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Council of State okays new transition agenda

By Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
12 May 2015   |   11:36 pm
THE National Council of State (NCS) yesterday ratified the template for a smooth transition from one democratic government to another.
 President Goodluck Jonathan, former heads of state, governors and other members after the valedictory Council of State meeting at the State House, Abuja …yesterday                                     PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Goodluck Jonathan, former heads of state, governors and other members after the valedictory Council of State meeting at the State House, Abuja …yesterday PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• Arase confirmed substantive IGP
• Jonathan takes Buhari on facility tour on May 28
• NSA briefs council on security strategy

THE National Council of State (NCS) yesterday ratified the template for a smooth transition from one democratic government to another.

The Council comprises the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives, former Heads of State and Presidents, Chief Justice of the Federation, former Chief Justices and governors.

In a joint briefing of State House correspondents after the meeting, Governors Gabriel Suswam of Benue and Niger states, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu disclosed that the approval of the template was meant to ensure uniformity in subsequent transitions in the country.

Also, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase was yesterday confirmed as the substantive police boss. The new IG pledged to use his tenure to battle insecurity in the country.

To achieve that, he said he would put the welfare of officers and men of the force on priority list.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the confirmation of his appointment by the National Police Council, (NPC) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, Arasesaid he had already mapped out strategies to control crime in all parts of the country.

Meanwhile, fresh facts emerged yesterday why the immediate past IGP, Suleiman Abba lost his job. According to the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and former IGP, Mr. Mike Okiro, Abba was sacked because of indiscipline in the force.

Arase was appointed by Jonathan on April 21 following the sacking of Abba.

On the new template, the Council decided that henceforth, there has to be a template that successive transitions will follow. We never had it. This is the first time that one is going to be developed so that subsequently, there would be no speculation as to what needs to be done. Everything would be in a template.

“Yes, if there is a transition from same or a different party, they follow the same template. If it is from one party to another party, the same template. This is the first time that it has been developed; you notice or recall that we never really had a template as to what to follow, how we go about our transition.

“But, what is going to happen this time around is going to be permanent for successive transitions.’’

Also speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Aliyu said arrangements have been concluded for the smooth May 29 inauguration of the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said invitations were extended to Heads of State and Governments within and outside Africa to enable them witness the event.

According to him, the Council’s newly approved template for the May 29 inauguration, which indicates that Jonathan will, on May 28, take the incoming president and vice-president on a tour of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“For this inauguration, activities scheduled on the template indicate that May 22 will be for Juma’at prayer; May 24 would be for Interdenominational Church Service, while May 28 will be for handing over of documents as well as dinner. On May 29, apart from the inauguration proper, there will be a luncheon and gala night.’’

The Niger State helmsman also confirmed that a ‎motion was moved by Gen. Yakubu Gowon to commend Jonathan and all members of Council for their contribution to the development and unity of Nigeria, particularly, the reactions of both Jonathan and Buhari, following the elections.

“President Goodluck Jonathan’s concession of victory, and the magnanimity of Buhari in his acceptance, set the tone for the peaceful and unifying forces that came into Nigeria. Today, you can hardly notice the tension that was there before the elections ‎and we hope that this tradition that we have established will continue in our subsequent elections, that those defeated will accept and those elected will be magnanimous in victory.”

Suswam noted that the National Security Adviser, (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki briefed the Council on the security situations in the country, the issue of Boko Haram and the successes ‎so far, in the fight against insurgency.

Suswam said the NSA told the Council that it took a while to record the recent breakthrough against the insurgents and that there had not been any major security threat to the nation since the Civil War.

His words: “Nigeria, after the civil war, relaxed. There were no serious challenging security issues in the country ‎and so when Boko Haram emerged, it was a new phenomenon. The military and security agencies could not cope with it because nobody anticipated it. It took time for them to address it because they were trying to get the collaboration of some surrounding African countries who Nigeria had never shared intelligence with in terms of security.

“But now, all of them are on board and it becomes easier for us to witness what we have witnessed, as we now have Cameroun, Chad, Sudan and even Mali collaborating with Nigeria in order to fight this insurgency because they are also affected.

“The issue of the clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers ‎was also addressed and the way forward canvassed. Actually, the report that was presented by the Economic Council under my chairmanship as relates to the issues of grazing and what the Federal Government needs to do will be presented to the incoming president so that he will act on it.

“But on the whole, the summary was that Nigeria is now better prepared than it was three years back in fighting any form of insurgency because outside the immediate surrounding countries, the international community has also keyed-in to give serious assistance.

So, it is not going to be like what happened before where insurgents had a field day during which our military were put in a bad light.

“Our military is well-equipped now. We have better training for them to cope with terrorism. Terrorism was alien to this country and so once it came, we needed to counter the menace. That has been done and so Nigeria is ready as a country, to fight any insurgency. The incoming administration will pick up from the solid foundation laid by the Jonathan-led government in addressing security challenges. There is a new way of doing things and we believe the incoming administration will have fewer problems than the outgoing one. Nigerians should have confidence that insurgency will soon be a thing of the past.

“The issue of mercenary Fulani herdsmen will be addressed by the incoming administration. There is a document that states what needs to be done that will reduce the clashes which has resulted to Internally Displaced Persons in places like Niger, Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa. “

Among past presidents and Heads of State at the meeting were the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.