The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for not announcing the extension of gradual lockdown ease himself.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, had yesterday announced the extension in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
The president was expected to address Nigerians on Monday as the cases of coronavirus surged sharply since the gradual easing of the lockdown kicked off on May 4.
Aliyu Sani, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced on Sunday that the president will address the nation.
It was expected to be the president’s third broadcast since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but the Presidency stated that none was planned.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Monday stated that “None was planned. Rather, the Presidential Task Force will during its usual media briefings bring the nation up to speed on the next steps.”
However, PDP said the announcement made by Mustapha amounts to an assumption of presidential powers.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the opposition party said Mustapha’s action brought confusion in Nigeria’s polity.
PDP stressed that Buhari’s decision was an abuse of power.
The statement reads: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has noted the assumption of Presidential powers by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, to announce an extension of lockdown and curfew in our country in relation to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our party points out that nowhere in our laws are the powers to broadcast Presidential executive orders to declare curfew and restriction of movements vested in the Office of the SGF.
“The action of the SGF has brought serious confusion in the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of the directives contained in the SGF’s announcement.
“Such powers are vested in the person and office of Mr. President and not exercisable by proxy, directly or indirectly; which makes the action of the SGF a recipe for serious constitutional crisis in our country.
“Our nation is a state governed by dictates of the law, particularly in the exercise of powers vested in statutory offices, especially that of the President.
“The PDP holds that the announcement by the SGF is, therefore, another manifestation of abuse of our statutory offices arising from the abdication of responsibilities by President Buhari since the last five years, which had also become more pronounced in this fight against COVID-19.
“Our party, therefore, invites Mr. President to end the confusion in the polity, arising from the action of the SGF, by immediately addressing Nigerians in his official capacity to fulfill the demands of our laws in respect of the necessary protocols on restrictions and other management procedures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country.