President Muhammadu Buhari has received backing from some lawyers over the right to delegate any person to conduct a state function on his behalf.
The lawyers noted that the constitution allows the President, legally to assign a state function on his behalf to another person.
This is in reaction to the criticism of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha’s announcement of President Buhari’s extension of the two weeks ease of lockdown measures.
Criticism from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its spokesman, Kola Olagbondiyan followed the president’s move, describing the act as “a manifestation of abuse of statutory offices arising from the abdication of responsibilities by President Buhari since the last five years, which had also become more pronounced in this fight against COVID-19.”
Paul Ananaba (SAN) spoke on the matter, saying there is no constitutional duty that the president must address Nigerians all the time.
“If the president is disposed to talking to us, we will be willing to listen. “I don’t believe it’s an issue.
“There are statutory days he must address the nation such as on Democracy Day and Independence Day,” he said.
Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq on his part said there is no aspect of the Constitution which stated that only the Vice President can exercise the President’s functions on behalf of the President.
“Section 148 of the Constitution 1999 (as amended) clearly provides that the President may in his discretion assign to the Vice President or any Minister responsibility for any business of the Government,” Ezenwobodo said.
He added that Section 171 equally provides for the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by the President to help him in exercising his power.
Ezenwobodo further presupposes that the President can comfortably, amongst other persons, assign or delegate any of his functions.
E.M.D. Umukoro Esqalso who also said there is no legal impediment for the president to delegate his speeches, however advised that the president ought to do the address in critical periods such as COVID-19 as an emotional support to the people.
He advised this from the perspective that his absence could fuel further speculation about his health.
“As much as Nigerians appear to criticize Mr. President, it feels better to hear him speak and address the nation. “It is soothing and reassuring,” he said.