It’s time to reevaluate our security system
Time to Retire “Security” in the Image of the Military and Begin the Construction of Security in the Image of Civil Rule: Setting Agenda for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu Should President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Appoint him the National Security Adviser
The time has come to retire “security” in the image of the military and begin the construction of security in the image of civilian and civil rule in Nigeria.
Arguably, the solution to Nigeria’s myriad of problems can be captured in one word: S E C U R I T Y.
In the same vein, the major and primary problem of Nigeria since independence and beginning with the 1999 Republic is the inability of successive governments to deliver “SECURITY” to most if not all Nigerians.
There are two securities identified in the two statements so far. The first is security, and the second is “security”.
The first security is taken from the philosophy or nature, meaning, and purpose of security. This philosophy is enshrined in the etymologies of security and in the circumstances that produce security. The Latin etymologies for security are “securus” and “securitas” and the English etymology for security is “secure”. They mean “free from care”, “something which secure or condition of being secure” and “feeling no apprehension”.
The security theories and practices of all over the world arose from these etymologies. Of these securities, there are two popular genres. They are European type called security and the United States of America type called national security. The former designated the European perspective of security, which is arguably the founding perspective of security in the world. The latter, taken from the former, carries the American stamp. The concept of national security is the handiwork of the legislation called the National Security Act of 1947. The European and American security types, for reasons of colonialism and globalisation, are cloned, copied, and replicated in most other countries’ security.
The second is “security”. The quotation mark is used to designate and distinguish this “security” from the first type of security. This is because it is used to designate and describe the Nigeria type, which lacks foundation in Nigeria’s philosophy, legislation, and policy.
“Security” comes with two perspectives. The first perspective is security’s use as a noun or name. The second perspective is as verb or work. “Security” designates the name and work of the executive agencies of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement (MILE) in Nigeria. This received wisdom was the product of military rule and military rule’s reading of the Cold War environment. The relationship between “security” and security is thin. Nigeria’s “security” embraced the founding philosophy of security on the one hand and strictly domesticated this in the work of the agencies of the MILE and nothing else.
Of the European security/America’s national security and “security”, the former embraces every issue of human being and being human and seek security by combining domestic, foreign and defence policies to attain security wherever in the world. For European, the United States and most developed and discerning developing countries (D&DDC), the bulk of what free them from care, provide them with something which secure or condition of being secure and free them from feeling no apprehension comes from their forage beyond their borders into the different parts of the world and taking into cognisance their historical and political heritage. These explained the symbiotic relationship of foreign and defence policies in the making of security for these countries.
The Nigeria type copy this dimension when the reality is that it is singularly focused on the work of defence, intelligence and law enforcement agencies within Nigeria and pretend to embrace dimension of externality into Nigeria’s “security”. Nigeria has been unable to distinguish security and defence in their affairs. While the Europe, America and D&DDC sees security as FOREST with different trees whose health and wellbeing determine the health of the FOREST, Nigeria sees “security” as just few TREES made up of defence, intelligence and law enforcement whose health and wellbeing constitute “security”.
“Security” in the Image of Military and Military Rule
Arguably this perspective of “security” is the product of military rule and military rule’s narrow perception of the received wisdom of the international practice of security particularly during the Cold War and in the post-Cold War fluid and changing world orders. Thus Nigeria’s “security” was constructed in the IMAGE of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement whose roles constitute the trees of defence, intelligence, and law enforcement. In the hierarchy of security needs, the defence, intelligence and law enforcement trees should be the least of the trees in the security forest assuming other trees such as family, school, morality, religion, economy, employment, opportunity, infrastructures, recreation etc. works within the security forest.
It is the failure to construct a security forest that enables most if not all the trees to work in the short, medium and long term to unleash opportunities for most Nigerians that created the chance for the military, intelligence and law enforcement trees with the lethal power to intimidate Nigerians including the political class and to seize political power. Military rule is an abnormal rule type. Military rule is prohibited by the constitution. From early on at independence, Nigerians endured this rule type not because they are better than the civil rule type. Nigerians endured this rule type because the military possessed guns with which they used to intimidate and silenced Nigerians. The guns are their only claim to security. In its illegal and illegitimate state, military rule is a crisis government and its construct of “security” is solely informed by its constitutionally assigned professional role of defence and the crisis it seize political power to quench.
