Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai’

Nigeria Aviation Near Tragedy : El-Rufai, 103 Passengers Escape Death As Aero Aircraft Loses Tyre Upon Landing-PREMIUM TIMES.


By Ben Ezeamalu

A former Abuja Minister, Nasir El-Rufai was among the passengers.
An Aero Contractors aircraft Boeing 737-500, with Registration No 5N-BLC, landed safely at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Sunday, after a loss of pressure in one of the tyres.

The aircraft which landed at 10.50 am had a total of 104 passengers and crew members on board.

Nasir El-Rufai, who was aboard the plane, said in a tweet that the pilot and the crew of the plane did “a great job.”

“Upon landing in Lagos, our Aero aircraft lost a tyre. The pilot did a great job of breaking to a halt suitably. My phones flew under seats,” Mr. El-Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, said via his official handle.

“It was amusing hearing shouts of Allah Akbar and Jesus…while the dutiful captain was trying to slow down the plane to a safe location.

“One of the passengers joked that he knew nothing would happen to us as I was onboard, nice of him, but Allah Decides our fate in His way,” he continued.

“The Aero pilot was good, the cabin staff calm and professional in the midst of mild drama and little panic by a few passengers. We thank God,” he added.

Confirming the incident, Yakubu Dati, Coordinating General Manager Aviation Parastatals, said that the aircraft had, immediately after arrival, been towed to the apron and that the Accident Investigation Prevention Bureau, AIPB, had commenced investigation.

“We wish to assure all air travelers of their safety and caution against magnifying a manageable incident out of proportion,” Mr. Dati said.


Pastor Tunde Bakare rejects Christmas cow from President Jonathan.



Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, has revealed that Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, turned down a cow, which was reportely sent to him for Christmas by President Jonathan.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, El Rufai wrote: “Just learnt that GEJ sent a Christmas cow to Pastor Bakare, but Pastor asked – is it cow we need in Nigeria? Nigerians want good governance!”It is believed that Pastor Bakare made this known to his congregation, as moments before then, El Rufai tweeted: “On my way Latter Rain Assembly to see my egbon, Pastor Tunde Bakare, by God’s Grace….” and later told his followers that, “Inside Latter Rain, Pastor Tunde Bakare praying for peace, stability and unity of Nigeria in 2014….that our nation gets capable leaders…”
It is public knowledge that the president and the fiery man of God do not go along well, so it comes as a surprise that he decided to send the gift.

Source: Radio Biafra.

EFCC, Unhappy With El-Rufai Acquittal, To File Appeal.


By Saharareporters, New York

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), has decided that it will pursue an appeal in a higher court against last week’s decision of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja which acquitted a former Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
In a statement, the commission expressed dismay at two separate court losses it suffered last Friday, the other being the Supreme Court acquittal of the former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Olabode Goerge and five others.

“Without going into the merit or otherwise of the Supreme court ruling, it is unfortunate that the apex court disagreed with the decision of the two lower courts—the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal—which upheld the conviction of the accused persons based on the evidence presented by the Commission,” the statement said.

“While this turn of event is saddening, the Commission as a law abiding institution always respected judicial pronouncements and this will be no different.”

It described the decision of Justice Sadiq Umar that the Commission failed to establish a prima facie case against El-Rufai as being “against the weight of the evidence” it had presented to the court.

Thoughts On Nasir El-Rufai’s “The Accidental Public Servant”.

By Zainab Usman

“…to put on record my version of events…” is one of the reasons Nasir El-Rufai puts forward for writing his provocative autobiography, The Accidental Public Servant. It’s a book, which could easily tie with Chinua Achebe’s memoirs, as the most debated in Nigeria’s recent history. Flipping through the pages, it was apparent that readers could choose to either verify or refute El-Rufai’s version of events in government, or appreciate its rare insight into the intricacies of Nigeria’s fourth democratic experience. I opted for the latter.

As the title suggests, the overall theme of the book revolves around the intriguing journey of an individual from very humble beginnings in an idyllic post-independence era, in a rural part of Katsina, northern Nigeria, to occupying one of the highest public offices in 21st century Nigeria. The reader glimpses into how El-Rufai’s fiercely independent, resolute, feisty and cerebral personality evolves from the tragedy of his father’s passing, the calculated attrition against Sunday, the primary school bully, the role-model influence of his brother in his early years and becoming a self-made private sector millionaire by his mid-twenties (p.36).

The “accidental” part of El-Rufai’s journey begins, from the age of 38 with his reluctant entry in government in 1998 as an adviser for the military government of Abdulsalam Abubakar. It continues through to his appointment as the Director-General of the main privatisation agency, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) and then as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and his membership of the elite corps of economic reformers between 2003 and 2007.

