By Cross Udo, Abuja
About 18 days for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to come and, the Federal Government on Wednesday gave reasons why it continues to approve multi-billion naira contracts award.
Buhari’s administration will come to an end on May 29, but the government said it would continue to work until the last day.
The explanation came after the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja considered 37 agenda items in what appeared to be a marathon meeting before announcing the award of contracts in various sectors.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, described the session as quite extraordinary, saying: “It’s been a very long day for everyone, 37 agenda items were considered for today’s meeting. Quite extraordinary.”
Fielding question on why the administration had waited till a late hour before churning out contracts, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, said the administration will continue to perform its duties until May 28.
According to him, “Ladies and gentlemen, without any intentions of mischief, this government was elected to function from 2019 to precisely 29th of May 2023. Should we now stop functioning one month before the next appointment because we’re coming to the end of the tenure?
“This government must work. We expect the next government to also work until the very last day of their tenure.”
Also, briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, explained that contracted processes take time, saying that even if the administration cannot finish what it has started, government being a continuum, it will be the business of the incoming government.
He said, “If I may add, there are processes and this process has started. We’re still operating the 2022 budget, we have agencies. These things are not just done in one day. We had lots of submissions to BPP to ICRC, all the agencies involved in the procurement, and they have to get ready.
“So, anytime they’re ready, it’s at that point that we have to submit. And like the Minister of Transportation said, we’re still in office technically until the 28th of May. So, we still have to operate. And this is the instruction that we have from Mr. President.
“Since the elections were conducted, that government must continue to function regardless of elections and so on. And so we’re just doing our duty as we should serve in the country.
“We do not control the process, but when it’s completed and we’re still in office, we’re duty-bound to bring these memos to Council for Council to approve. Government is a continuum. There are still a lot of memos.
“I can assure you a lot of contracts will not see the light of day in the next week or two. And for those, we don’t have any option but to let the process continue. And then for the next government to come and continue. That’s what we face also.
“Some of the very first memos we brought to council in 2015, for me, I had no idea when they started, but I had to be briefed on, this was the way that it had to be and then we were brought in here. So, the government is a continuum. And it should be seen as such.
“And I think this administration should be given that full credit because, to a large extent, we have continued since 2015, to implement projects and programs that we didn’t initiate that which, in our assessment, were good for the country. We continued them, we didn’t jettison them, and we’re confident that the incoming administration will do the same.”