From the All Progressives Congress (APC), came yesterday a punchy reply to the Goodluck Jonathan administration’s accusation of running a parallel government.
Instead, the party accused the government of:
•plotting to hinder a smooth handover; and
•blackmailing the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration.
President Jonathan complained on Wednesday about the terms of reference of the 19-man transition committee set up by the APC.
The committee is to give an overview of some agencies, including Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
To the Jonathan administration, this is like running a parallel government. It kicked.
“The incoming government should avoid creating a parallel government…the magnanimity of Mr. President should not be taken to be cowardice,” Minister of National Planning Suleiman Abubakar told reporters on Wednesday.
The APC defended its position yesterday in a statement by its spokesman Lai Mohammed.
It is, according to the APC, becoming apparent that the Jonathan administration will not co-operate with the incoming administration for a smoooth handover on May 29.
In the statement issued in Abuja, the party also described as “an act of hostility and a patently-misplaced aggression” the “unnecessary vituperation against the incoming Buhari administration by the Jonathan government, ostensibly because of the terms of reference of the Buhari Transition Committee but in reality part of an orchestrated plot to sabotage the transition”.
It rejected what it called the continued blackmail by the Jonathan Administration as a result of President Jonathan’s concession of defeat, wondering whether the concession, gracious as it was, has now become a shield for all wrong doings.
‘’We are sick and tired of being blackmailed by the Jonathanians. Gen. Buhari won the 28 March Presidential Elections fair and square, having satisfied both constitutional and other statutory requirements. We have no apology for our victory, and the concession of defeat – while it may have increased the political stock of President Jonathan – has by no means diminished the historic and emphatic victory of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress,’’ APC said.
Justifying its statement that the Jonathan Administration is plotting to hinder a smooth transition of power, the party said while the outgoing government had earlier issued a memo to all ministries, departments and agencies to ensure their handover notes are ready
by April 20th, the government has now reversed itself and said the handover notes will not be ready until May 14th.
‘’With the new date, the Buhari Transition Committee will have little or no time to take a thorough look at the handover notes or seek clarification on knotty issues, effectively handing it (Buhari Transition Committee) a fait accompli as far as the handover notes are concerned. This does not augur well for a smooth transition and gives the impression that the outgoing Administration is trying to hide something.
‘’By its dillydallying on the date for the readiness of the handover notes from the MDAs, the administration’s posturing that it is ready to hand over has been exposed as nothing but a smokescreen,’’ it said.
APC described as illogical and strange the claim by the Jonathan Administration that the President-elect is trying to set up a parallel government simply because he has set up his own Transition Committee and given it terms of reference meant to guide the members on the
discharge of their duties as members of that Committee, wondering how on earth those terms of reference have become the concern of the outgoing Federal Executive Council.
‘’In case the Federal Executive Council has forgotten, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner of the March 28th Presidential Election by INEC. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is therefore today the President-elect and the All Progressives Congress the incoming government. It is therefore illogical to accuse the
President-elect and the incoming government of setting up a parallel government.
‘’It is either the outgoing Federal Executive Council has something to hide or is bent on sabotaging the incoming government. There can be no other reasons for the misplaced aggression that was exhibited in that ill-intentioned, unprovoked and vitriolic statement from the Jonathan government,’’ the party said.
To put the matter beyond doubt, said the party, it decided to publish in full the terms of reference in question so that Nigerians can judge for themselves whether there is anything suggestive of intimidation or running a parallel government in the document.
APC warned the “Jonathanians” not to overstretch the goodwill which the President has earned by his gracious concession even before INEC officially declared Gen. Buhari winner of the March 28th election, saying while it was momentous, it was not unprecedented in Africa, where power has changed hands peacefully between the ruling and opposition parties in several nations.
Said the APC: ‘’Are they now saying that because the President conceded defeat, the incoming administration can no longer ask legitimate questions or seek clarifications that may arise from the handover notes?
‘’We will not surrender to any blackmail, subtle or otherwise. We shall ask questions and ask for explanations and clarifications whenever and wherever we deem such necessary. We cannot run a transparently honest government or fight corruption if we are prevented from asking legitimate questions and seeking clarifications from the outgoing government during the transition process. Let the Jonathan Administration not tie our hands behind our back just because he conceded defeat after losing an election.”