Issues On Handover Notes In Sokoto: Setting The Records Straight

Former Sokoto State Governor, Sen. Aminu Tambuwal
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By Mohammad Mainasara Ahmad, mni

The attention of the immediate past Government of Sokoto State under Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR has been drawn to an online publication report in which the Governor of Sokoto State, His Excellency, Dr Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, made claims publicly about a purported “refusal” of the recent past administration to submit its handover notes to his Government on assumption of office. It is in response to this claim and in order to put matters on record in their true perspective, that I wish to submit as follows:-

The immediate past Government under Rt Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR, Mutawallen Sokoto, in fulfilment of the protocols and conventions of handing over to a new administration, set up a transition committee under the immediate-past Deputy Governor, Hon Manir Muhammad  Daniya with the mandate to prepare a comprehensive and complete report on its ongoing projects and programs, assets and liabilities.

The State Government Committee was tasked with the responsibility of deriving from such report, detailed notes to be handed over to the incoming Governor by the outgoing Chief Executive, as is conventionally required during a change of Government.

To ensure harmony and facilitate the sharing of information, especially during the process, the then State Government Committee, through my  self, as its Co-Chairman and Secretary to the State Government, formally comminicated to the then Governor-Elect, HE Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, informing him about the formation of the State Government Committee as well as seeking collaboration with his own Committee, through  participation in our deliberations. This was conveyed in a letter dated, April 20,2023.

However, the offer was turned down  on the strength of a verbal protest by HE Ahmed Aliyu that I had no competence to communicate the request to him, insisting that such invitation should directly be extended to him by the outgoing State Governor.

The Governor-Elect’s Committee in a letter, dated May 2, 2023  signed by its Secretary, Ibrahim Adare, demanded for draft handing over notes from the State Government Committee, with the obvious intention of using same to prepare briefs for the incoming Governor. In  response, our committee drew their attention to the fact that hand over notes are by convention, developed by a joint committee of members from both sides and could only be exchanged between the outgoing and incoming Governors.

Regardless, the incoming Government’s Committee informed its counterpart on the Government side that it would commence visits to MDAs to demand information to facilitate  the formation of its blueprint for the actualialisation of its mandate. This was conveyed to the Government Committee via a letter, dated May, 4, 2023 and signed by Ibrahim Dadi Adare, Secretary of the Governor-Elect’s Committee.

Blueprints for new administrations are however, partly based on the reports of transition committees, which are again prepared by members drawn from both the outgoing and incoming governments. To prevent the potential breach that was about to occur, due to the intended isolated effort of HE Ahmed Aliyu’s Committee, I  sought to meet their chairman for a round table discussion to address the challenge. He promised to revert to me on the date and time of the proposed meeting but he did not contact me for more than ten days, after which I tried to reach him on the phone several times without success.

Another request however came from the Governor-Elect’s Committee, for the “immediate release”  of the State Government villas,  preparatory to their taking over. The request was communicated to the State Government Committee in a later dated May 11, 2023 and signed by Ibrahim Dadi Adare.

In a bid to address the impasse, I wrote to the Chairman of the Govermor Elect’s Committee, suggesting a joint meeting of the two committees in order to break the deadlock for a smooth execution of our respective mandates and this was acceded to. Hence, a joint committee meeting between the two sides was held, with attendees, who included H E Abubakar Sani Makaman Sokoto, H E Chiso Abdullahi Dattijo, H E Sahabi Isa Gada, Alh Umaru Nagwari, Alh Bello Sifawa, Dr Kulu Haruna Abubakar, Dadi Adare and Bashir Muhammad from the Governor-Elect’s Committee, while the outgoing government side was represented by myself, Abubakar Muhammad mni, (Head of Service at the time) Prof Aisha Madawaki, Prof Aminu Abubakar, Hon Kabiru Aliyu, Hon Lema Abubakar Tambuwal and Abubakar Muhammad, a serving Permanent Secretary.

The joint meeting agreed that going forward, the two committees would work in harmony till the last day in the interest of peace and development of Sokoto State; thus the Venue Sub-Committees of the two sides would meet and harmonize their positions; the Governor-Elect’s Committee would handle the rehabilitation of the venue of swearing-in and the funds for the task would be made available to them by the out going Government, which would also carry out the renovation of all villas. All the resolutions were upheld and implimented successfully.

Sokoto State Governor, Ahmed Aliyu

Concerning the handover notes, the documents were ready as at the Morning of  Saturday, the  27th of May, 2023. This I personally  communicated to the Chairman of the Transition Committee of the incoming Government. I also made it unequivocally  clear that the out-going Governor would be ready to transfer the reigns of Government on Sunday,  28th of  May, 2023 by 10.30 am by formally handing over to the incoming Governor. That, having failed, after the outgoing Governor had waited for about an hour, he directed me to submit the handover documents to the new Governor.

I made several and sustained efforts to reach the incoming Governor in order to submit the handover notes, as directed, before the inauguration day but to no avail. My efforts were through prominent members of the incoming  Government Transition Committee, among whom were H E Ambassador, Abubakar Sani Makaman Sokoto, H E Chiso Dattijo, Alhaji Muhammadu Bello Sifawa, the Current SSG and Alhaji Aminu Dikko mni, the  current Chief of Staff to the Governor. I sustained the efforts up to 12 midnight on 28th of May, 2023. However, except for Aminu Dikko, all those mentioned eventually expressed regret over their inability to connect me with the incoming Governor. After 1.00 am I had slept off, when Aminu Dikko rang me twice.

On the inauguration day however, by 6.30 am I called Aminu Dikko back and he communicated an invitation to me from the Governor-Elect to accompany him to the venue of the swearing-in, where I was made to understand, I was scheduled to present the handover notes. The invitation was accompanied by a pledge fron HE Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto that my safety would be guaranteed.

I was however, constrained to decline the invitation on two premises:  I was not mandated by my principal, the outgoing Governor, to attend the inauguration and I was not comfortable to attend the event in view of the potential presence of political thugs and uncontrollable crowd at the venue, from whom I had no confidence of being protected.

After the swearing-in, I made another attempt to seek another oppotunity of submitting the notes to His Excellency, Ahmed Aliyu by contacting Aminu Dikko. He promised to revert to me on the matter after speaking to the Governor at the novelty football match later in the evening but he never did. I rang him twice without response and that was how the issue of handing over was laid to rest until now.

This pattern of evasive conduct on the part of His Excellency, Ahmed Aliyu’s Transition Committee, his officials and aides indicate either that, ab-initio, the Governor himself was not interested in any handover notes from his predecessor, or he had been mis-informed about the matter by his team, who for reasons best known to them, were not willing to avail their principal with the document.

Be that as it may however, the above narrative of mine, is an honest and graphic presentation of the facts as they relate to the issues of handing over notes between the immediate past and the incumbent administrations in Sokoto state. That I  believe, should settle the question as to whether the then outgoing governor, Rt Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal deliberately refused or wilfully failed to give handover notes to his successor, His Excellency, Dr Ahmed Aliyu.

I wish to conclude that if any of the individuals, whose names I have mentioned in connection with these event feels that their role is misrepresented in my submission, they can come out and publicly dispute my claims. I also guarantee being in possession of documented proof of the correspondences between my Transition Committee and that of HE Ahmed Aliyu and I am ready to make them public, should the need arise.

SIGNED:

MOHAMMAD MAINASARA AHMAD,mni
SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT AND CO-CHAIRMAN, TRANSITION COMMITTEE, IMMEDIATE-PAST GOVERNMENT OF SOKOTO STATE


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