By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s current status is not “Coordinating” Vice President, but Acting President, the Presidency has said.
It further stated that by transmitting a letter of his departure in the fulfillment of Section 145 of 1999 Constitution (as amended), President Muhammadu Buhari who departed Nigeria to United Kingdom for medical attention on Sunday night has made his Vice, Osinbajo the Acting President.
The clarification came on the heels of a debate on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday that President’s Buhari’s letter to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, announcing his medical trip to London was ambiguous over who is officially in charge of the country’s affairs.
A Senator from Abia State, Moa Ohuabunwa had picked holes with the letter, saying that the wordings put Vice President Osinbajo as merely a “coordinating” Vice President instead of Acting President.
Buhari’s letter read by Saraki stated thus: “In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), I wish to inform the distinguished Senate that I will be away for a scheduled medical follow-up with my doctors in London. The length of my stay will be determined by the doctor’s advice.
“While I am away, the Vice President will coordinate the activities of the government. Please accept, the distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
But reacting to the development, a top Presidency source who would not want his name mentioned in black and white told Vanguard that in the eye of the law, Osinbajo is the Acting President.
He cited Section 145 of the constitution to back up his claim.
Section 145 read thus: “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.”
The source stated that President Buhari should rather be commended for graciously transferring his powers to Osinbajo each time he traveled for medicals.
“Section 145 is clear and unambiguous of who takes over from the President when he is not available. In this case, having written to the National Assembly in fulfillment of Section 145, President Buhari has made his Vice, the Acting President.
“The President deserves commendation for doing this. This the fourth time he will be writing to the Senate, transferring his powers to his Deputy. I think he deserved to be commended”, the source told Vanguard.