Annex 1 To Yar'Adua Essay By Nasir El-Rufai: Nigeria 20-2020 Sustainability And Succession Plan

This Succession Strategy Paper written in June 2006 for then President Obasanjo in August 2006 is the first Annex to "Umaru Yar`Adua: Great Expectation, Disappointing Outcome" By Nasir El-Rufai. 



NIGERIA 20-2020 
Proposed Sustainability and Succession Plan
Presidential Policy Support Team
August 2006



PREAMBLE

Nigeria's continuous rise among countries with seeming manifest destiny of greatness owes much to President Olusegun Obasanjo's implementation of this Administration's Economic Reform Agenda (ERA). This agenda could be undermined unless the elections taking place in 2007 provide for the emergence of a leadership that believes in the compelling necessity to preserve and expand the ERA.

There are disturbing signs in the polity that some of the leading political gladiators who feel threatened by the reform see the elections as their final chance to actually reverse the economic reform instead of carrying it far into the future.

To ensure that Goldman Sach's forecast of Nigeria being amongst the world's 20 richest nations by the year 2025, and the President's more aggressive Vision 20-2020 is realized in the least, it has become necessary for the President's team to rise to the challenges that stare them in the face. 

The President's team responses must begin with a plan of action and structure capable of ensuring the emergence of a reform inclined flag bearer with an acceptable track record to contest and win the 2007 Presidential elections on the PDP platform. This paper seeks to articulate the outlines of such plan, strategy and structure for discussion.

OBJECTIVES

The key objectives of both the plan and the structure to carry it through are as follows:

  1. Preservation and entrenchment of President Olusegun Obasanjo's Reform Legacy;
  2. Sustenance of the Nigerian project and its corollary dream of world class greatness;
  3. Maintaining the PDP as the ruling power at the federal level and majority of the 36 states and FCT.
  4. Dealing with emerging dysfunctionalities in the polity such as but not limited to the rising lawlessness in the Niger Delta and resurfacing of primordial sentiments elsewhere, and
  5. Conducting free and fair elections in 2007 towards Nigeria's first real succession from one civilian government to another that would have the acceptability and respect of Nigerians and the world.

The plan intends to bring forth the challenges that the President's Team will face in the coming months with a view to thinking through how to navigate around them. This is so because for many of the gladiators for the 2007 Presidential, Gubernatorial and Legislative offices, winning is a matter of life and death as their ill-acquired wealth, fraudulently-derived power and unearned freedoms are all at stake. The battle for 2007 is the battle for the soul of the largest Black Nation on earth, which outcome will determine whether Nigeria achieves its destiny or gets written off totally by the international community.

This presentation will articulate a strategy, structure, staffing, finance and implementation issues to enable the achievement of the objectives set out above.

STRATEGY

Our strategy will entail the following:

  • Mount a national campaign for good governance and against corruption in politics at all levels – utilizing all stakeholders like civil society organizations, media and grassroots organizations. 
  • Cleaning up the political space of all bad people – steps must be taken, constitutionally and lawfully, to persuade corrupt or non-performing political office seekers to step down. 
  • Manage the media and orchestrate "the paradigm shift" idea already being advocated by ThisDay newspapers, instead of geopolitical or generational power shift.
  • Mobilize resources as well as capture the minds of the elites and ordinary Nigerians on the imperatives of good governance, sustainability of reforms and clean politics to secure the future of our children.
  • Identify credible persons and encourage them to fill the vacant political space by engaging in partisan politics at all levels in 2007.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The natural vehicle for the achievement of the foregoing objectives is the election of a President and at least 67% of the Governors of all states in Nigeria on the platform of the PDP. For this to happen:

(1) PDP must be reformed to increase the level of internal democracy in the party. This will entail:

a. Reducing the hegemony of Governors over the party machinery and elimination of the Party's franchise-mentality

b. Developing fair and equitable guidelines for congresses and convention, not one tailored to a particular outcome

c. Ensuring free and fair elections of Party executives at Ward, LG, State, Zonal and National levels

(2) The party must be appropriately funded in a discrete but consistent manner to prevent it being taken over by moneybags and Godfathers. This will entail:

a. Encouraging and accepting corporate donations which should be made tax-deductible

b. Mobilizing offshore funding from subscriptions by the Diaspora who see more of the Administration's achievements than home-based elites, and

c. Intensifying the collection of members' subscriptions and donations as every penny from millions of members can amount to a lot.

