The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, this is by virtue of Section 130 of the Constitution. The president of Nigeria is elected in national elections, which take place every four years. The constitution also by virtue of section 5(1) vests all the executive powers of the federation in the person of the president which can be exercised directly by him or his vice president or members of his cabinet.
The president of Nigeria has the following duties and functions:
- Assenting to and signing bills – the president of Nigeria plays a vital role in the lawmaking process through the constitutionally guaranteed veto power. By Virtue of 58(3) of the constitution, where a bill has been passed by the House in which it originated, it shall be sent to the other House, and then presented to the President for assent, a bill by the national assembly cannot become laws until it has been assented to by the president, however, where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by a two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall be dispense with.
- Referring a bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration of the bill’s constitutionality – were in the president’s opinion a bill is not in conformity with the constitution, the president has the role of referring such a bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration.
- Referring and filing of a bill in the Supreme Court – In the same vein, were in the opinion of the president a bill is not in conformity with the constitution, the president has the power to refer and file such a bill at the Supreme Court for a decision on the bill’s constitutionality.
- Summoning the National Assembly to an extraordinary sitting to conduct special business – The president of Nigeria can summon the National Assembly to an extraordinary sitting to conduct special business.
- Executive Orders, Proclamations, and Memorandums – The president is empowered to make Executive Orders, proclamations, and memorandum, these orders may set out government policies, issue directives, or command action relating to functions of the executive arm.
- Declaration of State of Emergency – The President has the power to declare a state of emergency when there is either war, imminent danger of invasion, the actual breakdown of public order, and public safety which require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security, an occurrence or imminent danger, or any disaster or natural calamity affecting the country, any other public danger which constitutes a threat to the Country or where the President receives a request from the Governor of a state in accordance with the provisions of Section 305 (4) of the Constitution.
- Making any appointments that the Constitution or legislation requires the president to make, other than as head of the national executive.
- Appointing Commissions of Inquiry Broads – the president of Nigeria is charged with the responsibility of appointing federal commissions of inquiry broads.
- Appointment and Removal of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria – The appointment of Justices of the Supreme Court shall is done by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation by the Senate, this is by virtue of section 231 (2) of the Constitution, on the other hand, the president also participates in the removal of judges by virtue of Section 292 of the constitution which empowers the president to remove judges subject to an address supported by two-thirds of the senate.
- Receiving and recognizing foreign diplomatic and consular representatives – it is the duty of the president to receive and recognize foreign diplomats and consular representatives.
- Appointment of ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic and consular representatives – the president of Nigeria has the duty of Appointing ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, diplomatic and consular representatives with the advice and consent of a majority of the Senate and other federal officers.
- Grant of Pardon – the president of Nigeria is empowered by virtue of section 175(1) to grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offense a total pardon or one subject to lawful conditions, he can also grant respite, indefinite or for a specified period, or even substitute a punishment less severe in form with that which was imposed, remit wholly or partly any punishment imposed on a person for an offense or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offense.
In Conclusion, the duties and functions of the president are derived from the Constitution, other legislation and some are incidental and necessary to the performance of his functions and duties as the Head of State and Head of the National Executive.
Written by Benedette Bassey