By Oladapo Okeowo
Nasir El-Rufai, former minister of the FCT and current governor of Kaduna state, in September 2016, wrote and sent a comprehensive memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The memo, a 30-page document, was a status report, a reminder and a way-forward paper all rolled into one. It was divided into 3 main sections: Politics, National Economy and Governance and then suggestions.
According to the SaharaReporters, El-Rufai argued that the party on whose platform they both ran, the All Progressives Congress (APC), seems to have failed in the delivery of “change” that it promised Nigerians during the electioneering campaign.
This, he opined, can be traced to the failure of the administration to be proactive in taking key decisions in a timely manner.
He said the memo was addressed to the President for three principal reasons: because he owes his political ascendancy to Buhari; the dependent relationship between the President’s success and his belief that “you are our only hope now and in the medium term of saving the Nigerian nation from collapse, and enabling the north of Nigeria to regain its lost confidence, begin to be respected as a significant contributor, and not the parasite and problem of the Nigerian federation.”
Going on, he said ,“in very blunt terms, Mr. President, our APC administration has not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance outside of our successes in fighting BH insurgency and corruption,” he said in the 30-page memo.
“Overall, the feeling even among our supporters today is that the APC government is not doing well,”
He reiterated his belief in the President’s staying power and ability to lead Nigeria out of the doldrums. He cast aside the possibility of opposition to the President in the north of the country as “all those wasting time, money and other resources to run in 2019 either do not realize this divinely-ordained situation or are merely destined to keep others employed and rich from electoral project doomed to certain failure.”
El-Rufai went on to point out the perceived frosty relationship that exists between the President and leading members of the APC. He said the President’s politic has left room for the belief that all is not well. To compound this, the President’s choices for the offices of the SGF and the Chief of Staff are incompetent and only exacerbate the situation.
According to El-Rufai, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is inexperienced in public service and lacking in humility, while “the Chief of Staff is totally clueless about the APC and its internal politics at best”.
“These politically-naive ‘advisers’ fail to realize that it is the current and former state governors that may, as members of NEC of the APC, serve as an alternative locus of power to check the excesses of the currently lopsided and perhaps ambivalent NWC,” he continued, adding that alienating the governors so clearly and deliberately ensures that you have near-zero support of the party structure at both national and state levels.
He added that these troubling perceptions, whether accurate or not, must be addressed frontally by the president, and no other person.
El Rufai in the letter advised Buhari on the need to carry Nigerians along in his governance. He suggested a regular session, “something akin to a State of the Union address on December 1 or January 1, preferably in a joint session of the National Assembly” where the people can be given answers and reassurances on the state of things.
Calling on the president to “act decisively,” and expressing the hope that his memo will “contribute in some way in regaining our governance momentum,” El-Rufai stated his distress at the failures being experienced by the APC government which have in turn “made the PDP and its apparatchiks so audacious and confident.”
The governor told Buhari, “You have both a crisis and opportunity in your hands to turn around our country in the right direction. We pray that Allah gives you the strength and good fortune to succeed. This is an honest, frank and objective view of an admirer, a mentee, and a loyalist. I hope it helps, and I apologise if it displeases you. My duty to you is to tell you the truth as I see it. I have no interest other than the progress of our party, our president, our government, and our country.”
You can read the full memo here.