WHY THE VICE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA HAS NO POWERS OR DUTIES OF HIS OWN AND HAS NO RIGHTS TO PRESIDENTIAL POWERS.* Daily Law Tips (Tip 422) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

Conducts of elected and appointed public officers in Nigeria, are regulated by the Constitution of Nigeria. All executive powers and duties of the executive arm of government are vested on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the Presidency or both President and Vice President. This is radically different from the other two arms of government, where powers are vested on institutions making up the arms (legislative and judicial arms) and not on an individual. The President alone has all rights to exercise all presidential powers directly or through the Vice President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or Officers in the public service of the Federation.

Hence, the President of Nigeria may in his discretion assign to the Vice President responsibilities for any business of the federal government. There is no powers or duties specifically vested on the Vice President of Nigeria, although it is a creation of constitution. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, created the Vice President to assist the President only on matters and issues assigned to the Vice President by the President. Until, a President assigns duties/powers to his Vice President, the Vice President does nothing and has no powers, duties and portfolio, ministry or committee. Just like any of the Ministers, the Vice President has no powers of his own except powers delegated to him by the President.

However, there seem to be some arguable statutory positions exclusively reserved for the Vice President by the constitution. Albeit, a school has argued that the Vice President holds such positions only at the discretion of the President, who alone has powers to decide who does what and who can assist the President in managing affairs of Nigeria. Another school, claims that the constitutional positions reserved for the Vice President by the constitution are not negotiable rather compulsory and exclusive. Then, there is third school, that cares less about the position rather focuses on the effect of the position. For them, the positions are mere advisory roles; and as such the President can afford to use or disuse such positions. Which ever school one enrolls, the positions assigned to the Vice President by the constitution, are;
1. Chairman of the National Economic Council.
2. Deputy Chairman of the Council of State, the National Defence Council and the National Security Council.

My authorities are sections 4, 5, 6, 130, 141, 148(1) and paragraphs 5, 16, 18 and 25 of the third schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

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