President Muhammadu Buhari has been ill for at least 4 of the past 8 months. His latest sickness has taken him out of Nigeria on a medical vacation for 94 days (and at least 20 hours) with no return date in sight.
While the country has been run in his absence by Professor Osinbajo, many concerned Nigerians have maintained that the right thing for a President who is so ill as to have taken almost half a year off work, is to resign his duties on ethical grounds.
This morning, a popular social media handle posted that President Buhari has “reportedly promised to resign if his health doesn’t get better” based on a report published by one of the many news sites in Nigeria.
We have confirmed that that report is false. Yet, we couldn’t stop thinking about what would have been if it had turned out to be a true report. So we came up with these five things that will definitely happen if President Muhammadu Buhari changes his mind and chooses to resign:
- We’ll have a “President Yemi Osinbajo”
The Constitution (Section 146) stipulates that where the Office of the President becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation or permanent incapacity, his Vice President shall hold the Office. Right now, Vice President Osinbajo technically wears both the hat of a President and Vice President as an Acting President. If President Buhari resigns, the Constitution stipulates that he automatically becomes President.
- Professor Osinbajo will have to choose his Vice President
In the event that Secion 146 of the Nigerian Constitution kicks in and Professor Osinbajo becomes the President, the Constitution further stipulates that the Office of the Vice President which then becomes vacant by reason of his assumption of the Office of President must be filled by him nominating AND with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a Vice President.
- The race for Nigerian Presidency in 2019 will instantly become hotter.
While what should ordinarily happen in the event that Professor Osinbajo becomes President is that Nigerians start to pay attention to his actions as a way to decide whether to vote for him for a second term if he deserves it, what will happen is an ethnically-charged race for Office of the Nigerian President in 2019.
The way that Nigeria’s politics works has made it almost unthinkable that the Presidency will be “zoned” to any region other than the North during the next elections.
- The official opposition and social activists win
The official opposition in Nigeria is the Peoples Democratic Party and many of its members, especially Governor Ayo Fayose, Femi Fani-Kayode as well as other non-partisan activists have maintained that the proper thing for President Buhari to do in his circumstance is to resign. If he does, that will be a huge win for social activism in Nigeria.
Just this week, Charles Oputa and Deji Adeyanju oganised a sit-out in Nigeria and London to pressure Buhari into resigning his officeon health grounds. That resignation, if it happens will validate their struggles.
- President Buhari will go down in history as the first President to keep his word.
The present administration was ushered in on a message of “Change” and while his party has maintained that the President and his cabinet have been doing just that, the opposition maintains that the only Change, if any, that has been recorded in the past two years has been negative and a deviation from all the campaign promises that got Nigerians to vote for Buhari and Osinbajo.
If he does resign, Buhari will forever change the face of Nigerian politics by being the first Nigerian President to resign from office because it was the ethical thing to do (whether or not he agrees with that position).
And that, unarguably, will be a positive change.