Along the way, lifelong friendships are built and broken, alliances are forged and betrayed and the gruelling challenge of public service and reform in the midst of entrenched practices and powerful vested interests takes its toll. He strives to balance public and personal interests with loyalties as he gets caught in the middle of altercations between a strong-willed President Olusegun Obasanjo and his equally powerful Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. At the height of these disagreements, El-Rufai inadvertently rises to a defacto Vice-President, a position which would ironically lead to his persecution and exile less than a year after leaving public office.

A refreshing aspect of the book is the revelation and demystification of the inner-workings of the highest levels of governance in Africa’s most populous country. For instance, El-Rufai stresses how appointments for the highest public offices, are mostly fortuitous, having little to do with meritocratic or rigorous processes. His narration of events during his first few days as FCT minister (p.199), what to expect after a ministerial nomination, the obstructive tactics of entrenched civil servants opposed to reform are insightful and invaluable details that offer a useful departure from textbook political theory or international ‘best practice.’

In particular, the author’s revelation that without a coherent plan, a new and mostly unprepared government minister could easily drown in administrative routine attending to “more than 100 visitors and 200 phone calls” daily for the duration of their tenure, is instructive (p.201). He discusses the immense influence such appointees wield and how they become devastated when they leave office, once the lucrative perks of office are withdrawn and the “hundreds of phone calls a day… drop to near zero” the very next day (p.393)! These are valuable disclosures for the younger generation planning to go into public service.

El-Rufai also underscores the absolute importance of political will by a president in effecting key reforms. With Obasanjo’s backing, the residence of the powerful chairman of the ruling party was demolished as part of the restoration of the FCT master plan (p.296) and a number of seemingly impossible tasks are implemented seamlessly. The reader thus gets a glimpse into Obasanjo’s ambivalent approach to governance: a wilful, ex-military leader, with an eye for good people, an ear for good advice and a vision for Nigeria despite his links with vested interests and rentier elite, but who was unfortunately consumed by his vindictiveness and narrow ambitions to run for a third term in office. The reader is likely to come off with a better informed and more respectable view of The Obasanjo personality.

El-Rufai also rightly reflects on a fundamental yet overlooked implication of the decline of Nigerian public education and constituent alumni networks which are critical to leadership and elite incubation (p.42-43).  He stresses how friendship and alumni networks in Barewa College and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria proved useful in several instances in his life and in public service. He laments that the decline of hitherto elitist public institutions mean that their local and important alumni networks such as the Barewa Old Boys Association are now unavailable to foreign-educated Nigerians, his own children inclusive.

However, the scant mention of the highly controversial NITEL-Pentascope privatisation controversy is quite conspicuous. This is especially since El-Rufai studiously accounts for the key hallmarks and controversies of his stewardship of the BPE and the FCT Ministry. While the author does state that a full account of the NITEL saga would come in a BPE monograph (p.128), most readers would have appreciated at least a few paragraphs devoted to this contentious issue.

The author’s approach of divulging the inner workings of governance at the highest levels, and naming and shaming the key players irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation is truly refreshing. Yet in a few instances, there’s a nagging feeling that he probably divulged too much. This ranges from revealing verbatim, some conversations which held in strict confidence to the extremely personal details about meeting and marrying his subsequent wives.

Notwithstanding, the rare insight El-Rufai provides into the highest echelons of power, politics and decision-making in Nigeria is unprecedented. The heated debate sparked by the book should prompt other key actors to document their own version of events, ultimately to the betterment of Nigerians outside the tight power circle. For Nasir El-Rufai the successful entrepreneur, technocrat, exiled student and now leading opposition politician, one can only wonder what the future holds.

Favourite Quote:

“Some mosques in particular consistently condemned me and prayed for my downfall. One or two declared me an apostate for daring to demolish a mosque, conveniently forgetting that Prophet Muhammad ordered the demolition of an illegal mosque in Madina Al-Munawwarah, some 1,400 years earlier. Many  of the affected ‘churches’ prayed that “by God’s grace, El-Rufai will go down, El-Rufai will lose his job, El-Rufai will die in Jesus’ name.” I was there for nearly four years and we removed all of them.”(p.212)

Zainab Usman, @msszeeusman, blogs at


Marginalisation Cry cannot be Justified by Northerners.

‘North Cannot Justify Its Cry Of Marginalisation

Former Secretary General of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Mr. Udengs Eradiri, in this interview with ONYEDIKA AGBEDO, speaks on the allegations by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and interim National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic and religious politics as well as other national issues.

