ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – President Goodluck Jonathan will on May 28 at a dinner present to President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, detailed handover notes.
Earlier on that day, Jonathan will take Buhari and Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on a familiarisation tour of the Presidential Villa.
These were some of the decisions taken at the Council of State meeting presided over by President Jonathan on Tuesday.
The Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, alongside his Benue State counterpart, Gabriel Suswam, told State House correspondents after the meeting that all official documents prepared by the Transition Committee would be handed over on May 28 while May 29 would be strictly for the inauguration and swearing in of the new President.
According to Suswam, the Council took time to discuss the transition and inauguration committee and concluded that henceforth the template that has been developed for the smooth transition programme becomes permanent and would be maintained for subsequent transitions whether or not it is same party.
According to Aliyu, all is now set for the inauguration as invitations have been sent to all African leaders, the G8 Presidents and Prime Ministers and other multi-national organisations, like the United Nations, Commonwealth, African Union and ECOWAS. Aliyu added that the Council warned against keeping invited guests waiting, stating that the “invitee must not arrive before the inviter”.
The Niger governor said, “Every Ministry, department and agency that has worked for government including all the funds that have been collected, how they have been utilised and the assets and the liabilities of government will all be put together in documents and will be handed over to the incoming government. Officially the government will be handed over on the 28th of May.
Aliyu also said former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon in Council also moved ‘a thank and gratitude motion’, reiterating all the beautiful things that have happened in the Council of State and thanking President Jonathan and all the members of Council for their contribution to the development and unity of Nigeria.
Gowon, according to the Niger State Governor, particularly commended both President Jonathan and Gen Buhari’s conduct during and after the elections.
“President Goodluck Jonathan in conceding defeat and the magnanimity of Gen. Buhari which set the tone for the peaceful and unifying forces that came into Nigeria. That today you can hardly notice the tension that was there before the elections and we hope that this convention and this tradition that we have established will continue in our subsequent elections. That those people defeated will accept and those elected will be magnanimous in victory”.
Suswam told newsmen that the Council of State also discussed the security situation in the country as briefed by the NSA. He said the NSA told Council that Nigeria is now more prepared than it was three years ago in fighting insurgency.
He said the NSA noted that the incoming administration would pick up from what has been done so far and he believed that the incoming administration would have less problems.
He said, “The National Security Adviser did a very comprehensive briefing on the security situation in the country among which was the issue of Boko Haram, successes recorded so far which are known to all Nigerians.
“But he did mention that it took a while because Nigeria after the civil war, relaxed. There were no serious challenging security issues in the country and so when Boko Haram emerged, it was a new phenomenon. The military and security agencies could not cope with it because nobody anticipated it. It took time for them to address it because they were getting together trying to get the collaboration of some surrounding African countries who Nigeria had never had or share intelligence with them in terms of security. But now all of them are on board and it becomes easier for us to witness what we have witnessed, where we have Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and even Mali collaborating with Nigeria in order to fight this insurgency because they are also affected”.
On the incessant Fulani herdsmen’s clash with farmers, Suswam said the Council discussed the issue and the way forward.
He said, “Actually the report that was presented by the Economic Council under my chairmanship as relates to the issues of grazing and what the federal government need to do in order to address that will be presented to the incoming president so that he will act on it, since there is no time for the administration to do that.
“But on the whole, 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 giive serious assistance.
“So 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 moving forward. 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 (NSA) believes that the incoming administration will have less problems than the outgoing administration.
“So Nigerians should have confidence that insurgency will soon be a thing of the past and he assured Council of State that before May 29 at least, the enclaves which is Sambisa Forest will be properly combed and anihiliated and that will at least put paid to the incessant gorrila style attacks that have been raging in the past.
“The issue of Fulani herds men is an issue the incoming administration will address. There is a document that states what needs to be done that will reduce the clashes which has resulted to a number of IDPs in places like Niger, Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa states. These are places you have incessant clashes between the herdsmen and farmers”.
Speaking more on the herdsmen and farmers, Aliyu said, “one aspect of that important document, you will recall in one of Economic ouncil meetings, a decision was taken on how we can reduce and gradually domesticate the herdsmen like it has been done else where in the world. Instead of the movement from Sokoto to Calabar and co, we will domesticate them in ranches. That document stated clearly how the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture can act. And many of the Fulani herdsmen are now willing to be domesticated”.
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