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After weeks of consultation and character evaluation, President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari has finally short-listed 18 persons across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, who will make up his transition committee ahead of the May 29 handover date.

In a related development, President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari met on Friday for the second time this month behind closed doors at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Also, the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, still struggling with the reality of the loss of his party in the Presidential election, attributed the defeat to the “political tsunami that swept across the northern part of the country which was too much for the PDP to withstand.”

Although the transition committee to be headed by Malam Ahmed Joda will be made up of three persons from each of the six geo-political zones, sources said the South-west however has more representation (four persons) indicating the weight and influence of its leader in the zone, Senator Bola Tinubu.

The sources further hinted that apart from Buhari who decided the choice of persons selected across the zones, Tinubu also had a major and significant input in the list, in addition to also exceeding the regional quota of three persons per zone.

The committee which, according to sources, will be inaugurated on Monday or sometime next week comes with terms of reference for members, chief of which is liaising with members of the committee put together by the Jonathan administration for smooth handover.

Apart from Joda, who has been selected as the chairman and Dr. Doyin Salami as Vice-chairman, the committee also has Malam Adamu Adamu as its secretary.

Other members of the committee according to an exclusive document made available to THISDAY are Mr. Boss Mustapha, Malam Muhammad Hayatuddin, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), Dr. Tam David West, Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Chief John Oyegun.

Also on the list are Mr. Festus Odimegwu, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Mrs. Nike Aboderin, Mr. Wale Edun, Mrs. Bola Adesola, Barrister Solomon Dalong, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Senator Hadi Sirika and Brig-General Lawal Jafaru Isa.

Aside liaising with government’s committee, the terms of reference also includes studying and working on the handover notes preparatory to May 29.

Other terms, THISDAY learnt, include designing the blueprint that would assist the Buhari government take off smoothly with a clear understanding of the challenges at hand.

Responding to the calibre of persons likely to make up his transition committee a few weeks ago, Buhari told THISDAY in an interview: “We have started discussing about it. Personally, I will make sure that it is not too big because if it is big, they will start thinking of how to influence the choice of ministers either for themselves or those they want to be ministers.

“But my hope and my idea is to get knowledgeable and experienced technocrats that are really patriotic to study the handing over notes by ministries and make recommendations. I want them to be completely detached people who are patriotic Nigerians; who are knowledgeable and experienced.”

Jonathan meets President-elect behind closed doors…
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari yesterday met for the second time this month at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Sources close to the Jonathan/Buhari meeting held behind closed doors said the two leaders discussed national issues, especially the smooth hand-over of government on May 29.

After the meeting, both Jonathan and Buhari came out beaming with smiles. Jonathan later stated that a date would be picked to take Buhari on a tour round the Presidential Villa.

When prodded further by State House correspondents to disclose what transpired at the meeting, though Jonathan said it was not the appropriate time to talk, he however said national issues were discussed.

The President said: “Thank you gentlemen, we have nothing to tell you today. Formally, we will take a date when the President-elect will come and I will show him round the State House.

“But today is not for that. Today, we are continuing with our conversation. So, we don’t need to worry the President (referring to Buhari). You don’t need to also worry the President, (referring to himself).”

Asked how their conversation went, Jonathan said “but you can see that we are smiling.”

When further asked what they discussed, Jonathan said “I will not tell you, but for the interest of the country.”

When Buhari was asked what they discussed, he simply said the president had said it all. The president-elect’s response elicited more laughter.

Jonathan and Buhari quietly commenced the process of handing over power on April 4, when the duo met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The April 4 meeting was the first by Jonathan and Buhari after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the All Progressives Congress’ candidate winner of the March 28 presidential election.

The April 4 consultation which was described as “private” was held at the new Banquet Hall inside the President’s office. No statement was issued after the meeting.

Political tsunami in north swept PDP out of power, says Mu’azu…
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, yesterday opened up on why his party lost power to the mega opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that the “political tsunami that swept across the northern part of the country was too much for the PDP to withstand.

“There was total political tsunami in the North,” he said, adding that it was because of the devastating effect of the tsunami that he could not deliver his home state, Bauchi, just like others who could not deliver their states.

Mu’azu, who fielded questions from journalists after a brief visit to Government House, Umuahia where he held meetings with party faithful, said he had accepted full responsibility for the failure of PDP to retain power at the centre and in some states where it hitherto held sway.

But he warned those agitating for his sack along with other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) over the defeat of PDP in the presidential poll, saying that they should see it as collective responsibility.

“Unfortunately for them, the responsibility as to whether we succeed or fail does not rest solely on the NWC,” he said, adding that he was not surprised at the negative reactions over the outcome of the 2015 general elections because “success has too many fathers and brothers and sisters; failure has none”.

Mua’zu said all hope was not lost for the ruling party as his leadership had put in motion the machinery “to rebrand, redirect and reposition” the party.

He emphasized the need for PDP members to put behind them the party’s poor performance in the 2015 general elections and work hard individually and collectively to ensure success of the party in subsequent elections.

According to Mu’azu, the PDP was well prepared to give the APC a run for their money and would do all in its power to retake its lost position in the Nigeria’s political contest, saying that there was hand of God in the outcome of the general elections.

“I believe in God and I believe in destiny and I also believe that power belongs to the Almighty God. He gives what he wants to whom he wants.

He has taken power from us and given it to another party,” he said,

adding, “This is not the end of the world. A man has been defeated in war but he lives to fight another day.”

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