President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday formally resumed work in his office after 49 days of medical sojourn in London, United Kingdom.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who held the fort in acting capacity, met with the President in his office for over an hour, ostensibly to bring him up to date with developments that took place while he was away.
The meeting which started at about 12noon ended at about 1.30pm.
While returning from Buhari’s office, Osinbajo told State House correspondents that he had handed over to the President and had reverted to his role as the Vice-President.
He said the President was ‘over-ready’ for the job ahead of him.
The following conversation ensued between the Vice-President and the reporters:
How is the President doing?
He is very well. We just had a very long meeting. We were basically trying to bring the President up to speed with some of the things we have done while he was away. He has given a few directives on what we should be doing in so many areas: the North-East, budget, the economy, and a wide range of issues.
Will you say he is ready for work?
Yes. He held a meeting with me for over an hour where we discussed a wide range of issues. So, his readiness for work is not in doubt at all. In fact, he is ‘over-ready’.
Have you handed power back to him?
Oh, yes! I am back to my regular position as the Vice-President.
Was he impressed with the way you handled the country while he was away?
I think the President was reasonably satisfied.
Some are saying because of his health, we will see a lot of delegation of duty, is that true?
I think the President, as you know, has always given me several responsibilities. I think what we must recognise is that the way this administration works is that it has always been team work; very little is done without the President’s clearance. So, generally speaking, even with responsibilities that are my constitutional responsibilities, we have full discussions on them. We have full agreements on all of those issues. It is not necessarily delegation (of duties). Yes, in some cases, delegation (of duties) but by and large, practically I discuss fully with him and have his endorsement before we are able to go on and do anything at all.
Sporting a light blue ‘agbada’ and a cap, the first task the President carried out as he resumed in his office on Monday was to append his signature to a letter he sent to the National Assembly, informing the lawmakers that he had resumed work after his medical vacation.
He signed the letter in the presence of a few of his aides who arrived at the office with him from his official residence.
Shortly after signing, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, arrived at the Presidential Villa to pick the letters.
Enang moved straight to the President’s office on arrival.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, later issued a statement announcing the transmission of the letter.
Adesina said the Presidential communication to the National Assembly was in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The letters were addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday, March 13, 2017 after my vacation,” Adesina quoted Buhari as saying in the letter.
Before Buhari resumed at his office, some presidential aides and top government officials had joined him at his official residence.
They arrived at the office with him at about a few minutes after 11am.
The President and his men trekked the short distance between his residence and his office, sandwiched among security agents.
Those who joined the President included his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Adesina, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu; and his Personal Assistant, Tunde Sabiu, among others.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, was also sighted coming out of the President’s office shortly after he resumed.
Buhari was absent at the 1.30pm prayer held inside the mosque near his office.
A letter announcing President Muhammadu Buhari’s resumption of duty was delivered to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Monday.
The letter, which was personally signed by the President, informed the Speaker that Buhari had resumed office on March 13 after his medical vacation to London.
The document was delivered to Dogara about noon by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Mr. Suleiman Abdurhaman-Kawu.
When contacted, Abdurhaman-Kawu said that the President was complying with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which required him to inform the legislature that he had returned to work.
“Yes, I met with the Speaker this afternoon and I submitted Mr. President’s letter of resumption to him. He has resumed in line with the constitution,” the SSA stated. (Punch)