You have failed, El-Rufai tells Buhari: Your kitchen cabinet incompetent, sectional....


Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufari, has told President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration has not only failed in meeting the expectations of Nigerians, but equally fell short of delivering on mundane issues of governance. El-Rufai, in a 29-page memo, dated September 22, 2016 and entitled: “Immediate and medium term imperatives for President Muhammadu Buhari,” obtained by New Telegraph from an online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, also drew the attention of the President on how he surrounded himself with inexperienced and clueless officials, who don’t share in the vision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Kaduna State governor also raised issues about Buhari’s frosty relationship with the APC leadership and near-zero support for the party’s structure; ministers’ lack of access to the president; cold relationship with the legislature and judiciary; lack of coherent response and action plan; hijack of government by a cabal; skewed appointments, 2019 presidential election and economic crisis, among others. El-Rufai noted that he was conscious of the fact that his memo may be misunderstood, but willing to accept the consequences. He categorically stated that he was distressed that the APC-led Federal Government is seen not to be succeeding mostly due to the failures and selfishness of some key officials in the presidency.

His words: “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 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.”

He particularly hit hard on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. David Lawal, and Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, describing them as inexperienced and clueless. His words: “You (Buhari) 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.” The governor, who described Buhari as the only hope now and in the medium term of saving the Nigerian nation from collapse, urged the president to contest the 2019 election. He, however, accused Buhari of abandoning those who worked for his victory in the 2015 presidential election for outsiders as well as nonchalant disposition to APC affairs, warning of the consequences in next polls.
He stated: “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 (National Working Committee) 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!
“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 (All Nigeria People’s Party), PDP (that joined us) and ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria), 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 the federal level.
These politically naive ‘advisers’ fail to realise that it is the current and former state governors that may, as members of NEC (National Executive Committee) 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.”

On the inability of the Buhari administration to meet expectations of Nigerians, el-Rufai said: “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 Boko Haram insurgency and corruption. Overall, the feeling even among our supporters today is that the APC government is not doing well.” El-Rufai stressed the need for the President to cultivate a harmonious working relationship with the legislature and judiciary.

According to him, “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.”
He raised the fear of Buhari’s government being hijacked by a cabal, which the President’s wife, Aisha, equally raised in October last year in an interview with the BBC. “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 of 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,” el-Rufai stated.
On the way forward, he recommend among others – active and direct communication actively with Nigerians; appointment of as many of the current APC 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; quarterly informal APC leadership council meetings; quarterly dinner with APC governors and engaging them on party issues, executive and nonexecutive appointments and the like; appointment of a very experienced and nationally-connected person as political adviser.

Others are constituting an informal task team of governors, National Assembly members and party leaders to review the APC constitution and access financing needs; engaging 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; 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.
You have failed, El-Rufai tells Buhari: Your kitchen cabinet incompetent, sectional.... You have failed, El-Rufai tells Buhari: Your kitchen cabinet incompetent, sectional.... Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Friday, 17 March 2017 Rating: 5

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