The military and military rule enabling environment socialised and educated most Nigerians on “security”. Most Nigerians’ security education came from the practice of the military, intelligence and law enforcement in the course of the domination of governance by the military and consequent on the continuation of this “security” practice under civil rule of the last twenty four years. Thus “security”, for most Nigerians, is the name and work of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement. Period! The association of security with any other agency does not sell for most Nigerians. Indeed, of the armed bearing agencies of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement, most Nigerians believed the military, and within this, the army is better capable of dispensing “security”.
This enabling environment has been recreated in the civil rule underway beginning in 1999. This rule type was jumpstarted by a retired military officer, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Of all the presidents that served in the Fourth Republic prior to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and in fairness, only Chief Obasanjo manifested the understanding of security as forest. Under his watch, he adopted what he called the Grand National Security Strategy, which embraced lots of the trees in the security forest and sought to religiously monitor their health and wellbeing. The military, intelligence, and law enforcement were not featured as priority as was the case with his successors.
After his presidency, other presidents returned security to its default setting of “security”. They did not bother to look at security as a new idea requiring fresh construct under civil rule governance and constitution in order to engender the governance of persons and institutions. From 2007 onward, “security” returned in what I called the political economy of “security”. In this political economy of “security”, the elected elites of the executives and legislatures and the elites of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement found accommodation for their interests using “security”. For reason of self-preservation owing to their bitter experience under the military, elected members of the executives and legislatures acquiesced to the MILE’s management of “security”. They thus deny themselves the chance to reinvent the word under civil rule governance and under a truly “we the people” constitution or legislation.
The MILE “security” FAILED glaringly and convincingly. This “security” continued to FAIL to free Nigerians from care and provide Nigerians with something that secure or condition of being secure and release Nigerians from feeling apprehension since the enthronement of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
Arguably beginning in 2007, the inadequacies of this “security”, managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), within the democratic setting, was exposed. This “security” is encumbered by the limitations of the 1999 Constitution, by lack of policy legislation to remedy the constitutional limitations and the Office of the National Security Adviser’s fixation with the dimensional “security” against all the evidences.
In the fifteen references to “security” in the Constitution, the first two references demonstrated the limitations in question. Section 5 subsections 5 refer to a national security, and Section 14 subsection 2B refers to a security. The two defining references, of the fifteen references to security in the Constitution, did not say what national security is and what security is. There are implied assumptions by the makers of the Constitution in these provisions. The makers of the Constitution believed that this national security and security are known to either most Nigerians and/or some undisclosed esoteric groups.
One can only imagine the latitude this undefined, uncharted, and ungoverned national security and security inside the 1999 Constitution affords those with power and authority to interpret and manipulate. On the basis of this, “national security” and “security” receptions on the ground can only be described as taking on the triple entendre toga. By triple entendre, I mean the ability to entertain and leave on the ground three or more impressions and understandings of an issue. In the case of national security and security, it is to leave two or more impressions/understandings on the ground for most Nigerians while those with power and authority keep the third impression/understanding close to their heart. National security’s has become a moving target and contested terrain, particularly amongst officials, with power and authority beginning with the office of the president.
In the case of the “security” contained in Section 14 sub section 2B, Nigeria’s elected officials in the legislatures and particularly in the executives, across all tiers of governments especially at the states level, have since turned the “security…shall be the primary purpose of government” into a clarion justification for the constitutionality of their disproportionate focus and allocation of fund to “security” in the course of their governance. “Security” and nothing else matters in governance because without “security” no governance can take place, they argued.
