Written by Nuruddeen M. Abdallah
There are fears in some quarters that the delay in forming the committee may affect Buhari’s plan to hit the ground running on assumption of power on May 29.
There are high expectations from Buhari’s supporters after he defeated Jonathan in the March 28 keenly contested presidential poll.
The federal government set up its own transition committee on April 13 headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, said the committee is saddled with the responsibility of receiving briefs from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as preparing President Goodluck Jonathan’s handover notes.
The SGF said the committee would later interface with a transition committee to be appointed by General Buhari on May 29 handover.
But since then the president-elect has not named his committee members fuelling fears of internal squabbles within the party.
Daily Trust learnt last night that Buhari may have assembled his transition committee members and may unveil them latest tomorrow.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership has been meeting since last week to decide on the composition of the transition committee and zoning of National Assembly leadership positions.
But the APC seems to be battling to balance competing interests in sharing leadership positions in the National Assembly as revealed by multiple sources who spoke to Daily Trust.
An insider told our reporter that many thought Buhari would name the transition committee when he returned from Kaduna on Monday. “We thought the president-elect would have assembled the people that will serve on his transition committee while he was in Daura and Kaduna.
“When that didn’t happen, we thought he would announce them on Monday when he returned to Abuja or at least last Wednesday during the party caucus meeting. But he didn’t,” the party chieftain said.
But another source in the party said Buhari didn’t discuss the committee issue during the caucus meeting partly because of the large number of people that attended.
“The meeting was meant for party top leaders such as the president-elect, his deputy Prof. Yemi Osinabjo, party chairman John Oyegun, party leaders Bisi Akande, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar,” he said.
“But over 60 people found their way into the meeting hall, some of whom were not even invited in the first place.
“So, the president-elect didn’t speak about the committee at all. He made general statement thanking and congratulating party chieftains for the poll victory,” the source said. Another source attributed the delay to the way Buhari allowed the party so much leverage on the composition of the committee.
“Under the presidential system, the transition committee as well as the appointment of key presidential aides is the president’s exclusive preserve.
“The president-elect’s involvement of the party at this stage is partly responsible for the delay as various power blocks emerged and are trying to influence the course of events,” he said.
In an interview with journalists in Daura two weeks ago, Buhari said technocrats rather than politicians would be appointed on the transition committee.
Party bigwigs said there is nothing bad in Buhari allowing the party a greater say in these appointments, but added that this now causing unnecessary delays.
Another source said: “There are basically four zone able positions. They are the president, his deputy, senate president and speaker. But other appointments such as the SGF, NSA, chief of staff and other key presidential aides are the president’s exclusive. The president-elect should have gone ahead to do it,” the source said.
The source added: “what obtains now is a situation where these key appointments that will allow the president-elect to kick start his administration has been subjected to debates by an army of politicians who have drawn their swords to feast on the so-called national cake.”
He said the concern over the delay is capable of sending wrong signals to the public who have huge expectations from the incoming government.
“The Buhari government is not going to take over volumes of handover notes. There is the need to have a thorough interface with the heads of the some of the critical sectors.
“Questions must be asked, evidence must be produced, among others. Thus, time is precious. The government needs to start working after May 29. There is no need for any delay,” he said.
Apart from the transition committee, the squabble over zoning of key positions is generating concern as some elements within the party believe that some party chiefs have hijacked the process.
“The zoning process has been hijacked. The party is actually zoning positions to individuals hiding under the cover of geopolitical zones, and that is very dangerous,” he said.
He said the “senate presidency is being reserved for Bukola Saraki in the name of North-central; BOT chairman is being zoned to Atiku in the name of Northeast; speaker is being allocated to Tinubu’s favourite, Femi Gbajabiamiala in the name of Southwest.”
“The SGF is being reserved for Ogbonnaya Onu in the name of Southeast; deputy senate president is being reserved for Danjuma Goje in the name of Northeast; majority leader is going to Borno since Yobe has the national secretary,” the party chief said.
Speaking earlier, the APC campaign spokesperson Garba Shehu said Buhari and the party could not be too careful on choosing who they will give their part of the assignment to because of the enormity of the task.
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