Presidency Blames Jonathan for Delay in forming Buhari’s cabinet

Mallam Garba Shehu

• PDP: Delay was president’s early display of incompetence •Buhari received handover note ahead of his inauguration, Jonathan replies

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Presidency has blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for causing the delay in the formation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet in 2015.

This is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mocked the Presidency for blaming Jonathan for Buhari’s delay in forming his cabinet, saying the delay was the president’s early display of incompetence.

Former President Jonathan has however, defended himself, saying he had set up a transition committee, which produced a handover document, which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration

Buhari took over on May 29, 2015 but did not form his cabinet until November 11 of the same year.

Speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, alleged that Jonathan did not give Buhari handover notes until 48 hours before his departure.

“That President Buhari took 166 days to form a cabinet is absolutely untrue. It took him time to form a cabinet because the outgoing administration in 2015 did not cooperate with the transition committee.

“The President was given handover notes 48 hours to the handover of power and for whatever reason, the President at that time determined that two governments would not operate at the same time,” Shehu explained.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mocked the Presidency for his blame of former President Goodluck Jonathan, for his delay in forming his cabinet in 2015.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement Monday, said It was a settled matter that Buhari could not form a cabinet for over five months after his inauguration, primarily due to sheer incompetence, lack of preparedness and the fact that he was overwhelmed by the complexity of the office of the President of Nigeria.

He noted that it was unfortunate that the Buhari Presidency would always resort to peddling falsehood as a cover for its failures.

Ologbondiyan said, “In accusing the Jonathan administration of frustrating early formation of President Buhari’s cabinet, by allegedly delaying the submission of his handover notes to the Transition Committee, the Buhari Presidency forgot that the head of the Transition Committee, Ahmed Joda, had since May, 2015 publicly dispelled such as false and diversionary, noting that the committee got all the cooperation it needed from the Jonathan’s administration. “

“It is therefore ludicrous and the height of hypocrisy for the Buhari Presidency to now turn around after three years to blame President Jonathan for President Buhari’s confessed failure.”

Ologbondiyan said Nigerians should also recall how President Buhari refused to hasten the formation of his cabinet following his widely condemned view, in September 2015, that minister were mere “noise makers”.

He stressed that Buhari had expressed his personal unwillingness to appoint ministers when, in an interview with France 24 TV, in France, he said that the absence of ministers was not affecting governance in Nigeria.

According to President Buhari “the ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise”. “As for the cabinet, I said we will have one by the end of the month, and time flies. The end of the month is coming too quickly for my liking”.

The PDP therefore counselled the Buhari Presidency to note that peddling falsehood and blaming the previous administration for its failures will not help it in 2019.

The main oppositiion party stressed that Buhari has not only shown, but also personally confessed that he lacks capacity to handle an economy as complex as Nigeria’s.

“The only thing left for President Buhari to do is to start preparing to accept defeat in 2019, as Nigerians are now rallying behind our candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who has the solutions and blueprint that guarantee a better future for our nation.”

Meanwhile, former President Jonathan has said that he set up a transition committee that produced the handover document, which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration.

In a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, the former president however, reminded Shehu that handover note is not a document that guides a president to appoint his ministers.

He argued that a newly- inaugurated president needs the support of his ministers, who would handle different departments of government, to study and understand his handover notes for effective performance of his initial duties.

“In his own case, former president Jonathan magnanimously set up a transition team that produced the handover document which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration. Anyone who uses handover notes to justify a President’s indiscretion of not appointing ministers until after spending six months in power, is either being mischievous or does not really understand governance processes. Sometimes, when Mr. Shehu speaks, he comes across as someone who is unaware of the fact that, under our laws, an administration is elected for a tenure of four years within which it is expected to have fulfilled its campaign promises, before returning to the electorates for a fresh mandate. In case he does not know, Shehu should be reminded that blaming others for one’s failures is not a proof of performance,” the statement explained.