Buhari's Ailment: Nigerians shouldn't be kept in dark - Adelodun

Date: 2017-05-18

Adebayo Oba Adelodun is one of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria based in Ilorin, Kwara state. The lead counsel of Adelodun & Co has over the years, planted his footprint on the sand of time in the legal profession, in this discourse with KAYODE ADEOTI, he speaks explicitly on why the nature of President Muhamadu Buhari's ailment should not be kept from the citizenries among other germane issues. Excerpts:

On the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari's health, many have been calling for his resignation, what is the position of law over this?

First and foremost, we must appreciate the fact that we are all human beings and it is in the place of human to be healthy, to be ill, to be disposed and to be indisposed, so there is nothing strange as far as the President's health is concerned. But in anticipation of doubt, the constitution has provided for safety ground, part of which is that we have a vice we can always resort to whenever the President is not around. For a prolong sickness or absence in office, the constitution has also made it very clear as to what step to be taken, it is a bit technical because we canít just look at him in the eye and conclude that this man can no longer perform his duties. It also requires some technical investigations like inviting the medical doctors to certify his ability or inability to perform. And if confirmed not fit, then, his seat can be declared vacant. What he did the last time he travelled for medical treatment was what he has done again this time, transmitting a letter to the National Assembly indicating that he is going to be away and he has handed over duties to his vice

(cuts in...) He was away for a long period of time the other time; can we say that is long enough to have made him incapacitated to run the office?

No! This is not determined by preference to the time but the nature of the ailment, whether it's something that will have permanent impact on the ability of the President to function. And when he went on vacation, he only spent like six weeks; I don't see that too long.

Is it ethically wrong or right not to disclose the nature of President's ailment to the public?

I don't see any reason the nature of the Presidents ailment should be kept away from the public, the day he becomes the President of the country, he ceased to be a private person and this apply to Governors or any other public office holder. It is only appropriate somehow that the public should be in the known of what is happening around him; heís not just a President for the villa but for the country. He was voted for with a lot of expectations, the public deserves to know so much about him, it is a pity we are in a country where everything goes, otherwise, at the time he was coming in, his health statues would have been known to the public, so that we will know who to vote for. Look at what is happening in other countries; a mere headache will be communicated to the public so that everybody will know what is wrong with the leadership of their country. Playing hide and seek with President's health is wrong.

How do you perceive Attorney-General's advice on legal issues to the Presidency?

I have never seen any advice from him, even whether the advice is proper or improper, as a person, I have not seen one. And when youíre talking of a person who occupies such an office, you donít base your comment on rumours, conjectures. He has not proffered any advice Or, what issue? For this blanket general classification, honestly, me I donít embrace that.

Sir, AGF has exonerated SGF of corrupt allegation before, being part of the team to investigate him again, would you consider their report credible?

As an individual, he has done so before but as a member of a team, he doesn't do it alone. The President in his own wisdom has taken it beyond only him, don't forget he is the chief adviser for government on matters of law, so his involvement in the investigation of this kind of activities, you cannot over emphasis. His involvement is key.

We tend not to hear anything over the issue of Professor Sagay versus the Senate, Magu, and the Customs Controller-General Ali, can you put things in right perspective?

The controversy that were thrown up by these issues, to me, were in the first place misplaced, if it has died down now, I will say good radiance to bad rubbish. I see us as a country with so much challenges that should rather take our time, whether somebody is wearing uniform or not, the time devoted to that issue is not worth it. The kind of attention that was brought to bear on that issue, if it was directed to our lack of energy, power or unemployment or creation of hospitals in the country, I am sure we will make headways. The controversy in the first place was unnecessary; it is not strange to me now that it has died down, because it was such an unnecessary controversy in the first place.

On the issue of Ikoyigate, where are we?

My take on that, whoever owns the money either NIA or Rivers State government, having government money in private home is in itself condemnable and it is making the thing worse as we now have two government organs claiming ownership. We shouldnít take the Ikoyigate in isolation but also on other several similar discovery been made almost on a weekly basis, then, you will know that corruption has taken over this country and we need something very drastic to address it.

Sir, would you say EFCC is proactive enough?

I give kudos to EFCC because without the agency's effort, we would not have heard of Ikoyi issue, Yakubu in his farm, Kaduna airport and many more, I have these feelings that this are just tips of the ice-berg. There are strong indications that they are working and that they are giving the country the best. Unlike many other organs we have in the country, either we agree with what they are doing or not, the fact remains that they are doing something, and it is said that posterity will forgive you for taking wrong decision but will not forgive you if you donít do anything. There are many other agencies that are there and are not heard of.

Where are we going with the issue of whistleblower?

Anywhere we can go, I support it, government is not a wish or crystal-ball gazer, it is people that give information which will invariably lead to discovery and crime is detected when people around where crime is taking place are proactive, we can't continue to adopt 'siddon look' attitude.

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