Tag Archives: demcracy

Goodluck Jonathan as President: Practicality -v- Illegality?

Jonathan’s confirmation as VP will hopefully put an end to the controversy (at least temporarily), and will give the leadership some semblance of order and due process. While we have arrived at a PRACTICAL solution, I am not sure that the manner and circumstances in which Jonathan was appointed acting VP was LEGAL.

There are numerous mechanisms for appointing the VP to acting President including:

a) Impeachment of the President
b) TEMPORARY incapacitation of the President
c) PERMANENT incapacitation of the President

The National Assembly did not do any of the 3 things above. Yar’Adua was not impeached or declared incapacitated on a temporary or permanent basis.

The basis for Jonathan to TEMPORARILY act as the President arises ONLY IF Yar’Adua HIMSELF informs the President of the Senate (David Mark) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dimeji Bankole) that he is leaving the country on vacation or is unable to perform the functions of his office. Yar’Adua did not do that as per section 145 of the constituton:

“145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

For Yar’Adua to be PERMANENTLY replaced, two overlapping actions are required. Firstly, two-thirds of the Federal Executive Council must pass a resolution declaring that Yar’Adua is unfit to discharge his functions; AND

The declaration then has to be verified by a medical panel of 5 doctors (including Yar’Adua’s own doctor), confirming that the President is PERMANENTLY incapable of discharging his functions.

I suspect that this is not the end of this saga, and that we will be hearing more about it from Yar’Adua supporters. Don’t be surprised if this ends up in court.