Fresh controversy over Buhari’s resumption of office

  • NASS on recess, yet to receive official communication from president

Fresh constitutional controversy is emerging over resumption of office on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari who returned to Nigeria on Saturday, August 19, 2017, from a medical vacation in London, the United Kingdom, which eh commenced on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

President Buhari had on return to Nigeria on Saturday, held a meeting with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and Service Chiefs at the State House, Abuja, signifying his official resumption of duties.

The President was said to be formally welcomed at the meeting which held behind closed doors by Acting President Osinbajo.

Osinbajo, speaking to State House correspondents on the President’s return, had said: “As you can see from the many Nigerians who lined up on the road to receive the President as he came back, many Nigerians are happy that the President is hale and hearty and that he has come back.

“It was a natural reaction, most people heard of his arrival only a few hours before then, but as you can see, the response was so spontaneous. So, I think that people were so excited and very happy.”

“The message to Nigerians is that, the recovery and recuperation of the President is in some sense symbolic of the recovery of Nigeria.”

Osibanjo assured: “Nigeria is going to recover. We are on the path of strong economic recovery and this is an excellent sign that the country is on the right side.”

“There is great hope, there is great excitement and we are going to make it as a nation,” he stated.

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Meanwhile, President Buhari made a national broadcast early Monday morning, to show his official appearance to the public on his resumption of office.

All these transpired while the National Assembly is on recess and a letter yet to be transmitted to the legislature on the President’s resumption of office after his vacation as required by the constitution.

This generated a controversy over communication gap between President Buhari and the National Assembly on his resumption of office after 103 days of medical vacation in the United Kingdom, a period President Buhari communicated the federal legislature of his vacation and delegation of powers to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to stand in as acting president.

Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a media interaction on Channels Television, monitored from Lagos, said that the letter will be transmitted to the National Assembly on Monday morning to notify the legislature of the President’s resumption of office.

He was reminded that the National Assembly is on recess which he admitted but insisted that the constitution prescribes the letter must be transmitted, perhaps, irrespective of whether the legislature is in session or not.

“Yes, but the constitution requires that it be transmitted… and once it is sent, he becomes president automatically,” Adesina declared.

Meanwhile, it is not known whether the federal lawmakers would call off their recess to attend to the President’s resumption letter; otherwise, the letter will be there waiting for their resumption. The controversy remains that the President resumed office before sending the letter to the lawmakers.