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.Nasir El-Rufai
IMMEDIATE AND MEDIUM-TERM IMPERATIVES FOR PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI -SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
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 the greatest respect and humility.
Mr. President, Sir
I address this and other past memos with all sense of responsibility for at least three reasons. First, I owe my modest political ascendency so far to you. Without your adoption and trust reposed in me and the recognition you have shown in spite of attacks on my person by some people around you, I will not be where I am today. I remain eternally grateful for this.
Secondly, Sir, poll after poll in Kaduna State before and after the 2015 elections clearly show that my fate politically and otherwise is uncannily tied to yours. If you do well, I stand to benefit immensely. If you do not do well Sir, whatever I try to do in Kaduna matters little to my present and any future political trajectory.
Finally, Sir, I am of the strong opinion and 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.
Mr. President, it is also clear to many of us that have studied your political career, that so long as you remain in the political landscape, no Northerner will emerge successfully on the national scene. 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 for certain failure.
As I explained to you shortly after your election in April 2015, you have to run again in 2019 if your objectives of national restoration, economic progress and social justice are to be attained in the medium and long term. You must therefore succeed for the good of all of us -individually and collectively, and particularly those of us that have benefitted so clearly from your political ascendance.
Mr. President, Sir
As stated in my April 2015 memo, you have inherited serious political, economic and governance problems that you had no hand in creating but now have a duty to solve. These inherited problems were aggravated by the continuing slide in crude oil prices and the renewed insurgency in the Niger Delta that reduced oil production by more than 50 per cent! In my honest opinion, we have made this situation worse by failing to be proactive in taking some political, economic and governance decisions in a timely manner.
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. Overall, the feeling even among our supporters today is that the APC government is not doing well.
It is in light of all the foregoing that I intend to analyze where we are, and present some suggestions for Mr. President’s consideration and further necessary action in three areas -Politics, National Economy and Governance.
Effect personnel changes in the Presidency, the ministries (cabinet and permanent secretaries) and constitute a small team to review all future appointments for competence, capacity, integrity, diversity and inclusiveness.Nasir El-Rufai
2. Political Situation:
Mr. President would recall the tribulations we went through with membership registration, congresses and the first national convention. And with the games played by various groupings within the party, it is correct to assert that you got elected in spite of our party leadership, and not due to its wholehearted support.
At the moment, with the appointment of B.D. Lawal and Dikko Radda to executive positions in the Federal Government, we have no more than one or two clear supporters or sympathizers in the NWC out of 20 members. We have no footprint in the party structure today and this situation can remain unchanged until the national convention of 2018!
Mr. President, Sir
Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties. This may not be your intention or outlook, but that is how it appears to those that watch from afar.
This situation is compounded by the fact that some officials around you seem to believe and may have persuaded you that current APC State Governors must have no say and must also be totally excluded from political consultations, key appointments and decision-making at federal level. 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. Alienating the governors so clearly and deliberately ensures that you have near-zero support of the party structure at both national and state levels. It is not too late to reverse the situation.
You appear to have neither a political adviser nor a minder of your politics. The two officials whose titles may enable them function as such generally alienate those that contributed to our success. The SGF is not only inexperienced in public service but is lacking in humility, insensitive and rude to virtually most of the party leaders, ministers and governors. The Chief of staff is totally clueless about the APC and its internal politics at best as he was neither part of its formation nor a participant in the primaries, campaign and elections. In summary, neither of them has the personality, experience and the reach to manage your politics nationally or even regionally.
Those of us that look forward to presenting you again to the electorate in 2019 are worried that we need to sort out the party’s membership register, review the primaries system to eliminate the impact of money in candidate selection, and reduce the reliance of the party on a few businessmen, a handful of major financiers and state governments for its operations and expenditures. A surgical operation is needed in party machinery, financing and electoral processes if the future political aspirations we desire for you will not be made more difficult, if not impossible, to actualize.
Mr. President, Sir
It is a constitutional reality that to succeed, the Federal Government must work harmoniously with two other arms of government; the National Assembly and the Judiciary. These relationships need improvement as well. The relationship with the Senate was marred by the betrayal the party suffered at the hands of many of its members, while the recent ‘padding scandal’ has created tensions with the leadership of the House of Representatives. These challenges are difficult, but not impossible, to fix once the Judiciary concludes the Saraki cases in a timely manner.
