by the president”.

He caution subordinates to respect their superiors in office saying “No matter how an advise to the president is given, it is meant to be confidential between the President and the person giving the advise.

There should be no divulgence except in furtherance to other business of government.
He emphasized that though the functions and powers of the President are wide, they are not unlimited adding that the constitution aptly provides for checks and safe guards.

He also congratulated President Jonathan for the courage, wisdom and discernment to build a fairly star studded cabinet, which has both advantages and disadvantages.


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