Senior advocates faults lawmakers claim that COS is more powerful than VP

Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria have disputed with the position of the lawmaker representing Oyo State’s Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Akin Alabi, that the post of the Chief of Staff is more powerful than that of the Vice President, describing such position as unconstitutional.

The APC lawmaker commented on 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.”

His Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had taken the document to him on Monday, leading to speculations that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been sidelined.

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.”

However disputing such claim, two Senior Advocates of Nigeria — Messrs Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Ifedayo Adedipe — said Alabi’s assertion had no constitutional basis.

Adegboruwa said, “The chief of staff is the head of the President’s personal staff. But our Constitution in Nigeria is different from other countries.

“The Supreme Court has held that the vice-president runs on the same ticket with the President and can act on his behalf when the President is not available.

Adegboruwa called on the President to surround himself with good legal advisers so as not to undermine the Nigerian Constitution.

Lending his voice to this, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said the [office of the] chief of staff is unknown to the Constitution of Nigeria.

Adedipe said the chief of staff had no statutory role and was an “unelected official” and thus could not be more powerful than a person occupying a constitutional office.

He said, “What law makes a chief of staff more powerful than the vice-president?

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