Opinion: What we expect from Buhari’s transition team

by Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú


buhari-osinbajo3Buhari has a clear mandate and we expect him to govern broadly with sweeping reforms. We know it won’t be an easy ride but we are ready. At the risk of oversimplification, the incoming President’s tasks can be named “The Three Ps”

We have hired General Muhammadu Buhari as our new president, now what? Whether re-hiring a sitting president or a new one beginning his first presidency, we should be keenly interested in ensuring that the new president’s first months in office flow as smoothly as possible. That brings in the idea of using a transition team to assist the new president. The transition team has many responsibilities. The easy part is that it is responsible for staffing the incoming Buhari administration, vetting potential cabinet members, developing advisory councils and who serves on them, and recruiting personnel. The hard part of their job is coordinating and working with the outgoing Jonathan administration for a smooth transfer of power, communicating with key advisors and leaders in the public and private sectors, and drafting Buhari’s initial presidential agenda. It is important for General Buhari to appoint a thoughtful transition team comprising patriotic men and women of integrity to help with these tasks. That is why the team’s planning and oversight functions are the most critical elements of the presidential transition process. The transition team will be ensuring that the country’s pace is maintained during the process and that the sitting President has a clear, substantive agenda for his final weeks, while accommodating the creation of a government-in-waiting.

What do we expect? We understand that the remaining six weeks of President Jonathan’s tenure is very crucial for this country. Given the peculiar inadequacies and incompetence of the current government, the transition team should be mindful of the typical banana peels of uncooperative staffers, lost momentum, last minute looting, frayed nerves, no show by key personnel, huge financial gaps and bad documentation. There is no one best way to manage these transitions, but the inescapable element is watchfulness. It is in the best interests of Nigerians that this presidency be brought to a close in the most productive and gracious manner possible. Given the unpreparedness of the incumbent for possible loss and the circumstances leading to the election and his concession, a productive close is going to be hard but the transition team must work hard at it. By the way President Jonathan is acting, he has since assumed super lame duck status. He has skipped events, there has been no definitive agenda in the last one year and every kobo has been staked on winning the election he eventually lost. The transition team will easily become part of the problem if it discountenances this ending.

Buhari’s transition team should work to ensure that the Jonathan presidency ends with dignity. We all know Mr. Jonathan is unloved, his exit should be scheduled, in style as to honor the position he occupies. A dignified departure is needed and it is necessary to maintain faith in our democracy. This is because the outgoing and incoming presidents both have reputational and leadership stakes in how the departure is portrayed. A graceful departure is what we want for Jonathan, we need to start leading by example and leaving behind good examples.

In furtherance of our expectations and hope invested in Buhari, it is important for his team to keep the transition process transparent. We demand that the brightest and forthright be appointed into positions. We want to know which officials are being selected to serve in his administration to lead us for the next four years. We are excited by his promise of not appointing any corrupt persons to positions in his government. We expect appointments will be made and tailored to fulfilling Buhari’s campaign promises, to rebuilding our government from the ruins of bad governance and to serving Nigerians again, as expected.

Buhari has a clear mandate and we expect him to govern broadly with sweeping reforms. We know it won’t be an easy ride but we are ready. At the risk of oversimplification, the incoming President’s tasks can be named “The Three Ps” – Personnel, Process, Policy. Sir, I recommend you review the policy commitments you made during the campaign and make a determination on the order in which you will honour them. Some will take time and a lot more will take resources that are already plundered. Good enough, you have set your own goals of what you expect to accomplish in your first 100 days. I must warn you Sir, that at 100 days, the honeymoon period will be over and your achievements within those days will be the marker with which the media will use to judge you. I wish you luck!


Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times Editorial Board. She tweets from @olufunmilayo


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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