Nwabueze Lampoons Buhari, commends INEC chair for rescuing constitutional democracy
Elder statesman, Ben Nwabueze yesterday lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the Nigerian government under him to subvert the constitution and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act.
The constitutional lawyer in a statement entitled, “Nigeria under President Buhari is not a constitutional democracy but a regime of the personal rule”, noted that the checks and balances are a device whereby in a constitutional democracy, the legislative assembly is enabled to check the exercise by the president of the enormous power vested in him to appoint or remove important or strategic state functionaries. He stressed that the decision of the government to keep the former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu in office despite the National Assembly‘s non-approval was a subversion of the constitution and the act establishing the constitution.
According to him, in all the cases under the constitution where the approval of the Senate is required for a proposed appointment by the President, the approval is a condition for the validity of the appointment; the appointment cannot take effect without said approval. He however commended Professor Mahmood Yakubu, immediate past chairman of the Independent Commission (INEC) for rescuing constitutional democracy. Yakubu, who was reappointed INEC chairman by President Buhari in October 2020, when his appointment expired on November 9, 2020, decided to hand over to AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (rtd) to oversee the affairs of the Commission pending the conclusion of the statutory process.
Professor Mahmood, he said, must be commended for not perpetuating the illegality of elongating his tenure after its expiration without Senate confirmation.
According to him, it needs to be emphasised that it is the appointment, not the nomination, which is subject to Senate confirmation, but an appointment made by the President, while valid in a formal sense, is not complete until the Senate confirms it.
Magu, he said, was in fact kept as EFCC acting chairman for four and half years without Senate confirmation; his tenure of the office for those years is illegal, a gross manifestation of personal rule.