Above photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan formally submitting his handover notes to President elect Muhammadu Buhari, 28 May 2015
A debate on whether former president Goodluck Jonathan prepared proper handover notes to the current president, Muhammadu Buhari has further illuminated on how the incumbent president was ill prepared for the job.
The debate was sparked by the performance of a chieftain of the ruling APC, Chief Rotimi Fashakin in an interview granted to Channels Television.
According to Mr Fashakin, “the 19-man transition committee, empanelled by president-elect Muhammadu Buhari could not complete its assignment. It only managed to submit an interim report before the inauguration because the outgoing govt of Dr Jonathan refused to offer the required cooperation”
However, Obi Nwakanma wrote in response:
“Jonathan publicly presented his handover notes to Buhari. So, it is a lie that you told on TV that you did not obtain any true pictures of what to expect in government.
“The problem s that Buhari’s campaign administration had no research capacity. For a man whos spent the last 12 years running for president, he had no ideas. He was just looking for power for its own sake.
“The Ahmed Joda panel which Buhari established within days of his election provided Buhari the reports he needed to organize his government and establish a policy framework for his administration.
“But it took this president six months to establish a government, and 8 months to inaugurate the Federal Executive Council as required by law. He was basically governing like some Ottoman Sheik until he was compelled to establish his government by appointing the executive council. And within the gap period, a slippage happened that was fatal to Nigeria’s economy.
“A president who arrived government at a period of high volatility in the international energy market needed to act very quickly to establish a firm hold on government policy both in terms of the supply chain system and in terms of creating policies of reflation.
“Buhari wasted so much time dawdling. Within six months of government inactivity, Nigeria experienced massive capital flight. Investors fled because they had no idea the thrust of government policies. Government activities which normally put money on the streets dried out leaving the crucial small businesses that is key in oiling the streets and many families, broke and redundant.
“The economic gains of the Jonathan administration was wiped out. Today, we have the worst economic crisis in Nigeria since 1984/5.
What the last year has shown include (a) APC was not organized for power, it was surprised by power (b) When it arrived in power the party was unable t deploy any capacity to hold power because the party itself exists only on paper.
“The party is not on the same table with the party’s leader whose agenda is thoroughly different, (c ) APC has no policy mechanism. Until I wrote about it about two years ago in my column, the party had no Directorate of Policy and Research. So, it had no eyes. It did not have an Economic Intelligence unit. It did not have a Defence Policy group. It did not have for Economic policy.
“It had no clearly thought Works program. The party is simply basically a sham; a desperate coalition of interests that has basically cracked at its very seams because the president and his part are not one! There is no clear document about its Foreign policy.
“The party came to power on what Fashakin calls a trinity of programs: corruption, security, and jobs. But there is no clear national security framework. In actual fact, no one who authored the party’s skeletal policy in any of these areas is in government or in the right position.
“Kayode Fayemi whose Doctorate is on Security Studies from the University of Lagos and London, should either have been Buhari’s National Security Adviser or his Minister for Defence, for instance, if Buhari were a thinking man.
“Buhari’s social security program is based on the promise to pay N5000 unemployment dole. It is a lousy and backward policy because:
(a) it is not coordinated with a low-income housing program or dissability access program, because access to cheap but very adequate housing is part of the major causes of poverty,
(b) The Buhari government also did not have the basic demographic information or database to determine who qualifies; how much it would take in the next 1 year, 5 years, ten years; what taxes to raise, how to push such a tax proposal through the national assembly, and how to establish the Social AID Administration.
“These guys have no idea!
“They arrived government by declaration, and hardly have the organizational or intellectual capacity to construct systems that could lead to a functioning government. That is precisely what Fasakin is dealing with: project management is not public service; it is not policy management; it requires a certain intellectual depth to frame a clear picture of the direction of a government, and the process of working with legislature to frame legislation that would ginger and back a visionary government.
“It is more than cheering or critiquing from the sidelines: I think now Fasakin and his cohort of revisionists have a chance to govern, they are clearly overwhelmed by the fact of public governance, because, frankly, they have no ideas! It is too easy from the outside. In less than 3 years Nigerians will ask Rotimi also to account, and will try him also for enabling a corrupt and nepotistic government, so watch out”.
In my Nigeria should go back to the basics.
As Obi Nwakanma also wrote:
“There is a reason why Permanent Secretaries are called Permanent Secretaries, and why the destruction of the Nigerian Civil service, by the likes of Buhari has led to the corruption of the system over the years for political expediency. We must know where the rain began to beat us.
“Part of the problem in Nigeria is that public service has been reduced to an all comers affair. Time was when Nigeria adhered to the rule of merit. The top basically selected itself through performance in schools, in the service, and in industry.
“Rule one: everywhere in the world, government selected the best to its service. In the civil service, after the civil service exams in the old British merit system based on the Chinese Mandarin structure, every year the governments of the federation went to schools and recruited young men and women into the civil service – basically they took the best of the nation and deployed them: the best went to the Foreign service (because a nation’s place in the world is serviced by its best), the Treasury, the Home Office, and the information department or Ministry.
“It is the civil service through their permanent under secretaries that preserved the memory of every government. All ministries prepare their notes to every in-coming administration irrespective of who is in power, through their administrative records system.
“The Chief Secretary of State (who was also once head of the Civil Service) is obligated in the interest of continuity and accountability to direct all Permanent Secretaries to begin a transitional document during a transfer of power. The directive is never given by the president. It is not a political directive. It is given by the head of service.
“There is a reason why the civil service is, and must be made to remain or regain its role as an apolitical arm of state established by the Constitution and the Act of Parliament.”