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    In his final week in office Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan offered up
    a prayer for the success of Muhammadu Buhari, the former military ruler who takes the helm of Africa’s biggest economy on Friday.

    However, if Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) is to be believed, that goodwill
    did not stretch far.

    Citing weeks of strike action by fuel distributors that crippled the economy, the APC accused outgoing officials of creating an “atmosphere of contrived chaos” to sully
    72-year-old Buhari’s moment of political triumph.

    Nigeria’s election of Muhammadu Buhari is truly revolutionary

    “The whole scenario reeks of sabotage,” APC spokesman Lai Mohammed said in a statement that laid bare the
    party’s frustrations with the behaviour of Jonathan’s outgoing administration.

    Although the strike by fuel distributors, who said they were owed $1bn by the government, ended this week, it caused massive disruption to Nigeria’s 170 million people, grounding flights, forcing banks to close and
    cutting phone signals.

    It also served as a reminder to Buhari of the challenges he will face in Africa’s top
    crude producer, including a weakening currency and an insurgency by Boko Haram Islamist militants that has claimed thousands of lives.

    On Thursday, Jonathan took Buhari on a short tour of the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja, at the end of which
    he urged unity to “build a stronger and more prosperous nation”.

    Buhari responded by thanking Jonathan for swiftly conceding defeat in the 28 March election, rather than challenging or disputing the result – an outcome that could have unleashed political violence.

    “You could had made things difficult, but you choose the path of peace and honour,”
    he said. “Thank you very much”.

    ‘Asking too much’

    Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) disputed
    the accusations from the APC that they were hindering the transfer of power,
    saying their political foes were being too demanding – especially given that the
    constitution says outgoing officials need not hand over anything other
    than simple notes.

    “The APC transition committee were asking for too much, more than was appropriate,” said PDP spokesman and former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

    However, APC insiders said they did not receive handover notes from the various
    ministries until Monday – just five days before Buhari’s inauguration.

    “The outgoing government is not committed to handing over information of significance,” one APC source said.
    “Nobody is putting a lot of value in what is being handed over.”

    The confusion and bad blood is casting a shadow over the return to high office of Buhari, who first came
    to power after a military coup in 1983.

    Reports that Buhari, a Muslim ascetic who has pledged to fight corruption, might look into allegations of wrongdoing during
    Jonathan’s tenure are also unlikely to have helped relations between APC and PDP grandees.

    However, analysts said end-of-administration apathy and malaise has not been uncommon in Nigeria.

    “The ‘end of term’ feel that has characterised the last few weeks is a familiar part of the political culture,” said Anthony Goldman of Nigeria-focused PM Consulting.

    “Often neither outgoing nor incoming governments have reliable data to work with. Sometimes it’s systemic, sometimes deliberate,” he added.

    Corruption claims

    Many Nigerians believe that already widespread corruption became rampant under Jonathan, further undermining an economic
    system that sees Africa’s top oil producer import most of the 40 million litres consumed every day at heavily
    subsidised prices.

    “There is nothing to handover [to the APC] because there was nothing really being run. No accountability,” said a source who declined to be named.

    Reply

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