Semantics of Power Game



The insertion of the phrase: “coordinating the activities of government” as against “performing the functions of my office” in the letter transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly raised avoidable but justified hoopla amongst the Nigerian people, a majority of who reckoned there was an intended mischief in the couching of the language.

But by also and clearly stating that the letter was transmitted in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it should unarguably put to rest wild speculations about the status of the Vice President in the absence of the President. This was the position of the Senate when the letter was deliberated upon and that has helped to nip in the bud a brewing political controversy.

It must be stated, however, that in a politically volatile environment like Nigeria’s, wielders of power must be sensitive to the connotations of the choice of language in official communication to avoid any form of ambiguity that may stoke political controversy.