I’m Still the President, Jonathan tells Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I’m Still the President, Jonathan tells Buhari

Posted: Apr 30, 2015 at 1:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•Warns Against Parallel Govt , Urges Ministers, Civil Servants  to Resist Intimidation

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja


For the second time this week, President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday reminded the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress that he remains in charge until May 29, 2015.

The President was apparently angered by the panic resulting from statements made by Buhari, particularly on Sunday when he told a delegate of the Adamawa APC that his government would probe the alleged $20 billion ‘missing’ from the Nigerian National Corporation of Nigeria (NNPC). Buhari told his visitors in Abuja that the amount was too huge to be ignored, especially when it made by a seating Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the time- now Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, now Emir of Kano.



Addressing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive (FEC), Minister of National Planning and chairman of the transition sub-committee of the Presidential Inauguration/Handover Committee, Abubakar Suleiman, warned the incoming government against comments and actions that portray him as running a parallel administration before the handover date.

Suleiman said his committee briefed the FEC on progress so far made, adding that 80 per cent of the work on handover notes has been completed. Most Ministries, Departments and Agencies, he added, have complied with the presidential directives ahead of the deadline.

The President charged the Ministers and other cabinet members to remain steadfast, continue to discharge their duties with the appropriate efficiency until their last day in office and not be intimidated by comments of members of the incoming government.

The President tasked them to still come up with outstanding projects that are due for commissioning, while refraining acts that could put the administration in bad light.

The Minister further warned that Jonathan’s magnanimity be not mistaken for cowardice, adding that he remains President of the country until he hands over to his successor.

According to Suleiman: “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 mention to Council that as at yesterday 28th April, almost all the MDAs that were advised to submit briefs, handing over notes have complied, except for one or two ministries.

“The committee is having on ground right now two versions of presentations, we have the executive summaries of all the MDAs hand over notes and the entire hand over notes from almost all the MDAs.

“The transition process is on course in terms of hand over notes and briefs. We have covered almost 80 per cent of our assignments.

“We did receive from in-coming government’s transition committee some terms of reference which we looked at critically. And Council did agree that the Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan remains the current government of this country.

“The incoming government should avoid creating a parallel government while the government is still on. We take exceptions to some utterances and 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.

“Council members are advised to work in line with the terms of reference of the current government. Council members are also advised that the terms of reference as formatted by our transition committee should be strictly complied with.

“When the incoming government takes 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 29th.

“While Council enjoined members to be steadfast, Mr. President also enjoined members to come out with programmes, projects to be commissioned, that needs to be inspected and members in council should work as government, should perform their work without intimidation.

“Government officials, especially civil servants, directors, director-generals should see this government as the current government and not do anything that will rock the boat so as not to put this country in a bad light.

“These are issues before the transition committee, these are are issues that were raised on transion programme.

“I want to tell you that as at yesterday (Tuesday), the chairman of the incoming transition committee, Mallam Ahmed Joda, conferred with the chairman of the transition committee of the current government, Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

“They had a very robust discussion and they are working together as a family and I want to believe for the good of this country, things will work.

“The magnanimity of Mr. President should not be taken to be cowardice and that is why Mr. President and indeed, Council members enjoined Nigerian people to see the olive branch extended to Nigerians and international community as a way of keeping this country intact, as a way of ensuring peace in Nigeria and as such whatever the outcome of the election, what is important is Nigeria’s national interest.

“And that national interest should be protected, enhanced and promoted at whatever level we are. These are issues that bordered on transition programme discussed in Council.”

It would be recalled that following Sunday’s statement by Buhari is believed to have resulted in Monday’s decision to release the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report on the NNPC. Before now, the Presidency had ignored strident calls to make the report public.

Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati told State House correspondents on Monday, while announcing release of the report, that President Jonathan had nothing to hide, as the allegations of missing funds in NNPC remain “unproven”, hence the decision to release the audit report to Nigerians to be properly guided.

“President Jonathan is deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.

“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter”, said Abati.

Abati said the Jonathan administration sees nothing wrong with any attempt by the incoming administration of Buhari to review all actions of the present government within the confines of the law.

He also dismissed allegations of last-minute looting of parastatals, rushed privatisation of keys institutions and hurried recruitment into some government organisations.