Sunday, May 31, 2015

First 7 Days - If I were President Buhari

So the weekend of festivities is over, and Abuja is beginning to acquire its quiet mien once again. When it is all said and done, the new President Buhari is inheriting a mess and a nation in crisis. There won't be much time to learn, even as the people will look to him to deliver on his promises very quickly. Petrol is scarce, the power grid has collapsed and salaries of workers have been left unpaid.

So I hear the people that given this mess, that we are bound to be disappointed by the President given the depth of the mess and his inability to do it all. I hear them, but I believe these things are doable and the direction of the President can even be known in 7 days talk less of 100 days. So my friends asked me what I will do If I were president, given my irritating optimism.  This blog post is a response to them. What will I do?

My 7 days Plan..

Today: I will announce the appointment of a seasoned technocrat (like Pat Utomi) as my SGF. His/She job is to within a week come up with the organization chart of the entire public service, excluding not even the minutest one. He/She has one week to deliver a draft a team and 21 days to deliver a final chart/report. I expect them to work on volunteer basis or as existing civil servants drawn from various agencies. Every file, every Ministry, every department, every agency, every commission or parastatal must be visited and staff strength recorded with a detailed job description on who is doing what and why. This is the prelude to public sector reforms.

I will publish my asset declaration, with that of my deputy. Will demand that anyone that I appoint do the same to have their appointments confirmed. 

Day Zero: I will give teeth to my campaign promise. Asset declaration and reforms.

Monday: I will announce the appointment of my media person, and require a daily briefing of the media by Aso Rock Villa. I will also institute the practice of monthly press conference. Leadership is 90% communication.

I will use the later part of this day to meet with my service chiefs. I will fire them after the meeting but require they remain in service, and deployed to the war front against Boko Haram. I will appoint my own chiefs, and ask that the entire defense house move physically to Maiduguri and Baga before end of week. 

I will announce the appointment of the National Security Adviser, who will be charged to immediately proceed to lead the exercise of cleaning up the intelligence agencies and counter terrorism organization of armed and intelligence services. 

I will announce the new head of the EFCC, as well as my choice of Attorney General of the Federation. Draft of the  Guidelines reinforcing the independence of EFCC to investigate financial crimes including corruption will also be issued, while a counterpart legislation to enforce it by law released for public comments. Goal is to send this as the first bill to the new National Assembly. 

First Full Day in Office: Anti-Corruption and Security are priority.

Tuesday: I will meet with PwC and Deloitte to discuss their report. I will immediately empanel an audit committee of young accountants and energy professionals, not more than 7 to immediately find the sources of leakages within NNPC, ID whom to be prosecuted for  sharp practices including spending without appropriation. Charge is to deliver report by end of June. I will announce the immediate dissolution of NNPC Board and Management, and deploy a team of 5 trusted technocrats, to manage the behemoth in the interim with a public declaration that we are looking to reform it and that the new management is temporary and should expect no further appointment in the industry. This will be inserted in their engagement contract.

Later this day, I will inaugurate the National Procurement Council (NPC), led by persons in the caliber of Dr. Oby Ekwensili, and totally non-partisan. Members will be known no-nonsense persons, with proven commercial skills to out negotiate anyone. Good mix of gender and generations as well. Their charge is to use an e-procurement platform to be piloted in key MDAs of Presidency, FCT and Education by end of June. All new contracting in governments should also effectively stopped, until the NPC take off properly. Ongoing contracts will continue under the old process.

To assist the NPC, a separate audit committee (with inter-agency participation) on all outstanding federal infrastructure projects will be empaneled. The goal is to audit all existing direct Federal Contracts, and ID what the liabilities are and what it will take to finish them within 9-12 months except the recurring ones. Special focus of the committee will also be on infrastructure projects and not witch-hunting will also be allowed. All projects awarded must be assumed to be appropriately awarded and efforts to bring them to final close should be made.

A new CTO for Nigeria will be announced to coordinate technology projects across the FGN from the Presidency. The CTO will drive the e-governance project for the NPC even though he/she will be free to tackle other ICT needs for the smooth running of the government. Another immediate task for the CTO is to automate logistics and travel booking for the public service with focus on eliminating waste and excesses.

Day Two: It is all about the Economy. Energy, Infrastructure and Procurements

Wednesday: A special session with the VP will be held discussing judicial and law enforcement (including prison) reforms. VP will be publicly charged to bring reforms to judiciary, specifically to create  a professional office of prosecutors with Federal Prosecutors being professional lawyers, and appointment subject to Senate approval; legislation to be developed. This will also remove prosecutorial powers from all investigative agencies including Police and EFCC. Also, court procedures to disallow adjournments in criminal cases, and ensure simple stop-start like the US will be developed for roll-out within 2-3 months.

A meeting with the Chief Justice will be appropriate. To lead by example, I will go to his office. And reinforce the independence of judiciary. Immediately reconstitute the Federal Judicial Service Commission and appoint the 5 out of 8 persons that the President can select with the purpose of leading the clean up of the Judiciary, including firing corrupt judges and selecting eventually an outside (non-career) Chief Judge and slew of judges to shake up the judiciary. 

Later tonight the IG of Police (and his cohorts) will be retired, and a series of intended police reforms (plan to eliminate barracks) to make it more local and federal will be announced. An activist and professional police acting head will be appointed to manage the transition and announced reforms. The National Police Council will be convened for the first time since 1999, with the purpose of advancing Police Reforms with states as partners. The Ministry of Police will also be dissolved and staff redeployed to Police Council Office, Police Service Commission and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Police Reforms Announced: A special Devolution of Policing Commission of party big wigs and security experts will also be inaugurated to work out the logistic modalities for creating State Police from the Nigeria Police, FRSC and Civil Defense Corps, as well as laws to create Federal Investigative and Enforcement Bureau to replace the National Police, and to be placed in the Ministry of Justice alongside the EFCC. The Mobile Police Force will remain National, and maintain regional emergency footprints and patrol of Federal Highways. 

