Thursday, 30 April 2015

Buhari Inaugurates Transition C’ttee as Jonathan Warns Against Parallel Govt 30 Apr 2015 Font Size: a / A

Transition Com'ttee ; President Elect General Muhammadu Buhari (M) flanked by the Vice President Elect Prof Yemi Osinbajo left and Chairman Transition Committee, ALH AHMED JODA , APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Chief Ogbonnaya Onoh in a group photo after the inauguration of President Buhari Transition Committee in Abuja. APR 29 2015. SUNDAY AGHAEZE
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Jaiyeola Andrews and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja  
Just as President-elect Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurating his 19-member transition committee led by Mallam Ahmed Joda, the outgoing administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday admonished him for forming a parallel government and overheating the polity.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) also rejected the terms of reference brought before it by the transition committee of the incoming administration led by Buhari.
Despite the reservations expressed by the present administration, Buhari while inaugurating his transition committee in Abuja, allayed fears that his government, which would assume office on May 29, will be used to persecute its predecessors or to pursue a personal vendetta.
He said government is a continuum and all that the incoming government needed to know was where the previous government stopped so that it would know where to continue.
Buhari, however, urged the committee to be meticulous and not to overlook the essentials of their engagement with the transition panel representing the outgoing administration.
“It is a simple matter but you must have the right information if you are to shape appropriate policy decisions. Needless to repeat that your committee and our government are not on a witch-hunt or to engage in fault finding.
“We want the facts and nothing but the facts, what has been done cannot be undone. Our job is to learn from the mistakes of the past in an attempt to avoid similar errors,” he said.
On the terms of reference for the committee’s assignment, Buhari said the committee would advise him on the details of the handover notes based on their honest assessment of the situation on the ground.
He said the transition committee has two weeks to conclude its assignment.
“Your job is to make sure that you do not overlook the essentials. The time given for you to complete your assignment, two weeks, is short but because of the postponement of the election for six weeks from February 14 to March 28, the transition period has been truncated, we are obliged therefore to fast track steps to May 29.
“I thank you all collectively and individually for accepting to serve on this committee at a very short notice. The change from one government to another always involves complicated operational challenges and we all know that government is a continuum but the incoming government needs to know where the previous government stopped so that it can know where to continue.
“Luckily, you are all outstanding men and women of competence and experience in different fields, so this assignment, onerous though it is, is well within your ability to accomplish.
“You are enquired to assess the information provided to you and advise me on its quality and accuracy,” he said.
Buhari said the terms of reference of the committee included developing a clear framework for liaison with the outgoing administration for purposes of a smooth handover/takeover and to receive handover documents from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and itemise the most important or most urgent issues confronting the incoming government.
He said the committee was also saddled with reviewing and making a preliminary assessment of the balance sheet of government with particular emphasis on the status of the 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 outstanding contractual obligations and its ability to meet such obligations; and the status of implementation of capital projects.
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; and the counter-policy measures being implemented in the Niger Delta to deal with unrests and major economic crimes in the area.
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 to provide a brief overview of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Other terms of reference for the committee included 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 six months of the administration taking office, and to make any other observations which in view of the committee would be helpful to the transition and take off of the new administration.
Speaking on the chairman of the committee, Buhari described Joda as a versatile person and “one of the few surviving links between First Republic civil service and the present day”.
“His versatility includes farming, industry and 21st century IT. He is one of Nigeria’s spiritual assets but let me warn you he is an exerting taskmaster. Few young men of his age can keep up with him,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the transition committee members, Joda said the committee was determined to do its best within the time that is allowed to help Buhari accomplish his wish and to make it possible for him to achieve his vision.
“We are going to try to begin to lay the foundation for a strong country where justice and peace will prevail. I think Nigerians entrusted you to this high position because they by themselves, perhaps under the guidance of God, have identified you as the person who they think will likely wipe away their tears and heal their wounds and put our nation on the path of greatness.
“I pledge everyone of us will give you the best and most earnest advice from the bottom of our hearts in order that our country, together in peace and unity, can realise our goals and aspirations.
“May I also take this opportunity to congratulate you and your vice-president for the confidence that the people of Nigeria have entrusted in you, and those who will work with you, and pray for God’s guidance and success in discharging your duties and your responsibilities to the people of Nigeria,” he said.
Confirming THISDAY’s exclusive report last Saturday, the committee has as its members, Joda, Dr. Doyin Salami (Vice-Chairman), Mr. Adamu Adamu (Secretary), Mr. Wale Edun, Mrs. Bola Adesola, Mr. Festus Odimegwu, Mrs. Nike Aboderin, Chief John Oyegun, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Senator Hadi Sirika, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), General Lawal Jafar Isa, Mr. Mohammed Hayatudeen, Mr. Solomon Dalong, Prof. Tam David West and Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
THISDAY further learnt that the inclusion of Lai Mohammed in the committee is aimed at arriving at an odd number in its composition, which could give the chairman the deciding vote on knotty issues should the need arise.
But just at Buhari’s transition committee was being given its terms of reference, Jonathan yesterday warned the president-elect against forming a parallel government and overheating the polity.

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