Sambo Dasuki’s Approach To National Security (1) By Sabella Abidde
On Monday, May 14, 2014, millions of Nigerians awoke to news of man’s inhumanity to man. According to The PUNCH newspaper, “Security agencies have confirmed that 71 persons have so far lost their lives in the bomb explosion that occurred at a motor park in Nyanya, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja…124 persons sustained various degrees of injuries; 16 luxury buses were razed with 24 others destroyed in the blast.” The latest bloodbath is just one in a series of many in a society that has got used to horror and repugnancies and all that is reprehensible about religious and political fanaticism.
Aggregated, 10 or more Nigerians have been slaughtered every single day since January 1, 2014. And billions of naira in properties have been damaged or lost. It’s not even June; and December is still eight months away. Perhaps, by the end of the year, Boko Haram would have killed 20 or more Nigerians every single day. In many war-torn societies, you don’t experience these many deaths and destructions. You don’t!
The questions on many people’s mind are this: When will these killings stop? When will government carry out one of its basic responsibilities? And when will those directly and indirectly responsible for these massacres be brought to justice? But, really, when will these killings stop? We cannot allow deaths and destructions to become a permanent feature of our humanity.
There are people in Nigeria – in and outside of Nigeria, who know the brains behind Boko Haram. As I posited in an earlier essay, “It is a mistake to think that the indiscriminate killings and destructions are Jonathan’s problem and his alone. The bigger and deadlier the group gets, it will defy even those who control, finance and provide training and logistics. If a latter-day group like Boko Haram becomes omnipotent and omnipresent, where would that leave the traditional power sources” of the northern part of Nigeria? Frankly, these destabilising and fragmenting acts should concern all the citizens of this Republic.
And really, this is no longer about Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his Presidency. This is no longer about mandate and legitimacy and elections. This is no longer about 2015 or 2019. Oh no! This is about the survival of Nigeria. This is about the reputation of the country, and about the safety and welfare of the people. How do you, in the name of religion or ideology, continue to kill the innocent? And to continue to commit all these senselessness and cruelties in the name of a supreme being who supposedly created everything on earth and paradise? Unbelievable!
Well, I now segue to the issue at hand: Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd)’s approach to national security. Dasuki’s ideas about how the nation should proceed, in terms of national security, are contained in a speech entitled, “Nigeria’s Soft Approach To Countering Terrorism.” It was delivered on March 18, 2014 in Abuja.
I will get to the speech, but let me tell you this: All through civilisation, there have been periods of great and not so changes — periods that define and redefine human existence and experiences. These periods have included the infamous Trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonisation, Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and, in more recent times, Globalisation. What we know, and what history tells us, is that societies were impacted by these epochs.
In periods of change, therefore, societies must adapt; otherwise, they’d be left behind. Catching up can be tasking. This is precisely where Nigeria finds itself: a leadership and a society that have refused to embrace meaningful change. Change can be small; it can be big or monumental. Either way, change must occur. And growth follows. And there must be plans — not arbitrary, but planned and conscious plans to move the nation forward.
It matters not what century one examines, there were dreamers who came up with bold ideas. This is true in western and Asian societies. And to an extent, it is also true in Latin America. But in Africa – especially in sub-Saharan Africa, we’ve generally lacked men and women of great ideas. And even in times when we’ve had men of great ideas, rapacious and self-serving elite and the larger society have generally not embraced them. As a result, countries like Nigeria are dominated by men and women of small and inferior ideas.
Nigeria is mostly a nation of small minds. Provincial. Greedy. Indifferent. Cruel. Emotionally and spiritually debased. And far too many are at the base of intellectual development. Maybe, you know, or may not; but really, hunting and gathering societies actually performed better than today’s Nigeria. Our ruling class is no better than scavengers. Think of Australia and then think of Nigeria. Think of Dubai and then think of Nigeria. Think of Malaysia and Indonesia and then think of Nigeria. Think of the Scandinavian countries and then think of Nigeria. What image comes to your mind?
Up to this point, I have tried to tell you that (1) change matters and you must embrace it; (2) you need a set of leaders with skills and who are intellectually developed; and (3) that for a society to develop, you need “dreamers and ideas-men.” You don’t find many of them in today’s Nigeria. It is also important that you have good governance and a half-dozen or so other factors that are critical to the growth and advancement of a nation. But for now, let’s put aside the discussion of those factors and instead concentrate on a set of ideas — the ideas put forth by the National Security Adviser.
Now, before I provide an analysis of the NSA’s ideas, I’d like for you to take note of this: First, I am limited by the fact that I do not have access to the report the NSA commissioned and referenced. And second, I do not have access to the entire speech he gave. What I have is what the press reported. I have no way of contacting the Office of the NSA, or the NSA himself. My critique and appraisement of “Nigeria’s Soft Approach To Countering Terrorism,” therefore has some limitations. But here we go.
•The continuing part of the essay can be found here: Sambo Dasuki’s Approach to National Security (2) By Sabella Abidde
Culled from The Punch
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