Presidency, PDP in a fierce battle over Buhari’s UK trip

Discontented with President Muhammadu Buhari’s modus operandi and London trip, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday engaged in a fierce argument with the Presidency.

The Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akinwonmi, who represented PDP on a programme in Channels Television, ‘Politics Today’, described how unpleasant it is for Mr President to travel without the consent of the National Assembly.

He said that Buhari ought to have written to the National Assembly indicating his mission abroad and equally transfer power to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, before leaving the country.

His words, “I know by the standard convention all over the world, it is conventional that when the President is travelling out of a domain, whether privately or publicly after about six or seven days, he has to have a course to the National Assembly to disclose his mission and then transfer power to the Vice President.

“These guys are talking as if Nigeria is a private enterprise, it is not. The President derives his power from the citizens. And he is responsible not to the presidency but to Nigerians. The money he is going to spend in the course of the journey is derived from the federation account.”

In his reaction, Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, argued that Mr President did not make a mistake by taking off without writing a letter to the National Assembly.

He cited a chapter in the constitution, were it was written that 21 days is the back off point. After 21 days and Mr President did not return, “that is where infringement is caused”, he said.

His words, “But as it is now, there is no Constitutional or legal infraction that has happened. So the President is doing his work from wherever he is. Yes, it is right that the President can operate anywhere he is.

“If you are a Permanent Secretary and the President calls you from Abidjan and says you go and repair that road, are you going to tell him that Mr. President you are not a Nigerian in Abidjan, you are not going to do the work?

“Do you think you will have your job waiting for you the next day? These are matters of common sense.”

In another development, PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the All Progressives Congress-led Presidency of stealing N14tn.

Ologbondiyan alleged that the stolen money included the N9tn allegedly stolen from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as detailed in the leaked Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s memo; the over N1.4tn alleged oil subsidy sleaze and the N1.1tn worth of crude allegedly diverted using 18 unregistered companies.

He equally listed others to include the N33bn National Emergency Management Agency fund, and the over N18bn allegedly stolen out of the N48bn approved by the National Assembly in the 2017 budget for the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons in the North-East among others.

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