Who is Marilyn Ogar Working Against? By Abimbola Adelakun
By tomorrow, Friday, August 22, the kidnapped girls of Chibok would have been unwitting ”guests” of Boko Haram for 130 days. Between their kidnap and frightful escapes, the recurring line from the relevant security agencies has been, “We know where they are”! Ironically, every Nigerian knows where they are too: With Boko Haram!
The Department of State Security, formerly known as the State Security Service is primarily charged with intelligence gathering within Nigeria. Perhaps, bereft of adequate intelligence and tactics to take on bigger opponents like the abductors of the Chibok girls, it resorts to chasing shadowy ones.
Ms. Marilyn Ogar, the public persona of the agency, has taken a fancy to mundane stridency. She is a civil servant; a high ranking one who should know better than the pedestrianism she has bedevilled Nigerians with of late. Watching her on TV talking about the governorship Osun election was perhaps one of the most embarrassing outings by any Nigerian public official ever. If Ogar is the best the DSS has in its ranks, it is probably not too much to ask them to rethink their staffing parameters.
Given that Nigeria is no longer under the military -where any and every nonsense was foisted on the populace – it stretches one’s imagination that the deleterious propaganda of Ogar is allowed to stand. It makes one wonder if she is the ventriloquist or just the puppet on its lap. Even more importantly, one needs ask if there is not a tacit approval of her annoying and unceasing public oration by her superiors. At the rate at which she is letting on important information to the public in a poorly thought-out yet gossipy manner, it seems the DSS is not taking itself seriously enough.
It is not clear whose voice Ogar sprouts but clearly she seems to think that being the spokesperson of an organisation gives her the licene to prattle even streamside gossip. One can deduce from her recent bluster and blunder that she lacks the self-restraint that should come with being involved with intelligence gathering.
Some months back, she dumped on doubters who questioned her assertion that the “real” Abubakar Shekau was dead. She responded that questioners ought to uncritically believe whatever the DSS tells them. Some weeks after, she sprayed a similar zealous uncouthness on the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners. She termed the protesters a “franchise” even without linking them to any parent organisation or presenting proof of its affiliation to any sponsor.
Still not done, Ogar, a week ago, resumed her exerting nuances when she alleged that a “certain political party” had attempted to bribe the DSS officials during the Osun election. Given that there were two main political parties that tussled in that election and Ogar already works for one, or seemingly so, given that one controls the central government, it does not take much effort to know which she was indiscreetly accusing. Worse, if a security official can openly boast about being offered a bribe (knowing there is an extant law against such practices), then it shows the level the Nigerian society has degenerated. Even more shocking is the glaring reality that her words have not attracted enough outrage to compel any decisive action from appropriate quarters.
As if that was not enough, she went further to allege that any loss the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, records at the polls is usually accompanied by bombing attacks. This should have been classified as another one of Ogar’s rants except some weeks ago, a similar line of thought had been offered by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku. Maku claimed that about every milestone recorded by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has been followed by a terror attack. He cited several instances – the rebasing of the Nigerian GDP, the World Economic Forum summit that took place in Abuja and, even the Ekiti election. I shudder to imagine that this sort of stringing what might as well be happenstance together is what now passes for “intelligence gathering” in Nigeria.
It remains unclear who is echoing who and whether these unsubstantiated tales are not even endorsed in government quarters; and whether huge sums of money are not allocated for security officials to further pursue this line of reasoning.
But suppose there is some sense in the claim that some disgruntled elements throw a bomb each time they cannot have their way so as to undermine the never-seen-before-in-this-world achievements of Mr. President, is simply making the accusation the best Ogar’s organisation can offer? What is the relevance of the DSS then if it cannot accompany its theories with indisputable facts and a decisive course of action?
If a whole secret service agency should degenerate to putting two and two together and arriving at wild figures that suits them, then how are they different from the countless conspiracy theorists who more or less abuse their privilege of possessing a laptop, Internet connection and an opportunity of a discourse when they concoct similar mindless fiction on virtually every national issue? We might as well save the nation some much needed money by closing down the DSS offices and let the public generate its own insinuations.
There have been several calls for Ogar’s sacking but what we are dealing with here is beyond a lone personality who will not just stop talking. The DSS has a chequered history and Ogar is a reflection of an organisation that urgently needs to clean itself. Like all public bodies, due process is often thrown to the dogs whilst nepotism, tribalism and religious affiliation are exploited, building up a burdensome cult of personalities. And, given that the infamous National Security Organisation of Umaru Shinkafi, Mohammed Rafindadi and, Mohammed Gusau is the DSS fore-runner, Ogar’s shortcoming is more of a continuation of an institutional deficiency, rather than an isolated incident.
However, Ogar should neither be condoned nor tolerated. She should understand that her words go a long way. History is sated with misguided officials who did their pay-masters bidding to calamitous consequences. People like Sani Abacha, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet and, Nicolae Ceausescu suffer labelling for their activities in office. Yet, what are sometimes overlooked in their historical narratives are stories of their foot-soldiers who facilitate their destructive tendencies through words. If Ogar thinks her words are mere words, ask the Tutsi who died in the Rwandan genocide all about the power of rhetoric. The instigation by various spokespersons fuelled the mayhem. That is why Ogar needs to be reminded that while she might be working for her ultimate self-interest, (and is likely to be noticed and rewarded for her relentless efforts), she is largely working against the nation’s collective interest.
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