Buhari’s absence: PDP asks national assembly to address ‘power vacuum’

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of abandoning the leadership of the country while “holidaying” in London.

The president travelled to the UK on Monday where he is due to hold discussions on Nigeria-British relations with Theresa May, the UK prime minister, before the Commonwealth heads of government meetings scheduled for April 18 to 20, according to his media team.

He is also billed to meet with other prominent figures, including Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Plc, in connection with Shell and other partners’ plan to invest $15b in Nigeria’s oil industry.

The PDP said the president has been busy attending to “private matters”, while “the ship of state is left bare of statutory leadership as nobody even knows when he is due to return to the country.”

“Since Monday, President Buhari has been holidaying in London and has been unable to discharge the functions of his office, in total disregard to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, disdain to Nigerians and flagrant abuse of his presidential office,” Kola Ologbondiyan, the party spokesman, said in a statement on Thursday.

“By embarking on this vacation and abdicating his official functions without transmitting a written declaration to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, and holding on to power while on vacation, President Buhari acted in gross violation of section 145 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).

“Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier demanded the presidency to issue a full disclosure on the nature, scope and duration of the private aspect of President Buhari’s trip, a request they blatantly ignored, in total disdain to the sensibilities of Nigerians.

“We therefore charge the national assembly to immediately come to the rescue and invoke relevant sections of our constitution and statutory books to address this power vacuum that is capable of derailing our democracy.”