Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, says it will be absurd for a vice-president to take charge of the nation’s security.
Okowa, who is the vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was reacting to the comment made by Kashim Shettima, the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference last week in Lagos, Shettima said he will concentrate on fighting insecurity, while Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, will focus on fixing the economy — if they are elected in the 2023 elections.
“I have been in the theatre of conflicts for 18 years. I will lead the troops, my principal is an economy wizard who has transformed Lagos into the third largest economy in Africa. He will concentrate on the economy,” he had said.
“By God’s grace, I will handle the security, and not only handle the security, I will lead the troops to battle across the length and breadth of this country.”
Reacting to the comment in a video published by Daily Trust on Wednesday, Okowa said a vice-president cannot take over the constitutional responsibility of the president.
“I don’t want to talk about their policies. If the vice-president will take charge of security, is he (the president) not going to preside over the security council at the federal level? I don’t understand that. Because there is a commander-in-chief. Is there a reversal in position?” he asked.
“He can offer advice. But I’ll find it absurd that he speaks about: ‘I’ll take charge of it’. Possibly they have agreed that he’s to be the commander-in-chief.”
WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION SAY?
Shettima’s remark, which has been taken to suggest that if elected, he will act as the nation’s chief security officer, has elicited varied reactions from Nigerians.
The 1999 constitution vests the exclusive authority of the commander-in-chief on the president.
Section 130 (2) reads: “The President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation”.
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