(3) Support structures, systems, staff and resources must be organized in time for the party to maintain its dominance in Nigerian politics in 2007. 

There is increasing concern that the leadership of the PDP as presently constituted may have difficulties returning the party to power without some Presidential leadership, support and guidance. In order to avoid unpleasant electoral outcomes in 2007, we must cease taking the political terrain for granted.

Specifically, the party must look critically at structures and machinery of the PDP in states wherein the Governors are either reform-defiant, or worse, in the opposition camp. Examples are Abia, Adamawa and Plateau States that are PDP only in name. 

The opinions expressed about PDP's current weaknesses are borne out of very painful facts underscoring the party's inability to live up to expectations. It would suffice to mention a few of these shocking disappointments as follows:

  • PDP's failure to rally its majority in the National Assembly to support Mr. President's legislative proposals, annual budgets and desirable constitutional amendments.
  • PDP's failure to get its principal officers in the Senate and the House of Reps to abandon the Opposition Agenda which fact made the latter's key members to play larger than life roles in the two chambers.
  • PDP's failure to get its elected majority members in Plateau and Anambra States Houses of Assembly to deal with Governors whose conduct in office left much to be desired.
  • PDP's subservience to those perceived as immoral power brokers particularly in Oyo and Anambra States. The question here is – what can PDP do in Anambra, Plateau and Oyo states? What is our response to APGA in Anambra State?

Other threats to PDP's electoral chances in the forthcoming elections are other developments in the polity such as:

  • A castrated opposition evidently headed for self-destruction but capable of regeneration in the event of PDP's failure to put forward a winning Presidential candidate.
  • The inability of PDP governments at all levels to win the propaganda (media) war or the hearts and minds of Nigerians as to rely on the party's performance to return them to power.
  • The seeming, unfortunate, parting of ways of friends who until recently were sources of strength for Mr. President and the PDP. While this parting of ways in some cases had to do with the inability of the President to satisfy the greed of some of the friends, in some cases, this is not the case, and clearly avoidable.
  • The restless elite in urban areas that lends itself to easy manipulations and mobilization against the PDP and its governments.

SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

The fact of closeness to elections clearly makes it irrational and perhaps dysfunctional, to succumb to any agitations for, or any attempt at this late hour to change the leadership of the party.

What can however, be done is to evolve another supporting infrastructure with an inherent capacity to ensure the party's electoral victory in the next year's general elections, PDP's efforts not withstanding. Efforts must concurrently be made to help the PDP to also effectively perform its traditional political party functions in an election year. These ought to be two strategies either or both of which can guarantee PDP's victory in the elections.

The financial implication of what is clearly a duplicative, though supporting structure by way of incremental cost is unavoidable given that reliance on the formal PDP structure alone is very risky. The party was not able to clinch victory in skirmishes and battles putting the President against its recalcitrant federal legislators et al. These battles were but necessary run-up to the looming war in 2007. Hence the need for a supporting structure as proposed below:

{Chart ..ZC – zonal facilitators}

PRESIDENT'S CORE GROUP

The President should maintain the size of Team 6, but create a President's Core Group (PCG) that will not exceed 10 in number. The PCG should have a chairman at-large, namely, Mr. President. However, a vice chairman who would be its formal leader must be somebody with unhindered access to the Chairman at-large. The vice chairman assists the president in overseeing the ZC. But it bears logic that when PDP's presidential candidate emerges, he or she would automatically become the vice-chairman to be assisted throughout the campaigns by his predecessor.

The function of the core-group is to systematically coordinate the use of Police, SSS, EFCC, ICPC and other state organs as per their respective roles before and during elections based on new approaches which subject matter will be detailed out subsequently. The PCG shall liaise with State Governors, Party Chairmen at State and LG levels, and key political leaders in the State to ensure unity, collaboration and PDP's success in the 2007 elections 

It should have a strategy sub-committee with responsibility for determining and overseeing the implementation of strategies including targets during campaigns and elections with respect to the following:

  • Organization and Logistics
  • Media and Civil Society Management
  • Finance (offshore and domestic)
  • Selection criteria for nominating President/VP, Governorship and Legislative candidates
  • Mobilization of Party supporters and electorate

One of the most important roles that the PCG will play in the coming weeks includes the reconciliation and resolution of intra-party differences. The anti-corruption war spearheaded by EFCC may result in the unity of corrupt Governors, the Vice President and possibly other contenders with skeletons, against the President leading to the creation of a coalition of corruption. Apart from the very bad states with irredeemable governors like Abia, Adamawa, Benue and Plateau States, it is possible to still bring such disgruntled persons to the table and offer a package deal with broadly the following elements:

  • Undertake to voluntarily return looted funds to the respective treasuries, accompanied by a pardon by the relevant authority,
  • Agree to support the emergence and successful election of reform-minded PDP candidates at all levels in 2007,
  • Quietly retire from elective politics, and 
  • Accept an appointive position within the Federal Government either at home or abroad.