The paralysis within the National Judicial Council in the face of the current worrying state of the Judiciary, compounded by the lack of harmonious relationship with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the all-important Federal High Court, make the expeditious disposal of the Saraki cases not only unlikely, but puts the administration at risk of a humiliating loss of some key anti-corruption cases. Once again, it is not impossible to reverse the situation.
Mr. President, Sir
The public service we inherited is the product of one and a half decades of doing business in the mould of the PDP. The senior public servants are largely corrupt, with a sense of entitlement that they have a first claim on the country’s resources, before any is spent for the benefit of the 99.5 per cent that are ordinary Nigerians (and voters!).
Persons on director grade today in the federal public service were mere Grade Level 9-10 officers when President Obasanjo took office in 1999, so PDP’s way is the only way they know and are comfortable with. Due to these orientational and ideological differences between the federal public service and what you believe Mr. President, most of them are unable to serve you with integrity, dedication and commitment. We therefore generally have an uneasy relationship with the bureaucracy as well.
This state of affairs is far more difficult to reverse immediately, but must be attempted if you are to succeed, as no nation develops beyond the capability, competence and capacity of its public service. It is within the realm of both politics and governance that you must navigate to extract the best out of the public service while suppressing its base desires.
Mr. President, Sir
This memo started with the state of our politics because it trumps everything else. If we don’t get the political machinery smooth and working, it will be a miracle if we are able to get the economy and governance right. The distraction of genuinely unhappy political actors will affect our ability to face our national problems; we need to pull together in the same direction to resolve them.
We have been incredibly lucky and successful so far without the support of, and in spite of, the prevailing patron-client political system, Mr. President. We are now in power and in a position to shape our national political culture in your image through active stakeholders and process engagement. We are not engaging at all, and taking things and important matters for granted. The consequences can be negative.
We are facing an unprecedented national economic crisis, but our administration has failed to roll out a coherent response and action plan, or even appeal to our patriotism with a rallying cry to unite and sacrifice in face of the adversity.Nasir El-Rufai
3. The State of the National Economy:
Without any doubt, Mr. President, you inherited an economy in dire straits. The Yar’Adua-Jonathan administrations not only blew the national savings of about $27bn in the excess crude account (ECA) and ran down over $40bn in foreign reserves they inherited in 2007, but earned and wasted nearly $300bn of oil and gas income between 2007 and 2015. At the time you were sworn into office, ECA was down to some $2bn and net reserves (allowing for swaps, forwards and other set-offs) were less than $20bn with little or nothing to show for it.
Between 2007 and 2014, we used to earn an average of over $3bn monthly from oil and gas sales and taxes. By May 2016, this had collapsed to about $500 million. Mr. President, it is a simple truism that no nation loses nearly 80 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings without significant reprioritization and painful adjustments. This is a message we have failed to transmit to Nigerians clearly and we must. This, however, is merely the symptom and simplest explanation of our current economic problems.
However, we cannot, after more than a year in office continue to rely only on this ‘blame them’ explanation. We were elected precisely because Nigerians knew that the previous administration was mismanaging resources and engaged in unprecedented waste and corruption. We must therefore identify the roots of our enduring economic under-performance as a nation, and present a medium-term national plan and strategy to turn things around. We must persuade Nigerians that they have to withstand the individual pains of today for the collective gains of tomorrow.
With a clear economic strategy that shows our citizens some light at the end of the tunnel, it is not only easier for them to sacrifice and bear some pain, but enough to highlight the wasted opportunities, wrong choices and suboptimal decisions made by previous administrations. We have no such clear roadmap at the moment.
Mr. President, Sir
In this era of global interconnectedness, nations compete viciously in the economic arena -for a larger share of international trade, investments, maritime and aviation services, and a whole raft of knowledge-based services and industries. This competition is neither moral nor fair, even if the advanced nations pretend to present it as such to those that are gullible.
No one cares about, or will ‘help’ us unless we get our act together and organize our political economy and national affairs to be regionally, continentally and globally competitive. It is not rocket science. In the last 50 years, many countries in Asia (Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.), and Botswana, Mauritius and Seychelles in Africa have done it. We can do it within a generation, and we must begin this journey of redesigning our political, economic and governance structures, systems and staffing for superior performance and global competitiveness as soon as possible, under your leadership!
