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Towards A Hitch Free Handing Over

The handing over is a Nigerian event, not a political party programme. It, therefore, calls for patriotism, not antagonism, co-operation not suspicion and commitment, not partisanship

The entire nation is currently agog with preparations for the May 29, 2015 handing over ceremonies which will take place simultaneously in Abuja, the federal capital city, and in most of the state capitals. On that day in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan will hand over the instruments of political power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari while the newly elected governors in 32 states will also be inaugurated. To facilitate the process that would lead to these events, committees have been set up at the federal level and in the states where new governors were elected recently. At the federal level, the committees superintending the various aspects of the handing over ceremony have commenced work in earnest.

One of them which is known as the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee is jointly chaired by Senator Pius Anyim Pius, secretary to the government of the Federation and Chief Timipre Silva, former governor of Bayelsa State. The committee is in charge of the ceremonial aspect of the transition programme. There are also two transition committees, one appointed by the out-going government and which is headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo and the other appointed by the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and headed by Ahmed Joda. Both committees are already working very closely on the bureaucratic details of the handing over. The committees working together are determined to ensure that the handing over turns out to be both a successful social and political event. Nigerians and the entire international community expect nothing less.

This handing over event is not only important but delicate and needs to be given adequate attention. The committees handling various aspects of the programme must bear these in mind as they perform their duties. The programme is important because it has a lot to do with the political destiny of the country, and delicate because it is the first time power is changing from the custody of one political party to another at the federal level under the present democratic dispensation which began in 1999. The process, if not carefully handled, could be exploited by overzealous and ambitious politicians to create and promote misunderstanding between leaders of the out-going government and the in-coming one.

Such unfortunate signs recently manifested and gave rise to the warning by President Jonathan to leaders of the in-coming administration not to stampede his government on national issues through utterances that seem to suggest that there is a parallel government in the country. The handing over event which the various committees are working on is the concluding part of the 2015 elections. Global attention is still very much on this country as it was during the elections. Many world leaders are expected in the country for the ceremonial aspects of the handing over and nothing must go wrong during the period. We must not only prove to the world that we are good at hosting our guests, but that we are in addition, capable of ensuring their safety while they are here.

All of these can be achieved if the various committees and organs of government superintending various aspects of the handing over event work together for the common goal on making it hitch free.The handing over is a Nigerian event, not a political party programme. It, therefore, calls for patriotism, not antagonism, co-operation not suspicion and commitment, not partisanship. It must come as a befitting icing on the cake of political transition that began with the Presidential Election of March 28. Political party members serving on the transition and planning committees of the handing over programme should, therefore, drop the garb of political partisanship and act as patriotic citizens promoting the culture, unity and peace that our country is noted for. In achieving a peaceful transition, our security agencies have a very critical role to play.

The police, the Nigerian Security Service, the Defence Corps and the Armed Forces, must be properly mobilised and motivated to be their best during that period. They must not be denied whatever is necessary for them to serve the country well on this occasion. In addition, the entire Nigerian citizenry must offer a helping hand in whatever way that they may be required towards making the ceremony hitch free.The ceremonial aspects of the handing over offer us a unique opportunity to advertise our culture and tradition to the outer world. We must not let that opportunity elude us. Therefore, the event must be crisis free if guests must be relaxed enough to pay attention and to savour what we have on offer. All the venues of activities must be safe guarded. Participating troupes and other forms of entertainers must be carefully chosen to comprehensively reflect our diverse culture and tradition.

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