Pursuant to his promise of a peaceful handover of the reins of government, President Goodluck Jonathan has offered to lead the President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), on a guided tour of the structures and facilities of the Presidential Villa. This will be done on May 28, a day to the official handover to Buhari.
The tour of the Presidential Villa, which will also include the Vice-President-elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is part of the decisions reached at the valedictory Council of State meeting which held in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Council of State ratified the programme of both the federal government and incoming government’s transition committees for final transmission of power on May 29.
The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, and his Benue State counterpart, Gabriel Suswan, jointly briefed State House correspondents after the meeting.
Aliyu told journalists that on May 22, there would be Jumat prayer, while an interdenominational church service would be held on May 24.
The transition programme, according to the governors, indicated that May 28 remains the handover of notes to the incoming government, while May 29 would be the inauguration proper.
He stressed that Jonathan is expected to take the president-elect and his deputy on a familiarisation tour of the Presidential Villa, the seat of government.
He noted that there would be a lunch and gala night on the same day of the inauguration.
On the handover of notes on May 28, Aliyu said: “It is only a technicality. One is inauguration, the formality of the new president taking over. Technically, the 29 is for the man to take over.
“For handing over documents, you don’t wait till that May 29 because after the inauguration, the transition committee may continue. If you recall, when President Jonathan came on board, he inaugurated the General Danjuma’s committee to look at all the documents that were handed over to them and make recommendations. So it is a continuous thing.
“The handing over of documents from the outgoing president to the incoming president will take place on May 28 and the inauguration on the 29.”
Aliyu disclosed that both transition committees had concluded their work and were set for the inauguration of the new president.
“Invitations have been sent out to all the presidents of African countries, including presidents and prime ministers of the G8, multilateral heads like the United Nations, Commonwealth, ECOWAS and African Union. We expect a beautiful ceremony on the 29th.
“We also reiterated that there will be no African time. This idea of inviting people and the invitee arrives before the inviter is not good for us. And therefore we must set examples for people to follow as leaders and those of us who organised this event, we must stick to the details of the timing of the activities,” Aliyu added.
On his part, Suswam said the council decided that going forward, there should be proper templates in which all transition committees must follow on the handover to the new administration.
“The council decided that henceforth there has to be a template in which transition will follow. This is the first time one is going to be developed, so that there is no speculation as to what needs to be done as everything will be in a template.
“There is a transition whether it is from the same party to the same party or from one party to another is the same template. You will recall that we have never had a template in which to follow and how we go about our transition but what is going to happen this time around is going to be permanent,” he added.
The governor added that, “The National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), also briefed the council on the security situation in the country among which was the issue of Boko Haram and the level of successes recorded so far by security forces.”
Suswan, who briefed journalists on security issues, noted that the present administration had handled the insecurity in the North-east to a level that would give less problem to the incoming government.
“The summary of what the NSA presented to council was to say that Nigeria is now better prepared than it was three years back in fighting any form of insurgency because outside the immediate surrounding countries, the international community have also keyed in to give serious assistance.
“Moving forward is not going to be like what happened before where these insurgents had a field day where our military were put in a bad light.
“Our military is well equipped now, there is better training for them to cope with terrorism. Terrorism was alien to this country and so once it came, we needed to counter the terrorists.
“That has been done and so Nigeria is fully ready as a country to fight any insurgency. But the incoming administration will pick up from the solid foundation that has been laid in addressing security challenges. There is a new way of doing things and he believes that the incoming administration will have less problems than the outgoing administration.
“Council also deliberated on the Fulani herdsmen, which he noted needs to be looked into by the incoming administration.
“There is a document that states what needs to be done that will reduce the clashes which have resulted to a number of IDPs in places like Niger, Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa. These are places you have incessant clashes between the herdsmen and farmers,” Suswam added.