HOW would you react to the recent allegation by former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic and religious politics?

The claim by el-Rufai that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic politics is unfounded because I don’t understand his reasons for making such allegation. How can he say such when almost the key agencies and parastatals of the Federal Government are headed by northerners. Is it the Customs, Immigration, Central Bank or the Police? So, northerners man all the main agencies of the government. Also, northerners own 95 per cent of oil blocs in this country. That is the worst form of marginalisation that anyone can mention. If we say that there is federal character, how come that a few individuals from one ethnic group own more than 95 per cent of oil blocs in a sector that feeds the nation? Is that not stealing? How can he even say that President Jonathan knows the oil thieves when he (el Rufai) knows them better?

So, for me, Nigerians should read in between the lines when these people make the claims to determine whether they are really sane. I think that they are taking advantage of the unlimited tolerance of the president. Nigerians should be grateful because this President is the only democratic leader that we have ever had. It is because of his democratic disposition that anyone can wake and abuse him. If northerners are complaining of marginalisation, I can’t imagine what the Yorubas would be doing. They are the ones that should be complaining considering their level of education and political clout because you hardly see them in key positions.

Don’t you think that the argument by the likes of el-Rufai may have stemmed from the award of contracts for the protection of oil pipelines and installations to some ex-militants?

I will tell you that if the contracts had been awarded to northerners, nobody will hear anything about them. We own the oil, so we are in a better opposition to watch over the installations in the sector. And if you look at the mining rights in the north, are they not owned 100 per cent by northerners? Have Nigerians ever sat down to discuss that? Are those natural resources not owned by Nigeria? Will someone from the Niger Delta go up north to safeguard those mining fields?

Do you suspect any political undertone to the former minister’s claim?

They have always tried to frustrate the efforts of the Jonathan administration from day one, so I am not surprised that he is making such claims. But unfortunately for them, it won’t happen. Anyone who wants to attack Jonathan’s 2015 ambition should come to the table with issues. In fact, I am challenging Nigerians to insist that Jonathan should be the oldest president that we will have henceforth. We cannot from a young president like Jonathan go back to someone who is over 70 years.

How can you plan a future that you won’t be part of? How can they be talking about an alternative president and not looking at young people? What do we have to do with those who misled us in the past? We see Jonathan as a young president and if there are lapses on his side, the youths who are majority of the electorate in this country should rise and tailor him to the right track because there is no perfect being.

There is this perception that the Jonathan administration has not done enough in the fight against corruption. What is your take on that?

You should realise that it takes time to achieve result and there are steps that a true democratic government cannot take. You don’t expect a government that respects the rule of law to be tying people on the stakes like the military junta. Besides that, I ask the question: Are we ready for change? How can we swallow Western practices hook, line and sinker? Can’t we adopt the Chinese model, which is anchored on their culture? Like I have always said, a true federal system is the only way forward for this country. The foundation of Nigeria is faulty and until we correct that anomaly, we will continue to see indices from international organisations reminding us of the level of poverty and corruption in Nigeria.

How do we correct the faulty foundation when the National Assembly has refused calls for a national conference, insisting that it is constitutionally empowered to amend the constitution?

For me, the ethnic nationalities should refocus their agitation towards a unified agitation for the convocation of a sovereign national conference. If Nigerians rise and insist on a national conference, the members of the National Assembly cannot stop it. What credibility do they have to say no that; a group of people who will sit down and pass a bill for my three-year old daughter to be married by a 70 years old man? They have really lost credibility and I don’t see them being in a position to decide whether we should have a sovereign national conference or not.

We should realize that power is not given on a platter of gold. We should stop window-dressing the issue as we are doing now. We have seen what happened in other parts of the world where the people came out to demand for their right, but in Nigeria it is a different thing. For now we are not ready, may be when the suffering gets worse, we may rise to demand for our rights.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Former Kano gov Shekarau President Jonathan has failed.


FORMER Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, yesterday took a critical appraisal of the current administration and asked Nigerians to brace up to the challenges of unseating President Goodluck Jonathan come 2015.

Shekarau spoke just as the Interim National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, gave indications that the substantive national leaders of the party will likely emerge in January 2014.

Shekarau spoke at a conference organised by the Movement for Better Future and Democratic Emancipation Movement in Kaduna.

He said Jonathan has failed woefully and does not deserve reelection in 2015.

The former governor, who was a member of the merger committee of the APC, said: “My assessment is that the government is a total failure. It is not about projects as I have said but about the wellbeing and safety of the people”.