To demonstrate their concern and in order not to be outdone by the executive, in the matter called “security”, the House of Representatives intervened by requesting for memorandum from Nigerians on “solutions only” to the crisis of “security”. The House assumed they knew “security” and that Nigerians knew this “security” as well. Consequently, the House came out with its National Security Summit Report in 2021 to address the “security” problematique. The Report was no game changer as far as the subject matter of security is concerned and under representative rule. The Report was neither legislation nor a resolution. The Report is a mere set of compilation without any binding force of implementation on any agency. The compilation called the National Security Summit Report replicated the failed and failing solutions to the undiagnosed problem called “security” under the representative rule framework by endorsing “security” in the image of the military. Like the National Security Strategy before it, the National Security Summit Report has begun gathering dust on the shelves of officials and agencies that have copies.
The only abiding strategy to the problem of “security” is to request funds at every opportunity. The justification is the crisis and conflict all over the country. The federal government leads the way through the legislature and the executive in the request for funds. All avenues, including conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops, and call for memorandum on “security” recommended fund and fund only. The National Security Council and the National Council of State have intervened on several occasions to lend their weight on the issue of fund. There have been funds from the annual budgets, supplementary budgets, and from the sovereign wealth fund for “security”.
In the bid by the states executive and legislature to access fund in the public purse, they manufactured crisis and conflict in their domains and proceeded to allocating humongous fund to providing logistics and wherewithal for the detachment of the MILE in their domain. This is in their capacity as “chief security officers” of their states. They have taken over the funding of the MILE even when the responsibility falls under the exclusive legislative list. In the course of addressing “security” in their domain, they developed the craze and desperation to access “security vote” ad infinitum.
The ONSA, under civil rule, proceeded to churn out documents on “security”. As an institution, the ONSA did not see any need for documents on “security” under military rule. The need for “security” documents was arguably spurred by the democratic system and increasing by international bilateral and multilateral relations on security. The need for documents was not spurred by local needs. Of these documents, the lead document is National Security Strategy (NSS) 2014 and 2019.
The NSS existence is predicated on the assumption that there is a security policy in Nigeria. Ideally, policy and strategy go hand in hand. A security policy should answer the questions what is security, whose security, what is a security issue or issues and how can security be achieved. The strategy part or the fourth question should be devolved to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) implementing the security policy’s first three questions as projects and programmes of governments. The MDAs will devise strategies based on their areas of specialties to fulfill the security policy of the government.
However the ONSA-created the NSS either did not bother about security policy or assume most Nigerians and in particular ministries, departments and agencies of governments know this security policy. The ONSA proceeded to create a one-off strategy document that serves for all. The ONSA arrogated to itself the power to create policy and strategy all rolled into one for every institution in Nigeria. In its present disposition, the NSS place the security cart (strategy) before the security horse (policy).
To some extent, the NSS is right and wrong at the same time. The NSS is right in assuming there is a security policy in Nigeria. If by policy, the NSS meant the sole conception and understanding of this “security” as the name and work of the military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies under military rule. The NSS is wrong because Nigeria is no longer under military rule. Not only is Nigeria a democracy where the conception and understanding of security needs to reflect the governing mandate of the elected representatives and the tenets of the Constitution. The ONSA-led the NSS believed that its conception and understanding of “security” is timeless and impervious of regime type. Nothing can be farther from the truth as evidenced by the successful failure of “security” to secure most Nigerians beginning decisively in 2007.
Of the documents from the ONSA stable, the NSS was supposed to be the lead strategy that will guide the implementation of the non-existing “security” policy by ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) of governments across the three tiers of government. Since 2014 when the NSS was printed and reviewed and reprinted in 2019 after its five years shelve life expired, not even the ONSA applied the NSS tenets in managing “security” particularly its preferred military, intelligence and law enforcement type in Nigeria let alone other ministries, departments and agencies. The military comprising the army, navy and air force, the intelligence comprising the domestic, foreign and defence wings and the law enforcement beginning with the police, civil defence etc. do not use the NSS in running “security” from their professional angles.
The NSS is one of the most unused, unrepresented and unrealistic so-called Strategy on “security”. Not one single MDA was consulted and/or participated in the drafting of the NSS even in their own schedule and not one single MDA consult the NSS provisions in driving the government’s overall “security” policy, if ever there was one security policy, under the democracy framework. The NSS was compiled by select individuals without the benefit of Nigeria’s history, experience and reality (HER), studying, thinking, observing and comparing (STOC) and inputs from security policy, experts in the academia, policy circle and ministries, departments and agencies across all the tiers of government.
