ACTING President Goodluck Jonathan has had his elevation backed by “a force of law.”
This is sequel to a letter that was sent to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, from the National Assembly.
The Assembly exalted Vice President Jonathan to Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation on Tuesday.
The contents of the National Assembly letter were expected to be conveyed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ignatius Katsina-Alu, the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) and the Acting President.
The letter, which a legislative source said is tantamount to a law being passed by the National Assembly, is referenced NASS/C5/R/05/III/92 and dated February 10, 2010.
It came from the Clerk of the National Assembly (CAN), Mr. Yemi Ogunyomi, to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Titled, ‘State Of The Nation And The Way Forward – National Assembly Resolutions, Of 9th, February, 2010’, it reads in full:
“On Tuesday 9 February, 2010, the Senate and House of Representatives adopted Resolutions on the State of the Nation occasioned by the prolonged medical holidays of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Members of the National Assembly noted that Nigerians fervently prayed for the speedy recovery of Mr. President and his early return to Nigeria.
“However, on 12 January 2010, Mr. President informed Nigerians through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), that he was receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, and would only return to Nigeria to resume his functions as President when his doctors so certify.
“Satisfied that this declaration by Mr. President amounts to substantial compliance with the provision of Section 145 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, the National Assembly resolved that:
(i) the Vice President, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, shall henceforth discharge the functions of the Office of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation as Acting President; and
(ii) the Vice President shall cease to discharge the functions of the Office of the President when the President, Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in writing, that he has returned from his medical vacation.
“Kindly convey these National Assembly Resolutions to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Chief Justice of the Federation for his information, and Members of the Federal Executive Council for compliance.
“Find attached hereto, the Votes and Proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives in this regard, please.
“Accept the assurances of my highest regards for your office.”
A knowledgeable source said last week that because the resolutions of both Houses of the National Assembly were similar, it could pass of as a law and be tendered as such.
The source said: “Perhaps unknown to both Houses, that is the way to give a force of law to their resolutions. Pass the same resolution and it has the same force as a law.
“But when you pass resolutions intermittently and they are not similar, the other arms of government can afford to ignore them and nothing will be done.”
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