- Says SGF Mustapha’s Pronouncements An “Assumption of Presidential Powers …Causing Confusion in the Polity”
President Muhammadu Buhari has come under fire for allowing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha announce the extension of the gradual easing of lockdown in his place.
Criticizing the President’s no-show on Monday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed that Mustapha, through his pronouncement has usurped the power conferred on President Buhari by the Nigerian Constitution.
Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, had yesterday announced the extension of the lockdown phasing in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
Nigerians had anticipated the presidential broadcast, following the announcement by Aliyu Sani, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Sunday that the president will address the nation.
The address was expected as the cases of coronavirus surged sharply since the gradual easing of the lockdown ordered by the President in a national broadcast kicked off on May 4.
However, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina on Monday stated that “None was planned. Rather, the Presidential Task Force will during its usual media briefings bring the nation up to speed on the next steps.”
The PDP said the announcement made by Mustapha amounts to an assumption of presidential powers.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the opposition party on Tuesday said Mustapha’s action brought confusion in Nigeria’s polity.
PDP stressed that Buhari’s decision was an abuse of power, noting it has caused confusion in the Nigerian polity, capable of leading to a constitutional crisis if not checked.
The statement reads: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has noted the assumption of Presidential powers by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, to announce an extension of lockdown and curfew in our country in relation to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our party points out that nowhere in our laws are the powers to broadcast Presidential executive orders to declare curfew and restriction of movements vested in the Office of the SGF.
“The action of the SGF has brought serious confusion in the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of the directives contained in the SGF’s announcement.
“Such powers are vested in the person and office of Mr. President and not exercisable by proxy, directly or indirectly; which makes the action of the SGF a recipe for serious constitutional crisis in our country.
“Our nation is a state governed by dictates of the law, particularly in the exercise of powers vested in statutory offices, especially that of the President.
“The PDP holds that the announcement by the SGF is, therefore, another manifestation of abuse of our 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.
“Our party, therefore, invites Mr. President to end the confusion in the polity, arising from the action of the SGF, by immediately addressing Nigerians in his official capacity to fulfill the demands of our laws in respect of the necessary protocols on restrictions and other management procedures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country.