Controversy over ‘Buhari’s proclamation letter for inauguration of 9th Assembly’

President Muhammadu Buhari at a Federal Executive Council meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari at a Federal Executive Council meeting

A letter purportedly from President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly has caused confusion, particularly over its authenticity.

In the letter, Mr Buhari purportedly exercised his power of proclamation for the National Assembly to hold its first session.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier published an explainer on the president’s power as contained 64(3) of the constitution.

In the letter, Mr Buhari proclaimed that the 9th Senate and House of Representatives should hold their first sessions on June 11.

“WHERE AS IT IS PROVIDED IN SECTION 64(3) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999 (AS AMENDED) THAT THE PERSON ELECTED AS PRESIDENT SHALL HAVE the POWER TO ISSUE A PROCLAMATION FOR THE HOLDING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS BEING SWORN-IN.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT. COMMANDER-lN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN EXERCISE OF THE POWERS BESTOWED UPON ME BY SECTION 64(3) AFORESAID AND OF ALL OTHER POWERS ENABLING ME IN THAT BEHALF. HEREBY PROCLAIM THAT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE NINTH (9th) NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL HOLD AT 10:00 AM ON TUESDAY 11th JUNE, 2019. IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ABUJA,” the letter reads.

The letter dated May 30 emanated from social media groups of National Assembly reporters.

Confusion

However, the manner at which the letter emerged and some omissions have got journalists raising eyebrows.

The letter was not addressed to any official of the National Assembly. The space for addressee was left blank.

Under normal circumstances, such a letter should be addressed to Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

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Also, Mr Buhari was not in Nigeria the day the letter was purportedly signed May 30. He was in Saudi Arabia for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).

Presidency yet to react

When contacted, Mr Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said he was
“on an appointment outside the country.”

Mr Buhari’s other spokesperson, Femi Adesina, did not answer calls.

The known line of Ita Enang, special assistant to Mr Buhari on National Assembly matters, were also switched off.

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