For the managers of this “security” particularly the elite of the military, intelligence and law enforcement and the elite of the executives and legislatures across the federal and states levels, there is a political economy of “security” in place that serve their mutual interests. This explained their tenaciousness in holding on to the failed and failing “security” despite all the evidences. Their interests span political and economic and seeks to mitigate their sense of loss and sense of fear consequent on the enthronement of democracy. The consistent dominance of the ONSA by elements from the military particularly ensured that the trees perspective of this “security” is sustained. The development ensured that the prospect of reconfiguring this “security” to fit the civil rule or democracy governance framework and a truly “we the people” constitution does not arise.
If the entire edifice of “security” comes off the worldview of the military, intelligence and law enforcement and seemingly worked when the military was the political authority, what would be security in the worldview of civilians, democracy and the constitution?
Creating Security in the Image of Civilian, Civil Rule Governance and the Constitution and/or Legislation
The “security” in the image of the military failed and kept failing in Nigeria under democratic rule. The time is now to shift the paradigm of security away from the failed and failing MILE “security” anchored solely on defence, intelligence and law enforcement. The time is now to begin the construction of security in the image of civilian, civil rule or democracy and the constitution.
The provision of security or free from care, something which secure, condition of being secure and/or feeling no apprehension is eminently the work of civil rule governance. The constitution justify this role as it saddle civil elected rule with the powers to operate the constitution. This is unlike the MILE which comprised few agencies of the executive and whose professional role is confined to few sections of the constitution and other enabling laws. The constitutional provisions and the enabling laws did not describe their role as “security”. Their roles are defence, intelligence gathering and law enforcement in specially designated areas. This leaves security unclothe and requiring clothing under civil rule and governance. There has never been any clothing for security in the history of Nigeria.
The path of constructing security in the image of civil rule or democracy based on the constitution or any other enabling legislation has never been followed in the history of security in Nigeria. This is if security has a history in Nigeria. The Fourth Republic is the longest period of representative rule in the 62 years odd history of the state called Nigeria. There is therefore the need to begin to create the foundation for the ideas that would govern persons and institutions in a democratic Nigeria. Of these ideas, security is the idea that trumped all other ideas.
Although security is undefined, uncharted and ungoverned in Nigeria’s enabling laws and policies, nevertheless security, for most Nigerians, is not in the name and work of the military, intelligence and law enforcement. This is particularly the case under civil rule democracy. This is because the MILE “security” type addresses the symptoms, in tandem with these agencies professional roles as enshrined in the enabling laws, of the inability of the executives and legislatures to produce and provide the security civil rule governance type and the constitution saddle on these elected institutions.
The evidence that this is not the “security” most Nigerians desire is overwhelming and damning at least in the last almost quarter century of civil rule democracy. This “security” failed and continues to fail. However, this failure did not deter the elite of the legislatures and the executives on the one hand and on the other hand their MILE collaborators to continue to ignore the evidence and press on with their conventional strategies of interventions knowing that nothing will change.
For most Nigerians, if not all Nigerians, security is wellbeing in all of its forms. This perspective of security is compelling under democracy type governance. This security is unleashed by governance which the World Bank defines as the “effective and efficient utilisation of human and material resources for the benefit…” of most Nigerians. This governance unleashing security should be found in all the tiers of government and through the ministries, departments and agencies.
Security, in a democracy and in this democratic Nigeria, is too important to be left in the hands of the military, intelligence and law enforcement to define and drive as they have been doing in the last sixteen years. Security, of the type most Nigerians desire, under this democracy, is captured in the metaphors of evolution, creation, birth and migration. This security, which most Nigerians yearned for, is embedded in Ken Booth’s theory of world security. This security releases most Nigerians from mental and material slavery of all types.