It is the belief of the President's Policy Support Team that most of the likely members of the Coalition of Corruption would accept such a deal provided they are of the view that ironclad agreements will be reached with EFCC, any relevant authority and the assurance that the next President of Nigeria and his core team can be trusted to keep their words. 

Incidentally, the EFCC Act enables the institution to strike these kinds of ‘plea bargains' which will be in the overall interest of the Party and the nation, for now. Whether the EFCC will accept to exercise this package will require careful consideration and consultations.

ZONAL FACILITATORS (ZC)

Their function is to oversee the effective implementation of targets and operations in the States taking cognizance of need for varying these in line with peculiarities of their respective states. Where the Police, SSS et al have zonal structures, ZC will relate to them. ZC would also be responsible for assisting weaker states under their domain with "reinforcement" from within the zone, or undermining the opposition's ability to secure outside support for its weaker states.

The ZCs should be objective persons, active in politics but objective, i.e. not identified with any presidential aspirant. The ZCs must enjoy the confidence of the President and have pre-existing relationships of trust with members of the Core Group. The ZCs shall be based in Abuja, regularly commuting to their operational areas in a discrete but effective way.

STATE ENHANCERS

These are the field warriors or commanders who direct operations at constituency levels in their states. They should be required to propose campaign/electoral structures for the party, candidates and budgets. 

As much as possible, they should handle finances sourced for operations in their states. State Enhancers (SE) should be made to generate authoritative reports on the positioning of key political parties in the constituencies of their respective states. Before the elections are conducted, for each election, strength of the PDP in the constituencies should be graded on a ranking order of A, B, C, D and E. 

This ranking should have consequences as to resource allocation. SEs should work towards determining constituencies, wards and polling booths where PDP has total freedom of action. In these places, SEs must obtain optimum voter-turn out. Very defensive measures should be put in place where the opposition is stronger with to minimize voter turn out in favour of the opponents. Governors/Gubernatorial candidates should be the SEs as the case may warrant because they have more at stake. SEs should ensure that maximum cooperation is sought and obtained from all relevant security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, youths and women groups. 

Particular attention should be paid to strategies aimed at mobilizing youth and women for the PDP for their increasing participation in elections and the formers' ability to reinforce the will of supporters in the face of intimidation from the opposition. Their effective use and motivation in the context of clearly defined objectives during every election can minimize the need for the direct intervention of security agencies.

It is vital here for SEs and the NEC of the PDP o ensure that State Congresses are not acrimonious to avoid problems cropping up at the National Convention. The starting point is to ensure that persons of integrity and reputation are selected to conduct the Congresses. It is also imperative that outcomes of these congresses are not overturned in Abuja unless as a result of ‘due process' of appeal, investigation and adjudication. The days of money changing hands or other sentiments coming in to change results in Abuja should be over in our party. 

SELECTION OF PRESIDENTIAL AND VP CANDIDATES FOR THE PDP

It is important to stress that while Mr. President should be assisted with the relevant criteria, this exercise should be seen as an opportunity for Mr. President assisted by the core group to work towards providing leadership for Nigeria for the next twenty four years. This can be achieved by considering three excellent people who could both be effective Presidents and loyal VPs from the north and the south. The north would generate candidates N1, N2 and N3 while the south comes up with S1, S2 and S3.

Mr. President must determine that the national credentials and reform inclinations of these people are absolutely impeccable. They must also be people who are highly marketable and are patient enough to take their turns as future presidents or vice presidents. For the purpose of illustration, Mr. President may pair N1 and S1. At the end of the tenure of the President, the VP who could be N1 or S1, now becomes the PDP's presidential candidate. Either N2 or S2 as the case may be, becomes the VP candidate. N3 and S3 should be sought out during the same exercise for grooming as potential President and VP in the last eight years of this experimentation.

