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Should Buhari resign?

Buhari

The call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation is not out of place. It should be seen as a passionate demand by truthful sympathisers, and not some cabals, who are in the business of playing politics at the expense of the President’s health. In other climes, leaders are expected to be honourable people, who respect the oath of office they swore to defend.

I have huge sympathy for Buhari because I remain convinced that he meant well for Nigeria when he contested the presidential election in 2015. But, nature is depriving Mr. President and other Nigerians of getting the best of services that he promised the nation.

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However, it is over 90 days that he has been off the beat this year. Recall that in 2016, he was also out of duty for 52 days. Although, people may argue that his being out of office is constitutionally protected in terms of procedure, but its longevity raises moral questions.

The President of any nation is the ‘property’ of that nation and he can not be kept away from the governed.  We are all humans and can be taken up by nature any day, but the most honourable thing is to accept reality and be truthful to the people. The failure to disclose the health status of the President is enough evidence for the call for his resignation.

We cannot afford to abandon him or feel unconcerned about his health as Nigerians. Those who think that we should keep mute are the manifested enemies of the President and the Nigerian masses.

I support the call for his resignation if the only channel of assessing and getting information about his health status still lies in a few officials paying visits to the Abuja House in London.

I want to wish him quick recovery and encourage unbiased Nigerians to participate in the holistic call for his return or resignation.

  • Dr Etim Frank (Senior Lecturer, University of Uyo)

It is our business as Nigerians to know the President’s health status because he is a public servant. When we know that he cannot continue to superintend over the affairs of the country, we have the right to ask him to throw in the towel.

However, if we know his health status and are also convinced that he will recover soon, then we pray for him. At the moment, what we are seeing is a replay of the late President Umar Yar’Adua’s episode. We ought to have grown above this, but the political class in Nigeria practises adult delinquency. That delinquency has led us to a situation where we go round issues in circles.

Again, if we recall Buhari’s role during late Yar’Adua administration, it should be the proper thing for Nigerians to call for his resignation. While Yar’Adua was ill, Buhari had insisted that the late President should resign because he had health challenges. Besides, the letter he transmitted to the National Assembly to say he had handed over governance to the Vice-President, designated the VP (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) as Coordinating Vice-President, which is unknown to the Nigerian constitution.

One thing I need to correct here is that Nigerians have a right to protest. Let people’s  voices be heard; the law enforcement agencies have no right to intimidate, injure or arrest anyone who has embarked on peaceful protests against the wrongs in the society. It was sad to read that those who protested against Buhari’s over 90 days absence from the country he leads were molested and injured. This makes one wonder what Nigeria has turned into by trying to stifle citizens’ freedom of speech and association.

  • Mr. Manzuma Issa (Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin branch)

The provision of the constitution is that if the President has to be absent from duty for a period of three months, he must transmit a letter to the National Assembly, signifying his intention to be absent from the country.  He must hand over the reins of power to the Vice-President of the country.

In this case, President Muhammadu Buhari has complied with the provision of the constitution. The President, for now, has not violated any of the provisions of the constitution. The constitution does not say that if the President is absent for three months, he stands impeached or he should resign from duty. Whatever that is not in the constitution cannot be imported into it.

For people who are calling for his return or resignation, they should know that if the health of Mr.  President is not okay for him to return to the country, there is no need for him to return. He must remain in London and take care of his health. He has not breached any of the provisions of the constitution. In any case, if the President’s health warrants him to resign from duty, the constitution provides that a medical team of five medical doctors to be led by the President’s personal physician, must have examined the President and certified him unfit to be in power. Thereafter, the Federal Executive Council will pass a resolution, calling on the President to resign.  None of these steps has been taken so far as we speak.

From a legal point of view, what is most important is that he has handed over the reins of power to the Vice-President of the country. The Vice-President is doing well so far in the capacity of acting President. I will appeal to Nigerians be patient and give the President a chance.  The country is trying to overcome so many challenges, including economic recession and insecurity. This is not the period for us to add more unnecessary challenges to the existing ones. There is no cause for alarm in the country so long the acting President is working. There is stability in the country.

I am appealing to those who are apprehensive not to worry. We should continue to pray for Mr. President to recover quickly. If it becomes necessary that anything should be done, the law will take its course.

  • Mr. Ambrose Esangbedo (Lagos-based lawyer)

It is sad that President Muhammadu Buhari has been out of the country for so long. Being out of his domain for over 90 days is not the way to go as it raises questions on how much he loves his country.

Let us be truthful to ourselves; the President has simply abandoned the country for a very long time. Even though we are aware that he transmitted power to the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to become acting President, I believe that it would have been better for him to hand over power completely.

From every indication, he does not have the capacity to continue to be the President of this country. I believe that resignation is the most honourable position to take under the present circumstance. To lay matters to rest, a medical panel, including the President’s personal physician, can also be set up to determine whether Buhari is fit to continue to govern us.

Where it is established that he does not have that fitness to continue to lead Nigeria, I think the procedure should be for the National Assembly to pass a resolution leading to his removal from office. For me, I think he is not fit to continue as the President of our dear country.

  • Dr Jackson Omenazu (Chancellor, International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights)

President Buhari’s resignation will be dependent on the position of the law. But, there is also the issue of moral grounds. I have always insisted that every law is a product of morals, and Buhari ascended to the presidency on the strength of his moral credibility. So, it is a moral burden on him to let the citizens of this country know his health status. This will increase the confidence of Nigerians in his administration.

The continued silence on his health status is what is causing the current protests against his absence from the country for over 90 days. Inasmuch as many government officials have visited Buhari in London and reported that he is doing well healthwise, he still has a moral duty to address the nation, even from his hospital bed.

I am not calling on Mr. President to resign. Making such a call now is against the tenets of the the 1999 Constitution (as amended). But, I will also say here that some of the actions of his close aides are not helping matters.

Again, Section 145 of the constitution is silent on how many days the President should spend outside the country, except the National Assembly will invoke the Doctrine of Necessity.

However, there will be political chaos in the country if such a step is taken to force the President to resign; the country will boil.

  • Dr Etim Frank (Senior Lecturer, University of Uyo)

It is our business as Nigerians to know the President’s health status because he is a public servant. When we know that he cannot continue to superintend over the affairs of the country, we have the right to ask him to throw in the towel.

However, if we know his health status and are also convinced that he will recover soon, then we pray for him. At the moment, what we are seeing is a replay of the late President Umar Yar’Adua’s episode. We ought to have grown above this, but the political class in Nigeria practises adult delinquency. That delinquency has led us to a situation where we go round issues in circles.

Again, if we recall Buhari’s role during late Yar’Adua administration, it should be the proper thing for Nigerians to call for his resignation. While Yar’Adua was ill, Buhari had insisted that the late President should resign because he had health challenges. Besides, the letter he transmitted to the National Assembly to say he had handed over governance to the Vice-President, designated the VP (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) as Coordinating Vice-President, which is unknown to the Nigerian constitution.

One thing I need to correct here is that Nigerians have a right to protest. Let people’s  voices be heard; the law enforcement agencies have no right to intimidate, injure or arrest anyone who has embarked on peaceful protests against the wrongs in the society. It was sad to read that those who protested against Buhari’s over 90 days absence from the country he leads were molested and injured. This makes one wonder what Nigeria has turned into by trying to stifle citizens’ freedom of speech and association.

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