Day Three: It is all about the Judiciary and Police. The Blitz continues.

Thursday: I will start the day by announcing that the Presidential Fleet is to be retired and immediately transferred to the Bureau of Public Enterprises for a competitive disposal within 3 months.

A series of cost saving measures for the government will also be announced:

  • Ban on First or Business Class travels by government officials - civil, elected or appointed
  • Voluntary cut of President and VP salary to 2.3 million per month, and submission of proposal to RMAFC to set this limit as proposed highest pay in the nation, with NO allowances. 
  • Investigation of use of overhead account to meet emolument already monetized, and an active claw back of salaries of senior public officials and officers where determined for January 2015 to date.
  • Ban on overseas training, and directive to Head of Service to create an harmonize Training Directorate to ensue 100% local training in the civil service
  • Suspension of all overseas scholarships, except those under the Amnesty Program
  • Cancellation of Pilgrimage  Sponsorship by the Federal Government. An appeal to religious leaders to leverage Pilgrimage Commissions as platform to raise funds from corporates and individuals. Pilgrimage Commissions will essentially become Public Private Partnerships with CAN and NSCIA. Transition committees to be empaneled to get their staff off government payroll by end of June or transferred out to other arms.
  • Decisive new Policy to be gazetted to limit numbers of support staff by political appointees i.e. Ministers. This will also include prescription of equivalent grade level at which they will be paid to civil service levels.
  • Announcement of a revised budget to exclude petrol subsidy and overhead to National Assembly. National Assembly budget to be radically shrunk, as well as budget of Presidency, and overhead in supplemental budget to be released for public comments.
  • Announcement on ban on the use of convoys by ALL public officers. Every public official is entitled to one car, and driver with a single mobile police orderly except the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker, Chief Justice & all Judges in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and their equivalents as well as Attorney General, and heads of sensitive security agencies who must however maintain small details as appropriate with no noise making.
  • A new salary structure to be submitted to RMAFC will be announced by the President, as well as a constitutional push to limit public pensions of previous public officers and exclude military heads of states or interim heads will be passed. Such push will include Governors and their deputies at state level

A whistle blowing website is to be launched, to ensure that individuals can anonymously report anyone found violating these policy announcements. All cases will be referred to EFCC and Head of Service, or appropriate agencies for treatment.

At the end of the day, I will fly commercial to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Jos to inspect existing prisons. In the same vein, I will announce the need to immediately set up large special prisons to replace existing ones. The Vice President will be directed to work out to modalities of setting up 6 regional major prisons to be sustainable with the private sector; procurement on PPP basis will be administered by the new procurement council.

The day will end by a trip to Maiduguri and meeting with the Generals on field in the new Defense HQ.

Day Four: It is all about the message. The goal is to project strength and integrity

Friday: The end of first work week will kick off by inaugurating the National Assembly. In my message to the body, I will restate my commitments to Security, Anti-Corruption and Job Creation.

Later today, I will announce the realignment of the federal bureaucracy along the lines of 19-20 Ministries, and a desire to limit the size of government while improving efficiency.

I will announce the creation of the General Services Bureau to number and track all 100% owned federal physical assets including phones, tablets, vehicles and buildings :except ammunitions - and ensure maintenance and replacement. The GSB will be housed within the Presidency, and an initial mixed team of auditors and engineers will be empanelled to kickstart the GSB with the goal of first IDing all assets and then tracking them using technology: RFIDs, GPS, GIS Maps among others. Valuation of the assets will be a key term of reference, and the body is to work closely with SGF who is drawing up the org chart to ensure all agencies including NNPC and CBN are covered. All government physical assets (except ammunitions) will be transferred to the ownership of GSB at the end of the exercise. ALL MDAs, are to transfer their assets upon completion or acquisition to GSB through a new policy to be gazetted.

NOTE: Jointly owned assets with private sector will be excluded from GSB direct administration, but will later be audited for valuation and information purposes. 

I will end the day by announcing the appointment of National Economy Adviser, to serve as counterpart to EFCC Head and National Security Adviser on Job Creation. The NEA will head the new Job Creation Office in the Presidency, charged with scoring jobs created by government spending and explore linkages in government to realize jobs in the private sector while managing various intervention projects and programs in Agriculture, Mining, Infrastructure  and Technology to help the private sector create the 12 million jobs promised. NEA will work with CBN and various development agencies in Nigeria and Overseas, as well as existing Funds including ETF, PTDF and Local Content Fund.

Will end the day by securing the resignation of the CBN governor and announcing the nomination of a new one. A major policy thrust of the new CBN is to change the color of naira notes to catch thieves hoarding them, and redenominate to remove big notes from circulation. Yes, 1 dollar indeed will become one new Naira!

Day Five:  This is firm up day, ensuring the agencies that will deliver the reforms are in place.

Saturday: Will spend the day visit Internally Displaced Persons centres across Abuja and surrounding. With Television Camera in tow, I will focus on the plight of the needy and visit hospitals. It is very likely I will fire the head of NEMA on public camera and announce an interim head who will work with international donor agencies to bring succour to the needy badly in need of it. My wife will be in tow for full effect, and the cause of the IDPs will be her cause, even as she will not have an official office or budget, but raise her own funds with lean budget and little flamboyance. 

Day Six: This is the day of mercy and soft stuff. But even more important to end a blitzering week on this note. 

There you go, now you know my first seven days and perhaps the next 93 days and perhaps 4 years have become clearer. The first few steps gives an indication of where the journey man will end!


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