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Obasanjo’s grand strategy for national security

By Eric Teniola

MINDFUL of the need for National Security and with a Military background, President Olusegun Obasanjo (80) upon inauguration 18 years ago, in conjunction with his National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (74) the “spy master” and his Chief of Staff, General Abdullahi Mohammed (78), produced a blue print for National Security.

He adhered to that blueprint throughout his tenure. And it helped him. Except for the Odi massacre of December 1999, the religious crisis in Zamfara and in Jos, there was less National Security crises during President Obasanjo’s than that of his successors. Such a security strategy is missing these days.

Let us take a look at the blue print and see whether it could be applied in the country today.

(1)For the guidance of all element of the Executive arm of government, I hereby direct that the concept of National Security which will apply during my Presidency shall be the aggregation of the security interests of all individuals, communities, ethnic groups, political entities, and institutions, which inhabits the territory of our great country, Nigeria. This is in affirmation of the paramount importance which I attach to safety, security and the prosperity of individuals and institutions within Nigeria and what belongs to Nigeria and Nigerians abroad.

(2)             Consequently, our national security policy shall focus on the preservation of the safety of Nigerians at home and abroad and the protection of the sovereignty of the country and the integrity of her assets. While giving impetus to the fulfillment of these responsibilities by the Government of Nigeria, the broad concept of national security, which I hereby prescribe, requires the cooperation and participation of all stakeholders in ensuring national security. Therefore, the administration of national security by all elements shall canvass the commitment of all citizens and institutions to the promotion of security and to other important interest of our dear country, Nigeria.

(3)The primary objective of national security shall be to strengthen the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to advance her interest and objectives, to contain instability, control crime, eliminate corruption, enhance genuine development, progress and growth, improve the welfare and well-being and quality of life of every citizen. This objective shall be achieved through regular consultation and adequate coordination of the resources and activities of all elements of government and the civil society. The following cardinal principles shall be of overriding consideration:

(a)             Effective coordination of public policy to ensure that all sectors work in harmony to achieve stated objectives. Policies, which are incongruent with the overall objective, must be identified and adjusted appropriately.

(b)             The pursuit of individual and community security in tandem with state security.

(c)              The cultivation of a symbiotic relationship between security and human development, human rights and welfare, to ensure that contemporary and potential security problems are reduced through appropriate socio-economic policies.

(d)        A security sector which is society-friendly and whose objectives are in congruence with democratisation and the entrenchment of civil society and rule of law.

(e)        The maintenance of an effective security system, which the nation can afford. Consequently, security system, which the nation can afford. Consequently, security needs will not be allowed to outweigh the developmental imperative of civil society. Emphasis shall be on adequate, but lean and effective security organs enhanced by modern operational methods and technology.

(4)        In the drive to achieve greater efficiency the national security process shall be information-driven. I hereby further direct a renewal of the emphasis on the harnessing of information from all sources within and outside government, the pooling and interconnectivity of the resource base of security agencies, ministries and parastatals and the integration of the information so derived into a form most suitable for policy and decision making. The National Security Adviser shall continue to supervise this process and is hereby charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the enhanced process, which I have envisaged, begins to yield positive results soonest.

(5)             Our Foreign Policy, Defence, Economy, Social Development, Law and Order form the core of our national security. Each element fits into the grand national strategy of this administration as follows:

(a)             Economy: National security is intrinsically linked to the state of the economy. Nigeria’s economy is affected very significantly by the international economic situation. We have a virtual mono-product economy, which is dominated by crude oil export. The domestic by crude oil export. The domestic economy has been in recession for over a decade. The revival of the economy has been slow to take effect. We have to reverse the economic decline, control destructive consumption habits, revive industrial production and growth, restore the functionality of utilities and services, ensure appropriate pricing and create more jobs with living wages. We must be part of the globalisation in every sense. Some analysts have identified problems in the coordination of our economic policies with the grand strategy. I am determined that all the economic forces should be made to pull in the same direction. Concomitantly, economic policies will be consonant with the dictates of national security. The Chief Economic Adviser will continue to ensure the coordination of the administration’s economic policies through regular consultation with the appropriation authorities.

 


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