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.
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.
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 nearzero 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.
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