Court rules Yar’Adua remains President, despite 65 days absence; adds Vice President Jonathan is not “acting President”
By USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine and USAfrica (Nigeria bureau)
Nigeria’s Federal High Court judge in Abuja, Dan Abutu has ruled on Friday January 29, 2010 that President Umaru Yar’Adua was not in breach of Nigeria’s constitution by failing to hand over to his deputy since his 60-plus days continued ill-health and prolonged absence in Saudi Arabia.
His position is that: “There is no mandatory requirement for the president to make a transmission to the leadership of the National Assembly before proceeding on vacation or on treatment outside Nigeria.. The functions of the office of the president cannot be held in abeyance on account of the omission of the president to transmit a written declaration.”
He argued further that Yar’Adua was not obliged to transfer power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan while he (Yar’Adua) receives medical treatment abroad. Abutu added that VP Jonathan could not be acting president if Yar’Adua failed to do so.
“That condition not having been fulfilled, the vice president cannot validly discharge the function of the president under the constitution as acting president,” Abutu stated in his now controversial ruling.