The apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday said that the Nigerian constitution did not assign any role specifically for the office of the vice president and cautioned some Nigerians against fuelling crisis in the presidency.
ACF’s secretary-general, Mr Anthony Sani, while reacting to insinuation by some Nigerians that the office of the vice had been relegated, said the constitution empowers the president to assign roles to the vice president.
“I am finding it hard to make out why the hue and cry about what is happening in the office of the vice president by way of some reorganisation of some functions and reassignment of some staff in the vice president’s office by the presidency.
“More so that both the presidency and the vice president have dispelled any misconception that there is a crimp between the president and the vice president,” Sani said, insisting that the constitution did not provide for any specific roles for the office of the vice president.
“Any function performed by the office of the vice president is at the pleasure of the president who has the right to assign and reassign both functions and the staff in the office of the vice president.
“If Mr President has decided to reorganise some of the functions hitherto performed by the office of the vice president as well as to reduce the reported 80 staff in the office of the vice president by 35 staff for performance, it is the constitutional discretion of Mr President to do so, and there should be no qualms,” Sani said.
As regards the president’s not transmitting a letter to the national assembly and not handing over to the vice president this time around that he travelled out, Sani said it was important to note that the constitution makes transmission of the letter mandatory only when the president would be absent from his duty post for at least 21 days.
“If the days of the absence from duty post are less than 21 days, I believe the president has the discretion to either transmit the letter to the national assembly and hand over to his sidekick or not. If the president has chosen to exercise his constitutional discretion this time around not to transmit the letter to NASS and hand over to the vice president because the days of his absence are less than 21 days, that is his constitutional right,” Sani added.
He said the current developments in the office of the vice president are not enough signs of a divided presidency, adding that the president had made clear of that.
“More so that the principal actors have said there is no problems between them.
But should there be any crimp in the presidency, my plead is for the president and the vice president to work hard and overcome what is trying to put the presidency asunder.
This is very necessary because only purposeful leadership that comes from a united presidency with clear thought and morality can deliver on the promise of the electoral mandate freely given by Nigerians,” he said.