The StandPoint : A Coordinating President And All That Noise

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As announced, President Buhari, on Sunday evening, travelled for a proposed medical follow-up and in line with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, that is Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, he handed over power to the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who according to the letters of the Constitution, will be Acting President of Nigeria pending the president’s return.

President Buhari, understanding the dangers of not properly handing over and not wanting to drive the country through the cycle of crisis she experienced during the Yar Adua debacle where the then president was away for 96 days, transmitted a letter to the Senate detailing this

action.

Sadly, what ought to be a simple act has since Monday, been generating swaths of responses much owing to a febrile interpretation of a single line within that letter. These Protestants were largely alarmed that President Buhari did not properly hand over to his VP and were even close to swearing to some deity that there was something fishy with that line and like Godwin Orubebe, they were not ready to take it!

Now for the benefit of all, I have in this piece chosen to write out the seemingly controversial line, “While I am away, the vice president will coordinate the activities of the government. “ Fellow Nigerians opari o (Yoruba meaning for the word finish) and a minority of Nigerians went berserk both on the floor of National Assembly and on social media space.

These agitators described the letter or perhaps the statement as ambiguous and possessed some form of executive chicanery with the intent to dupe Nigerians in to believing that a proper handover had been done. Like a quarrel-some wife spoiling for a fight with a

husband, these nagging critics believe such a line will be the sleeping dog of an unknown crisis lurching somewhere.

From my tone, it is very clear that I am very much against such rabble rousing and here are my reasons for my stance.

First of all, let me ask, why have these rabble rousers ignored the other parts of the letter?  For example the president states that “In compliance with section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”

“Is it mischief or perhaps an attempt at a gentle if not the gentlest of a putsch ever witnessed in the annals of this country? Perhaps I am much biased and there is more to what section 145 says than I do understand! Alas, I am in the right on what that section seems to always spell out.”

Okay, let me oblige them, let us ignore the fact that the lines stating Section 145 were not stated on the letter, let us agree that these critics who tend to spin around with the alacrity of squirrels have a praiseworthy reason to condemn the president’s use of the line where he says the VP will coordinate. But what does it mean to coordinate? My ordinary dictionary defines it as – bring the different elements of (a complex activity or organisation) into a relationship  that will ensure efficiency or harmony. Again, the word coordinate has the following synonyms: organise, arrange, order, systemise, harmonise, correlate etc. I am then forced to wonder what type of dictionaries lie at the disposal of this tribe of protesters.

Even at that, the cry of foul play needn’t arise in this matter, for even if dear Buhari decides to address Osibanjo as the Coordinating Secretary, Coordinating Commissioner or Coordinating Houseboy etc, one naturally ought not to be perturbed as the Constitution is unambiguous on the right of succession. Therefore should anything happen to our president, it is an Osibanjo who steps in.

Fellow Nigerians, for all the noise about a “coordinating “president, I would rather deem such as scare mongering or project fear,  largely much ado about nothing and the high jinks of those who never see anything good in our country.

Inland Waterways Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2017.

The Senate yesterday, passed the Inland Waterways Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2017.

The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Andy Uba (APC Anambra) scaled through third reading at the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, which provides for the management, regulation and development of the National Inland Water Ways, and to promote private sector participation in it, was passed after a clause-by-clause consideration.

The bill, if signed into law, has the capacity to earn more revenue for Nigerians as well as create job and investment opportunities.

For what it is worth, Senator Uba deserves plaudits, even from his critics.