Buhari Rejects Goodluck Jonathan's May 28th Handover Date

There are indications that the All Progressives Congress is uncomfortable with the May 28 handover date proposed by the out-going administration.
It was revealed that the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan and the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) are set to clash over a proposal by the Jonathan team to hand over the mantle of leadership to Buhari on May the 28th, instead of the 29th.
It was gathered that the Buhari team was already over what they considered as an act of ill-will laced with sinister motives.
This is sequel to an announcement by the Minister of Information, Senator Patricia Akwashiki, that President Jonathan would perform the handover ceremony at a dinner on May 28.
Akwashiki made the announcement after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.
She told journalists, “By May 28, the President intends to have the formal handover done at a dinner so that we can reserve May 29 for the incoming government.”
However, since the return of democracy in 1999, the traditional date for the handover of power has been May 29, which is also observed as Democracy Day.
This tradition has been the vogue for the past 16 years. It also presents an opportunity for the outgoing President to formally present the instrument of authority to his successor in the full glare of members of the public, local and international media, as well as foreign dignitaries.
A top member of the All Progressives Congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media said, “It is simply not acceptable, we are rejecting it, it is a trap.”
He explained that from a security point of view, it could be considered a trap.
“How can anyone explain a situation where an outgoing president and his team will conveniently excuse themselves from an event where they are supposed to play a role when the President-elect and the Vice-President- elect are supposed to be present?” he queried.
According to the party chieftain, power abhors a vacuum as such, the constitution does not envisage a situation where Nigeria will be without a sitting President even for one hour.
He said, “If Jonathan hands over on the 28th, who accounts for the hours before the morning of the 29th when the Chief Justice of the Federation is to administer the oath of office and the oath of allegiance?
“What if there is even a sinister motive to this whole saga? As the President of the nation; who will still be the Chief Security officer until he hands over, there is no excuse that is strong enough to excuse him from the event.”
When contacted, a member of the Buhari campaign team, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said while he was not privy to any meeting on the subject yet, it was only logical to ask Nigerians not to rest on their oars until total liberation was achieved.
He described the announcement by President Jonathan to hand over a day earlier than was due as a ploy to rubbish the gains made with the historic win by the opposition APC.
Fashakin said, “It (the proposed handover on the 28th) portends ill for the political destiny of this nation.
“That statement is loaded and it shows that the Nigerian people should not rest yet that there is still ominous signs which we should never take for granted. If Jonathan truly said he is handing over on the 28th it presupposes that he will be absent on the 29th.
“Number one, if he hands over on the 28th to the President-elect, does Gen. Muhammadu Buhari start to act effectively on that date? The answer is an emphatic NO.
“GMB does not start to act on that date, if you get what I mean. Handing over to GMB on that date is not only meaningless, it is stupid. It has no meaning in law, or reality. It means that for 24 hours before GMB takes over there will be a vacuum.”
He further argued that on the side of morality, Nigeria borrowed its constitution substantially from the American Constitution, and as such, it should learn a thing or two about how it operates.
He said there was never a time in recorded history where an outgoing American President, who is hale and hearty, will absent himself from the handover ceremony of his successor no matter their political differences.
Although, it is not yet clear how the Buhari team would handle “this threat,” it was learnt that the party’s legal team is being put on notice to be on the alert.
It was also gathered that the President-elect and his team have kept the issue of ministerial appointments in abeyance.
A member of the party’s National Working Committee, who pleaded for anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said, “The general is a meticulous person and we all know that the main task before us now is the transition committee. The issue of who will be minister has been kept in abeyance.”
When contacted to speak on the president-elect’s views on the handover date and appointments, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “You will get our reaction later after due consultation.”
Attempts to speak with the Minister of Information proved abortive. She was not in the office when our correspondent visited. However, the Personal Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Joseph Mutah, promised to get in touch with her and revert .
He had yet to do that as of the time of going to the press and when his mobile number was called, he did not pick the call.
The Information Minister had also after the FEC meeting said the President had directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prepare their handover notes and submit them to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, on or before Monday.
According to her, it is Anyim’s responsibility to compile the notes, which will form Jonathan’s handover document to Buhari on May 28.
She had said, “You know May 29 is our Democracy Day. So, we have activities lined up all through that week, showcasing all what we have achieved and all other things we do normally on our Democracy Day except that this year is special with the inauguration of our new President that is coming up on May 29.”
The minister said the valedictory FEC meeting would hold on May 20, adding that everything that required the President’s approval must have been presented to him by May 13.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria


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