9th National Assembly: Controversy over 'President Buhari's proclamation letter'

9th National Assembly: Controversy over 'President Buhari's proclamation letter'

- There is confusion over the authenticity of a letter purportedly from President Buhari to the National Assembly

- In the said letter, President Buhari reportedly exercised his power of proclamation for the National Assembly to hold its first session on June 11

- The letter dated May 30 is said to have emanated from social media groups of National Assembly reporters

President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly issued a proclamation for the 9th National Assembly to be inaugurated on June 11, 2019, according to a letter which is raising eyebrows.

Vanguard reports that in the purported letter from Buhari, he proclaimed that the 9th Senate and House of Representatives should hold their first sessions on June 11.

The 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that the president will have to issue a proclamation before the Senate and the House of Representatives hold their first session.

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The letter which emanated from social media groups of National Assembly reporters entitled, “Proclamation for the holding of the first session of the 9th National Assembly” and dated May 30, 2019, read: “ Whereas it is provided in Section 64(3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) that the person elected as President shall have power to issue a Proclamation for the Holding of the first Session of the National Assembly immediately after his being sworn-in.

“Now, therefore, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in exercise of the powers bestowed upon me by section 64(3) aforesaid,and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf hereby proclaim that the first Session of the ninth( 9th) National Assembly shall hold at 10.00am on Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, in the National Assembly, Abuja.

“Given under my hand, and the Public Seal of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at Abuja, this 30th Day of May 2019.”

Buhari issues proclamation for inauguration of 9th NASS, June 11

The letter was not addressed to any official of the National Assembly and the space for addressee was left blank. Photo credit: Premium Times
Source: UGC

Though the letter was written in the letterhead paper of President Buhari, it was not addressed to anyone in the National Assembly, thereby raising questions about its authenticity. Ordinarily, the letter ought to be addressed to the clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

Also, Buhari was not in Nigeria the day the letter was purportedly signed May 30. He was in Saudi Arabia for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).

As at the time of this report, the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, could not be reached to officially confirm the proclamation from the president.

Those contending for the Senate presidency are the Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan; and former Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume. The APC leadership is backing Lawan, however, Ndume has vowed to contest for the position against the party's wishes.

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The party is also supporting Femi Gbajabiamila for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, former Abia state governor and senator-elect, Orji Uzor Kalu said any member of the APC opposed to the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives are going against the wish of President Buhari.

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