From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has described as unnecessary the projection of an imminent political and constitutional crisis on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence to attend to his health in London.
Reacting to what he called “needless sensational and exaggerated speculations by conspiracy theorists,” with regard to an article by a Nigerian historian, Max Siollun, entitled “The gentleman’s agreement that could break apart Nigeria,” published in the United States-based Foreign Policy magazine, Shehu described the article as misleading by comparing President Buhari’s case to that of the late former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He added that the circumstances are completely different.
According to Shehu, unlike the late former president Yar’Adua, President Buhari has duly complied with the constitutional requirements by formally notifying the National Assembly of his intention to go for medical treatment and handed over to Professor Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President.
“While Yar’Adua was severely ill to transmit a letter formally to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Buhari is not in such medical state, and, therefore, the country is not currently facing any complications on account of his absence,” Shehu said.
The presidential media aide noted that under Yar’Adua, there was uncertainty about the role of the vice president because the late president was not in a position to formally transfer power to his deputy, which necessitated the resort to the doctrine of necessity to enable Dr. Goodluck Jonathan act in his absence.
He said currently, none of these circumstances prevails in the country on account of Buhari’s absence for medical treatment.
According to him, having transferred power formally to Osinbajo, Buhari did not leave Nigeria with any power vacuum, therefore, “any suggestions of uncertainty or constitutional crisis are imaginary and exaggerated.”
Shehu said with Osinbajo already running the affairs of the country in the absence of President Buhari, people should stop creating artificial fears of crisis or uncertainty, noting that governance has not ground to a halt because Buhari duly complied with the constitution.
He appealed to conspiracy theorists not to pollute the polity by needlessly seeking to create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and suspicions in the country.
The media aide said the president publicly admitted he was sick and receiving treatment and never pretended about his health condition with that open admission.