The House of Representatives has passed on the procedure and service for transition and premise of the Office of the President, and Vice-President-elect for second reading.
The bill, which will be sponsored by Hon. Kpam Sokpo, attempts to provide for its procedure and ceremony for transition and assumption of the Office of the President, and Vice-President-elect, and also to facilitate the handover process by the outgoing president and vice-president.
Leading the debate, Sokpo said in Section 1 of the invoice of the Transition and Assumption of Office Committee will be established and would be referred to as’The Committee’.
He clarified that the Committee’ will be ad hoc and include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who will be the chairman; the Attorney-General of the Federation; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information.
Other members of the committee are the Chief of Defence Staff; the National Security Adviser; the Inspector-General of Police; the Chief of Staff to the President; the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly; the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, and six persons nominated from the president-elect representing the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
The lawmaker added that the quorum for the conduct of the business in a meeting of this Committee shall be two-thirds of all the members of this committee.
Sokpo added that the chairman of The Committee shall convene the meetings of this committee as prescribed under the bill, although the Permanent Secretary, Office of the SGF will be the Secretary to The Committee.
He noted the committee could be saddled with the responsibility of facilitating the handover procedure by the president and vice-president to the president-elect and vice-president-elect.
Sokpo worried that the committee would also organise the security of the president-elect and Vice-President-elect, among others.
According to him, “There’s based Transition and Assumption of Office Fund for the administration of the committee into which shall be paid such sums as will be appropriated by the National Assembly for the purpose of logic and transition of office at a presidential election season.”
The lawmaker noted that under Part II of the bill, upon the announcement of the end results of a presidential election by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), the committee shall make sure that the president-elect and vice-president-elect are provided adequate safety.
Sokpo explained further that The Committee shall ensure that the president-elect and vice-president-elect receive security briefings from the relevant national security agencies.
He explained the president-elect and vice-president-elect shall, in conjunction with The Committee, carry out such preparations as may be necessary for the purpose of assuming office.
In his entry, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu said the bill is extremely important as it intends to cure the illness of discretion.
He added that the transition period is a time where the nation becomes vulnerable, saying it’s not a time to be observing the body language of anybody.
Toby noted that another reason why the invoice is important is to prevent a situation in which the country loses chances due to the inability to form a cabinet for nearly a year like it had been witnessed in 2015.