Unic Press UK: ‘Tenure Of Presidential Appointees & Aides Ended With The President’s First Term’ By Inibehe Effiong
Since his swearing-in on the 29th of May, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to make crucial and key appointments which are vital to the running of the business of governance.
I have also observed that certain presidential aides have continued to issue statements on behalf of the President, while others have carried on as if they are still occupying their offices.
The tenure of presidential Aides comes to an end when the tenure of the President ends. President Buhari’s first tenure ended midnight, 28th day of May, 2019. Therefore, all his personal Aides, appointees and every person working for him and the Vice President ceased to hold office on the midnight of 28th May, 2019.
The Constitution does not allow a President or governor to carry-over political appointees.
The implication is that Mallam Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina for example, are no longer the spokespersons of the President and cannot issue statements on behalf of the President except they are reappointed.
To be clear, the tenure of the occupants of the following offices ceased and came to an end when President Buhari’s first tenure ended on the midnight 28th day of May, 2019, namely:
Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Minister of the Government of the Federation; Special Adviser to the President and any office on the personal staff of the President (this includes the Chief of Staff).
The power to appoint persons to the above offices is vested in the President under Sections 147 (2), 151 (1) and 171 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The tenure of the persons appointed by the President to the offices mentioned above is provided for in Sections 147 (3), 151 (3) and 171 (2) of the same Constitution.
In substance, the tenure provisions states that any appointment to those offices “SHALL BE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT AND SHALL CEASE WHEN THE PRESIDENT CEASE TO HOLD OFFICE.
This means that they serve at the President’s pleasure and can be fired at anytime. It also means that their tenure ceases the moment the tenure of the President has ceased or when the President is no longer in office which may also be by reason of death, resignation or impeachment.
By Section 135 of the Constitution, President Buhari’s four year term ended on the midnight of 28th day of May, 2019.
The President was only sworn-in for a second term of four years on 29th day May, 2019. It should also be noted that the President can only begin to perform the functions of his office when he subscribes to his oath of office and allegiance under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. This is provided for in Section 140 (1) of the Constitution.
In conclusion, the President has to make fresh appointments to the offices that I have earlier listed. President Buhari also reserves the right to reappoint the previous holders of those offices.
But until he does that, those offices remain vacant.
The President should appreciate the urgency of now and set the machinery of government in motion. Nigerians cannot afford another four years of a snail speed President.
Inibehe Effiong is a Nigerian legal practitioner.