In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, one-time Kwara State Attorney-General and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Titus Olasupo Ashaolu speaks on the need for the President Muhammad Buhari to resign based on his incapacity to discharge the duties of his office among other germane issues. Excerpts;
There has been clamours from different quarters in the country for the resignation of the President on health ground, looking at this from the point of law, what is your submission?
If you’re not fit and you’ve discovered that you can’t perform certain functions that is hinged on your office, there is nothing wrong about it if such a person resigns. The law advised it, it is to avoid dying while in office. I’m not quite sure of how long the President can stay out of office but I think it shouldn’t be more than 90 days. He can’t be in the foreign land indefinitely on the basis of receiving medical treatment, the role of the President requires so much agility and mental stability. This means, our President must be on ground at all times, if his health wouldn’t permit him, then, the honourable thing expected of him is to resign. I will not condemn those calling for his resignation, they elected him in the first place and this is democratic era where voices of the electorate count. It is still normal if they demand for the physical presence of their leader. This is not to say they are aggrieved with the fact that he’s sick, it is natural and nobody is above it.
Many Nigerians have faulted the lawmakers for becoming too powerful for the executives. Can you put the issue in the right perspective?
The three arms of government should be separated, there is what we called separation of powers, this implies, those arms should perform their roles based on the guidelines the constitution provides. At the same time, you can’t separate them totally, there are places where they meet. Take for instance, in the screening of ministers, it involves the endorsement of the legislative arm of government, the same goes to the judiciary, the executives and the legislature have hands in it’s operations. Appointment of Chief Justice (CJ) must seek consent of the aforementioned arms.
Also, I will not agree totally that the present legislature are too powerful for the executives, it all depends on the type of people at the presidency, if those ones there are weak, the lawmakers will ride them. During the time of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the executive was very strong, his administration gives us true picture of separation of powers, he maintained the arm he occupied as the most powerful. But the present legislature are taking the advantage of the president that is sick. Though, nothing goes for nothing, the executives should know how to pally them in order to ensure smooth running of government. Part of what is causing uproar between them is the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC chief. I think it is high time the two arms did what is not only good but lawful. We spent too much time deliberating on this issue. Though series of confusion has trailed his confirmation on whether his appointment is subjected to the confirmation of the Senate. Let them go to court to test the law. This is what people are clamouring for. The court of law will put a face to this issue. In my own view, EFCC is a commission and every commission is statutory. Therefore, the appointment of its head must be under a process of law from the Senate.
He can’t be in the foreign land indefinitely on the basis of receiving medical treatment, the role of the President requires so much agility and mental stability. This means, our President must be on ground at all times, if his health wouldn’t permit him, then, the honourable thing expected of him is to resign.