Former President Goodluck Jonathan said he should not be blamed for the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint ministers early enough, in the life of his government.
Jonathan who was reacting to the allegation by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint ministers until six months after taking over office was because Jonathan delayed to hand over to him.
The former president, in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze told presidential spokesperson that handover notes from a predecessor does not contain the list of ministers for the incoming administration.
“As strange as that particular assertion may sound, it still beggars belief that a spokesman of a president who is seeking re-election would still be looking for a scapegoat for the administration’s failure, at a time he should be showcasing his scorecard.
“That amounts to merely clutching at straws,” Jonathan said.
He noted that someone like Garba Shehu, whom he said, has been around the corridors of power for that long, should understand governments basic functions and procedures.
“Handover notes, being transitioning documents, are usually received by an incoming president from his predecessor at the time of change of government.
“It is not a document that guides a president to appoint his ministers.
“Under normal circumstances, 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.
“Those who think like Shehu that a government would not function properly if it does not receive handover notes in time, should be reminded that there is no law establishing the process.
“It is simply a matter of convenience for an outgoing president to develop handover notes to guide his successor understand key issues and hit the ground running,” the former president said.
Jonathan recalled that he set up a transition team that produced the handover document which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration, adding that anyone who uses handover notes to justify a president’s indiscretion of not appointing ministers until after spending six months in power, 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 electorate for a fresh mandate.
“In case he does not know, Shehu should be reminded that blaming others for one’s failures is not a prove of performance.
“Assuming, without out conceding, that the last administration was as bad as they want Nigerians to believe, is it not a fact of governance that it is the duty of every responsible administration to seek to make better the situation it met on ground?” he added.
According to him, while Buhari’s government continued to blame his administration for its failure to deliver on their mandate, there are many African success stories that proved that a progress-minded administration has no business focusing only on the past.
“From a past of the worst genocide in recent history, Rwandan President Paul Kagame did not blame anybody when he took charge. He simply hit the ground running, and today, we all know where Rwanda stands in Africa’s growth and development index.
“The story is similar in Cote d’Ivoire where President Alassane Ouattara was able to turn around the Ivorian economy within two years after it had virtually collapsed following the negative impact of the country’s worst political crisis.
“As the Buhari government nears its end, the minders of the administration should please tell Nigerians what new projects, programmes and institutions for good governance they have added to those established by the various administrations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), since they took office on May 29, 2015,” Jonathan demanded.