by Alexander O. Onukwue
Has the suspended NHIS boss said he is not answerable to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo?
The answer lies in the interpretation of the content of his statement of five reasons explaining why he would not obey the order of suspension as directed by Prof Isaac Adewole.
In the first two of the five reasons, Prof Yusuf asserted that “by virtue of the NHIS Act particularly section 4 and 8 thereof, my appointment and removal from office whether by way of suspension or otherwise is at the instance of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” and that “except removed from office by the president under circumstances specified in the NHIS Act, my appointment is for a period of five (5) years subject to further term of the same period at the discretion of the president.”
This has raised the interpretation that Prof Yusuf would ‘only submit to President Buhari’. It has received its weight from the fact that Prof Yusuf hails from Katsina state, the same as President Muhammadu Buhari.
But that cannot literally be taken to mean that he would only bow to President Buhari himself; as Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo should have the authority to either suspend or replace him should he deem it fit.
The only problem is that of precedent; Prof Osinbajo, in his role as Acting President, has not carried out any significant shake up of appointments made by President Buhari, whether Ministers or heads of some the departments and agencies under the Presidency. With the exception of the removed Directors of the Aviation authority, Osinbajo has not moved any major piece of furniture.