Mr. President must exhort them (Ns and Ss) to work as a team for Nigeria's greatness by providing effective leadership capable of mobilizing Nigerians to make their country among the top ten richest and powerful nations in the world within the next twenty years with effect from 2007. 

All these identified persons must always be part of:

  • The federal cabinet, as Ministers of key departments of government, Special Advisers and Assistants, supporting the President from within, as well as politically mobilizing all geopolitical zones to support Mr. President and his or her programs at all levels.
  • The State Governments as Governors, Deputy Governors and Speakers of States' Houses of Assembly.
  • Leadership and Membership of the National Assembly providing the legislative support to make the President succeeds.
  • Leadership of key government departments at sub-cabinet level, e.g. as Governor of CBN, Head of BPE, etc.

BUILDING STRENGTH ON A FOUNDATION OF HARD TRUTH

As observed above, there is no doubt that despite its failings and institutional weaknesses, the PDP remains the party to beat. But this is neither sacrosanct nor a chance to put just anybody as the party's flag bearer in 2007. Unless the PDP chooses a flag-bearer with a winning streak, the opposition that is otherwise headed for the rocks, may draw a lifeline from our mistakes by winning the elections from which vantage point the reform will be destroyed, its initiator and implementers humiliated, jailed and possibly killed. 

This act will not matter per se, for all the people involved, will not hesitate to make the supreme sacrifice of their lives for Nigeria to be great. What matters is that Nigeria's only real economic take-off chance in 2007 based on the foundation President Obasanjo will have laid will be stupidly wasted or ignored with dire consequences for the country and the sub-region.

If the above scenario does not fully crystallize, Nigeria might next year have stalemated presidential elections which outcome could be so controversial as to undermine the authority, prestige and legitimacy of the President. The nation, instead of charging forward at full throttle for its manifest destiny, is inadvertently thrown into highly avoidable political conflicts and social conflagrations.

The hard truth, a by-product of our monumental failure to win the propaganda war, has indeed evolved a "geopolitical attribute" that unfortunately must be added to the dual winning attributes of a presidential candidate who must be a popular, "well packaged" consumable "product." This means that PDP cannot thrust unknown candidates to contest the Presidency, Governorship or even Legislative positions. The concept of ‘dark horse' or reluctant candidate is strange in today's political terrain.

The international Hausa wire services (BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle, Radio Beijing, etc.) in the run up to and during the constitutional amendments debates, had effectively psyched up tens of millions in the North to believe that the whole undertaking was aimed at preventing their "North" from ever ruling Nigeria, as if frontline reformers at the Federal level of Northern origin were deviants from the social fringes of their environment incapable of understanding its needs! 

Though constitutional amendments are no longer topical but the same wire services and the few regional tabloids in the North are at it again, inciting northerners to reject election results by an INEC that can only rig the election results in favour of the PDP. 

Already, there are wild rumours circulating in the North that the wrong specification of ink was supplied for the Census to ensure that the forms therefrom are machine-unreadable and accordingly rejected and the demography of the nation permanently altered. The international news services which are source of the rumours claim that Chief Bode George has already revealed such a plan in a speech he gave in Enugu earlier in the year. These pre-emptive statements and propaganda would have a profound impact on Nigeria's unity, stability and progress unless nipped in the bud. The results of the Census constitute a double-edged sword – any side of the demographic divide can use them for maximum mischief! 

On discrete inquiry and consultations with the relevant agencies, the findings and recommendation of the President's Policy Support Team with regards to the Census are as follows:

  1. All ink is machine-readable so there is no truth to the speculations whatsoever. 
  2. Automatic Fingerprint Identification Systems are not currently available to deploy biometric technology to the headcount. An incremental investment of N300 million by INEC is needed to enable that.
  3. Census results are unlikely to be ready for consideration by Mr. President and the Council of State earlier than mid-December 2006.
  4. The results of the Census, if recommended for acceptance by the Council of State would be published too late for use in any way in the 2007 Elections.
  5. To increase the acceptability of the headcount, and to eliminate all suspicions surrounding the exercise and election, the PST is of the view that the consideration and announcement of the results of the Census should deferred until after the 2007 Elections.

The suspicion surrounding the Census and the conduct of the 2007 Elections are making the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to emerge as a force with a monopoly of wisdom as to what is right for the North, as well as the region's repository of collective conscience. The rise of the ACF at this time is remarkable, coming at a time that its dysfunctional Afenifere counterpart in the South West has been effectively killed. 