On the way forward, he said: “The only answer to this failure is to get the right people to do it. It is not about the rules.

“The electorates have a very big role to play because people must have a change. That is why we said that this change we are talking about in the APC is not just change of government but change of attitude and people must vote according to their belief and consciousness of accepting who will do the right thing.”

On the imperatives of the merger, he said: “We have never had merger before now but alliances and government of national unity.

“There has never been merger. We have melted into one and I think that was the biggest achievement and that is what gives Nigeria a lot of hope.”

He assured: “There is not going be any crisis because we are going to be fair to all. Everybody in the party will be free to aspire to any office.

“But I think that no matter the number of people who aspire, we are going to come out clean from it.”

Akande, who spoke through the Interim Deputy National Secretary of the party, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, disclosed that the guidelines for the harmonisation of the three parties that constitute the APC at the state levels have been released.

The committee, he said, will be announced next week.

He warned that the harmonisation committees are not executive committees but expected to hold forte for about two months and register members for the party before commencement of congresses to elect substantive leaders.

Akande assured: “Nobody will take the APC and put it in his pocket. We will have no godfathers in this party.

“All those who want to be godfathers should go the PDP. I want to appeal to you to register enmasse, pick the right people and vote for them as leaders.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

APC And 2015: Who Shall We Send? By Deolu Oyebode.

I want to accept the fact that the position of party leadership, candidate, board of trustee and the alter ego must be differentiated in the political process if indeed the APC has provided itself as a credible alternative to the PDP against the forthcoming elections in the Nation and not only that, in building a nation that has values for her youths. Much as I am highly of the strong opinion that our Nation needs a two-party system so that a firm and clear-headed opposition could be in place in strengthening our democracy and as an advocate of youths involvement in government and its power balancing, I don’t also join some egocentric Nigerians to accept in the entirety that it is the party and not the candidate or candidature that has solution to the Nigerian problems.

I appreciate the fact that the new political party has a manifesto that is in line with poverty reduction and sustainable development of the nation, which has made someone like me, to share interest in its formation, and could rescue the nation from the whims and caprices of the accidental leaderships that has bedeviled our nation since its democracy. I am of the consideration that the newly registered APC can correct the systemic failure if only the leaderships of Chief Bisi Akande, Mallam Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mallam (Dr.) Ibrahim Shekarau to be precise can filter the words of the youths and independent minds on all platforms in adjudging you bears the flag in the 2014 Gubernatorial elections in some states as litmus test and the 2015 General Elections.

In my own view, the major challenge that will rock, if it is not already rocking the party at present, is “Who shall we send”, the “who” in question, I know isn’t anybody but people of sound mind with anger to change the embarrassing situation of our nation, men who the love of money cannot buy, men who the lust of office cannot kill, men with wills and opinions, men who can stand a demagogue down, men who will never accept in private what they cannot accept in public, men of high values; such which are very hard to find.

Of all the possible avalanche of aspirants who have been warming up for the presidency, hopeful of using the ticket of the just registered APC for the electoral battle front come 2015; some of the rumored leading aspirants include Mallam Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Hon. Aminu Tambuwa, Nasir El Rufai, Rochas Okorocha, Comrade Adams Oshiomole among others; and I have come up as a spectator of the APC process and wants to suggest in consideration of a Mallam Nasir El Rufai as the best candidate on these five (5) reasons:


Comparative history in Nigeria has told us that our nation needs tough people at the realms of affairs who are focused on adjusting the system irrespective of whose ox is gored; one who can step on toes! Today, people talk about Mallam Buhari, the governors of AD (1999-2003), some Governor’s of the ANPP and PDP in the North between 1999 till date and Mallam Nasir El Rufai as Minister of FCT etc, because they have a blue print and they don’t care who is affected so far the interest of the generality of the people is positively affected, most especially on infrastructural revolution, taxation and the general rescue of the systemic failure in our policy and politics. Of all the aspirants that have interest or could be interested in the race, I opine that Mallam Nasir El Rufai is not found wanting in this regard. My reasons are not far-fetched; One, El Rufai as a Minister of the FCT and the DG of BPE turned over the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Policy Reform had been the basic structural foundation that the nation still builds on till today.

