The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said the controversy that trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly was a needless distraction.
The President in his letter to the Senate had said that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will coordinate governance in his absence in line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Because the letter didn’t expressly state that Osinbajo will be the Acting President, it sparked controversies among Nigerians including the lawmakers.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had declared during Tuesday’s plenary session that the mere mention of Section 145 (1) in the letter was sufficient enough to make the Vice President act as President in the absent of the President.
Mohammed, who spoke on the issue at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said the controversy was needless.
He said, “It was a needless controversy, it was just a distraction. The operating sentence is that in compliance of Section 145(1), any other word used is not relevant.”
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the FEC also approved proposal for the establishment of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations.
He said: “Trade is something that is quite pervasive, we get involved in a lot of negotiations and a lot of MOUs assigned on trade. What we found was this was happening in various ministries agencies and departments with insufficient coordination and therefore consequently it had unintended consequences and cost for us.
“There are several examples of these things that had happened so the cabinet decided that it is wise to establish a coordinating central office for trade negotiations. The Nigerians Office for Trade Negotiations which will be headed by a chief negotiator of ambassadorial rank that will then work with both the economic management team and the cabinet.”