Monday, 3 July 2017

BUHARI: Saraki, FEC Under Pressure To Use Doctrine of Necessity After 107 Days on Medical Vacation

BUHARI: Saraki, FEC Under Pressure To Use Doctrine of Necessity After 107 Days on Medical Vacation

Osinbajo Saraki and Buhari

If President Muhammadu Buhari does not return to the country today (Monday), it will make a total of 107 days that the president had been away on medical ground since the beginning of 2017.

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President Buhari first left for London to treat himself on the 19th of January, 2017 and returned to the country 49 days later, precisely on March 10.

However, the health of the President was not yet perfect and he had to return to the United Kingdom 58 days ago, precisely on Sunday, 7th of May.

The Presidency did not disclose the nature of the sickness of the president but few days ago, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose claimed that the President was on life support machine and dared anyone to prove him otherwise with evidence.

But the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun insisted that President Buhari was fast recovering from his illness contrary to allegations that he was on life support.

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Oyegun spoke with newsmen at the end of a meeting between the party‘s National Working Committee (NWC) and state governors elected on the party’s platform.

“We are glad to inform you that President Muhammadu Buhari is recovering in a very robust manner.

“We hope he takes it easy and when he comes back, I have no doubt at all that we will have a new and active period of activities.’’

He, however, said only the president’s doctors abroad could decide when he would be fit to return to the country.

The national chairman, however, refused to respond to the governor’s comment, saying he would do that at an appropriate time.

“If I respond, I will be dignifying him.

“At the appropriate time, people will answer him; at the appropriate level; at the appropriate time.

“He is in a different world altogether.’’

According to him, the party’s leadership has confidence in President Buhari.

Nigerian NewsDirect recalls that last year, the president took medical leave between February 5 to February 10 while he also flew out of the country  later in the year also for medical reasons.

On Monday, 6th of June, the President took 10 days off to travel to London over what his Spokesman, Femi Adeshina described as persistent ear infection. Adeshina said the president went to see an E.N.T Specialist in London

For being away from office for more than 42 days within one calendar year, the President is believed to have contravened Paragraph 070316, chapter seven of the Public Service Rules 2006.

The chapter states: “Where an officer has been absent from duty on the grounds of ill-health for an aggregate period in excess of 42 calendar days within 12 calendar months, the officer should be made to appear before a medical board with a view to being ascertained whether he or she should be invalidated from service.”

According to paragraph 010101, chapter one of the same rules, the conditions are applicable to the President, vice-president, and other public officers who derive their appointment from the constitution.

In an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, the Executive Chairman of Centre of Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman said it was disheartening that the President would be abroad on the bill of Nigerians without the country knowing the exact ailment of the President.

He said his centre in collaboration with other Civil Society Groups in the country are planning one million march to Aso Rock to protest continued stay of the president out of the country.

“If the President knows his health cannot withstand the rigours of the office, he should resign so that the Vice-President can fully take over without distractions”

“The President does not want to resign because of the perks of the office but the country is suffering as the economy is at the lowest ebb” Sulaiman added.

He called on the Senate and the Federal Executive Council to set up medical team to check the health status of the president as enshrined in the constitution which he swore to uphold.

In a similar vein, the National Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yunusa Tanko accused the handlers of the President of not doing a good job in managing the predicament of the president.

“We don’t even know the health challenge facing the president, thereby leaving room for speculation, they should come out clean and tell us what is wrong with our President” Tanko said.

“It has gone to the extent that people are now talking about the presidential jets and crew members, and how much it costs the nation, it shows the handlers are not doing a proper job” he added.

The NCP chairman also called on the Senate and the Federal Executive Council to follow the law on the matter as it was applied during the time of late President Umar Yar Adua when he was sick and flown abroad.

But a retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo called for caution on the matter. He called on Nigerians to pray for the president because he has very good intention to build the country.

“This was a man that went through the rigours of campaign throughout the country in good health, he had a goal but if he is having health challenge, which can happen to anyone, we should have patience and not be too hasty”

“It will constitute a psychological trauma for the president if he learns the people he is dying for are clamouring for his removal on health grounds” Akpoyibo said.

In the meantime, a Nigerian based in the United States of America, Mr. Toyin Dawodu, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to appoint a medical panel to determine the health status of ailing President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2017 and filed on June 28, Dawodu urged the court to declare Saraki as empowered by the Nigerian Constitution to set up a medical panel to determine Buhari’s health status “without first being a resolution of the Executive Council of the Federation.”

Section 144(1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that such a medical panel should be appointed by the Senate President following a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of the members of the Executive Council of the Federation.

But the plaintiff, through his counsel, Frank Tietie, contended in the suit that “in the absence of a resolution by the Executive Council of the Federation” as required under section 144(1) of the Constitution, the Senate President could constitute such medical panel “to determine the health status of the President.”

The respondents to the suit are Saraki, the Executive Council of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).

While he prayed the court to direct the Executive Council of the Federation to convene a meeting to vote on a resolution on the medical fitness or incapability of President Buhari to discharge the functions of his office, he also prayed for an order directing the Senate President to set up a medical panel to investigate the President’s health.

His prayers read in part, “A declaration that the 1st Respondent, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is empowered by Section 144(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered) to appoint a Medical Panel to determine the health status of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, without first being a resolution of the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF)  on the medical fitness or incapability of President Muhammadu Buhari to discharge the functions of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

A supporting affidavit deposed to by a lawyer, Otika Stephen, from the law firm of the plaintiff’s lead counsel, described Dawodu as a US-based Nigerian.

The affidavit, however, stated that “the plaintiff is a registered voter in Nigeria. A copy of the applicant’s voter card is herein annexed and marked Exhibit A”.

It stated that Dawodu was not against Buhari but decided to institute the suit in the public interest.

It also stated that Buhari’s health status was of national concern and that when his illness could no longer allow him to discharge the functions of his office, “it would be in the national interest to advise him to resign.”

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The affidavit, however, added that the Federal Executive Council “is unlikely and unwilling to exercise its constitutional responsibility of determining by resolution” the status of the President’s health.

It stated that with President’s handing over to the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, as acting President, he (Osinbajo) “is fettered even in his capacity to fully discharge the functions and responsibilities of the office of the President.”

It said it was therefore important to determine the health status of Buhari and the nature of his illness “in order to advise him to either resign or be impeached.”

By Nigerian News Direct

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