Yar'Adua Resumes Work Today
President Umaru Yar'Adua is expected back at work today after his vacation lasting two weeks, the first since he assumed office on May 29, 2007.
He had been scheduled to spend the holiday at Obudu Cattle Ranch (Cross River State), Dodan barracks (Lagos) and his home state of Katsina.
But he remained at the Villa in Abuja throughout, except when he briefly travelled to Yobe State for the burial of Governor Mamman Ali.
Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, took charge when his boss was on vacation, including attending a summit of the African Union (AU) in Ethiopia and chairing the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
However, Jonathan's handling of state matters which required Yar'Adua's attention did not go down well with some lawmakers who insisted that Yar'Adua needed to have formally written to the National Assembly (NASS) about the arrangement.
Some legal experts accused Yar'Adua of violating Section 145 of the Constitution which stipulates that "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."
While Presidential Spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, pointed out that Yar'Adua's action did not amount to a "handover per se," the Senate all the same refused to recognise Jonathan as "acting President."
In any case, Jonathan stood in for Yar'Adua at official engagements in his capacity as Vice President.
Yar'Adua began the holiday on January 26, after it was announced the previous week by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed, who said Jonathan would act as President.
Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) argued that Yar'Adua's failure to officially notify the Senate breached Section 145 of the Constitution, and after a heated debate, Senate President, David Mark, ruled that until there was a formal notification from Yar'Adua, the Senate could not recognise Jonathan as acting President.
Two Senior Advocates, Alex Izinyon and Wole Olanipekun, said it was not necessary for Yar'Adua to inform the Senate of his vacation, but another Senior Advocate, Itse Sagay, who is also a Professor of Constitutional law, countered that the spirit of the Constitution required Yar'Adua to inform the NASS through a letter.
He said this was necessary so that the actions of Jonathan would have legal backing, otherwise all actions taken by him as acting President would become a nullity.
Action Congress (AC) lamented that the vacation saga created instability and an impression of a government whose actions were disjointed.
Tags: Resume , Work , President
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