By; Dr SALISU MAJIGIRI
Recent ongoing debates and discussions around the personality of who should occupy the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) have gained so much prominence in the media as Nigeria inches towards another democratic transition in a couple of days from now.
At no time have Nigerians become so interested in the person who will occupy the office than now perhaps due to the intensity of the insecurity crisis that has engulfed Nigeria as a country even with a retired general as its president.
Before the very eyes of Muhammadu Buhari whose major campaign promise was to nip insurgency and other pockets of security concerns in the bud, Nigeria became a killing field as citizens are on daily basis butchered by rampaging criminal elements.
While the president seemingly became inept and lethargic to the human carnage which became the sore point of his administration, the security architecture which is supposed to be superintended by the NSA became clueless about what to do in finding a lasting solution to the scourge.
With such apparent lack of capacity on the part of the government to contain the army of social miscreants that wreak havoc on innocent lives, over 90,000 Nigerians according to reports were killed by these merciless purveyors of death in the last eight years of Buhari’s administration.
No serious and responsible government will like a repeat of such carnage during its reign which may fasttrack Nigeria’s descent into a failed state. And for the sake of emphasis, if any Nigerian has a solution to the raging insecurity debacle that has engulfed Nigeria, that person is our incoming president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, considering how he responded to the social insecurity challenge in Lagos State when he served as governor.
In the past, the incoming president has demonstrated courage and capacity to resolve very complex human problems especially when he led Lagos state. And Nigeria is lucky for the first time to elect an independent minded politician who has invested years of preparation to lead one of the most complex countries in the world. For these reasons and many others, we have absolute faith, confidence and belief that Tinubu will not fail Nigerians.
Although the president is at the discretion to appoint whoever he believes can help him resolve the security quagmire, it will not be out of place for patriotic Nigerians to help him make an informed choice considering the desperate times we are in, which call for desperate and better approach to confront the hydra headed monster.
The most important consideration the president must put at the back of his mind is that it is his responsibility to ensure that lives and properties of Nigerians are protected. The president won’t have any excuse if he failed to discharge this very important responsibility.
Before settling on the person of his choice, the president must consider a number of factors including, experience of his candidate, his personality, network of friends across Nigeria, his grasp of Nigeria’s intelligence sphere, his understanding of the operations of international security network and diplomacy and to a greater extent, the religious, ethnic and the regional identity of the candidate.
The latter suggestion of religious, ethnic and regional identity of the candidate may look queer from its face value, but in the estimation of this writer, those requirements are as critical as the others because of the peculiar times we are in which really need peculiar approach.
This is particularly important so that the incoming president will reassure other Nigerians that they matter in the all important task of nation building considering the fact that christians already felt shortchanged on account of the Muslim/Muslim ticket on whose back the president rode to power.
It is pertinent to point out that president Muhammadu Buhari lost considerable goodwill on account of his failure to reflect the Nigerian character in the appointment of top security personnel even when such consideration became necessary in view of the activities of some of his notorious Fulani kinsmen who became the enablers of social insecurity in the land.
That error of judgement by Buhari in appointing men from his region and largely ethnic stock has fuelled the thinking in the minds of other Nigerians that the president deliberately appointed his Fulani kinsmen to take over Nigeria forcefully from other nationalities.
The failure of the administration to tame the marauding Fulani herders who make Nigeria almost ungovernable and engaged in a wild killing and kidnapping spree made Nigerians to believe that the Fulani resolve to ‘conquer’ Nigeria enjoyed the support and backing of the presidency.
In order to start on a clean slate and to avoid the mistakes of the past, our incoming president should as a matter of importance appoint christian or Hausa man as his NSA as they are the worst victims of this Fulani carnage but certainly not a person of Fulani ethnic nationality for Nigerians to have confidence in the security architecture. In the vein, the president should also appoint considerable number of christians and southerners into important security positions.
And again for the sake of emphasis, he should appoint a goal getter, and a no nonsense retired Army general from the array of retired military men on ground or a former Head of DSS with proven integrity and well entrenched track record of service. He should appoint a name whose mere mention will evoke fear in the hearts of the insurgents and other miscreants that have been fomenting trouble in Nigeria. And more importantly, the incoming president should give him all the support to succeed in the complex task of ridding Nigeria of the menace of the notorious Fulani herders and all agents of destabilization.
He should appoint a man who sits down comfortably well and is highly respected in Nigeria’s security establishment. Such requirement is very critical because it has the tendency to stop unnecessary bickering, conflict of interest and even sabotage that may ensue on account of the appointment of a greenhorn.
It should also interest the incoming president to know that even in America, the citadel of world democracy, strict considerations are given in the appointment of NSA to match the continuous need for the country to remain on top of the security value chain. That is why majority of those who occupy the office of NSA are men and women who excelled in the military.
The president at this critical time in our democratic journey does not have the luxury of making mistake in this critical national assignment because Nigeria’s survival should be his utmost consideration. Therefore, the president should spare no effort in achieving that cardinal objective.
I come in peace.
Majigiri writes from Abuja.