The seal of office of the
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA
The office of the president of Nigeria is a highly important one. Understanding the office and its role is one step toward ensuring that only capable and productive presidential candidates aspire and fill the office. Filling the position responsibly requires much deliberation, scrutiny and a sense of patriotism and pride from Nigerian citizens. The reason is that the office, among other things, represents and drives the vision of the country and its 150 million people. Consequently, the election of a Nigerian president must not be driven by sectarian interest or a desire to reflect federal character. It must be fuelled and powered by a hunger, on the part of the Nigerian people to join the world community of progressive and prosperous nations.
A blind and weak president equals a weak, myopic and poverty stricken nation. The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must command legitimacy through voting and selection by the
people on the basis of “dazzling charisma, qualities, skills, exposure, talents, knowledge and strength” (Onikoy Jr). His political, leadership and organisational skills coupled with his emotional intelligence must be outstanding. A great president shapes a great nation.
The constitution (Section 130.1) of Nigeria establishes an executive branch of the government headed by a president. This means that the executive powers of the Federal Republic Nigeria is vested in the president. The President, Senate and the House of Representatives govern the country. Ideally, this system works to give the President just enough power to govern the nation without
so much he forgets his position as a servant of the people. Of course, a number of limits are placed on the presidency. For example:
- The National Assembly may override presidential vetoes.
- The Senate must approve presidential appointments apart from appointments relating to the chairman or member
of the Council of State or the National Defence Council or the National Security Council (section 154.2).
- The president serves only a four-year term and is limited to two terms in office.
- A president also may be impeached – that is, brought up on formal charges – by the House of Representatives and removed from office if convicted in the Senate.
The oath of office is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and reads:
“I do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God”.
Adhering to the terms and declarations of this oath is the difference between the success and failure of a president. It is equally the difference between a progressive and a failed state. The stage Nigeria is today in developmental and security terms is a vivid evidence of the level of compliance to the declarations in the oath of office by past and present holders of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The office is addressed as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.