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How President Jonathan saved President-elect Buhari



Pres. Jonathan and Gen. Buhari share a warm embrace

In what can be described as an unprecedented move by Mr Goodluck Jonathan, who is expected to handover power to the president elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, in a democratic exchange of baton between the domineering People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the emerging ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) billed for May 29th, 2015, the incumbent president continued to display his flamboyance of 'sportsmanship' and has extended his olive branch of peace to the president elect.

Firstly, President Jonathan ensured that peace‎ was of essence over 'personal ambition' by swiftly telephoning his APC counterpart, Gen Buhari ,on his victory, whom triumphed in the March 28th hotly contested presidential election with over 3million votes.


This move by Mr President practically saved the nation from an impending chaos. It is, therefore, a remarkable process of democratic consolidation in the country for which he must be applauded.


However, ‎it does not seem the incumbent president stopped at arguably making the most important call in the history of Nigeria. The former varsity lecturer ensured that the move to slash the powers of the presidency over his consent on future constitutional amendment by the National Assembly was quashed with utmost impunity but in accordance with laid down constitutional procedure.

As reported by Premium Times, Mr Jonathan in a seven-page letter responded soundly by seeking "credible evidence " in support of the proposal by the required number of federal and state legislators to dispense the powers of the president in future constitutional amendments. 

However, Jonathan's decision to discard the proposal to slash the constitutional power of the presidency to assent to future amendment of the 1999 Constitution, was in good fate of the principle of 'separation of powers' between the three arms of government which largely benefits Buhari, the president elect, as the move by the National Parliament was practically targeted to cripple the General who must rely on the fundamentals of the constitution as a democratically elected president. 

It is apparent that denial of presidential assent to the amendment of the 1999 Constitution tantamount to the national legislators manipulating and amending the the greatest law of the land to suit their taste and faction. Jonathan's appropriate response to this proposal would be music in the ears of Buhari who would want to have a firm grip on the constitution.

However, in his letter to the National Parliament, President Jonathan made i‎t clear that he would not assent to the proposal even though the minimum endorsement of "not less than four-fifth majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly and approved by a resolution of the House of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States as provided by Section 9 (3) of the 1999 Constitution" was met.‎ 

He stated clearly that "assuming without conceding that the necessary thresholds were met by the National Assembly, there are a number of provisions in the Act that altogether constitute flagrant violation of the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and an unjustified whittling down of the executive powers of the federation vested in the President by virtue of Section 5(1) of the 1999 Constitution".


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