Secondly, the effrontery to challenge the N54million Senate bribery scandal shows that he is zero tolerant toward corruption and tough; Thirdly, the Abuja Land Reforms and the restructuring the Abuja Master Plan has given the federal capital territory a new look and if care isn’t taken, considering the fact that Nigerians and her leadership abuses every available infrastructure and are never interested in building more, we will abuse the whose process if another person like El Rufai isn’t saddled with the responsibility again, I mean one, who has the tough mind to attempt the impossible. Everyone mentions Abuja today as one of the best artificial cities in the world, yet the powers-that-be had forgotten that only the tough pay the tough price. A person as tough as El Rufai in implementing tough policies is needed as the APC flag bearer and not those looking for every opportunity to contest; fourthly, El Rufai was successful in reforming the Public Service and if for no reason he could stand against the third term agenda of President Olusegun Obasanjo on the ground that it was against the general interest of Nigerians, I think I am not mistaken to have said this man is tough enough to face the challenges of the Nigerian Nation.


Another important factor that I think it’s very important that I want to suggest to the APC party leadership in choosing/selecting “whom” to send before the 2015 Presidential election is Age and the gender representation. Sincerely speaking, with due respect to those affected, never again shall a 80years Governor Martins rule in any state in Nigeria, never again shall a man as old as Muhammadu Buhari become the President of Nigeria as old as 70years. I undoubtedly understand the fact that Nigeria needs someone who has the age and the zero-tolerance to corruption or the discipline toga as her president before the nation could move ahead, but we have got better persons who are younger and have scaled above boards in these values and values. We have got a lot of recycling at the detriment of this nation but we think we are doing much good to the nation rather; we are strategically killing the system as the detriment of the involvement of the intellectual youths who have one or two things to offer.

It is only in this nation that our leadership believes that recycling the old will proffer solution to the new order problems facing the nation that requires pragmatic new order solution. It is only in this nation that a Dr. Bello Haliru who was a Commissioner in old Sokoto State now Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States  becomes a minister of defence after 33 years, Major Gen. David Mark Rtd., a military governor of Niger State became the Senate President after 28 years; Governor Muritala Nyako, governor of Niger State in 1976, became governor of Adamawa State after another 36 years; Governor Jonah Jang the factional NGF chairman was Governor of Benue State in 1985 and 27 years later the governor of Plateau State) and unfortunately a prominent political party parades a 62 year old Umar Garba Chiza as its National Youth Leader. These are indications that our political systems have no plans at all for the youths in their twenties and thirties.

It is in this background that I opine to the leadership of the APC to consider this in selecting her candidate because the youths are eager to know who becomes the alternative to a Goodluck Jonathan whom she (APC) had christened ‘a Kindergarten President’. An attempt to field a 71years old Gen. Muhammadu Buhari might frustrate the popularity of your party and what it had earlier been preaching in the south west.

We understand that leadership of political parties must be old enough to be grandfathers with grey hairs because of the wealth of experience and need for critical decisions of the elders, that it why some of us youths do not challenge or have course to query the Obasanjo’s 75 years of age, the 74 years age consideration of Chief Bisi Akande, or that of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s 60 years or that of Buhari as the leader of the APC, who was Head of State when some of university graduates today weren’t born, it only becomes questionable to know what he remains yet undone to be contesting again as president. I think he has expired!

Nasir El Rufai is 53 years and it’s an appreciable age for the Presidency of the system. One who still has a future at stake and can move around for campaigns without stress should be considered. The problem of Nigeria requires agile souls and not weak bones due to age or health related challenges.


In my own view, which I know that the leadership of APC will accept with me, that anyone who is to govern Nigeria must have a political history, not only at the State level but at the Federal level, because the complexities in at the national is more than those of the states. Some Governors of the APC, most importantly the second term governors, might be interested but the challenges are different. The challenges in the local government are different from the state level and likewise the federal. A balance of administrative competence with political history at the selection of candidacy come to 2015 Presidential election will not only produce a tough candidate to defeat but a credible person to lead the bedridden system.

El Rufai whom I suggest the leadership of the APC could consider had been involved in various presidential tasks and knows how the presidency operates in contemporary times better than any of the avalanche of aspirants, who might be viewing Nigeria from the “old school” or “we shall” without a thorough knowledge of the economy and the state of the present Nigeria.

Most importantly, the nation needs a person who isn’t a practical politician but one who is ready for the assignment on the desk, not someone who would want to have a say on whatsoever that happens in the political system. Differentiating between Governance and Politics will be a better tool in considering whom is to present as you are considering this.


Our nation needs policy formulators, not policy destroyers at a time like this. The major problem we have in the Nigeria of today is that none of our leaders are ready for neither formulating any policy nor even sustaining the ones on ground. What they are interested in is money, money and money. The nation needs the formulation of institutional policies that will reduce unemployment and poverty in our land. In my own view which I want the elders of the APC to consider is that only El Rufai can provide this ‘among’ the aspirants interested in this contest. We are in the global era of privatization, commercialization, downstreaming of the oil sector, policy reforms and I am afraid, if you don’t put people of profound quality in office, there will be problems in the long run.


