Saturday, 19 October 2013

Don’t call me Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Jonathan tells Nigerians

All government agencies were also directed to use Mr. Jonathan’s official portrait.
In what is a clear departure from the norm, the presidency has ordered all government functionaries to desist from addressing President Goodluck Jonathan as the “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” at non-military functions.
The directive is contained in a strongly worded October 14 circular, No SGF/OP/1/S.3/X/664, by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim.

The memo, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, was addressed to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, ministers, heads of ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals, the leadership of the National Assembly, and government-owned companies.
“It is further directed that except in purely armed forces programmes, Mr. President should not be addressed as the “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement warned.
“The approved designation of the President for the purposes of all official correspondence, public announcements or Communication should be “The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am to stress that for all official purposes, Mr. President should be addressed as follows: ‘His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mr. Anyim added, urging strict compliance to the presidential directive by all Nigerians.

This new directive contradicts the norm among public office holders in Nigeria who like their titles, official and otherwise, emphasized at public events. It however, does not remove the fact that the president, by virtue of the constitution, is the commander of the Nigerian armed forces.
Section 130 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states: “There shall be for the Federation a President. The President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation.”
Also, Section 218(1) of the constitution spells out the powers of the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation to include the power to determine the operational use of the armed forces of the Federation.
The memo did not state the reason for Mr. Jonathan’s decision. But former Nigerian leaders, both military and civilian, have always been called by that title both in military and non-military programmes.
Only official portrait
The directive also warned against the use of Mr. Jonathan’s unofficial pictures at programmes of events, invitation cards, or publications by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, as well as other government organizations.
The circular directed that, henceforth, only the official portrait of the President should be printed in official documents or displayed in offices across the country.


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