A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan should start exercising the powers of president, pending the time President Umaru Yar’Adua would return from a hospital in Saudi Arabia where he has been undergoing treatment for the past 52 days.
This is coming just as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, said that Jonathan was capable to act as president pending Yar’Adua’s return.
Ogbulafor said this in Abuja on Wednesday while responding to questions from journalists at a press conference he addressed.
He said Yar’Adua would not have picked Jonathan as his deputy if he doubted his capability to act in his absence.
But the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Daniel Abutu, who delivered the ruling in a case filed by a lawyer, Mr. Christopher Onwuekwe and argued by Mr. Amobi Nzelu, noted that Yar’Adua did not send any letter to the National Assembly to enable his deputy exercise the powers of the President pending his return from Saudi Arabia.
He said, “It is hereby declared that by the provision of Section 5(1) and 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the vice-president can, on the basis of an assignment or delegation by the President to him of the executive powers of the President under the constitution, exercise the executive powers vested in the President under the constitution in the absence of the President.
“It is further declared that the vice-president can, on the basis of the delegation or assignment to him by the President, of the President’s executive powers under the constitution, lawfully discharge any or all of the functions of the President under the constitution in the absence of the President in the interest of peace, order and good government, pending when the President returns to assume duty.”
For this anomaly, the Judge said that the vice-president could not become an acting president but could, however, carry out the functions of the president in his absence under Section 5 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
Section 5 (1) of the constitution provides that subject to the provisions of this constitution, the executive powers of the federation:
(a) 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 of the government of the federation or officers in the public service of the federation; and
(b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being, power to make laws.
The court also noted that the Attorney-General of the Federation did not argue the issue of locus standi which was raised in his defendants’ written address in response to the plaintiff’s originating summons dated January 7, 2010.
For this reason, the court held that “the issue of locus has been abandoned.”
In the ruling, the chief judge emphasised that even before the suit, the vice-president had been performing the duties of the President as allowed by the constitution in Section 5 (1).
The defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Federal Executive Council.
The plaintiff had asked the court for an order directing Jonathan to begin to exercise the powers of President.
Responding to the ruling, the AGF, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, said no other person could question the vice- president when he performed the functions of the President except the President himself.
Claiming that he had been vindicated, he said that with the ruling, the vice-president could continue to discharge the functions of the office of the President.
He said the vice-president could sign any bill or any papers which the President could sign.
As at Tuesday, Aondoakaa had appeared in person and led other lawyers in the ministry, including the Director of Civil Litigation in his office, Mrs. Agatha Mbamali, who handled the matter for the ministry last Monday.
In his defendants’ written address in response to the plaintiff’s originating summons, the AGF said that it was mischievous for the plaintiff to claim that Yar’Adua was temporarily incapable of performing the functions of his office since, according to him, the plaintiff lacked the constitutional capacity and competence to do so.
According to him, “We submit that the only body which may pronounce on the capacity of the President to discharge his functions is the Federal Executive Council as set up in Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Similarly, the AGF had told the court that “plaintiff’s affidavit discloses no specific allegation or any infringement or anticipated infringement on his right or a personal injury emanating from the defendant’s action.”
Counsel to the plaintiff, Nzelu, had argued that in the present circumstance where the President had not written any letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives informing them that his deputy should oversee the affairs of the state pending his return, a convenient way out of the problem would be for the court to make an order empowering the vice-president to exercise the powers of Yar’Adua pending his return to office.
The plaintiff, in an originating summons, had asked the court to declare that in the absence of the President following his ill-health and in view of Sections 5 (1) and 148 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, the vice-president could exercise the powers vested in the President.
In a 13–paragraph affidavit sworn to by the plaintiff himself, he averred that, “President Yar’Adua has travelled to Saudi Arabia since November 23, 2009 for medical treatment and has not retuned since then.”
Against this backdrop, the plaintiff, through Nzelu asked the court for the following reliefs:
“A declaration that by the combined provisions of sections 5 (1) and 148 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the vice-president can exercise the powers vested in the President in the absence of the President having regard to the circumstances of this suit.
“A declaration that the vice-president can lawfully discharge any or all the functions of the President in the absence of the President in the interest of peace, order and good governance of the federation pending when the President resumes and takes over.”