Our nation needs leaders now and not rulers. People who will take pains to listen to what the people are saying without inconsistency with the party norms in abolishing poverty in our lands. Flexible people who can adjust their ways of life with that of the people, devoid of religious fanaticism, sincerely, no former military man can take Nigeria to her Eldorado because the blood of the military is always there. You either don’t question them, or you follow the last instruction.

Youths of this nation, will be so much grateful to your system if for the first time you don’t produce an accidental president which has bedeviled the nation or a military as it has always been since 1999, the military has spent over 90% of our national presidency, either in the khakis or in the ‘agbadas’ and there is nothing to show for it.

Without much Ado, I suggest of the elders of the APC to consider deeply after going through this analysis and many more of the public opinion as part of the conditions in selecting her candidate and candidature come 2015 Presidential election because the Nigerian Youths WILL NEVER Support/Vote for any Great Grand Father for Nigerian President irrespective of any branding or rebranding.

‘Deolu Oyebode is a Public Analyst,

Writes from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.; 08064406846.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

PDP Fears Buhari More Than God, Says El-Rufai.

By SaharaReporters, New York

A top member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and a former Minister of Nigeria’s federal capital, Nasir el-Rufai, has declared that members of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) fear General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) more than they fear God.

Mr. El-Rufai made the statement while speaking in a radio interview in Kaduna monitored online by SaharaReporters. He said, “They are always in a rush to twist what Buhari said because they are afraid of him. They try to do everything possible to paint the man black and they are not even afraid that one day they will stand before God and account for their action. That is why I said they are more scared of him than they are scared of God because somebody that is scared of the day when he will face God will not do certain things. He will not create a lie and try to make it true. This is why I made that statement. And I think people should be very careful and very wary of whatever the PDP and its media say about General Buhari.”

Mr. El Rufai added that the “PDP has become a virus that is infecting and destroying the country because they are not doing anything productive. They have changed our politics into that of ethnicity and religion to divert attention from their incompetence, lack of capacity and looting of the treasury. It has become a clear and present danger to the existence of Nigeria as a nation and the prosperity of its people.”

In a separate development, SaharaReporters learnt that a group within the APC coalition was pressuring Mr. El-Rufai to run for governorship of his home state of Kaduna in 2015. We could not reach Mr. El-Rufai by phone to ascertain whether he had encouraged party members clamoring for him to run in the governorship race.

Stunted Potentials Hobble Our Nation By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

Our country is in the news these days often for the wrong reasons. Nigeria is a country devastated by poverty, insecurity, corruption and terrorism. The governance challenges are immense, while much of public policies now deliver poor outcomes. The budgeting process is a fictographic art, featuring much drama and a growing disconnect from the imperatives of development and the needs of the majority. True to that tradition, the 2013 budget is by August still a matter of unsettled contention between the executive and legislative branches of government. In spite of this, the nation’s savings account – the Excess Crude Account is being rapidly drawn down, probably unlawfully, such that it is likely to fall from about $11 billion in February to zero by October 2013!

Yet this sorry impasse, governmental incompetence and impunity do not define Nigeria. Our diverse peoples are an energetic, often optimistic lot trying to build our lives despite the trammels imposed by governmental incompetence and paralysis. Ours is Africa‘s largest country and second largest economy. It could easily be the continent’s largest economy and market if a congruence should emerge between politics, government action and national aspirations.

Such congruence was in the works from 2004-2007, when a variety of reform measures began to improve government finances, shrink the participation of the state in business by privatizing many state-owned enterprises, create a modern national identity system, strengthen the banking system and getting the ports to be more efficient. Our nation was even poised to launch a national mortgage system to reverse its embarrassing 17 million units housing deficit. A series of gas-based thermal plants were contracted to improve the patchy electric power generation levels. For the first time, a coherent roadmap for a potential boom in the solid mineral sector emerged alongside efforts to reduce the cost of governance through right-sizing and monetization of fringe benefits. The personnel cost of the entire executive arm of the federal government was about N600bn, while the maximum running cost of 469 members of the national assembly used to be less than N50bn annually. The pay-as-you-go pension system was reformed and transitional roadmap to a fully-funded contributory pension scheme legislated.

