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The Vice-Presidency is incurable frustration – Part 3 

By Eric Teniola
06 April 2022   |   1:30 am
I do not know what the incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is going through. But talking generally of the office, it is a dead end job.

[FILES] Osinbajo. Photo/facebook/MuhammaduBuhari

I do not know what the incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is going through. But talking generally of the office, it is a dead end job. I was in Ikenne, the hometown of Professor Osinbajo in Ogun state recently and I watched regularly the projects sited in Daura on television, the home town of President Buhari, there is a lot of difference. THE POWER OF THE PRESIDENCY has transformed Daura while there has not been a change in Ikenne in the last six years. Ikenne is not just the hometown of the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo (6 March, 1909 – 9 May 1987), GCFR, it is also the headquarters of Ikenne Local Government in Ogun state. 

For example in the last six years, the following have been established in Daura—The Federal Polytechnic Daura, Airforce Reference Hospital, Daura, Women and Children Hospital, Daura, University of Transportation, Daura, Kano-Maradi rail line will pass through Daura, School for People with Special Needs, Daura, Nigeria Airforce Response Air Wing, Daura, Nigeria Army 171 Battalion Base, Daura and the Forwarding Operating Base, Daura, National Directorate of Employment Centre, Ganga, Daura, Upgrade and Expansion of Daura Mini-Stadium, Sustainable Development Goals Skills Acquisition Centre, Zango Road, Daura, Completion of the Sabke Dam, Daura supplies 1m litres od water to Daura and neighbouring communities, Several SDG School Projects in Daura, 73km 132KVA line from Katsina to Daura and two 30 and 40 MVA transformers to boost power supply, Dualization of the 72km Katsina-Daura road, 50 bed maternity Centre at the Daura General Hospital built under the name of the First Lady, Sir Emeka Offor E-Library, Daura, 400,000 litres capacity solar powered water system by NNPC and Belema oil in a joint venture with Jack-Rich Tein Foundation, NDE Cosmetology training and distribution of Cosmetology packs to 1000 women in Daura, 330KV /132KV power substation, Daura, among others.

The 1979 Constitution never gave the Vice President any defined schedule nor the decree No 24 of May 5 1999, which we now know as the 1999 constitution. The only responsibility the Vice President has is in the third schedule of the constitution which makes him the Chairman of the National Economic Council. In that capacity, the council itself is to “advise the President”. In all other bodies, the constitution bestowed on him ordinary membership or in some cases Vice Chairman. He is not a member of the Nigeria Police Council while he is the Vice Chairman of the Council of State, National Defence Council and National Security Council.  Section 130 of the Constitution states that there shall be for the federation, a President who shall be the head of state, chief executive of the federation and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation.

Section 141 states that there shall be for the federation a Vice President. The Constitution never crowned the Vice President as deputy head of State or deputy Chief Executive of the Federation or deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation. The Constitution is ill to the office of the Vice President yet it coronated the President a King and a god. However cordial they appear to the outside world, there cannot but be conflict between the office of the President and that of the Vice President. It is true that the Decree Number 25 of 1978 which is referred to as the 1979 Constitution was produced by Justice Egbert Udo Udoma (1917-1998) from Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom state. It is also true that the Decree Number 24 of 1999 which we refer to as 1999 Constitution was produced by Justice Nikki Tobi (1940-2016). The 1979 Constitution was in fact signed into law by General Olusegun Obasanjo on September 21, 1978 as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (enactment decree) of 1978. As for Decree Number 24 which we refer to now as 1999 Constitution, it was promulgated and signed into law on May 4, 1999 by General Abdusalam Alhaji Abubakar, GCFR.
One could see that the two Constitutions were engineered and approved by the military. In the structure of the military command, there is no provision for a deputy. In a military context, the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. In more simple terms, the chain of command is the succession of leaders through which command is exercised and executed. And that is why the military transferred all the powers in this country to the Office of the President of Nigeria, who was also named as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. 

The two Constitutions—1979 and 1999, were not approved by referendum or a plebiscite, unlike in most countries of the world. 

The fate of the Vice Presidents is equally similar to the fate of deputy governors. Of all the thirty-six deputy governors elected in 1999, only four of them became governors eventually. They are Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, from Bayelsa state, who became governor and later became President, Alhaji Aliyu Mahmud Shinkafi from Zamfara state, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Ganduje (72) from Kano state and Alhaji Aliyu Mugatakarda Wamako(68) from Sokoto state, who is at present a Senator. There are others who later became Senators including Otunba Iyiola Ajani Omisore (64) from Osun state, Chief Chris Stephen Obong Ekpeyong(65) from Akwa Ibom, Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe (65) from Abia state, Mr. Seleh Usman Dambayi (1955-2015) from Taraba and Alhaji Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka (69) from Ogun state. 

The rest are today not around politically while some of them have died. They include Bello Tukur (Adamawa), Prince Chinedu Emeka (Anambra), Alhaji A. Mahmoud (Bauchi), O. Ajene (Benue), Alhaji Al A. Jato(Borno), Chief John O. Akpa(Cross Rivers), E. Oko-Isu(Ebonyi), Chief Paul O. Alabi (Ekiti), O. Itanyi (Enugu), Barrister Joshua M. Lidani(Gombe), Engr. Udeagu (Imo), Ibrahim S. Kwatalo(Jigawa), Engr. Stephen  R. Shekari(Kaduna), Alhaji T.A. Jikamsi(Katsina), Alhaji A.A. Argungu(Kebbi), Patrick Adaba(Kogi), Deacon (Chief), S.A. Sayami(Kwara), Senator K. Bucknor(Lagos), Onje Gye-Wado(Nassarawa), Barrister Afolabi Iyantan (Ondo), Barrister Iyiola Oladokun(Oyo), Chief Michael Bot-Mbang(Plateau), Sir G.G. Toby(Rivers) and Alhaji A.S. Bagare(Yobe).
To be continued tomorrow
Teniola is a veteran journalist and former director in the Presidency.