Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, in September 2016, sent a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari arguing that their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has made the situation in Nigeria worse than it met it by failing to be proactive in taking key decisions in a timely manner, SaharaReporters has learned.
In April 2015, I sent a short memorandum to you, Sir – then as president-elect. We never discussed the memo in detail and I am not even sure you got to read it bearing in mind the levels of human traffic visiting you in those heady days. I crave the indulgence of Mr. President to please read the memo (attached herewith as Annex II) and see how like every aspect of life, the memo was sometimes presciently accurate and at the same time off-target! It is on the basis of that message, and my commitment to write anytime I feel compelled that matters of urgent national importance confront you, that I address this with greatest respect and humility.
Read the full text here (PDF).
Here are major excerpts from El-Rufai memo to President Buhari:
1. It is 1984 for you all over again— only far worse…You must therefore put forward some organizing principles around which your administration would be designed that will enable Nigerians identify and adopt as a unifying vision for the next decade or so.
2. [These principles] should be national unity, social discipline, personal sacrifice and the constant signaling of hope for a better tomorrow.
3. You must through your words, your personal example and the selection of the team around you, unite our nation by creating a sense of inclusion that gives people of proven honesty, competence and commitment, roles in your government. The mistake of the outgoing regime of creating a strong appearance of an Ijaw enclave, or the Katsina-Kano cabal of Yar’adua, must be deliberately avoided.
4. A key requirement of setting the right tone and direction of your government is to choose the right people early to constitute your core team that will work in the State House…The quality and caliber of the personal staff you appoint, along with a handful of key executive positions will either reinforce the tone and direction of your government or contradict it…It is important that these persons are carefully selected with emphasis on integrity, competence, capacity and chemistry to work well with the President.
5. It is not difficult to reverse these negative trends and change the narrative to one of a nation with a growing, efficient and well-managed national infrastructure. All the plans and strategies are there. What is needed is political will, technocratic capacity and focus, which you, Mr. President must ensure are present here and now.
6. …We must therefore take advantage of our large internal market, natural endowments and comparative advantages in agriculture, minerals and human resources to be self-sufficient in food and fuels within your first term of office. It is neither impossible nor unduly difficult to achieve both goals.
7. The danger of this current state of affairs is that we are inadvertently creating successive generations of poorer, barely educated, unskilled, hopeless and angry children of the poor, side by side with increasingly richer, privately educated, skilled and optimistic children of the privileged. It is a demographic and social time bomb waiting to explode as the poor and hopeless youths are easy recruits of insurgents, violent politicians and criminals. Only you, Mr. President will appreciate this danger and do something about it with the urgency it deserves.
8. Government performance depends on political legitimacy and administrative capacity. It results from sound political vision, courage and the will of the President and other appointed and elected officials, supported by the administrative capacity of the public service…You have the vision, courage and will, Mr. President. The jury is still out whether your most senior appointed officials share these qualities, and this must change for the better, Sir.
9. Our public service today is too expensive, aging, outdated and inadequately skilled to discharge its mandate of providing administrative support to the political leadership. The nearly 600 MDAs at the federal level (and smaller number of counterparts at subnational levels) consume nearly 90% of our national revenues. This is why the FGN borrows over 100% of its capital budget! This is neither fair nor just.
There is a perception that your ministers, some of whom are competent and willing to make real contributions, have no clear mandate, instructions and access to you. Ministers are constitutional creations Mr. President and it is an aberration that they are expected to report to the Chief of Staff on policy matters.
10. Mr. President, there is an emerging view in the media that you are neither leading the party nor the administration and those neither elected nor accountable appear to be in charge, and therefore the country is adrift. It is the view of many informed citizens that while you are actively fighting corruption, the institutional weaknesses that enabled it to thrive under Jonathan, and the persons that participated in it, and oiled the system are still very much in charge, and many are around you.