A major disagreement has broken out between the transition committees of President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari as the president accused the Buhari team of acting like a parallel government and trying to stampede the Jonathan administration out of office.
Addressing state House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting Wednesday, the Minister of National Planning who is also a member of the Jonathan Transition Committee, Abubakar Suleiman said the Buhari transition team was making impossible demands from the government.
Although he did not name those demands, he however warned that the president’s magnanimity should not be construed as cowardice, insisting that Jonathan is still in charge till May 29.
He said the Jonathan administration is not comfortable with some terms of reference of the incoming government’s transition committee, which tend to create a parallel government.
To this end, he said that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) have been directed to follow the terms of reference of the present government and not those of the incoming administration.
“I’m speaking as member and chairman of sub-committee of transition committee. Council discussed the state of the transition programme and as chairman of sub-committee of transition committee, we were asked to update council on the progress report.
“We did receive from the in-coming government transition committee some terms of reference which we looked at critically. And council did agree that the Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan remains the current President of this country.
“The incoming government should avoid creating a parallel government while the government is still on. We take exceptions to some utterances to some of the terms of reference that look as if the current government is being stampeded or intimidated.
“Council frowned at most of the statements, most of the provisions and council members are advised to work in line with the terms of reference of the current government.
“Council members are also told that the terms of reference as formatted by our transition committee should be strictly complied with.
“When the incoming government take 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.
“This government remains resolute 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 the Council also enjoined members to be steadfast and come out with programmes, projects to be commissioned, and those that need to be inspected.
Recalled that the All Progressives Congress, had in a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed, said the terms of reference of the committee includes to develop a clear framework for liaison with the out-going Administration for the purposes of a smooth hand-over/take-over and to receive hand-over documents from Ministries, Departments and Agencies and itemise the most important or most urgent issues confronting the in-coming government.
It said the committee 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.
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.
It is however, not clear, which of the terms set by the party for the committee is considered by President Jonathan as attempt to run a parallel government and stampede him out of office.