A Look Into The So Called “Buhari’s First Blunder” By Terfa Naswem
A political analyst, Mr. Ifeduba ThankGod has criticised the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to relocate the central command of the military to Maiduguri, Borno, to intensify the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. He described the move as the height of unprofessionalism and the most senseless decision any president has ever taken. He said this was because the people who work at the command centre were not regular combatant soldiers and as such would not contribute any more than they could from Abuja or anywhere for that matter.
Mr, Ifeduba, with due respect to your profession as a political analyst, I want to let you know that when you use a “broken lens” to view issues from a far, you can’t see it very clear and your analysis will be wrong.
Mr. Ifeduba, you are a professional in Political Science but I doubt if you are one in Military history or any aspect of the military especially Nigeria. You are viewing things from a layman point of view.
Allow some of us who understand how the system works to enlighten you and those who have misunderstood Buhari on some issues that made Buhari’s proposed action not completely out of the way like it has been perceived you and others.
Nigeria cannot operate the same way other countries operate in fighting insurgency. Countries may have the same insurgency but use different approaches. As a former Military Head of State, a retired Major General, an intelligent President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces he knows that there are certain operational tactics that must be used in some situations to win a war or crisis. There is no defined formula or strategies in fighting insurgency. You can adopt a tactical and operational strategy that can best work after considering the prevailing factors that led to such a war or crisis and its complexities. Besides, comprehensive intelligence gathering can led to new tactics to be adopted.
A command centre is a central place for carrying out orders and for supervising tasks, also known as a headquarters, or HQ.
If the command centre will be extended to Maiduguri, they are three general activities that will take place: inputs, processes, and outputs. The inbound aspect is communications (usually intelligence and other field reports) which will help in speedy response to Boko Haram situations there. Inbound elements are “sitreps” (situation reports of what is happening) and “progreps” (progress reports relative to a goal that has been set to win the fight against Boko Haram) from the field back to the command element. There will be quick actions to intelligence and field reports in relation to Boko Haram and situation reports will be immediately attended to and appropriate action taken without delay.
Although Buhari used the word relocation, in reality to his context it means extension because issues regarding Boko Haram will all be handled and acted upon immediately at the Command Centre that will be extended to Maiduguri while the Defence Headquarters in Abuja will deal will non-Boko Haram issues.
Only those with the knowledge of military or paramilitary that will know that what Buhari means by relocation is extension because he cannot completely move the Defence Headquarters to Maiduguri only some departments in relation to fighting Boko Haram that can be relocated which falls under extension. If the relocation Buhari means is the one we normally understand, then the entire Defence Headquarters will be relocated and all activities in the Abuja Headquarters will be closed.
Please note that Buhari is not relocating the Defence Headquarters to Maiduguri, it is only an extension of its command of operations in relation to Boko Haram that will be in Maiduguri to intensively fight Boko Haram. Other officers and staff will still be at The Defence Headquarters in Abuja to attend to other issues. The one that will be in Maiduguri will serve as extension so that there will be no need going to Abuja or waiting for signal from Abuja to take actions in relation to Boko Haram which in most cases causes delay and gives room to Boko Haram to first act before the signal comes for certain actions to be taken. Don’t misunderstand him.
Since all efforts to win the fight against Boko Haram have failed, extending the Command Centre to Maiduguri is the last resort that can finally crush Boko Haram.
If after extending the Command Centre to Maiduguri and the Military can’t win the fight against Boko Haram, then I will see Nigeria as being helpless in the fight against Boko Haram. I hope Buhari gets it right.
Those who are too quick to criticise his proposed action to this issue should allow him take his first step to fighting Boko Haram. If he fails, then your criticisms can “hold water”.