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National Security And Asiwaju Getting It Right

By Moses Abu The burden of expectation is on the shoulder of the incoming administration. There is a lot at stake, and thank God the…

By Moses Abu

The burden of expectation is on the shoulder of the incoming administration. There is a lot at stake, and thank God the President-Elect has promised Nigeria renewed hope. One of the ways that could happen is if we tackle the spate of insecurity in the country.

The country was at the fringe. Loss of lives and destruction of properties were at the height. From North East Nigeria to other parts of the country, the story is the same but with different manifestations. The starkness of the reality before us and why the incoming administration must get it right in rejigging the security architecture in the country.

The starting point would be the quality of persons appointed to lead the way from the strategic to the kinetic in military operations. Strategic, because that would be the foundation for all other forms of operations, would thrive. This has been lacking, not until 2021, with the appointment of new service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is a statement of the fact that since 2021, a lot has changed in the operational effectiveness of the Armed Forces. Kudos must go to the present crop of service chiefs, especially the Chief of Defence Staff, who has successfully coordinated the Armed Forces’ operations. But there is still a lot to be done, and why the incoming administration must get it right, else all the gains recorded would be lost in a twinkle of an eye.

The President-Elect must identify capable hands that have amassed considerable experience in the war against terrorism and other forms of criminality. The truth remains that we need more time, as securing the country is the foundation for any other interventions that would positively impact the lives of Nigerians.

This time around, the approach has to be all-encompassing. Kinetic and non-kinetic. But it must be stated that at the height of the success of this operation is leadership. That is the watchword and where the President-Elect must tread carefully. It will make sense if he goes for any of the service chiefs as National Security Adviser, even if not for a long-term basis, but for stabilization purposes.

The National Security Adviser is crucial to the success or failure of the security policy of the new administration. The National Security Adviser must be one that would not play politics to the detriment of the national interest. And also one that would not assume office and expect to be briefed on the situation. That would be a wrong move as the urgency of now does not permit such.

The President-Elect does not also need people with political baggage in the security sector. He needs thoroughbred professionals that have amassed a wealth of experience, both field and administrative, and with the capacity to call a spade a spade. He needs calm-headed officers that have demonstrated loyalty to the country.

The issue of religion and ethnicity should not be considered as there is no place for such if we are desirous of making progress. This is where I believe the vice president-elect could come in, given that as governor, he has witnessed some of the dynamics of war situations and the efforts at arresting the situation.

Strategic planning continues to be an increasingly necessary procedure in security management. In this regard, the incoming President must rely on the vice president in decision-making. This is necessary for strategic purposes.

This incoming administration must not disappoint, and one way they can win Nigerians’ trust would be in the choices made in the critical security sector. Round pegs should be placed in round holes. Those with no business in security management should not be considered, as this is not the time for experimentation.

Appointing a capable hand to man the national security architecture in the country would be the game changer. This is a top priority for the incoming administration.

The good thing is that both the President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect are familiar with the terrain. One as governor of Lagos state and the other as governor of Borno state. They both made tangible improvements in the security architecture in the states, and some of their interventions stood the test of time and are a reference point in security strategy to date.

My candid advice for the incoming administration is to ensure that several factors are considered in choosing National Security Adviser. One of them is that such appointees must have hands-on experience in the theatre of operations in any capacity. Secondly, the appointee must be level-headed and enjoy a good relationship with the security agencies in the country. Hence the choice of a National Security Adviser would set the tone for either the failure or success of the administration.

Thirdly, such an appointee must be a man or woman of proven character with an unblemished public service record. The implication is that the President would depend mainly on this appointee to gather and implement sound security policies devoid of sentiments.

The question is, are there such individuals that can deliver on the task for the incoming government? The answer is yes. All the President-Elect needs to do is look inwards from the crop of the present service chiefs. Their records are there for his perusal and consideration.

At this point, I trust the judgment of the President-Elect to make a choice that would benefit the country. It would be inexcusable if we got it wrong. And that would come with consequences.

Abu wrote this piece from Abuja.

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