Mr. President, Sir
In every crisis there lies an opportunity for fundamental change. The current crisis of reduced oil production, unit prices and earnings, which has led to the deterioration of the exchange rate, escalation of levels of debt and interest rates, and reduced levels of industrial production and employment constitutes an opportunity for our nation to change decades of bad habits and wrong direction in our political economy and governance. This crisis should not be wasted.
Devoid of all the economic jargon and the many, even conflicting, opinions of the experts, the Nigerian economy suffers from the following fundamental and structural defects that must be addressed for us to move forward:
Oil Revenue Addiction: The nation’s economy, politics and governance are centered around, and focused on distribution of easy oil and gas revenues amongst all tiers of government. The Nigerian economy has therefore been consistently reliant on oil and gas revenues -averaging 90% of foreign exchange earnings and 80% of government revenues, and accordingly characterized by low levels of:
- national savings averaging about 15% of GDP evidenced by the low levels of ECA
- taxes (5% of GDP versus global average of 20%), and
- investment (FGN’s recurrent budget is 107% of its revenues and the capital budget is only nominally 30% of total budget, and is entirely borrowed).
Rentier Economy, Perverse Incentives: Easy oil money creates an unproductive society with weird incentives. Today, our best and brightest people are attracted not to productive endeavors and sectors like agriculture and manufacturing, but ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes particularly in the telecoms, financial services, wholesale and retail trade, and the extractive industries, that appear to offer quick returns without creating jobs, adding very little value or doing little or nothing. A whole generation of Nigerians now believe that not only does corruption pay very well, but that honesty and hard work do not pay at all! This has to change and only you Mr. President has the antecedents to lead this.
Persistent Infrastructure Deficits: No society can develop without physical and governance infrastructure. Our consistent reliance on government control, funding and management of the infrastructure sectors has led to persistent inefficiencies, corruption and escalating deficits:
Electricity, which is the heartbeat of any modern economy is in very short supply in our country. Currently, we produce less electricity than the city of Dubai. The electricity supply industry whose reforms began in the year 2000, earlier than the reforms of telecoms, is now in serious crisis and nearly at the point of total collapse.
Water supply, which is largely under the purview of subnational governments, is also in crisis, exacerbated by the failed participation and intervention of the Federal Government bureaucrats interested only in awarding contracts, collecting kickbacks and not caring if the projects are completed or even feasible in the first place.
Transportation – interstate (Federal) roads are generally in a state of disrepair. The national rail system is still the colonial narrow gauge constructed by the British for the extraction of needed raw materials rather than for the encouragement of intra-national trade and connectivity. The dual track, standard gauge national railway system initiated by the Obasanjo administration in 2006 has been partly abandoned in favour of piecemeal implementation of sections rather than the integrated programme.
There is significant potential in the development of inland waterways but there has been no serious effort at seeing the dredging of Rivers Niger and Benue to completion. The aviation sector is largely private and mostly insolvent. Virtually all the major airlines are beholden to AMCON, and their services are poor, unreliable and expensive.
ICT infrastructure is slightly ahead of other sectors due to the deregulation and privatization efforts of 2001. We have nationwide GSM system but without full 3G and 4G networks. Furthermore, there is as yet no national fibre optic backbone with redundant satellite back-ups in case of natural disaster.
E-Governance infrastructure with a foundation in a national biometric identification system is almost non-existent. While the NIMC is struggling to register 10 million Nigerian adults out of some 100 million, we have wasted billions in parallel biometric ID systems (FRSC, INEC, PenCom, Nigeria Immigration Service, NCC, CBN’s BVN, etc. to mention a few) without a central, validated and rogue-free AFIS engine. The national potential to deploy these data and linking them with GIS, Land administration and tax compliance has therefore not been realized.
Mr. President, Sir
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.
Absence of a Clear National Strategy of Export Orientation and/or Import Substitution: Countries like Nigeria with large internal markets tend to first pursue generic import substitution strategies before graduating to some form of export-oriented industrial strategy. Small countries like Singapore are forced by their demographic circumstances to aggressively export to survive.
