Concerned Nigerians, a pro democracy group committed to Rule of law and accountability has enjoined the National Assembly to as a matter of immediate alacrity amend the section of the Nigerian constitution that allows the Federal Executive Council to move a motion for the impeachment of the incapacitated President and vice President.
Read the full press statement below:
You are all aware of the constitutional provision of section 144 sub-section 1a of
the 1999 Constitution as amended that states, “(1) The President or Vice-President
shall cease to hold office, if –
(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the
executive council of the Federation it is declared that the President or
Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and
(b) the declaration is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary,
by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to
the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
This sub-section of the 1999 constitution as amended is not only an anti people
provision, it also goes against common reasoning. How can the Vice President who is
in Acting capacity initiate the process of impeachment alongside other appointees
who are ministers of an incapacitated president?
It is a known fact that ministers appointed by a president into the Federal
Executive Council will naturally be loyal to the president who appointed them.
In the instant case, how can a minister appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari be
loyal to Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo and then be expected to move a motion or be
part of the council that will declare the president incapacitated as stipulated in
section 144 sub-section 1a above.
As it stands today, Nigeria can not move forward because of this constitutional
provision as a clearly incapacitated president Muhammadu Buhari can not be declared
unfit to hold office because his appointees are still loyal to him.
The Constitutional Amendment Review Committee exercise must amend section 144
sub-section 1a in tune with our current political reality by ensuring that only the
National Assembly is constitutionally mandated to initiate the entire process of
declaring the President and Vice President incapacitated on grounds of ill health.
Since democracy is about the people and the people alone, our laws must not protect
any individual no matter how highly placed he is. Section 144 sub-section 1a gives
some form of protection to an incapacitated president from being declared unfit to
hold office through a transparent manner. The ongoing Constitution Review Committee
as a matter of urgency must amend this section in order to save our country from a
God Bless Nigeria.
Deji Adeyanju Dr Danfulani