Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has declared his readiness to waive his constitutional immunity to “enable the most robust adjudication” of several baseless allegations, insinuation, and falsehoods against his person and office.
Last week, Buhari set up an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which, according to a statement from his media aide, was to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Professor Osinbajo with directives that members of the newly created body would report directly to the president.
The decision, which was given several interpretations, suggested that Buhari in collaboration with the ‘cabal’ might have made up their mind to frustrate the vice president or force him to resign.
Osinbajo was recently accused of mismanaging N90 billion, being funds allegedly provided by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the prosecution of the general elections.
In a tweet personally authored yesterday and made available to the media by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said: “In the past few days, a spate of reckless and malicious falsehoods have been peddled in the media against me by a group of malicious individuals.
“The defamatory and misleading assertions invented by this clique had mostly been making the social media rounds anonymously.
“I have today instructed the commencement of legal action against two individuals, one Timi Frank, and another Katch Ononuju, who have put their names to these odious falsehoods.
“I will waive my constitutional immunity to enable the most robust adjudication of these claims of libel and malicious falsehood.”
However, Osinbajo’s plan to waive his immunity is generating reactions, with some Nigerians asking if he has the constitutional right to do so.
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, described the resolution as a serious and intricate question because it is a constitutional matter.
He said the vice president does not have the capacity as an individual to waive his immunity. “However, this shows Nigerians that Osinbajo is clean from all the allegations against him. He has no skeleton in his cupboard. I can personally swear on his behalf that he will not tamper with the public fund but will rather use his personal money for the good of Nigeria if the need arises.”
In another reaction, a former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, who is also a lawyer, said the vice president has no constitutional right to waive his immunity as far as Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution is concerned.
According to Momoh, “Osinbajo has no right to waive his immunity except he resigns from office or if he is impeached. My advise to him is to allow those who made the allegation to go and prove their case in the court. As a public officer and politician, he should develop a thick skin to accommodate all forms of criticism. I don’t think he can waive his immunity without resigning from the office. But as long as he is doing well, we will encourage him to continue offering his good service to the country.”