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Buhari has ignited power tussle among Aso Rock cabal, says HURIWA

By Ernest Nzor (Abuja) and Ngozi Egenuka (Lagos)
08 March 2022   |   2:54 am
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called out President Muhammadu Buhari over his frequent medical trips overseas, adding that he has “created the vacuum

Buhari. facebook.com/MuhammaduBuhari

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called out President Muhammadu Buhari over his frequent medical trips overseas, adding that he has “created the vacuum that will throw up power tussles by different power blocs in Aso Rock including the infamous cabal.”

In a statement by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA lamented that the President disrespects the 1999 Constitution by not officially transmitting power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whenever he travels abroad.

On Sunday, Buhari travelled to the United Kingdom on a two-week routine medical check-up after attending the United Nations Environmental Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.

The statement notes: “In recent years, the UK has become a choice destination for the Nigerian elite including the President who frequent London for medical tourism while perpetual industrial actions, lack of modern equipment, failure of government to pay doctors’ salaries, among others, mar Nigeria’s health sector.”

It noted that the Federal Ministry of Health has consumed over N2.3 trillion from 2016 to date, while the State House Medical Centre has received over N6.2 billion, according to the respective appropriation acts available on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation.

The statement reads further: “The President is also infamous for not handing over power to the Vice President while away, an action that HURIWA declares unconstitutional. Before Sunday’s trip, the last time the President reportedly transferred power to the Vice President was in 2017 when he spent months in the UK treating an undisclosed ailment.

“But as a sharp departure from the convention, Buhari on Sunday before his aircraft took off from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said Osinbajo is in charge while he is away.

“When asked by reporters who would be in charge during his trip, the President said, ‘I cannot claim to be doing the work alone. The government is fully represented. The Vice President is there. Constitutionally, when I am away, he is in charge. And then the Secretary to the Government (Boss Mustapha), and the Chief of Staff (Ibrahim Gambari) are also there. So, there is no problem.’”

Onwubiko said: “By virtue of Section 145(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2011 as amended, the President has a constitutional duty to always transmit power whenever he embarks on medical trip or any form of vacation whatsoever.

“Section 145(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution unambiguously provides that: (1) Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the Vice President shall perform the functions of the President as Acting President.”