President’s Absence: CSO wants constitutional provision on number of days



President Muhammadu Buhari

Partners for Electoral Reform (PEF), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has urged the Legislature to use the ongoing constitutional review to provide for the duration the country’s president could be absent from duty.

Chairman of the group, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, made the call on Saturday in Abuja, while welcoming President Muhammadu Buhari from his medical trip to London.

He said that the protest for Buhari to “resume or resign” which was carried out while he was away, was unnecessary, but that the constitutional lapse thrown up by his long absence needed to be addressed.

“Our Constitution never contemplated the situation where the president will be away for a long time without defining clearly how long that can be.

“Yes, the president never broke any law by staying away for the period he did; he followed the constitutional path but his absence for so long was the issue.

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“The lacuna in our Constitution is one in which we will have to deal with. If we don’t deal with it today we will have to deal with it in the future.

“This is because the deep question will be that if a president is inaugurated and falls ill after, can he just transmit power and stay away for any length of time?” Nwagwu said.

He, however, said that it was a thing of joy that Buhari had returned, and prayed that God would sustain his recovery to enable him to take charge of governance.

He added that the president’s recovery and return had punctured the lies being peddled that he was in coma.