The Obasanjo presidency has made it impossible for Afenifere which is itself, hostile to the ERA to mobilize on the basis of ethnicity. The elections in 2007 will either neutralize the ACF or make it dominate the mindset of majority of ordinary Northerners as to make them believe the PDP is against them for being Northerners or Muslims in the states where the same propaganda can be so stretched.

The year 2007 is clearly a watershed in the annals of Nigeria's political evolution capable of bringing back all the atavistic regional tendencies and counter cultures despite the fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo has continuously offered an ultra nationalistic leadership.

But if the PDP pulls a surprise that defies the emerging "conventional wisdom" in the North, by fielding a "reform minded" ticket with persons of integrity as its presidential flag bearers, the whole region would vote for the PDP and give this party the most patently decisive and acceptable electoral in recent times. Otherwise, the coalition of evil that prevented Nigerians to consider the individual merits of the proposed constitutional amendments would become so "powerful and credible" as to starve the ERA of its survival requirements i.e. legitimacy and credibility.

Guiding the PDP's convention to support the emergence of a decent, reform-minded presidential candidate, will clearly and permanently put to lie any attempts at the falsification of President Olusegun Obasanjo's ultra patriotic credentials and make our party the only party of relevance in Nigeria for a very long time to come. If this is envisaged to happen, there is an absolute need for an effective propaganda (using the wire services) to give the credit to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP.

The PDP must rise up and tell its success story. No one will do it for us. We have achieved a lot in the social, economic and infrastructural development of Nigeria in the last 7 years, particularly at the federal level. These need to be articulated in a message which the Party must propagate, even while admitting areas of delayed action and weakness like civil service reform, power sector stability and the railways. 

We must claim credit for the fastest growing, private-sector driven telecoms sector in the world, the most visionary contributory pension system in Africa, unprecedented foreign debt write-off and being a world-class model in the war against money laundering, corruption and economic crimes.

THE PRESIDENT POLICY SUPPORT TEAM'S RESPONSE

The President's Team while appreciating the political complexities of the run-up to the elections see no problem at all, as President Olusegun Obasanjo would do what is GOOD for Nigeria at the appropriate time. It therefore agreed to support Mr. President with the following deliverables:

  1. Evolving the selection criteria to assist the President in coming up with six presidential materials purely on merit at the rate of three each from the North and South. (DONE)
  2. Determination of the financing need and sourcing of funds for the requirements of the PDP and the suggested parallel structure, (BUDGET in ANNEX I), and
  3. Provision of other resources to make the PDP able to extend good and focused governance beyond the federal level by in ensuring that majority of state and local government councils have programs good enough to address the developmental requirements of their jurisdictions. (IN PROGRESS) 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Propaganda/Media – 

The Presidential Policy Support Team has resolved to engage with, rather than withdraw support from hostile media houses, as well as intensively patronize friendly ones. There is need to urgently convert a not so hostile paper like The Punch into a friendly one and revive The New Nigerian, and The Reporter newspaper if the late Yar'adua family would be agreeable.

The use of the unutilized power of federal electronic media in the propaganda war is unavoidable being a weapon that is readily available in the arsenals of the ruling party and therefore all obstacles to its deployment must be anticipated and removed immediately. 

A strategy should also be evolved to snatch away the international wire services from the opposition. Equally important is the need to cultivate FM radio stations for effective deployment against the enemy whose dirty deals and shameful conducts the print media has been largely paid to conceal. All stringers of the international wire services resident in Nigeria and their editors abroad should be identified for engagement, neutralization or deployment against the enemy that has used these effectively.

Condition survey needs to be conducted in a good time to ascertain the PDP's popular support in all the senatorial districts before the national convention of the PDP. This exercise would pave way for the ranking of such constituencies on scale A, B, C, D and E.

This exercise would enable us to customize strategies and resource allocation before and during elections. Veteran media persons, sociologists and political scientists working with local resource persons are to carry out this exercise. This exercise must be able to determine senatorial districts where PDP would have absolute freedom of action, is neck to neck with the opposition and confronts a very hostile populace. This exercise shouldn't take longer than eight weeks.

The activities outlined above have been costed to determine their financing requirements as Annex I. The next strategy paper will identify and discuss funding sources, review developments sequel to the NEC Meeting, INEC Workshop and other political developments and set up a sub-committee to evolve a detailed implementation programme and work plan.

The President's Policy Support Team

Abuja, Nigeria

August 2006