Former President Goodluck Jonathan has rejected persistent moves by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to attribute its failure to previous government.
He has particularly debunked insinuations that his successor in office (Buhari) was unable to hit the ground running when he assumed power in 2015 because he received the handover notes late.
Jonathan, who was reacting to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, blaming the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint ministers six months after taking over office on the previous administration.
According to Garba, the delay of six months before the cabinet was constituted was because Buhari received the handover notes 48 hours before taking the oath of office.
However, Jonathan dismissed this claim as an attempt at clutching straws and looking for a scapegoat for the failure of the Buhari administration at a time he should be showcasing his scorecard.
Jonathan, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, said he had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the Buhari government to appoint ministers early enough to inspire confidence in investors as handover notes from a predecessor did not contain list of ministers for the incoming administration.
He described the statement crefited to Shehu as an embarrassing gaffe, coming from a man who had been around the corridors of power for a long time. “Handover notes, being transitioning documents, are usually received by an incoming President from his predecessor at the time of change of government.”
The statement reads: “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.
“In his own case, former president Jonathan magnanimously set up a transition team that produced the handover document which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration.
“Anyone who uses handover notes to justify a President’s indiscretion of not appointing ministers until after spending six months in power, is either being mischievous or does not really understand governance processes,” he said.
Jonathan reminded Buhari and his handlers 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? Anything less than that is a prove of incompetence for which a failed administration has no moral justification to ask for a fresh mandate.
“While members of the current administration continue to blame President Jonathan for their failure to deliver on their mandate, they should be reminded that there are many African success stories that proved that a progress minded administration has no business focusing only on the past,” he said.
Jonathan cited examples of other African leaders who took over the mantle of leadership of their countries during difficult times and how they were able to exercise their mandates without blaming the past.