Where is President Tinubu?

In recent developments, the sudden disappearance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ignited a heated political debate and sparked controversy in Nigeria. Speculation and concerns over Tinubu’s whereabouts emerged after he failed to return to the country following his official trip to Saudi Arabia for the special World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting.

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Tinubu attended the WEF meeting in Riyadh, which concluded on April 29, 2024, and has not been seen in Nigeria since then.

Before the WEF summit, Tinubu traveled to the Netherlands upon the invitation of the country’s Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, on April 23, 2024.

During his visit, the Nigerian President engaged in high-level discussions with the Dutch Prime Minister, as well as separate meetings with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

As Nigerians continue to grapple with Tinubu’s absence, Vice President Kashim Shettima had also planned to travel to the United States of America.

He intended to represent the President at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa in Dallas, Texas. However, the Vice President canceled the trip at the last minute, citing issues with the aircraft.

The absence of both President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima simultaneously has raised concerns about the leadership vacuum and the government’s accountability. Deji Adeyanju, a popular rights activist and lawyer, criticized the Nigerian government, accusing them of irresponsibility and a lack of transparency.

Adeyanju stated that the government’s failure to provide information about the President’s whereabouts is unacceptable, and it reflects a disregard for the Nigerian people who voted for Tinubu.

Additionally, criticisms have been directed at the National Assembly for its perceived inability to perform its constitutional duty of checks and balances. Some individuals, including Adeyanju, claimed that the National Assembly has been reduced to a mere department within the Office of the President’s Chief of Staff, diminishing its role as an independent legislative body.

Legal experts, such as Madubuachi Idam, highlighted the constitutional implications of both the President and Vice President being absent from the country simultaneously. According to the Nigerian constitution, if the President is unavailable, the Vice President assumes the President’s responsibilities. However, in the absence of both leaders, a constitutional vacuum is created, which is seen as an abdication of their duties.

Despite the concerns raised, others, like Daniel Bwala, a former spokesman for the defunct Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization, argue that President Tinubu can effectively govern the country from anywhere in the world. Bwala cited Section 5 of the Nigerian constitution, emphasizing that the Presidential Villa is not a prerequisite for governing, and the President can fulfill his duties regardless of his physical location.

The controversy surrounding President Tinubu’s disappearance has led to a divisive political atmosphere, with debates centering on the government’s responsibility, transparency, and adherence to constitutional requirements during the absence of key leaders.

The situation has also sparked discussions about the need for stronger checks and balances within the Nigerian political system.

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