The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has defended President Goodluck Jonathan's trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations’ Earth Summit, RIO 20, saying his absence hinder the flow of governance.
President Jonathan had come into intense criticisms for travelling for the Summit while the nation grieves from bomb attacks which left dozens of fatalities in its wake.
Speaking to Journalist at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council
(FEC) meeting in Abuja, Maku said the vice president, Namadi Sambo, takes control of affairs in the president's absence. He added that Jonathan can take decisions from anywhere in the world.
“The President can take decision from anywhere in the world, his absence will not hamper his power to act," he said. "The Vice President effectively takes charge of affairs once the president is out of Nigeria and he is in touch with the President 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 living in a new world, and I think people should understand this.
We should not play politics with this. The President can convey a conversation with the Vice President, 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 whereever he is in the world on an hourly basis. So, it is not as if because the President is out of the country, it means that he is not involved.
"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.
"We are running a democratic government where it is the institutions that work and with those institutions, there is no vacuum for a single moment because the President is out of the Nigeria. There is no vacuum. The Vice President is on ground with full constitutional powers to act on things in coordination with the President."