Evolution, Creation, Birth and Migration are metaphors that portray the all-encompassing security that only a “we the people” constitution and civil rule governance frameworks encapsulate and can deliver. The military type “security” was hued out of the worldview of the military. The military is an agency of the executive. The military comprising the army, navy and air force are saddle with the task of defence. Their “security” worldview is tied to this narrow role of theirs within Nigeria’s enabling laws.
The fundamental starting premises for security or free from care, something which secure, condition of being secure and feeling no apprehension, for evolution, creation, birth and migration, are food, clothing, shelter and health from natural and human types elements. Between civil rule and military rule, the former, from a constitutional and governance standpoints, is equip to deliver this security. It is only in the delivery of this security that the professional roles of the military, intelligence and law enforcement superimposed as “security” because of the lack of delivery of security can be contained.
The choice of evolution, creation, birth and migration seeks to underscore the all-encompassing attributes of security and convey the existential character of security like no other metaphors. It takes a philosophical understanding of the story of evolution and creation to discern the security needs of human types. It is not the safety of the MILE. The MILE is part of the security environment but the least for that matter. Creation and Evolution are two theories that attempted to explain the origins of life forms. Life and living, for human being, whether in creation or evolution, did not start from the work of the MILE. Life and living begins at the level of food, shelter, health and only move into the area requiring the service of the MILE as the opportunity to access and meet these needs shrinks.
The birth of the child demonstrates the wholesomeness of security. When a child leaves the mother’s womb, the cry of the child on gaining consciousness, is not for the type of security provided by the MILE. The cry of the child is to be fed (food) having been disconnected from the mother’s tube that provided nourishment for the child; the cry of the child is for the restoration of the warmth (clothing/home) denied the child after leaving the comfort of the mother’s womb. The discomfort or insecurity of the child did not include the MILE “security” at this stage. Their services are the last and the least.
When Nigerians enlist to leave the country, for the countries of Europe and North America, illegally using life threatening dangerous routes, across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, on the pretext of fleeing from political persecution and/or harmful socio cultural practices, the lack of security is wellbeing in all of its forms, is their primary reason. The deliberate and criminal refusal of the governments to provide security is wellbeing in all of its form, for most Nigerians, is the political persecution driving Nigerians into embarking on this deadly journey in search of security in Europe and North America. The MILE “security” has nothing to offer to Nigerians in search of security.
Setting Agenda for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu
I had two short conversations at different times via the WhatsApp with two of my students. The subject of the conversation was security in Nigeria. I had argued on the need to retire “security” and begin to build security under civil rule governance type and under a “we the people” constitution.
To lay this foundation, there is need to distance the MILE particularly the military from the construct of this security. This is because their presence will cast negative shadows on most Nigerians and on the operators of the civil rule system. The subject of the conversation aside from engaging me on my views on security was the raging rumoured appointment of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s national security adviser.
The first conversation was over an article entitled “the question of a non-military NSA” captured in the Daily Trust. My student wanted my views on this having penned “…I am aligned with this writer’s position” to the message to me. I read the article and I wrote him back thus:
the occupant of the office – civilian, military, intelligence or law enforcement – is immaterial. This is as long as the fundamental philosophical underpinning of the office of the national security adviser, which is security, is anchored on the MILE framework. Read Douglas T. Stuart, Creating the National Security State: A History of the Law that Transformed America, 2008. The United States took the universal philosophy of security – free from care, something which secure or condition of being secure and feeling no apprehension – and created its national security. America did not imitate or copy from any country. America built its national security and its institutional representations, including the office of the national security adviser, on the basis of needs. Stuart’s book demonstrated this clearly. Beyond copying what Nigeria saw in security and national security, what is the need that drives this adventure?
He responded thus:
Thanks Prof sir. Always appreciated. Given our current constitution and reality (power elites being selfish and in control of state apparatus), the most realistic, credible and optimistic view may be one of incremental improvements. We have weak institutions and often personalised offices so if we have someone outside the MILE occupy the office, he or she can initiate some reforms. For instance, if someone from the academia with correct understanding of what security should be is appointed, I still won’t expect an instant transformation but at least we should take a step in a different direction.
To this submission, I noted thus: “I agree with you on this – someone with an idea of security beyond that which is prevalent and willing to guide incremental improvements in the process”.