It is a matter of regret that with the exception of cement (2003-2007), Sugar (2008 to date) and Automobiles (2012 to date), no clear effort along any of the two strategies has been invested in recent times by governments. Indeed, only the cement strategy initiated by the Obasanjo administration appears to have totally succeeded.
Today, our country spends between 45% and 60% of our foreign exchange earnings to import what it should be producing (food and fuel) and exports what we should be processing and refining to add value (Oil, Gas, Cocoa, Oil Palm, etc.). Indeed, Nigeria disgracefully imports for our large domestic market items as varied as Asphalt, Fuels, Rice, Wheat, Milk, Fertilizers, Poultry, Tomato, Fruits, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, Textiles, Consumer Electronics, Mobile Phones, Laptops and Tablets, etc. This is patently misguided. We must plan to produce as many of these as possible for our consumption and export to ECOWAS and the world.
Mr. President, Sir
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.
Unproductive and Expensive Public Sector: We spend too high a proportion of our national resources on public sector wage bills and overheads. Federal public service salaries increased from about N600bn in 2007 to over N1,800bn in 2015. The total budget of the National Assembly has increased from N59bn in 2007 to N150bn under Yar’Adua and slightly down to N130bn by 2015. Similar situations exist in most of the states and local governments, leaving too little for capital investment in human development, infrastructure and social services.
Our judiciary today is dysfunctional and generally perceived to be corrupt, with courts of coordinate jurisdiction issuing contradictory rulings and judgments, while the appellate courts appear unable to exercise supervisory and disciplinary control over the lower courts.
Despite the successful introduction of a contributory pension scheme (CPS) nationally in 2004, the burden of the pay-as-you-go system remains a source of massive corruption and impunity. The CPS now has accumulated over N500bn and is considered a global model of a viable pension system. However, the funds are idle and are not being deployed as a source of reliable, long term financing for infrastructure, social development and housing sectors.
Endemic Poverty and Widening Inequality: In the days when we were growing up, public schools were attended by the children of both the high and low. Public health facilities were equally patronized by both the rich and the poor. The quality of these social services and the attendant message of egalitarianism and social justice they conveyed, enabled people of humble backgrounds like you and me, Mr. President, to rise to the higher positions in life depending on luck, ability and hard work.
Today, the exact opposite is the situation. 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.
Failure to Sharpen Competitive Advantage in Service Industries like ICT, Entertainment and Sports: Time and time again in the last 50 years, Nigerians have excelled globally in athletics, boxing, basketball, soccer and weightlifting. Yet we have never developed a national strategy to encourage and deepen our God-given endowments in sports. Indeed, appointment as minister of sports is seen as less prestigious than others.
The same attitude applies to service sectors like Art and Sculpture, ICT, Nollywood, Kannywood, music and other creative sub-sectors. Nigerian movies are now selling our nation positively and negatively all across Africa and the Black Diaspora. This is an important component of soft power which we have failed to think through, articulate to exploit to create jobs, wealth and prestige for our country. It is not too late to close this gap.
Fiscal and Monetary Policy Mismatch: Against the background of the aforementioned issues, we seem to consistently suffer from disconnects and mismatch between the Central Bank of Nigeria (that is in charge of exchange rates, interest rates and inflation management) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (that looks after revenue flows, custom duties, tax policy and debt management).
The consequence of this is the nation suffering from high interest rates set by CBN in order to manage the exchange rate. Interest rates are also kept high to make it easier for FGN through the DMO to sell bonds and keep yields high. These have devastating impact on the real sector and job creation since no business can expand production (and employment) with the kind of interest and exchange rates offered by the banks.
The banks also find it more attractive to mobilize public sector deposits, purchase risk-free FGN bonds and lend little or nothing to private sector. Mr. President, business activities are shrinking because the private sector is suffering from multiple whammies of deteriorating and unstable exchange rate, high interest rates and dwindling purchasing power of customers.
Mr. President, Sir. It is neither too late nor impossible to achieve higher levels of policy coordination and consistency. It has been done in the past with the right chemistry between key economic policy centers. It must be done now.
