By Sylvanus Okpe
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) has dismissed the claim by Akin Alabi, the lawmaker representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, is more influential than Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
In a bid to justify the enormous powers the Chief of Staff wields in the current administration, Mr Alabi argued that in a presidential system of government as obtained in the United States, the CoS is more powerful than that of the Vice President.
The APC lawmaker who was also reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act in London, where he is currently on ‘private visit’, was quoted to have said that.
Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had taken the document to him on Monday, leading to speculations that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office has been rendered redundant.
In reaction to the lawmaker’s claim, two Senior Advocates of Nigeria — Messrs Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Ifedayo Adedipe — said Alabi’s assertion are alien to our constitutional democracy.
Alabi, who is the founder of Nigeria’s first online sports betting portal, NairaBET, made his views known via his Twitter handle @akinalabi on Tuesday.
In a series of tweets, the APC lawmaker said the Chief of Staff “is the assistant President, while the Vice President is merely a stand-in for the president.”
“Whether you like it or not, in a presidential system of government (eg, US, Nigeria), the post of the Chief of Staff is more “powerful” than that of the Vice President. He is the assistant President. The Vice President is a stand-in for the president,” the lawmaker said.
The two senior advocates insisted that the signing of the bill in London was an expensive oversight on the powers of the Vice President, insisting that the President ought to have transferred his powers to his deputy via the constitutional frameworks envisaged by section 45 of the 1999 constitution as amended.