The second conversation took off from a link sent to me by my student with the caption “Ribadu’s appointment has not been confirmed but…” I replied to this by informing him that as soon as it was rumoured that Mr. Ribadu may be appointed as the national security adviser, I had begun a draft memorandum entitled “Retiring “Security” in the Image of the Military and Constructing Security in the Image of Civil Rule: Setting Agenda for Nuhu Ribadu”.
It was a lengthy conversation and I will reproduce the relevant excerpts as it will guide this memorandum. At one point, I penned the following to my student:
If there is a fleeting chance to think outside the conventional box of security amongst the armed bearing agencies using retired personnel, members of the police have more chances to do this if a civilian cannot get the post of the NSA.
My student’s response was “because as we hope he will use the academia, etc. then it will open the eyes of the political elites to see things from different perspective” adding “I believe after Ribadu, civilians can have chance”. To this, I noted that “…it is about time the Town begins to listen and tap into the resource of the Gown for the governance of Nigeria”.
In my opinion, “there is symbiotic relationship between the police and the people. If the Nigeria police are working, it means Nigeria is working and if Nigeria is working, the police are working”.
There are implications for this memorandum from the two conversations. The first is on the need for thinking outside the conventional box of security in Nigeria particularly in the last almost quarter century of civil rule democracy. The second is on the need for the construct of security to fit Nigeria’s history, experience and reality (HER) through studying, thinking, observing and comparing (STOC) and arising from this the construct of other representations of security including the office of the national security adviser, security vote, chief security officer, national security council to reflect the needs of Nigerians and Nigeria and not for the sake of imitation/copying and/or politics.
The third is the need to bring the civil rule governance perspective of security into service for the first time in the history of Nigeria. Democracy is the only form of government for now. Democracy requires its construct of security in Nigeria in tandem with its features and its peculiarities with the Nigerian history, experience and reality.
The fourth is the need for a non-military appointee as the national security adviser. In the history of the Office thus far, the occupants have operated largely from their professional experiences particularly the military occupants and have never hidden their preference for this perspective. The specular failure of this perspective thus far and under civil rule should guide the need for the change of orientation especially in the occupants of the Office.
The fifth is on the need to commence the demilitarisation of ideas, persons and institutions in Nigeria beginning with the idea called security. Security is the vision and mission of every human enterprise. Security is one idea that should be democratise and popularised in its use to govern persons and institutions. As a theory and as a practice, the inculcation of security as one idea permeating all other ideas and the delivery of security through governance holds the key to reducing if not eliminating the political economy of “security” binding the political class and the MILE class.
The nearest to salvaging Nigeria and Nigerians is your appointment as the national security adviser owing to your service to the country in your capacity as the founding Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. There was dynamism in your leadership of the fight against thefts in the public sector on the one hand and on the other hand the availability of political will on the part of the administration. Nigerians will not expect anything less in terms of your new appointment as the national security adviser.
The first task as Mr. President’s national security adviser is to reorganise the office of the national security adviser. Unless this is accomplish, the Office cannot and will not be in the position to advise Mr. President on what should be security, whose security, what should a security issue or issues and how should security be achieved under civil rule governance and the constitution. The Office needs to get its house in order by reviewing the ways things have been done in last fifteen to twenty years. There is need for the injection of fresh ideas and persons in the Office.
The National Security Adviser will need to look at the enabling law creating the Office, if there is one, which may or may not hamper the effort of reengineering the place. It is important to settle, using parliamentary legislation, the purpose for the creation of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). If there is a legislation establishing the Office, there will be need to look at the legislation and amend the legislation to address the ONSA’s undemocratic-like security credentials even when it was established by a democratic government on the one hand and on the other hand its exclusive military, intelligence and law enforcement focus.
To do this would entail asking and answering the four fundamental policy questions for the ONSA – what is the ONSA, whose ONSA, what are the issues for the ONSA and how can the ONSA achieve its objectives. The viability of the ONSA’s policy thrust will come only after the philosophical, legal and policy questions of what should be security under civil rule democracy has been settled by the constitution and/or legislation through the parliament. The ONSA would then exist as the institution to drive the attainment of security for Nigerians and Nigeria. The dynamism of its head is instrumental in pushing for this reform.