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.Nasir El-Rufai
4. Governance Issues and Challenges:
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. The functions of the public service include analysis of problems and providing advice, coordination of dispersed actors to achieve joint action, the execution and management of policies, and the regulation of the private sector to adhere to the national vision. 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.
Mr. President, Sir.
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.
The 800-page Transition Committee Report (summarized to 80 slides by Bain & Co.) went some way in recommending the merger of Ministries but implementation has been uneven and selective. Prior to this, the Obasanjo administration had done seminal work in merging ministries, (available on request) while the Oronsaye Committee has done some significant work in reducing duplication between parastatals and agencies. There exists therefore enough raw material to begin the needed restructuring of MDAs for optimal performance at the federal level. (Copies of both the Bain Summary and the Executive Summary of the Oronsaye Report are provided with this submission).
The Machinery of Government, the way and manner the President interacts with the State House, the Ministers and the Bureaucracy, including: the interaction between the Chief of Staff, SGF, Ministers, Special Advisers, Assistants and other aides needs further articulation and communication. It is clear, Mr. President, that the current system is delivering sub-optimal outcomes. A clear evidence of this is the lopsided nature of the appointments made so far, and the absence of any objective selection criteria other than pure chance and closeness to a handful of people around the President.
Another crisis is likely to be created if the current system (or lack of it) of appointment persists with the composition of boards of parastatals. I have had cause to register my concerns, which also mirrors the grievance of 23 APC Governors, about the way and manner this is being done (see Annex III attached). I am afraid that those that are tasked to do this, that are unwilling to be inclusive in the process, are those that neither knew who did what nor how you got elected, but now determine those who get appointed from the respective states.
With the greatest respect and humility, Mr. President, neither the Chief of Staff, nor the SGF, his Committee and National Vice Chairman North-West, of the APC know more than the government of Kaduna State, who contributed to our success at state level. For these officials to sit and decide the question of who gets appointed from Kaduna without our input is not only unfair, but likely to result in serious errors of judgment. Mr. President should reconsider and make the process more inclusive by giving the State Governors the opportunity to review what the political masters are doing.
There is a strong perception that your inner circle or kitchen cabinet is incapable, unproductive and sectional. The quality and the undue concentration of key appointments to the North-East and exclusion of South-East are mentioned as evidence of this.Nasir El-Rufai
5. Suggestions for Immediate and Medium Term Action:
Arising from the points made in earlier sections, I would like to summarize and restate the problems and recommendations for your immediate and medium term consideration. It is my humble opinion that our government appears to suffer from very serious perception problems on at least five fronts:
- Mr. President, there is perception that our government has been captured by a shadowy public service/PDP cabal such that we have won elections but the country is still run largely by these elements that are hostile to you and to us all.
- There is a strong perception that your inner circle or kitchen cabinet is incapable, unproductive and sectional. The quality and the undue concentration of key appointments to the North-East and exclusion of South-East are mentioned as evidence of this.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are facing an unprecedented national economic crisis, but our administration has failed to roll out a coherent response and action plan, or even appeal to our patriotism with a rallying cry to unite and sacrifice in face of the adversity.
- Mr. President Sir, 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. They also point to the recent appointment of key PDP apparatchiks of a few months back into important advisory and executive positions in the Presidency (National Assembly Adviser, NDDC Board and Cabinet Ministers) while enduring APC loyalists are ignored to make this point.
These troubling perceptions whether accurate or not must be addressed frontally by you Mr. President, and no other person. It is in light of all these points, arguments and perceptions, and with all sense of responsibility that I make the following suggestions for Mr. President’s consideration, early decision and action:
- The President must communicate actively and directly with the Nigerian public about his vision – the government’s plans, strategy and roadmap to take the country out of the current, dire economic situation. We need a five-year national development strategy and plan urgently.
- The President should speak to the nation – something akin to a State of the Union address on December 1 or January 1, preferably in a joint session of the National Assembly during which he will explain away some of the perceptions and lay out the national plans, strategies and roadmap above.
- Appoint as many of the current NWC members as possible to ambassadorial, executive and similar positions to give way for the restructuring of the party leadership ahead of the mid-term convention.
- Institute quarterly informal APC leadership council meetings in the State House to host, dine and consult with formal and informal party leaders to discuss and agree the restructuring of the party machinery after some of the actions above are done.
