BUHARI’s VACATIONS: MATTERS ARISING By Ogunjobi Gabriel Ayodeji

On January 19th, 2017, President Mohammadu Buhari wrote the National Assembly to commence a leave from office for 10 days in which he would have a medical check-up.

This 10-day vacation makes it the third the President had received since he emerged as the President of the country. The first was between 5th and 10th February, 2016 for a relieve from the presidency’s stress. Second was between 6th and 19th June, 2016. This vacation was taken in order for the president to see an E.N.T specialist over his a persistent ear infection.

By the provisions of the Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that: “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 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over affairs of the country in the stead of Mr. President this time as usual.

But, the President stunned the citizens of Nigeria as he writes the National Assembly on Sunday, February 4th, 2017 for an indefinite extension of vacation in a bid to complete test cycle over his health condition.

Significantly, the rumours of his alleged death in London trailed the country but the Presidency quickly salvaged the tense atmosphere by debunking the death rumour of the 74-year old President. The President returned from the first medical trip this year on the 50th day.

Scarcely, he was seen in the public after his return before he yet returned for an indefinite medical follow-up since May 7, 2017. Now, President Buhari has been outside the shore of the country for over 100 days – the first of its kind in the nation’s history.

By implications, public uproars have been constituted in Nigeria owning to the secrecy shrouded over the President’s health. For the least, the president spoke to Nigerians afterwards in Hausa – one of the country’s indigenous languages – which got everyone on aggrieved of either being ethnically-coloured or in genuine of the Katsina-born President.

In spite of the several upturns since President Buhari left, the following are the strong predictions that have come through and may yet persist subsequently:

Impeachment/Resignation
For this time, the National Assembly remained calm on the absence of the Executive Head since he had transmitted power to the Vice President in his stead. This inaction from the legislative arm may be compromised in a matter of time. A group of Concerned Nigerians agitated for an option of resumption or resignation of the ailing president and this has since given an option for Nigerians because of one reason – the president’s over 100 days medical treatment has been on undisclosed illness and the date of returns is still uncertain.

Since the National Assembly is to legislate at the interest of Nigerians, the time is ripe for the legislatures to review the standing constitution. Or, the president takes a bold step to relinquish power at last and constitute a lesser more debate over his health portentous time.

International Disgust and Humiliation
Nigeria has recently subjected to humiliation in the international sphere over Buhari’s health treatment in London. In a softer manner, an African country organized a week national prayer session for the health of Nigeria’s Head of State and Government.

In full-blown proportion, an international media construed Nigeria has the only African country with the Head of Government outside the country for longest number of days. This is no lesser humiliation and apparently, a threat to the diplomatic stance of a dear country, Nigeria.

As long as President Buhari remains in London, the remaining days he is spending there grounds the face of this country to mockery.

Ethnic Violence

Remarkably, President Buhari held in tight the nation as one while in power than out of power. The clamor for secession has been more prounced in recent times from all regions. The collapse of the nation is quite imminent unless a quick action is activated.

To wrap up, the Presidency has been putting the right peg in its appropriate holes to ensure that the Executive officer with the transmitted power, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo acts in full capacity but this will bribe the citizens of Nigeria as long as their voted president’s health remains undisclosed. There are only few options before a loss of confidence – that President Buhari either resigns and bid the nation his goodwill marked with kind intention or resumes when/if he still can now to orchestrate the change he resonantly claimed or his words are tarrying already after half of the government is spent. Any of the options is honorable if it takes no longer time from now. He is a known honorable man from the time memorial. This is a one more to prove his personality aright.

We pray the President is hale and hearty again and soon.

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