There are strong indications that the transition process is not going smoothly in many states as the outgoing governors are allegedly not cooperating with their successors.
Following the development, the panels set up by the incoming governors are asking questions on the financial conditions of the states, thus generating tension.
In Zamfara State, Governor Bello Matawalle was accused of not cooperating with the incoming administration of Dauda Dare ahead of the inauguration on May 29.
The Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Faruku Ahmed, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, stressed that since Matawalle lost his re-election bid, he had abandoned the state and had been avoiding the governor-elect.
Ahmed further alleged that Matawalle left the state two months ago and was not cooperating with the incoming administration in terms of the transition programme.
Ahmed said, “The incoming administration of Dauda Lawan Dare has been trying to get some relevant information from the outgoing administration, but Governor Bello Mattawalle is not willing to cooperate with the committees appointed by the incoming governor to find out the true picture of things.
“Based on this, the incoming governor appointed sub-committees to go round the ministries, departments and other agencies in order to get relevant information because Governor Matawalle is not willing to prepare handing over notes.”
He condemned those condemning the committee appointed by the governor-elect to investigate ministries, departments and other government agencies in the state.
He said Dare had every right to appoint committees to furnish him with relevant information on the activities of the outgoing administration ‘’so that he would know where to start and how to recover some government properties and funds allegedly diverted by the outgoing administration of Governor Bello Matawalle in the last four years.’’
The incoming governor recently constituted a committee under the leadership of a former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, to ensure the smooth handing and taking over of government on May 29.
“Since Governor Matawalle is not ready to cooperate with the incoming administration, the appointed committees will find out the true situation of things for the incoming administration.
“So, we will not wait until the handing over date. We will continue to invite top civil servants and public office holders to come and make clarifications,’’ the PDP spokesman declared.
APC faults gov-elect
But the Publicity Secretary of the Zamfara State All Progressive Congress, Yusuf Idris, faulted the allegation that Mattawalle had abandoned the state, describing the claim as untrue.
Speaking to The PUNCH on the phone, Idris explained that the governor had only travelled outside the state for important functions.
He said it was not possible for Ahmed to know whether the governor was in the state or not.
He noted, “Governor Matawalle has been coming to the state but goes back to attend some important functions for the progress of the state. Whoever told you that he has been away since the time he lost the election is only saying so to tarnish his (Matawalle’s) image.
“I want people to understand that whether the governor is in the state or not, the government’s activities are going on smoothly without any hindrance.”
The state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, also criticised Dare for appointing committees to get information on the activities of ministries departments and agencies.
Dosara in a statement said this was illegal as Matawalle was still the governor until May 29.
He, therefore, asked the MDAs and other agencies to desist from releasing any information to the incoming administration without the consent of the transition committee appointed by the outgoing administration.
The statement read in part, “This is to inform the general public that it has come to the attention of Zamfara State government that some members of the incoming government transition committee are currently going around ministries and departments of the government collecting information and conducting investigations into the activities of the MDAs.’’
In Benue, there seems to be no love lost between the governor-elect, Rev Father Hyacinth Alia and the outgoing administration following the controversy trailing the two transition committees set up by Governor Samuel Ortom and Alia.
The APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Daniel Ihomun, who spoke on behalf of Mike Iordye, the Chairman of the transition committee, said he was not enjoying the cooperation of the state government’s committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Tony Ijohor, SAN.
He further lamented that the presidential lodge, the expected temporary lodge for the governor-elect had not been renovated.
He said, “The outgoing administration has been recruiting more people at a time it cannot pay those who are in the service for over 10 months; it cannot pay pensioners, yet it is recruiting more people to add to the burdens of the incoming government.
“This is a government that did not recruit for over seven years; so, the question is, why now?’’
Ortom plans handover
But the state government has declared it will formally hand over power to the incoming administration on May 28.
Addressing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mike Inalegwu, said this was to enable the incoming administration to celebrate and reduce the cumbersome transition processes on May 29.
In Kano State, the outgoing government of Governor Umar Ganduje was also accused of not collaborating with the New Nigeria Peoples Party transition committee under the chairmanship of Dr Bappa Bichi.
The committee recently addressed a press conference where it alleged that Ganduje was undermining the transition programme by not providing the necessary cooperation.
Speaking to our correspondent, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor-elect, Sanusi Tofa, stated, “It was after that press conference we started getting cooperation but not full cooperation or as expected.’’
But a top government official of the state government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH on the telephone on Monday that the Ganduje administration had provided the NNPP transition committee with all what it needed.
The official, who expressed satisfaction with the committee’s performance so far, called for understanding in order to ensure a hitch-free transition of power on 29th May, 20.
The same situation is being experienced in Abia State where the transition committee set up by the Governor-elect, Alex Otti is reportedly having issues with the outgoing Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Otti’s representative in the Abia State Government Handover Committee, Rev. Fr. Christian Anokwuru disclosed that there was a snag in the committee’s work due to the delay in providing the handover documents.
Getting insight into the finances of the state may be a problem as according to Anokwuru, “It is expected that the outgoing administration would avail the governor-elect the handover documents early enough to enable him to study the content before May 29.
“The handover documents covering the government’s activities from 2015 to April 2023, ought to have been ready.
“Unfortunately, the government committee appears to be more preoccupied with preparations for the swearing-in ceremony rather than the documents. If the government insists that the handover documents would only be made available on May 29, it means the governor-elect has to take some time to study them.’’
The situation in Plateau State appears to be slightly different as the transition committee said the transition programme was on course.
But the Chairman of the Publicity Sub-committee, Yiljap Abraham, complained that no funds had been released by the outgoing administration to facilitate the inauguration.
He said, “We are still awaiting the government in that regard(release of funds). We just hope that they will cooperate. We have a date already fixed for the inauguration of the governor-elect and that is May 29. But for now, no funds have been released to the transition committee.