By Ibidapo Balogun
The National Council of State has approved a template for the smooth inauguration of new government in Nigeria.
Under the new arrangement, President Goodluck Jonathan will lead the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari , and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on a guided tour of Aso Rock on May 28.
He will later present his handover notes to the new president that same day.
The Council of State comprises the President, Vice President, Senate President, former Heads of State and Presidents, Chief Justice of the Federation, former Chief Justices and State Governors.
The meeting, the last before the May 29 handover was attended virtually all former heads of state and presidents.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting of the council, Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue said the approval of the template was meant to ensure uniformity in subsequent transitions in the country.
“The Council decided that henceforth there has to be a template that successive transitions will follow. We never had it, this is the first time that one is going to be developed so that subsequently there is no speculation as to what needs to be done; everything is in a template.
“Yes, if there is a transition whether is the same party to the same party, they follow the same template. If it is from one party to another party, the same template, this is the first time that it is being developed; you notice or recall that we never really have a template as what to follow, how we go about our transition.
“But what is going to happen this time round is going to be permanent for successive transitions.”
Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger said arrangements had been concluded for the smooth May 29 inauguration of the incoming Buhari’s administration.
He said invitations were extended to all heads of states and governments within and outside African continent to enable them to witness the event.
Aliyu said similar invitations were also extended to Prime Ministers of the G8, multilateral heads like the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
According to him, the council newly approved template for the May 29 inauguration indicates that President Jonathan on May 28 will take the incoming president and the vice-president on tour of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“For activities on the template for this one, we said the May 22 will be for the Friday Prayer, May 24 will be Sunday Service, May 28 will be for both handing over of documents as well as dinner and May 29 apart from the inauguration, there will be a luncheon and there will be a gala night.”
Aliyu stated that the Council condemned the culture of “African time”, saying such behaviour would not be entertained during the inauguration and beyond.
He said the council of state meeting would be the last under President Jonathan’s administration. The meeting, which was presided over by President Jonathan, was attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, all former Heads of State and Presidents, Chief Justice of the Federation and former Chief Justices of the Federation and state governors.