Thirty days to the official handover of the reins of power to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian government has warned the incoming administration and the All Progressive Congress (APC) against forming a parallel government as incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan remains in charge till May 29.
The government said the “magnanimity” of Mr. Jonathan should not be taken for cowardice.
The warning came hours after Mr. Buhari inaugurated a committee to partner with the outgoing administration to ensure a smooth transition.
Briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the National Planning Minister, Abubakar Suleiman, who spoke as a member and chairman of a sub-committee of the transition committee, said the government was concerned about some terms of reference given the transition committee of the incoming government.
Mr. Suleiman said the council was also concerned that some comments made by members of the APC leadership amounted to “stampeding” the incumbent administration.
“We did receive from (the) in-coming government’s transition committee and some (of its) terms of reference which we looked at critically. And council did agreed that the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan remains the current government of this country. The incoming government should avoid creating a parallel government while the government is still on,” Mr. Suleiman said.
“We take exceptions to some of the terms of reference that look as if the current government is being stampeded or intimidated.”
He said Mr. Jonathan’s magnanimity should not be taken for granted.
“The magnanimity of Mr. President should not be taken to be cowardice and that is why Mr. President and indeed council members enjoined Nigerian people to see the olive branch extended to Nigerians and international community as a way of keeping this country intact, as a way of ensuring peace in Nigeria and as such whatever the outcome of the election, what is important is Nigeria’s national interest. And that national interest should be protected, enhanced and promoted at whatever level we are.
He said council members have been advised to work in line with the terms of reference of the current government”.
“Council members also agreed that the terms of reference as formatted by our transition committee should be strictly complied with.
“When the incoming government takes over government they can come out with their programmes, they can come out with their own agenda, they can decide to come out with policies with the way they feel like,” he said.
He said the incumbent government remains committed to the various programmes and projects it is pursuing and the government will continue to do that until the morning of May 29.
He said President Jonathan also enjoined ministers to come out with programmes, projects to be commissioned, or inspected, and that ministers of government should work as a government and perform their work without intimidation.
“Government especially civil servants, directors, director generals should see this government as the current government and not do anything that will rock the boat so as not to put this country in a
bad light,” Mr. Suleiman added.
While inaugurating his party’s transition committee Wednesday, Mr. Buhari had said the team is also saddled with reviewing and making preliminary assessment of the balance sheet of government with particular emphasis on the status of assets and liabilities of government; cash flow position of the government; quantum of public domestic and external debt of government and their deployment; government’s out-standing contractual obligations and its ability to meet such obligations and the status of implementation of capital projects.
He said the committee is also expected to undertake a preliminary assessment of the security challenges facing the country and the counter-insurgency measures taken by the government thus far; the counter policy measures being implemented in the Niger Delta to deal with unrest and major economic crimes in the area.
The committee will assess in particular, the status of the Amnesty Programme, the readiness of the Police and other national security and intelligence agencies in addressing threats to law and order and provide a brief over-view of CBN, NNPC, NCC, Customs and FIRS.
Other terms of reference of the committee include to suggest “quick fixes” which will result in tangible, visible and practical measures so that “change” will be seen after 30 days, after 100 days, after 6 months of the Administration taking office.
The committee will also make any other observations which in its view would be helpful to the transition and take-off of the new Administration.