In my article assessing Mr President’s one month in office, titled; “Tinubu’s One Month Old Presidency; EFCC Chairman will Determine What to Expect from this Administration”, I tried to be as balanced as any reasonable person can be. But the biases of our society has become cultural. If things will change for the better, a national reorientation must run pari passu with institution transformation. We can’t live in hope of change within our institutions without a public change of thinking and behaviour. Whatever we want to embark upon as a nation to save ourselves must not only address the consequences of corruption but the cultural thinking and behaviour sustaining same.
Many years of military hostage prior to this present democracy has left us damaged with complicated consequence leading to myriad of problems. The major is with our belief system. For whatever reason we are selective, in what to believe and what not to, against the background of our tribe and religion. Things we all know have been progressively bad before 2015 and become worse since then, we suddenly believe are not as bad because a man from our party, tribe or religion coming to power in less than two months has fixed a progressive downturn of over 20 years. This is not just the height of hypocrisy, it is insanity!
In the assumption of an average Yoruba person, the choice of Ribadu is right because Tinubu is the one who made it, and to a northerner and Muslim, it is because Ribadu is one of it or both with him. If Yoruba is the reason to Mr President, Ribadu won’t be his choice, so that concludes the tribal indictment of Mr President on his way to the Presidency.
Earlier in the year before the election, the need to step out of religion and region and conceptualized nationhood was the focus of Apostolic Round Table; One Man. The lead Speaker Major General Pat Akem presented the image of a man whose tribe will be competence and religion, justice. Who must be guided by principles he recommended at solving our problem.
As it is today, Tinubu is the “One Man” at hand, what then are the principles that Akem recommend? We may need to reach him to make public his papers or receive his permission to do so on behalf of ART.
Is the new NSA not fit for that job? Akem may need to come to our rescue with the application of his paper. Nuhu Ribadu is known for what he did as the Chairman of EFCC and is a former policeman. The office of the NSA coordinates the security thrust for the country. In a way this job is very important at determining the result that may come from whoever the Minister of Defence will be. It therefore means that someone from Intelligence, with a background in the military, a core professional without the mingling of politics has the job of our Minister of Defence. Whoever that will be is a riddle for Mr President.
Looking forward, two appointments are critical to the success of his government, one is that of the Minister for Defence, because a hub is needed to manage the solid team he has put in place for our match against insecurity. Two is the Chairman of EFCC because corruption, particularly financial corruption is the hydra headed monster that this Government must shutdown for Nigeria to live. At the base of every problem in Nigeria is Corruption. Central to our breaking from the past and moving forward is an EFCC Chairman who first must be just, then competent and able.
Gleaning from opinion of IK Joy-Uzor, an MSc in Strategic Leadership and Change from Manchester Metropolitan University who work in the public sector to form my thoughts; the insecurity we are currently faced with namely terrorism, kidnapping, brazen banditry, pipeline breaching etc are all financially rewarding and corruption funded. The direct angle of our fight against it will be coordinated by the Ministry of Defence. This therefore calls for someone with a skill set that fills the gaps and limitations that our imposed military cultural thinking may generate. In this direction we know the perception the defence/ intelligence/ security community have of the police force. “Even Civil Defence dey raise shoulder for them.” Intra and inter agencies relationship is key in security matter but must never be to the disadvantage of advancing investigations and proceeding to prosecutions. Sometime in 2019 or so an individual was killed by a personnel of the Customs at a border in Ogun State and the police didn’t investigate the matter because the spokesperson for the Customs put out a communique that they were looking into the matter. We also recall what happened when some police officers who captured a notorious kidnapper were killed by some soldiers at a checkpoint. Nothing came out of it. In 2020, Tolulope Arotile, the air combat pilot, was killed in a “freak accident”. The suspect after interrogation was supposedly handed over to the police. This “suspect” has not been arraigned till date. The indirect fight against this menace of course will be the beat of EFCC.
In light of the peculiarity of our structure of government that is screwed against the police, how can an ex-policeman summon and receive briefings from the Security Chiefs and the Heads of DSS & NIA? This is further complicated by Ribadu not reaching the peak of his career in the Police before his early unfortunate retirement.
The reformation BAT intended to achieve through the appointment of Ribadu against the status quo will be frustrated except the office of the Minister of Defence is occupied by a retired military personnel of enviable record of service to bridge the gap that reactions from his men who are Service Chiefs may bring to the table.
The much expected from the acting IGP is at the mercy of this synergy.
We are in trouble in Nigeria but we seem or are pretending not to know how far gone we are into the abyss of our mess.
Opinions were sampled, within the context of institutional democracy of who should serve as NSA, one of such is from Olanrewaju Osho, Senatorial candidate of SDP for FCT, though he didn’t factor in the years of development of American democracy, however his point is made and our nation can begin her lesson as I said in one of my article on the subject.
In Osho’s words; “an NSA does not always have to be a military person. The President knows what he wants.
If a civilian can be a President who controls everything. A person like you can even be NSA if one understands the purpose.
The military top brass who turned the terrorism and kidnapping saga to an industry didn’t want to lose their grip on that office. There is no big deal about it. I can be NSA. It depends on how the President carries the NSA.
Remember those military top brass said they can’t work with their junior. Where are they now. What if Ribadu becomes the Vice President. Won’t they salute him”?
Much as I would love to share Osho’s sentiment, the experience of the nation of America under Trump comes to mind. The development of the institutional components of the American democracy made it impossible for Trump to carry the nation into his extreme way of thinking. To grace Tinubu’s power of interference and control that should reside in democratic institutions is to add to the power of the most powerful president in the world today. We must bear in mind the incontrovertible fact that he was the most powerful individual as far as this country is concerned before he became the President. Such an individual doesn’t need more power. He needs more control.
Another opinion cited by Osho on the NSA appointment is the case of Condoleezza Susan Rice. Nigerians are no strangers to Rice. She was the diplomat on visit to Nigeria along with Tomas Pickering to solve the problem our demand for Abiola’s mandate generated. She was the one who made the last tea Abiola drank before his exit from mother earth. Though in her book; TOUGH LOVE; My Story of things worth Fighting for. She denied any complicity in Abiola’s death against public suspicion.
This American diplomat and political scientist will 3 years later serve the country that sent her on the Nigeria mission in 1998 as the 19th National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005, and the 66th Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. She is the current director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. A member of the Republican party, Rice was the first African-American Secretary of State and the first ever woman National Security Advisor in American history. Rice has had a long career working in academia and politics and has had a huge impact on the United State’s internal and external policies since the late 1990s. Rice comes to me as an unofficial member of the American Intelligence Operation family.
Evolving the American model with Nuhu Ribadu is a welcome development. It will however be grave in its consequences if serious attention is not given to the development of our institutions.
Dr Bolaji O Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder Convener Apostolic Round Table ART BOT Chairman Project Victory Call Initiative AKA PVC-Naija. A leading voice in conference speaking on leadership; apostolic, public, corporate. He can be reached via: [email protected] 08033041236