Nigeria’s president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed concern that his incoming administration is misunderstood by opponents. This, shortly after receiving an interim report about the country’s state of affairs presented to him by his 19-member transitional committee.
Buhari, who is scheduled to be officially installed on May 29, says his government wants to know the state of affairs before deciding its actions after taking over from President Goodluck Jonathan.
Local media quoted Buhari as saying “The incoming government was misunderstood. It is not that we are preparing for indictment. What we are trying to get is a starting point, where we are exactly going to start from…We have seen the debt profile and the performance of the economy… The question is what can we do about it, especially the urgent ones like social security, lack of fuel in the country and fraud. The list is endless.”
Buhari’s comments came after his transitional committee led by its chairman, Ahmed Joda, said they did not receive many documents from the outgoing administration needed for its work. Buhari’s spokesman, Shehu Garba, says the lack of cooperation is unfortunate.
“They did not get any document from the outgoing administration on which to work and they have not been given access to the outgoing ministers or heads of government departments. So, there has been no support whatsoever that has come to them from the government,” said Garba. “They received a lot of support from the private sector…On the basis of which they were able to formulate solutions to quite a number of the problems that confront the country and on the face of which government can go into business from day one.”
Local media quoted Abubakar Suleiman, a cabinet minister, as accusing Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (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.
Garba disagreed with Suleiman, saying Buhari expected a smooth cooperation from the outgoing government.
“What the president-elect said he expected was that all of the documents would be placed on the table in good time so that [his] transitional committee will read and examine them where they need clarification, ministers who are around will be in a position to throw light on areas that need that kind of clarification,” said Garba.
“Now, how can you read all of those volumes [of documents] within 24 hours? And maybe they probably have bought their air ticket and they will be flying out of the country the moment they hand over the next day, they would have flown out of the country. Who do you get to offer clarification on matters that you don’t understand? This is what people should understand," said Garba.