- Institute quarterly dinner with APC Governors and engaging them on party issues, executive and non-executive appointments and the like.
- Consider appointing a very experienced and nationally-connected person as your political adviser and bring in Chief Audu Ogbeh as an honorary political counsellor in addition to his executive functions.
- Constitute an informal task team of State Governors, National Assembly members and Party leaders to review the constitution of the party, assess financing needs, update the primaries system and task all State Governors to finalize the membership register in their respective states in accordance with pre-agreed guidelines, IT platform and biometric standards.
- Engage constructively with the NJC to impose quick sanctions on clearly erring judges, and appeals to the Judiciary to facilitate the expeditious resolution of landmark corruption cases.
- Initiate the process of replacement of the leadership and commissioners of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Police Service Commission and other central management agencies of the federal public service, and relaunch a federal public service reform program under the leadership of the minister of finance.
- Appoint a high profile economic adviser to the President, and constitute a two-level economic team – political level chaired by the VP and technical level consisting of key economic agency heads to do the more detailed technical analysis and present options for decision and action.
- Initiate sale of expired OMLs to India and China to raise at least $20bn to add to our foreign reserves, stabilize our national currency, and create a fund for future generations to be managed by the Sovereign Investment Authority. Our children must not inherit what the previous administration bequeathed to us, and you can pull it off, Mr. President.
- Consider the privatization of other non-productive or potentially valuable assets like NIPP, Ajaokuta Steel and Itakpe Iron Ore, the balance of shares in Gencos and Discos, refineries and depots to raise revenues and achieve efficiencies.
- Accelerate TIN registration to double the number of tax payers to at least 10 million in 2017 and reduce the levels of personal and corporate income tax, while effecting an increase of the rate for value added tax.
- Commit to a three-year reflationary budget with at least 40% of budget meant for capital projects, supplemented by robust PPP legislation to attract private investments in toll roads, intra-city rail systems, electricity generation and distribution, inland waterways, airports and concessioning of the narrow and standard gauge railway systems.
- Our entire investment environment and incentive structure needs a holistic review to enable us compete with our neighbors and peers. The investment policy review should prioritize encouraging local and foreign investors and fund managers to bring their capital and expertise to Nigeria.
- Develop an import substitution and export strategy taking one industrial sector, commodity or product at a time, similar to what was done successfully with cement. The key issue is to identify firms with potential and develop them into national, continental and global champions.
- Leverage on the fall-out of the padding scandal to scale down the budget of the National Assembly put every MDA on IPPIS and begin the process of right-sizing the federal public service with the goal of drastically reducing the cost of governance.
- Constitute an implementation committee for the Oronsaye Report with the mandate to update and bring up modifications as necessary for the approval of the President.
- Institute a matching grants system that will encourage state governments to invest more aggressively in public education and healthcare to attack and slow the emergence of an inter-generational underclass and systemic inequality.
- Develop a national plan, strategy and roadmap for the ICT, entertainment, financial services and sports sectors, and appoint high profile ministers to drive the advocacy and implementation.
- Undertake a surgical operation on the leadership of the budgetary, fiscal and monetary management agencies to resolve conflicts between MDAs, replace tainted and incapable persons, and enable better coordination and policy consistency.
- Effect personnel changes in the Presidency, the ministries (cabinet and permanent secretaries) and constitute a small team to review all future appointments for competence, capacity, integrity, diversity and inclusiveness.
I am conscious of the likelihood that my memo may be misunderstood, misinterpreted and even perverted. I am willing to accept the usual accusations of arrogance and ambition, but Mr. President knows that none of these hold water. I ran for state Governor because you directed me to do so. From 2010 when we joined your team, I have no other interest other than your place in history as our President. I believe in your integrity, commitment and sense of duty to make our nation better. I am distressed that our government is seen not to be succeeding mostly due to the failures, lack of focus and selfishness of some you have entrusted to carry on and implement your vision. I am troubled that our own mis-steps have made the PDP and its apparatchiks so audacious and confident. It is time to act decisively, Mr. President. I hope this memo will contribute in some way in regaining our governance momentum.
Mr. President, Sir. 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.
Respectfully and most humbly submitted, Sir
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, OFR
Governor of Kaduna State
September 22, 2016