El-Rufai and State of the Union

By virtue of his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, Kaduna State Governor  Nasir El-Rufai has unfettered access to the seat of power in Aso Rock. So, barring any problems, he can see the president at anytime for discussion on national and other issues. Also, being a governor, there are other avenues for him to meet the president for talks. The El-Rufai we  know may have explored all these avenues at one time or the other. Did he utilise them? Did he explore these avenues beforesending a memo to the president on September 22, 2016.

In the memo, he raised salient national issues bordering on governance, the running of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the alleged stifling of ministers by a cabal in the Presidency. What the self-styled ‘’Accidental Public Servant’’ said in his memo is not new. It is what we hear everyday from people complaining that the Buhari administration has not done anything to soothe their pains almost two years after coming into office. Since the president lives among us, he has on two or so occasions,  acknowledged that the people are not happy with his administration and appealed to them for understanding.

Though not his first memo to the president, this has generated a lot of heat because of the believed that he leaked it.  El-Rufai may not have lived up to the pedestal he expects of the president, but then he cannot be held responsible for the country’s problems because he leads a microcosm of it. But because he is not a saint (who is?) does not mean that he should not speak out when things are going wrong.

As a member of the same party with the president, they should join hands together to find solutions to the country’s problems. He should not heap all the blames on the president. If Buhari fails, it is APC that fails and that failure will be that of all members of the party. Through his memo, El-Rufai pointed out what he considered the problematic areas for the president to work on. His memo shows that he is pained that nearly two years after their party came to power, Nigerians have yet to feel the impact of the ‘’change’’ it promised them.

‘’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 the face of adversity’’, he said. The governor was blunt in his critique of the Buhari administration. If you ask me, I will say that is how it should be if we wish to make a headway as a nation. We need those who are insiders in government to speak the truth to themselves  for the sake of our country.

Really, it would not have cost El-Rufai anything to keep silent as if all is well. We all know that things are not as they should be because of the mismanagement of the past. But for how long will we continue to dwell in the past? The electorate voted the APC because of their believe that the party will wipe away their tears and return the country to the path of greatness. The Buhari administration has started well, but it needs to do more for it to continue to have the people’s trust. Blaming past administrations, as El-Rufai pointed out in his memo, will not solve the problems. What will do the trick is for the Buhari administration to pull itself up by the bootstrap and tackle the problems frontally.

Hear El-Rufai : ‘’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 percent! 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 the 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’’.

His summation is not farther from the truth. El-Rufai may have been impolitic in his approach, but should we always reduce matters of governance to politics all because we are in the ruling party? We need jolts like this from those within the system to hasten our growth as a nation. May El-Rufai’s wake up call ginger the president and his party to greater action.



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