NASS may invoke constitution over Buhari’s health status

National Assembly Complex Abuja.

• Stop the hoopla over Buhari’s health, says Tinubu
• It is an impossible task, says Ozekhome
• Delegate powers to Osinbajo, Yakassai urges president

Some National Assembly members may attempt to call for the invocation of section 144 (1) of the 1999 Constitution aimed at ascertaining the health status of president Muhammadu Buhari.

As at last week, there was an attempt by the chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, to present the issue under matters of urgent importance on the floor of the House of Representatives.

However, it was learnt that the initiative failed to see the light of the day because the Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, was not favourably disposed to having such a weighty issue with grave political implications in the polity listed on the order paper of the lower legislative chamber.

It was gathered that key lawmakers of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may either re-present it as a motion or through the guise of a matter of privilege on either the floor of the Senate or the House of Representatives this week.

The sudden appearance of the ailing President Buhari during last Friday’s Juma’at prayer session where he freely greeted and exchanged banters with some top government functionaries may force the sponsors of the motion to tarry awhile and then monitor the turn of events.

The draft of the proposed motion obtained exclusively by The Guardian specifically expressed concern over the president’s poor health status and the secrecy it has been subjected terming it “unsatisfactory and falls short of global practices.’’

However, rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, maintained that it would be impossible to get 28 out of 42 cabinet ministers who are appointees of the president to invoke such constitutional provision even if the motion sails through.

He expressed concerned that there were attempt by what he termed the cabals to hoodwink Nigerians by creating the impression that all was well with the president’s health status.

Meanwhile, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has called on Nigerians to strengthen their support for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and warned those spreading rumour about the president’s health to desist from doing so.

The former Lagos State governor who is one of the major pillars of the political structure that made Buhari to record an unprecedented presidential election victory two years ago, also advised Nigerians to continue believing and trusting in Buhari’s ability and commitment to take the country out of the woods.

In a statement, Tinubu described Buhari’s emergence as historic, saying Nigeria is a place of numerous challenges and the home of vast human potentials. Our greatest challenge has always been how to best direct our vast potentials so that we overcome the challenges that plague us.

‘’We must stand with and beside our President. The unfounded speculation around his health should stop. We must not covet fear and rumor but should engage our creativity and enterprise to help the President accomplish his historic mission. Our greatest energies should be focused on righting this economy so that it provides a decent livelihood for all people.This critical path towards economic recovery must be followed for the sake of our children.’’

Meanwhile, elder statesman and Chairman of the Northern Elders Council (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakassai has urged the president to immediately delegate his powers to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to ensure the smooth running of the economy.

Yakassai who expressed fear on the possibility of a cabal hijacking the functions of the president and taking advantage of his health condition, however explained that the 1999 constitution empowers the president to delegate powers to his vice on ground of health condition.

Besides, the Arewa chieftain also criticized the government on its anti-corruption crusade, just as he advised President Buhari’s administration to turn its searchlight more against those serving under the regime in order to gain the confidence of Nigerians.

Yakassai said: “when the President came back from London where he earlier received treatment, he said that the Vice President would continue to discharge the functions of the office of the President. I think we should satisfy ourselves with that and he should be seen to have done so.

“The truth of the matter is that the President’s wife had earlier said that a cabal is running the administration. I don’t think there is any better person to say what is happening in the villa than the President’s wife.”


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