Leon Usigbe -Abuja
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has directed all ministers with request for approvals from his office to forward such on or before May 13, as he bids to wrap up everything about the handover to the new administration before the May 29 date.
The president indicated that he would like to formally hand over to the president-elect, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, on May 28 over dinner, so that the new president could have May 29 for himself.
The Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) are, therefore, to submit their briefs to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) next week Monday, so as to enable the president to prepare his handover notes on time.
These decisions were communicated to the ministers during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Minister of Information, Mrs Patricia Akwashiki, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, also assured that government activities would not grind to a halt during period of transition, cautioning that government would not engage in activities to suggest it was rushing through some programmes before its exit.
She said: “You know we are already in transition. So, there is very little to report. What we discussed with the president in council, he emphasised on the need for all MDAs to submit their handing over notes to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on 20th of this month. That is next Monday. So, we are going to be very busy this weekend putting our handing over notes together.
“The president also emphasised that he would require another little briefing from all MDAs to indicate inherited projects, how far it had been executed and initiated projects by his administration and the level of completion, whether completed, ongoing or abandoned. So, that was it at the council meeting.
“We discussed other issues, but particularly paid attention to the transition and how to make it effective. As you are all aware, we have transitional committee already set up by the president, headed by the vice president, Namadi Sambo. Other than that, we have an inaugural committee, headed by the SGF. So, everything we are doing, we are doing to achieve smooth transition, getting all our notes together.
“By May 28, the president intends to have the formal handing over done at a dinner, so we can reserve May 29 for the incoming government. By May 28, we expect to have concluded one way governance and we are welcoming incoming government.
“Also, you know May 29 is our Democracy Day. So, we have activities lined up all through that week, showcasing all we have achieved and all other things we do normally on our Democracy Day. Except that this year is special with the inauguration of our new president that is coming up.”
On why the deadline of May 13 was given to the MDAs to submit their notes, Akwashiki explained that it was necessary to enable the SGF have enough time to coordinate the notes before passing it to the president.
She added: “It is for the MDAs to submit their notes to the SGF, who will handle the total package of the handing over to the incoming administration. It doesn’t mean that the exact notes that will be passed on.
“There is a format to follow and so it becomes easier for all the MDAs to follow the template. If they do that, it will be easier for the president to compile everything.
“The format is to ensure you submit everything before they pass it to the incoming government. That is not to say that governance has stopped, of course we are in government until the day the president-elect takes oath of office.
“There is no space or vacuum. There are things happening and if you have any pending contract approval, it has to be submitted before May 13. Everything that requires the president’s approval should be submitted before May 13.
“We also do not want the incoming administration to accuse us of rushing projects which is normal, so we are guided by that. And if you have approvals, we are going to have FEC every week. The last, which will be the valedictory one, will be on May 20. So, governance is not stopping. We are still working and in the event you have approvals, it must be concluded before May 13.”
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