Transition Process Was Almost Scuttled By Jonathan, PDP’s Mental Unpreparedness For Defeat At The Polls, Says Buhari
Recall that the president earned himself the nickname “Baba Go-Slow” following the delay in constituting his cabinet over five months after he assumed office.
According to Buhari, the delay in the constitution of his cabinet was due to the absence of adequate information in the handover notes of the Goodluck Jonathan government on what his administration was inheriting.
He insisted that the handover notes, which came four days to his assumption of office, were vague and not as helpful as they ought to be.
He, therefore, called for an institutionalized framework that would make seamless transition possible.
President Buhari stated this yesterday in Abuja at the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) post-elections stakeholders’ conference on Government Transition Framework for Nigeria.
The conference had the theme: “Strengthening the Nigeria political transition frameworks for democratic consolidation”.
Represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the president was of the opinion that the failure of the last administration put in place a smooth transition process was an indication that it did not anticipate the defeat it suffered at the poll hence, it did not put any structure in place for the country’s first ever real transition programme.
The president added: “Our experience in the last transition process was unique, despite the fact that we have held many general elections and transitioned from one government to another. Indeed, the last election heralded the first real transition in the history of our nation, being the first time that an opposition party will sweep the ruling party out of power.
“This probably explains why the then ruling government was completely caught unawares by the outcome of the election.
“For the government led by a ruling party that had vowed to stay in power for 60 years in the first instance, they were not prepared for any transition that would not be from themselves to themselves. How can they, when they felt invincible, judging by their perceived strength and assumed popularity and the huge resources at their disposal?
“Because they were not mentally prepared for the outcome of that election, they were unable to put in place structures that would make the transition seamless”.
The absence of these structures, the president pointed out, almost scuttled the transition process that followed.
“Because our country lacks an institutionalized transition system, the then ruling government simply did not know what to do, and unpatriotic elements exploited the situation, which almost led to a national crisis”, he said.
Making a case for an instutionalized framework for transition process, Buhari said: “It is important to state here that every democrat, every politician must imbibe the culture of true democracy, which implies that they will appreciate the power of the people in determining whether or not they remain in power.
“No administration must look beyond its immediate mandate, and elected governments must eschew arrogance and avoid personalizing and politicizing the system.
“It is absolutely important, therefore, that we put in place an institutionalized system that guarantees a seamless transition of power, whether intra, that is from a ruling government to itself, or inter, from the ruling power to the opposition. This will in turn reduce the kind of tension and anxiety that attended the last transition, and set the tone for a predictable and orderly transfer of power, thus solidifying the concept of governance as a continuum.
“In putting in place an institutionalized transition process, we must also look at what obtains in the world’s older and more advanced democracies. The fact that their system of transition is clear and unambiguous is the reason why they have been able to avoid the kind of tension and uncertainty that we experience in these parts”.
President Buhari, therefore, urged the country to learn from such advanced democracies and ensure a proper framework that meets international best practices as far as transition frameworks are concerned, is put in place.