The plaintiff stated that the present scenario was an indication that there was no head of government and such a situation “has led to major crisis capable of threatening the corporate existence and stability of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Following this, the plaintiff stated that the vice-president had “refused, neglected or failed” to exercise any or all the executive powers vested in the President for the president in his absence.
Femi Otedola Reacts To Lekki Tollgate Shooting
Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has finally reacted to the shooting that took place at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on Tuesday.
Information Nigeria recalls men dressed in military wears opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters, who convened at the area.
Otedola took to his Instagram page on Sunday to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
Sharing a photo of the Nigerian flag, he wrote;
“The horrors that have been unfolding in our country have left me filled with sadness. I deeply commiserate with those who have lost their loved ones and as a father, I share the sentiment of my three daughters who protested in Lagos and London. As a young boy of 16, I participated in the ‘Ali Must Go Protest’ of 1978, so I understand the determination of our youths who rightly want our country to be better. We must all do our part to make Nigeria great! I will continue to do my own quota in providing for those who are most in need of support in our country in these tough times .…F.Ote💲”
See his post below:
“Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet, He Was Stabbed By Thugs” – Brother Claims
Information Nigeria recalls a graphics designer identified as Oke, was killed hours after tweeting “Nigeria will not kill me” on Wednesday.
It was reported that the young man had passed away after he was hit by a stray bullet.
The deceased’s younger brother, Daniel has come out to clear the air regarding the circumstances leading to his death.
Daniel revealed his brother was stabbed on the neck by thugs who infiltrated and ransacked their home.
In his words;
“Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State.
Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning the police station at makinde was attacked by thugs who wanted to destroy the station, I my mom and brother were holed up in our house.
The attack went on for hours before the thugs eventually breached the police and proceeded to set the station on fire, after accomplishing this they set their sights to the barracks and began the assault, they proceeded to destroy every car in the barracks, my mom’s 2 cars where destroyed and set on fire and then they infiltrated our house by breaking the door they then proceeded to ransack the house and carted away with everything we own.
my brother on trying to get them to take everything but spare us was pushed to my mom’s room and stabbed on the neck, the attacker then proceeded to attack me but missed my neck but got my chin instead, after this my mom and I carried my brothers body to the entrance of the station soliciting for help from the thugs still ravaging the barracks, we were finally able to put him in a wheelbarrow and took him to a hospital where he was rejected because “he was already dead” unfazed we moved him to another hospital where he met the same treatment this was where he bled his last drops of blood and died, his body has now been moved to a morgue
we have lost every single thing we own, as our house was completely ransacked and set on fire the only thing left is my brothers phone and at about 8 o’clock this evening the barracks was still on fire but Okechukwu has paid with the ultimate price
I and my mother are homeless with nothing now but we’re safe for now, we thank everyone that has been able to reach out to us, and were able to share consoling words with us in these trying times, God bless you
While we were holed up in the house the three of us said these words together and we say it again ” THREE OF US ARE HERE, THREE OF US ARE TOGETHER, THREE OF US ARE SAFE”
Let it be known that my brother @O_Okee was NOT killed by a police bullet but died a hero protecting my mother and I.
If you see this please retweet, let the world know how Okechukwu died. He was NOT killed by a police bullet but thugs in his home!”
See his post below:
Youths Burn Down Sanwo-Olu’s Mother’s House In Lagos (VIDEO)
Lagos youths have set the family house of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on fire.
This was after the Governor said that no nobody was killed during the shooting by soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Sanwo-Olu had debunked claims that the soldiers opened fire and killed some peaceful protesters.
Recall that men of the Nigerian Army reportedly opened fire on protesters following the declaration of 24 hours curfew by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwolu.
Bullets fired by security operatives hit some persons and at least two persons have been confirmed killed by the police and many injured
Voices in viral footage blamed the shootings on soldiers.
However, the angry youth attacked several important places such as Nigeria Port Authority, TVC News, and the family house of the Governor where his mother resides.
After Governor @jidesanwoolu said the "soldiers shot in the air to disperse the peaceful protesters." And thar their's no fatalities
Lagos youths set Governor's Mother's House on FIRE!! #PRAYFORNIGERIA#EndSARS #Lekkitollgate #LekkiGenocide #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeraNOW pic.twitter.com/QaOvSHwXdk
— Nwachukwu John Owen (@johnowen99) October 21, 2020
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