Buhari’s UK trip has created leadership vacuum, PDP tells NASS

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the National Assembly to invoke relevant sections of the nation’s constitution and statutory books to address the power vacuum created by President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to the United Kingdom. In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP noted that President Buhari did not transmit any letter to the National Assembly, indicating that he was going on a week’s vacation ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The president left Abuja to London on Monday, ahead of the CHOGM, which holds between April 16 and 20. But the PDP said the president went on a private visit in the guise of an official assignment. “It is instructive to note that Mr. President has not conducted a single business of government, 72 hours after his arrival in the United Kingdom. “It is incontrovertible that President Buhari is on a private trip to the United Kingdom (UK) as he was not received on arrival by the government of that country; has not had any contact with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May or any high officials of the UK government and has not conducted any official business since his arrival to the country on Monday.

“Since Monday, President Buhari has been holidaying in London and has been unable to discharge the functions of his office, in total disregard to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, disdain to Nigerians and flagrant abuse of his presidential office,” PDP noted. The party, therefore, called on the National Assembly to save the nation from an imminent constitutional crisis by immediately commencing processes to address the current power vacuum in the country. According to the statement, Nigeria is at the moment bereft of statutory leadership, including the apparatus of security command, particularly as President Buhari had not indicated a date of return to the country. It added that Nigerians were worried that in the event of any national emergency, there is no sitting Commander-in-Chief to take charge. “The intervention of the federal legislature has become a national imperative, as the President’s action has put the nation in clear danger.

“By embarking on this vacation and abdicating his official functions without transmitting a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and holding on to power while on vacation, President Buhari acted in gross violation of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“We know that Mr. President is billed to attend the CHOGM meeting scheduled to hold between April 16 and 20, but has been in London since Monday attending to private matters, while the ship of state is left bare of statutory leadership as nobody even knows when he is due to return to the country.

“Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier demanded the President to issue a full disclosure on the nature, scope and duration of the private aspect of President Buhari’s trip, a request, they blatantly ignored, in total disdain to the sensibilities of Nigerians. “The PDP and lovers of democracy in Nigeria are particularly miffed that in the desperation to hold power, President Buhari chose to observe the provisions of the constitution in the breach, thereby endangering our dear nation,” the party stated.