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Tony Blair


 We can’t afford flamboyant transition programme – Sylva


MALACHY UZENDU, Deputy Editor, Abuja


FORMER British Prime Minister, Tony Blair Wednesday declared that the international community is standing solidly behind the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

This was as a former governor of Bayela state and chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) inauguration Committee, Chief Timipre Sylva also stated that Nigeria cannot afford a flamboyant transition programme.

Blair who spoke shortly after a close-door meeting with Buhari, explained that “Nigeria has earned respect throughout the whole world” by the peaceful manner they conducted their general election.

“There is enormous support for Nigeria now in the international community. The support takes into consideration the challenges that lie ahead and there is great confidence in the country.

“This is an election which took place in a way which the country showed the majority of democracies the spirit and character of its people and in the President elect and Vice President elect, it is a leadership that I know is determined to do its best for the country.

“Obviously, the future and destiny of Nigeria lies in the hand of its people. I just want to say to the President elect that there is tremendous support for you and the country at this moment and all of us, in whatever way we can stand ready to support you and help you.

“It is a moment of great challenges which bothers on the life of the people as well as their security and so on. If the same spirit and character that define the election can be taken through these coming years to address the challenges, I think we can all have great confidence in the times ahead”.

Responding, Buhari noted that at a meeting, “the issue of how Britain and the United States were helping us in making sure that we conducted ourselves according to our constitution” were discussed and thanked them for their efforts at ensuring that the will of the people triumphed.

“The fact that it has been so successful is a major relief for us and to all people of conscience throughout the world.  I thank the former British Prime Minister for his concern for Nigeria and Nigerians, in what he is prepared to do by continuing to help us as a country and as a people”.

In another development, Chairman of Inauguration committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Timipre Sylva, revealed that the country is not presently buoyant to have a flamboyant ceremony due to economic crunch the country is presently going through.

Sylva also confirmed Ahmed Joda’s statements in an interview at the APC Secretariat in Abuja yesterday that there was no crisis between the two transition committees.

He said: “There are no challenges, we are planning very well and I think we are going to give Nigerians a compact inauguration, we are not going to be flamboyant, we think that this country cannot afford a flamboyant ceremony this time because the economy is not in good shape right now. So we are actually planning to give Nigerians a sanitise and compact event which will be a source of pride to Nigerians.

On the number of Heads of states of government expected for the ceremony he said, the committee was yet to get all the confirmation but “we have already getting some from countries.”

While dismissing the insinuation that there may be rift between the incoming and the outgoing government, the former governor of Bayelsa state said: “There is no problem, it is just politics, what happen is that they were on the wrong side and they lost, we are on the right side and we won. And so the government will have to continue and just like we were there when they were governing, they also have to be there when we are governing the country”.

On the allegations that he is still carrying a corruption baggage and as such, not qualified to be in Buhari’s cabinet,  he responded that, “I will be shocked to hear that, maybe those peddling the allegation are the court and they have already convicted me, we have courts in the land and you know that PDP is the party of impunity.

“Today if I pick you up and I charge you to court on charges of corruption , does that convict you? It is only the court that can convict you and that is why we have rule of law. A situation where people just pick you up and say you’re corrupt just to persecute you, does not augur well for our democracy, I have been vindicated politically and I will be vindicated by the court also because I ran the best government in Bayelsa state, a better government than what the outgoing President ran in Bayelsa state. I can assure you that I am going to come clean at the end of the day from the charges against me”.

Continuing he said, ” you can ask them why they are charging for an offence, while they have discharge my accountant general and my commissioner of finance, what does that tell you? It means that, this is just mere persecution because no governor can access fund unless through his accountant general or commissioner of finance. Both of them have been exonerated that means there is actually no crime at all”.

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