Federal Government on Wednesday responded to those criticizing President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to go ahead with the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations’ Earth Summit, RIO+20, saying his absence will not in any way hinder the flow of governance.
There have been several reactions to the president’s decision to embark on the trip while some parts of the country were on fire.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, said that was why the constitution made provision for the post of the vice president and in this case, Namadi Sambo has effectively assumed the position of leadership in the absence of the president.
Besides, Maku reminded the critics that only on Tuesday the vice president convened an emergency security meeting with security chiefs to examine security situation in the country.
Responding to questions from journalists, Maku said:
“The President can take decision from anywhere in the world. His absence will not hamper his power to act. The Vice President effectively takes charge of affairs once the president is out of Nigeria and he is in touch with him on hourly basis.
“There is no vacuum, the most important thing is that the president and the vice work harmoniously and are in constant touch.
“If the president panics what will the people do. We must stop making politics out of the unfortunate incidence going on in Northern Nigeria.
“There are people who think that because the president is out of the country he cannot make decision for the country. It is not true. Today, with advances in information technology, every president in this world, anywhere he is, even from the skies, can give directive to any defense chief to act on any matter in the country.
“We are leaving in a new world and I think people should understand this. We should not play politics with this. The president can initiate a conversation with the vice president and the defense chief even on the plane. They can do so from any part of the world with the advances in technology that we have reached.
“And the president is in touch with this country from wherever he is in the world on an hourly basis. It is not as if because the president is out of the country, it means that he is not involved, he is not engaged on the country.
“First of all, it is either that people are thinking backwards or politics has reached a level where we are ignoring the realities that the world is in today.
“The second thing to tell you is that the vice president effectively takes charge of the affairs of the country any moment the president is out of the country. We are running a democracy. We are not running a military regime where if the military head of state travels, everything waits until he comes back.”