Tuesday, March 13, 2018 9:18 pm
Nigeria needs a new elite consensus for it to be a greater country. This view was expressed by the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, while delivering a lecture recently at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, entitled, “Making Progress Amidst Governance and Security Challenges.”
The governor who told the audience that “Nigeria appears to be a country of permanent future expectations,” stated further that “Governance and development in Nigeria require the establishment of a new elite consensus. The current political system nurtures an elite which depend on subverting rather than improving governance for political success. Gradually, this has created a culture of distorted values, dependence on godfathers, and rent-seeking. A sense of shared mission has to be established, and new models of political behaviour developed that are compatible with strengthening our capacity to govern and deliver public goods.”
He added that “Forging elite consensus on these issues will help raise the tenor of national discourse beyond the pedestrian fixation with ethnic and religious conspiracies. Reason must displace empty cacophony.”
While praising President Mohammadu Buhari for arresting the slide into chaos under his predecessor, El-Rufai, who was the Chairman of the ruling APC’s Committee on True Federalism, suggested that the federal government “should shed weight” so that the delivery of public goods by the states can be enhanced. In the light of this, the governor wondered if a centralised Nigerian police force was not insufficient for a vast country like Nigeria and her security challenges.
Before he delivered his lecture, the governor was received by the Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Oxford, Professor Rachel Murphy and the Director of the African Studies Centre, Professor Wale Adebanwi at the Centre. Accompanying El-Rufai during his visit to the Centre and St Antony’s College, Oxford, were his former chief of staff and current Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, his Special Adviser-Counsellor, Mr. Jimi Lawal and the special adviser on political and intergovernmental relations, Malam Uba Sani.
The Governor used the opportunity of his visit to condole with the Africanist community in Oxford University for the death last August of a Nigerian professor, Abdul Raufu Mustapha.
During the lecture, El-Rufai argued that “Nigeria faces a plethora of governance and security challenges, with profound implications for its national development prospects,” adding that though “The country is slowly recovering from recession, too many of our people are very poor and highly vulnerable to further economic fluctuations.”
Said the governor: “Nigeria has lost valuable time and endured too many false dawns in its quest for development. We have missed many critical junctures and opportunities to sustain real progress and development, the most recent being the squandering of nearly $400bn of inherited savings and earned income in the Yar’Adua-Jonathan era between 2007 and 2015.”
The former Minister of the FCT who listed the achievements of his administration in Kaduna State while providing the multiple data on which planning by his administration has operated, concluded that “Since taking office, we have been focused on (our) manifesto (and) commitments. (The manifesto) involves dismantling a political culture anchored on distribution and short-term advantage, while making significant and rapid improvements in delivering public goods like schools and hospitals.”