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Senate declares Jonathan Acting President

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The Senate on Wednesday empowered Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to discharge the functions of the President as Acting President.

President Umoru Yar’Adua has been in Saudi Arabia where he has been undergoing treatment for a heart condition for the past 78 days. His absence has created a leadership vacuum, prompting eminent Nigerians and the civil society to call for the Vice President to be empowered to act as President.

The Senate in passing the resolution said that they acted in accordance with the Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution which states that “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President”.

The Senate said it took the transmission of a Yar’Adua’s interview by the British Broadcasting Corporation, in January as compliance with the provisions of Section 145 of the Constitution.

Yar’Adua on Tuesday January 12 told the BBC from his hospital bed in Saudi Arabia that he was recuperating and hoped to return to the country as soon as his doctors declared him fit to resume his duties as President.

Felix Ayanruoh
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