Osinbajo: Group faults Afenifere, says Buhari’s action not unusual


…says vice presidents, deputy governors redundant ab initio

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy on Thursday faulted the position of the Yoruba group, Afenifere, and others who have criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent decision to replace Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led Economic Management Team with Economic Advisory Council that will be reporting directly to him.

It said the President’s decision was not unusual and that he did not act unconstitutional.

The group’s position was contained in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by its National President, Igbini Emmanuel.

Emmanuel said the President’s decision was similar to some decisions taken by some of his predecessors.

He said it was within constitutional powers as the President to take the decision.

He said, “President Buhari has only continued to decide how he chooses to exercise the executive powers of the federation vested in him as the President of Nigeria either directly by himself, or through the Vice President, ministers of the federation or any other officer of the public service of Nigeria.

“He has therefore not acted unconstitutionally and unusually. When before now he chose to delegate most of his constitutional powers to Vice President Osinbajo, he was not condemned by Afenifere and others.

“What then is wrong when now he chose to take full charge and discharge his functions directly by himself in order to be held fully accountable by Nigerians?”

Emmanuel said the argument that Buhari was deliberately embarking on making Osinbajo irrelevant, redundant and incapacitated was illogical.

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He added that the insinuation that the development is part of Northern agenda against the South-West ahead of 2023 Presidency is not correct.

He added, “We want to state without any equivocation or sentiments that by the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, the Offices of Vice President and Deputy Governors of Nigeria are redundant, ab initio, and only made slightly relevant by the benevolence of any President of Nigeria or governor of a state who chooses to and to what extent and duration he so chooses.

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“This has been the case from May 29, 1999 with President Obasanjo and many governors being benevolent to empower their deputies to an extent and for some duration before withdrawing such benevolence for reasons best known to them but which they did within their constitutional powers.”

He quoted Section 5(1) of the Constitution as stating that executive powers shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and ministers or officers in the public service.

He said it was clear from provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, that Vice Presidents do not have any final commanding or approving authorities over Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

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