President-elect Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend said only credible, patriotic and knowledgeable Nigerians would make up the transition committee, as part of the first steps to chart an entirely new path for the country.
Screening of members of the transition committee, which will meet with a similar committee from the presidency on the handover from the Goodluck Jonathan administration to the incoming Buhari-led government, THISDAY learnt, is being handled by, among others, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election.
After the screening process, Buhari, it was also gathered, would personally interview each of the members of the committee, as there is the major likelihood that a few of them would be elevated to ministerial posts in his federal cabinet when he takes over as president.
Buhari also assured members of the other political parties, who have been defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) of justice in the party, regardless of the misgivings about their former parties.
Speaking with reporters at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, shortly after casting his ballot in the governorship and House of Assembly elections, Buhari said Nigeria’s problem has been one of lack of accountability and a terrible budgetary system, which has resulted in the death of institutions. Buhari, who is averse to an unduly large transition committee to prevent members from capitalising on it to influence the choice of ministers either for themselves or those they want to be ministers, maintained that round pegs would be put in round holes.
“My hope as well as my idea is to get knowledgeable and experienced technocrats that are really patriotic to study the handover notes by ministries and make recommendations. I want them to be completely detached people who are patriotic Nigerians, who are knowledgeable and experienced.
If we get majority of politicians involved, it will lead to rows and we may end up with inconclusive recommendations, which are not very helpful in our condition. When I get it ready and before it is published, I will show it to the leadership of my party and the terms of reference, as well as the time limit and the result of their work. “We will quickly study the recommendations before the inauguration so that before we are sworn in, we get into action,” he said.
On the state of the nation, Buhari said: “It is a difficult time for Nigerians as you all know. I have said it in the past that in the last 16 years, Nigeria has never realised the amount of revenue it received. A barrel of crude oil rose to about $140 and has crashed to about $50 now.