Yar'Adua is in Charge, PDP Replies NBA
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday replied the poser by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) over who is in charge of the ship of government, declaring that Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is in control as the President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces.
The NBA, reacting to a statement by the PDP National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke, accusing the lawyers' association of playing politics with the health of Yar'Adua as “diversionary tactics”, had asked the ruling party to “address the main issue of who is really the captain of this ship”.
The NBA has instituted a legal action asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to determine whether it is right for the President to be out of the country for over one month without communicating to the National Assembly and without handing over to the Vice-President.
Oke said: “The President, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, is in charge. He has not resigned neither has he been impeached by the National Assembly. He remains the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria… defacto, dejure President of the Federal Republic subject to his constitutional rights to delegate functions to the vice-president, which he has done and the vice-president is performing those delegated duties effectively.”
According to the PDP National Legal Adviser, “the conditions for the President to vacate office as president are well stated in the constitution and the NBA consisting of lawyers is well known to us all who are lawyers.”
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Prof. Ahmed Alkali, accused NBA and its President, Rotimi Akeredolu, of playing partisan politics.
“It is well known to all that PDP has consistently insisted in the rule of law,” he said, explaining that this is why the party has the highest respect for the judiciary.
The PDP spokesman called on the NBA to stop being partisan and instead stand out to be counted as part of the foundation of democracy, adding: “It does appear that the current position of the NBA is not in line with its concept as one of the historical vanguards of democracy.
“We are appealing to NBA and its president not to drag the hallowed name of the association into partisan politics, which is gradually eroding the respect of the association.
As it does appear to PDP that Chief Akeredolu is gradually using the association to advance his selfish and narrow political interest, otherwise, Chief Akeredolu ought to have used his position as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and leader of a prestigious legal profession to advise in a dispassionate manner on issues that affect Nigeria as a nation.
“We condemn his approach to this issue and called on well meaning members of the Bar to call him to order.”
The NBA suit at the centre of the crossfire was filed on December 29, seeking reliefs including:
• a declaration that section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria imposes a duty on the president to transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives whenever he is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office.
• a declaration that the omission of the President to transmit such a written declaration is contrary to the provisions of section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
• a declaration that the functions of the office of the President cannot be held in abeyance on account of the omission by the President to transmit such a written declaration as required by section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
• a declaration that in the interest of peace, order and good government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the Vice-President is under a duty to discharge the functions of the office of the President as Acting President in accordance with section 145 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, notwithstanding the omission of the President to transmit such a written declaration.