The success of our foreign debt relief campaign reflected the international community’s confidence in the soundness of the economic programme then being feverishly pursued. Nigeria did not suddenly become an Eldorado. But it was clearly beginning to get to grips with its problems using solutions that were pragmatic and largely market driven; propelled by a vision that the government should provide the infrastructure, security and the guaranty of law and order that can give people confidence to invest, grow and unleash their talents.

The vision of that Obasanjo administration was to make this the last generation to merely speak of Nigeria’s potentials. We were determined to realize those potentials, confident that we had the talents to create wealth from the vast natural and human resource endowments of the country, leveraging the energies of its young people and latent assets in the Diaspora.

Why then the stasis since late 2007? We will attempt an explanation.
Political power must always be tied to national purpose. The inheritors of power post-2007 were strangers to that conception, and did not feel obliged to uphold the reforms they inherited, and where they did, did not demonstrate sufficient political will to see them through. Even conceding to the ever changing dynamics of life, the broad thrust of the programmes our governments need to implement is obvious: the 2004-2007 reforms are unfinished. They should constitute a new starting point for development- focused governance and the agenda for the next government.

Perhaps that will be the single agenda item for the All Progressives Congress in post-Jonathanian Nigeria, as it is clear that the current leadership is unwilling to proceed on that road less travelled. We will nevertheless outline what obviously needs doing. It is not rocket science but requires a competent team led by a president that has been tested and transparently honest. The next president must possess unquestionable personal integrity, character and will, propelled by the anger to change our currently-unacceptable conditions – qualities that appear to be in great deficit in the current leadership across the board not only at the top but even at the levels of ministries, departments and agencies.
On a macroeconomic level, the government has to both shrink and become more efficient. The public service is in many ways unfit for purpose, with a mismatch between the skills required and the excess personnel it carries. A set of incentives needs to be arranged to once again make the public service an attractive career for our most talented. Certain sectors of the service also need to grow. Nigeria needs more police officers, health workers, teachers and judges and the infrastructure to support them. But the share of national income consumed by government has to reduce. The monetization policy has to be revisited and strictly implemented so that securing a public service job, or getting elected to a post stops being a license to live like a monarch, well above the austere circumstances of ordinary Nigerians.

The expense on human capital has to both grow and be more efficiently allocated. The failure rates in the final secondary level exams show that we are not equipping our youth with the skills needed for the 21st century.

Our tertiary education is also mired in mediocrity, and the emergence of private universities merely glosses over, rather than addressing the problem. Access to basic healthcare is also problematic, and we continue to record scandalous rates of maternal and infant mortality. The vote of no confidence in the healthcare system is seen not merely in the N4 billion Nigerians spent in 2010 on medical tourism, but also in the fact that the government makes provisions to send its top officials abroad for healthcare services.

Spending priorities and the allocation of resources have to be calibrated to reflect the urgent necessity to build infrastructure and capacity in Nigeria. The personnel and overhead cost of governments should no longer dominate budgeting; which must begin to prioritize about 70% of budgets for capital expenditure in national and subnational appropriation acts. Having a healthy and well-educated population that is able to compete in today’s global village is more important than the perks that seem to occupy and distract many public officers.

The abandoned efforts at developing a national mortgage system should be revived to create a source of sustainable, long-term financing and a basis for a veritable housing revolution. This would help create better planned neighborhoods in addition to the civic pride, social stability and sense of security that home ownership fosters.

Unleashing entrepreneurial energy also requires that strong regulatory competencies be developed across the board. As our banking system so notoriously demonstrated, effective supervision and enforcement of rules and regulations are critical to the overall performance of the nation’s economy.  The culture of corruption and impunity must be confronted no matter whose oxen are gored. The ambivalent and highly politicized efforts to tackle insecurity and terrorism must be reassessed and redesigned, and then implemented with all seriousness to end the  kidnapping, crude oil theft, armed robberies and the Boko haram insurgency that plague our country. The commendable clean-up of the judiciary initiated by the current illustrious Chief Justice must be intensified and sustained.

None of these is easy but we have little choice if our 170 million people are to have a future. If we continue to make at least 6 million babies per annum, by 2050 Nigeria will be amongst the three most populous nations on earth. We have a duty to do what is necessary to avoid short-term anarchy or sate failure in the medium term when the oil prices are driven down by discoveries all over Africa, and improvement in fracking technologies producing more and more shale oil and gas in Europe and the Americas. We have only a small window to get things right, and we can. Indeed, we must!