The Office’s overwhelming focus on the affairs of the military, intelligence and law enforcement may have been borne out of its enabling laws and/or the understandings of the occupants of the Office. The obsession with the affairs of the MILE undermines the forest nature of security. It takes more than the MILE to achieve security for Nigerians considering their history, experience and reality (HER). Indeed the MILE is the least in terms what it takes to achieve security for Nigerians. The democratic character and feature of the governance process in place should be replicated in the Office’s vision and mission of coordinating the attainment of security in all spheres of Nigerians’ lives.
To this extent, there should be different desks focused on all the areas of governance that yield security is wellbeing in all of its forms. There should be desk for each state and team of experts to coordinate the policies and programmes of the government that engender wellbeing for the people in the state. There should be desk on defence, intelligence and law enforcement. This aspect represents a fraction of what should be security. There should be advisory and quarterly reports of performance by states and local government councils, ministries, departments and agencies. The Office should create index for assessment and evaluation of security performance for the federal, sub national and ministries, departments and agencies of governments which should be released quarterly, half yearly and yearly to guide conduct of everyone involved. With the national security adviser’s house in order, the national security adviser will have the enabling environment to advise Mr. President on what should be security for Nigerians in Nigeria.
The second of the task as the President’s national security adviser is to draw the attention of Mr. President to the failed and failing perspective of “security” as representing the MILE worldview as agencies of the executive only. In same vein, it is to draw the attention of Mr. President to the absence, in the history of Nigeria whether democratic or otherwise, of the construct of security philosophy answering the four fundamental questions of security – what is security, whose security, what is a security issue(s) and how can security be achieved under civil rule governance and under the constitution.
The third task as the President’s national security adviser is to proceed to educate and enlighten Nigerians and in particular the executives and legislatures on what should be security, whose security, what should be a security issue or issues and how should security be achieved in Nigeria from the point of view of civil rule governance and the constitution. There is a need for education for members of the parliaments at the federal, states and council levels as their legislations hold the key to unleashing security in all spheres.
The fourth task as the President’s national security adviser is to advise on the need to amend the 1999 Constitution whose provisions on security are amorphous, ambiguous, and/or deliberately vague. The provisions of the Constitution does not define, chart and govern security within the civil rule framework as the Constitution’s provisions on this “security” priviledged the agencies of the military, intelligence and law enforcement on the matter of this “security”. Section 5 subsection 5 and Section 14 subsection 2B, which prescribed national security and security, respectively, added to the confusion. In the case of these two provisions, the distinction between security and national security is unclear.
Unless one knows security, it is not possible to know national security. As I noted in the preceding, the two views of security and national security represented the signatures of Europe and the United States of America. What they mean in Nigeria is anyone’s guess, and in this instance, it is the function of power and authority. Security can not be allowed to continue in this state of confusion, profiting only the elites of politics and the MILE.
The fifth task as Mr. President’s national security adviser arising from the success or otherwise of the suggested task of amending the 1999 Constitution provisions on security, there will be a need to sponsor legislation on security. The legislation will seek to answer the four fundamental questions (4fqs) on security under civil rule governance and taking into consideration the peoples mandate to have a constitution reflecting their will. The security legislation will address the lack and/or inadequacies of the prevailing references in the theory and in practice to security in Nigeria.
As I noted somewhere in the preceding paragraphs, security or free from care, something which secure, condition of being secure and feeling no apprehension is the vision and mission of every human endeavour. Now is the time to create a democracy type security anchored on people driven constitution and/or legislation. This will cause to rest the failed and failing MILE “security” anchored on the professional worldview the few agencies of the executive.
The birth of this security will consolidate the process of nation building if and when every Nigerian is guaranteed this security in his/her life through governance or the effective and efficient utilisation of human and material resources for the benefit of Nigerians in every spheres of human endeavour at all levels of government.
Dr. Adoyi ONOJA writes from Nasarawa State University, Keffi