The Federal Government on
Wednesday changed its mind on
the earlier plan for President
Goodluck Jonathan to formally hand
over power to the President-elect,
Muhammadu Buhari, on May 28 as
against the May 29 Democracy Day.
The Minister of Information, Patricia
Akwashiki, had last week said that
Jonathan intended to have the
formal handing over done at a
dinner on May 28, so that the
administration could reserve May
29 for the incoming government.
That announcement generated
controversy with some prominent
lawyers arguing that the plan
would create a vacuum in the
leadership of the country as Buhari
would be inaugurated 24 hours
after the handing over ceremony.
But while briefing State House
correspondents at the end of the
weekly Federal Executive Council
meeting presided over by Jonathan
on Wednesday, Akwashiki recanted.
The minister, who said the meeting
again centered on the transition
programme, denied ever telling
reporters that the President would
hand over to the President-elect on
She claimed that what she said was
that the process of preparing
handover notes would be
completed by May 28.
She explained that Jonathan would
not hand over power until May 29.
She said, “In the council today, the
discussion was still centered on
“I have to make a little clarification
because some people thought I
said May 28 will be the handover
date. I never said that.
“I said May 28 will be the last day
that we will have our handing over
briefs by ministries and parastatals.
I said from the 28th of this month to
that date has been given to
departments and ministries to
submit their handover notes.
“I remember somebody asked if
there would be no vacuum if there
is handover on May 28 and I replied
that there would be no handing
over on May 28.
“Handing over and inauguration
will hold on May 29. The President
is not handing over power on May
28, he is handing over power on
“We have started the transition and
it is ongoing. We are submitting
our handover notes to the Office of
“The President is still the President
until May 29, when Gen. Buhari
takes his oath of office and resumes
as the President of the Federal
When asked to disclose the reason
behind the Tuesday sacking of Mr.
Suleiman Abba as the Inspector-
General of Police, Akwashiki said
she had no explanation to make
because the President had the
right to appoint and fire his
“I think it is within the President’s
power to appoint and sack and he
did what he had to do,” she said.