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Nigeria Transitional Teams Disagree Over Handover Process

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, center-left, and opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, center-right, hug and shake hands after signing a renewal of their pledge to hold peaceful "free, fair, and credible" elections, at a hotel in the capital Abuja, March 26, 2015.

FILE - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, center-left, and opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, center-right, hug and shake hands after signing a renewal of their pledge to hold peaceful "free, fair, and credible" elections, at a hotel in the capital Abuja, March 26, 2015.

Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress (APC) says officials with outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration are thwarting the transitional process ahead of President-Elect General Muhammadu Buhari’s official swearing-in.

General Buhari is tentatively scheduled to take the oath of office May 29.

APC spokesman Lai Mohammed said Thursday Johnson's transitional team is not fully cooperating with the APC team to ensure a smooth handover, despite Jonathan’s public pronouncements to do so.

“Our understanding was that the two groups will meet together and work together. As a matter of fact we were assured that handing-over documents would be issued to us, and we will examine them, and we would ask for clarifications,” said Mohammed.

Local media quoted Abubakar Suleiman, a cabinet minister, as accusing the APC of setting up a group that is acting like a parallel government with a goal of stampeding the Jonathan administration out of office.

Suleiman also said the APC team was making impossible demands. He warned that Jonathan’s magnanimity should not be interpreted as weakness.

“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 members are advised to work in line with the terms of reference of the current government,” said Suleiman.

But APC spokesman Mohammed denied the party wants to undermine the outgoing administration.

“Parts of the terms of reference of the members of the committee [were] that we should examine whatever records, documents, and figures that were given to us and ask for clarification where necessary," he said. "We were surprised to learn that the federal government would not even be ready to handover those documents to us. And they asked us to wait as late as the 14th of May, which would leave us with barely two weeks [until] the handing over. So we see their statement yesterday [Wednesday] as a smokescreen, they are not making things easy for us.”

He said the APC has been patient and ready to work with the outgoing administration to ensure a peaceful handover in spite of the disagreements.

“What do they mean by intimidation and harassment? So far [our] transitional team has not issued one statement," he said. "All we did yesterday was to publish the names of the members that were inaugurated and the terms of reference. We are tired and sick of this argument that because the president conceded defeat therefore, we cannot criticize the government again.”

“All kinds of appointments are being made, appointments that are bound to tie the hands of the incoming administration, yet when we raise these issues, they say we should be grateful that the president conceded as if that concession speech is enough to wipe off all sin," he added. "We refuse to be intimidated or blackmailed by them.”

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