When we do, Nigeria has room for an economic explosion, a revolution in development with tectonic consequences for Africa and the Black Race. While we concede that even today, enterprising investors can still make money from the chaos that is the Nigerian economy given the reservoirs of unmet needs across many sectors, real progress that creates jobs and opportunities on a sustainable basis are possible only within the framework of leadership qualities and policies described above. But all these depend on getting the politics right by ensuring we have clean elections between now and 2015. Anything sort of that is sounding the death knell of Nigeria’s progress, and Africa’s emancipation, and that will be very sad indeed.

Re: Fiscal Responsibility Commission: The Sleeping Watchdog By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

My recent piece on the Fiscal Responsibility Commission elicited a wide range of responses on some of the key issues raised. Space will not permit me to publish every one of them, but the response below from a staff of the commission who prefers to remain anonymous raises even more salient questions.
Thank you, sir, for the above titled piece. Very precise and factual. I am a staff of the Commission and know from an insider’s experience that all you wrote about the FRC – of its inability to function according to the provision of the FRA that established it – is the true reflection of what is happening in the Commission.

But, Sir, when you ascribed the Commission’s inactive stance to the weakness of its management, I say you were understating the reality, the true situation in the Commission. The truth is that the Commission is saddled with an incompetent and corrupt management, a group of greedy people who are only out to satisfy their individual interest and nothing more.

The main problem here is that the aim and wisdom behind the establishment of Fiscal Responsibility Commission had been missed from the onset; the government appointed the wrong people to run the Commission. Of the whole six full time Commissioners plus the Chairman, only the Chairman and one of the Commissioners can be said to have full grasp of the meaning of FRA and the powers and functions of the Commission. The bulk of others are just there as appointees representing their respective geopolitical zone. You would be surprised to know that most of them lack even the basic knowledge on the FRA. And because they regard their appointment as an opportunity to further their interest including helping themselves with the Commission’s budgetary allocation, they are always at loggerheads fighting among themselves based on personal and selfish interests.

The Chairman, perhaps, due to his old age and recurrent health problem, is too weak to perform his duties. Somebody who cannot sit upright for good thirty minutes or walk few meters is definitely not the type to head this type of organization. He is always absent due to health problem; at times he runs the office from his home at Karu with staff shuttling between the Commission’s Headquarters and his house to convey files. He is always in and out of hospital among which is his frequent medical trip to India at the expense of the Commission. The Chairman is just too incapacitated to handle the job. That’s the reason most of the times he doesn’t know what is happening in the Commission as the rest of the Commissioners isolated the man, leaving him only as a figure head while they run the Commission on whims and caprices.

In fact the six full time Commissioners plus the four part time ones run the affairs of the Commission as if it is their personal property; there are no standing rules and procedures, everybody acts according to what suits his interest. They usurped everything and power concerning the activities of the Commission to themselves. The staff are reduced to mere spectators and at times treated like personal servants to the Commissioners. From their inception up to the time I am writing this, there’s nothing in place in terms of institutional framework for the working of the Commission; there are no working tools, no written condition of service, and no salary system. Since inception, the Commission conducted physical monitoring and evaluation of projects by the MDAs only once (in the 2nd quarter of this year). There is a whole directorate for monitoring and evaluation of which the staffs have been sitting idly without job to do.

The Commission is populated with bright young professionals with experience from various sectors, but the Commissioners would not allow them to work. There is general disenchantment now in the Commission; the staffs are frustrated to the highest level. There is no single staff that has been confirmed so far despite the fact that many have spent over three years in the commission. Those who can find jobs somewhere among the staff have left leaving the rest behind angry and frustrated.

How can you expect the Commission to sanction MDAs who trample the provisions of the FRA while the MDAs know that the Commission is a joke; nothing threatening will come out of it! The Commissioners, because of their glut, have turned the Commission into a corrupt, beggar-agency in front of the MDAs it is supposed to supervise. The NIMASA (among the scores of agencies that defied the Commission) you were talking about knew what they were doing when they ignored the Commission’s orders. At the end even when they were summoned to the Commission what happened? Where they sanctioned? After closed-door meeting with the Commission’s management, they all came out smiling and exchanging banters with the Commissioners! And up to today they have not submit the documents they were asked to submit, neither have they remit the monies in question.

Currently, there’s palpable situation in the Commission now resulting into mixed reactions, thanks to you write up. Just as the staffs are happy and jubilating for what you wrote, the management members are tensed and frightened. They just cancelled a scheduled meeting between the staff and the management which was supposed to hold today, Tuesday, due to fear that the staff will confront them.

Thank you, once again sir, for exposing the rot in the FRC. – Mr. Katako Maikusa, Concerned FRC Staff.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
+234 803 408 2353


Tag Cloud