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I’m Not Obligated To Hand Over Power To Osinbajo When I Travel, Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why he didn’t hand over power to his vice, Yemi Osinbajo in April.

The President travelled to the United Kingdom on a private visit from April 25 to May 5, 2019, without handing over power to Osinbajo.

I'm Not Obligated To Hand Over Power To Osinbajo When I Travel, Says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari and VP Yemi Osinbajo

In his a six-paragraph counter-affidavit deposed to on his behalf by one Mr Friday Atu, a litigation officer in the Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Buhari said there was no constitutional requirement for him to do so.

He explained further that the only time he is obligated to hand over to Osinbajo is when he embarks on leave or leaves the country for more than 21 days.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Inibehe Effiong sued Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation in April over his refusal to hand over power to Osinbajo during one of his visits to the United Kingdom.

The case with the suit number FHC/L/CS/763/2019 asked the court to determine whether in view of the extant provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Buhari can validly proceed on vacation for any length of time without transmitting a written declaration to the National Assembly to that effect, which will empower the Vice President to perform the functions of the President in an acting capacity.

Buhari said in his response that the Nigeria constitution did not make it mandatory for him to hand over power to his deputy, or for him to transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to enable the Vice President to act as President except when his vacation exceeds 21 days.

“That it is a fact that where the President embarks on vacation or otherwise is unable to discharge the functions of his office and fails to transmit a written declaration to that effect, he will be considered not to have complied with the constitution (as amended).

“That the time within which the President has to transmit a written letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is 21 days.

“That the President’s foreign trip lasted for nine days from April 25, 2019, to May 5, 2019. The President did not exceed the 21-day period required by the constitution. It is in the interest of justice to dismiss the claims of the plaintiff,” Buhari argued.

The case is before Justice A. O. Faji of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos and has been fixed for Monday, October 7, 2019, for hearing.

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