The opposition People’s Democratic Party has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of seeking to vacate the constitution of the country with regards to his latest trip out of Nigeria.
Buhari embarked on a ten-day private trip to London and is expected to return May 5. The president made the journey without transmitting power to the vice president as required by Nigeria’s constitution.
PDP called Buhari’s ‘private voyage’ without transmitting power an act of dereliction. The opposition party further claimed that Buhari’s political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Buhari Presidency are not interested in governance but “seeks to vacate our constitutional order and foist an authoritarian system” on Nigeria.
“Such dereliction of office can only come from leaders, who do not have respect for the people they governed but always muscling their way to power through intimidation, harassment as well as official manipulations, as witnessed in the rigging of the February 23 Presidential election by the APC,” PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan.
Ologbondiyan said the president’s abandoning of governance, at a time when Nigeria faces “grave security and economic challenges” are indications of “the level of impunity and recklessness that will characterize our nation in the next four years, if the stolen Presidential mandate is not retrieved from the APC”.
Buhari, under APC, won the February 2019 elections ahead of PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Although, the election is still being contested in the court.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, said the president has not done anything wrong.
He noted that although in the past the President was known to hand over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whenever he embarked on such trip, it was not because the constitution demanded it but out of convention.
However, PDP claimed Buhari’s failure to transmit power to the Vice President could be likely explained by an “absolute lack of trust on other government functionaries” which reveal authoritarian tendencies.
“What else, beside an authoritarian propensity, can explain why the Buhari Presidency relegated our Constitutional Order by declaring the application of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which directs that the President transmits power whenever he is travelling out of the country on vacation, as a mere ‘convention’.
“The import of this relegation of Section 145 is also a clear absence of a constitutional command structure which leaves our nation at the mercy of the extremely corrupt, vicious and anti-people cabal with whom President Buhari presided over the most corrupt and most incompetent administration, which wrecked our economy, divided our nation and opened her up for escalated insecurity.
“Such dereliction at the high levels emboldens bandits, bolsters insurgents and fuels cruel acts such as extra-judicial killing, illegal arrests, detention of innocent citizens, constitutional violations, attack on institutions of democracy as well as reckless looting of our national treasury by members of the cabal because they know that ‘nothing will happen’,” the statement said.