A human rights activist and lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has said President Muhammadu Buhari is entitled to 60 days annual leave, and should be impeached by the National Assembly if he fails to return at the expiration of the period.
He said as long as Buhari has not exhausted the leave, the controversy over his absence should not arise.
Recall that President Buhari has been in London since January 19. The presidency had first announced that he was there for a 10-day leave. But he has since written the National Assembly to extend the leave on medical grounds.
He told the Guardian, “But I am aware that the president has in times past, enjoyed part of his annual leave, in 2016, when he first travelled for alleged ear infection.”
He said the President, however, did not disclosed to Nigerians that he is on annual leave, adding that the president converted his annual leave to medical leave, which is now indefinite.
The lawyer called on the Senate not to allow the President such indefinite period of leave, given the sensitive nature of his office.
He added, “Once it is impossible to determine definitively, the period of days to be spent by the president, whether on annual vacation or medical vacation, what that translates to in law is that the president has given indication of his inability to perform the functions of his office, leaving Nigerians with no other choice than to replace him immediately, with the acting president as the substantive president.
“It is indeed very unfortunate that the president is ill and we cannot grudge him the right to have his treatment, as no one can play God in the area of illness.
“But if the illness of the president is of such a nature as to make it impossible for him to perform the functions of his office, then there cannot be a vacuum in that office. The fact that there is an Aacting president will not suffice.
“A president of a sovereign state as Nigeria cannot be allowed to abscond his duty post under the guise of medical vacation. In this case, the president has turned himself into some form of tourist attraction, whereby, he has turned his abode into an alternative government house, where who-is-who in Nigeria now troop to, giving room for speculations and vacuum in governance.
“If by the end of February 2017, the president is unable, for reason of ill health, to resume his normal duties as president, then the Senate should proceed to invoke the provisions of section 144 of the constitution to declare his seat vacant, so that the Vice President will officially step into the position of president.
“This is because we cannot afford the Yaradua scenario again in this country, whereby; those who were not elected into office by the people of Nigeria are the ones to be ruling us by proxy, on account of the prolonged absence of the president.”