By Aaron Ossai
Contrary to reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has informed the Senate that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo would act on his behalf while he is away on medical trip abroad, Buhari said Osinbajo will only ‘coordinate’ the affairs of the country instead.
President Buhari’s letter to the Senate notifying the lawmakers of his trip raised questions about Osinbajo’s powers since he failed to address him as “acting president.”
It would be recalled that President Buhari left Nigeria Sunday night, shortly after receiving 82 Chibok girls who regained freedom after three years in Boko Haram captivity.
Since coming to power in May 2015, this is the fourth time Mr. Osinbajo will be acting on behalf of the president and President Buhari has won praises for promptly handing over power before embarking on each trip.
However, his latest correspondence to the Senate, read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was questioned by a Senator who argued that Mr. Osinbajo should have been designated “acting president”.
Senator Mao Ohabunwa, a People’s Democratic Party, PDP Senator, representing Abia North, said it was not proper to name the vice president “coordinator” of the nation’s affairs instead of acting president.
He was however ruled out of order by Saraki, after the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, defended Buhari, citing Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution which says: “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.”