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Full Speech: Resetting Nigeria on the path of predictable progress ―Tunde Bakare

BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE AT THE STATE OF THE NATION BROADCAST ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019.

VENUE: 4, AKILO ROAD, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE,

OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.

THEME: RESETTING NIGERIA ON THE PATH OF

PREDICTABLE PROGRESS.

Tunde Bakare
Tunde Bakare

Introduction

Fellow citizens:

On November 16, 1960, Nigeria’s first indigenous governor-general, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe uttered the following words:

…let us heal the breaches of the past so that in forging our nation there shall emerge on this continent a hate-free, fear-free and greed-free people, who shall be in the vanguard of a world task force, whose assignment is not only to revive the stature of man in Africa but to restore the dignity of man in the world. Needless to say, the lofty dreams of our founding fathers that should have propelled us to attain great, lofty heights are still dreams fifty- nine years on.

Yet, with every independence anniversary comes a renewed opportunity to evaluate our nationhood and insist that a dream deferred is not a dream denied.

Despite our past and current realities, the fact that we have remained one nation is a testimony to our God-given resilience and, if properly channelled, it is also a pointer to a future brimming with great possibilities. I believe this gift of resilient hope is worth thanking God for.

Therefore, fellow Nigerians, no matter how despondent you may feel today about the state of our nation, permit me to begin this address by wishing you a belated happy Independence anniversary.

On this occasion, I salute the memory of our founding fathers who began this long and arduous journey to nationhood. I salute our heroes past who, over the decades, kept the torch aflame, and whose labours, I am certain, shall never be in vain.

As we embark on an evaluation of the state of our nation through the instrumentality of a national security audit, I salute the members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the security agencies who have constantly put their lives on the line in the interest of our national security, even in the most precarious of circumstances.

I particularly honour the memories of Insp. Mark Ediale, Sgt. Usman Danzumi, and Sgt. Dahiru Musa, the dutiful police officers who lost their lives to the bullets of army officers this past August. My sincere condolences to their families; may their ultimate sacrifice not be in vain. Amen.

Between the Governance Imperative and Election Expediency

Let me also congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the recently constituted ministerial team, as well as members and principal officers of the National Assembly as the second term of this administration unfolds. We trust God for

all the wisdom and skills required for them to steer the ship of the nation aright at this critical juncture. Permit me to also use this opportunity to bless God and to congratulate the nation for the phenomenal growth in revenue reported by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) since the closure of our borders.

We recall that, on January 1, 2019, we declared the word of God to us on this platform, that Nigeria would experience significant revenue growth through the Nigeria Customs Service in the year 2019.

This past week, the comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, said:

“There was a day in September that we collected N9.2billion in one day. It has never happened before. This is after the closure of the border and since then, we have maintained an average of about N4.7billion to N5.8billion on a daily basis which is far more than we used to collect.”

We see this as a sign that every word of God concerning the greatness of our nation, Nigeria, will be fulfilled even as the clock has started ticking towards another four years of democracy.

As politicians begin to make deft moves ahead of 2023, this address is a call to forsake the myopia of personal and sectional interests, to revisit our foundations, and to begin to reset our nation on the path to predictable progress beginning with the sector that is most crucial to our national survival and stability: the security sector.

Of Xenophobia and the Call to Nationhood

The stability of our nation is inextricably woven with the stability of the African continent. Therefore, I will set the tone of this address with a brief comment on the xenophobic intolerance that has recently defined the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa.

Permit me, at this juncture, to ask for a standing ovation for a true Nigerian, the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, as well as the staff of that exemplary Nigerian company, whose voluntary decision to evacuate stranded Nigerians from South Africa, free of charge, has redeemed the honour of our nation. Where some Nigerians have misrepresented us by their misdeeds, this model Nigerian has shown that to be a Nigerian is to be a person of dignity.

The outbreak of xenophobia in South Africa is a wake-up call to Nigeria. It challenges us to put an end to homegrown “xenophobia” and to unite as one people so we can overcome common challenges and provide leadership to Africa. In this connection, President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent state visit to South Africa is commendable.

As the process of mending relations commences, a measured but decisive response to the provocative incidents is the wise approach. The signing of thirty-two bilateral agreements in various sectors, and the uptick in the enthusiasm of the private sector, is a masterstroke win-win outcome. As we reflect today on the state of our nation and its place in the world, I am reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela:

The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.

Building that stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria that will earn Africa the respect of the world is the purpose of this address.

The Context and Content of a National Security Audit

On July 12, 2019, our nation reeled from the news of the gruesome murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of elder statesman, Pa Rueben Fasoranti.

This painful loss was one too many. In view of the palpable anger and the threat of ethnically motivated responses generated by this incident, it became clear to me that drastic steps needed to be taken in respect of our national security.

My conviction was further buttressed when the nation woke up to the tragic incident earlier referenced of soldiers murdering some of our finest intelligence officers and setting free an alleged kidnap kingpin who had been arrested by this elite squad of dedicated policemen.

This alarming inter-agency disaster, coupled with disturbing developments such as reports of mass graves of soldiers and the
seemingly relentless reports of killings, kidnappings and banditry, has made it abundantly apparent that our nation is dancing on the razor’s edge.

Reacting to the situation, Nigerian journalist, Simon Kolawole, in an editorial titled “More questions than answers,” noted:

The current crime situation in Nigeria is a massive indictment on the capacity, capability and credibility of the security agencies. A shake-up is non-negotiable. Buhari must be willing to do the needful, and not make just cosmetic changes, to stop the haemorrhage.

Against this backdrop, as part of an extensive security audit, we will assess Nigeria’s vulnerabilities and threat profile, rethink the prevailing philosophy of national security in Nigeria, examine the challenges to national security, and then proffer solutions, deploying a combination of vertical8 and horizontal intelligence.

Assessing Vulnerabilities: Nigeria’s Security Threat Profile

Nigeria is today confronted with several intersecting categories of national security threats based on the motivations and power blocs propelling such threats. These threats to national security manifest in political, economic, ideological, ethnic, zonal, state and strategic dimensions.

1. Politically Motivated Threats

The politically motivated threats to our national security are encapsulated in the simple question: “Who killed…?” Who killed Dele Giwa? Who killed M.K.O. Abiola? Who killed Funsho Williams? Who killed Bola Ige? Who killed Dipo Dina? Who killed Marshal Harry? Who killed Obi Wali? Who really killed Murtala Muhammed?

The security and stability of our nation are hinged on eliminating the greed that fanned the flames of these political assassinations.

Not only do the purveyors of politically motivated violence pose a threat to the democratic process; after elections, their thugs become a menacing scourge of armed bandits who take to robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other criminal vices for self-maintenance until the next elections.

We cannot build a stable and secure nation until our politics is rescued from the grip of murderers and placed in the custody of patriots.

2. Economically Motivated Threats

In January 2012, when Save Nigeria Group (SNG) mobilised a critical mass of Nigerians to Freedom Park, Ojota, we were not simply asking for a reversal of the fuel price hike that threatened the daily bread of the so-called average Nigerian; we were fighting organised crime syndicates who had hijacked our collective patrimony in the name of fuel subsidies. Our galvanising slogan then was, “Kill Corruption, Not Nigerians!” The economic threats to our national security are individual and corporate syndicates who loot our treasury, bastardise our national image, and submerge our nation’s credit rating in the cesspool of local and international criminal enterprise. To address these threats, we need to revive our economy as a matter of urgency such that no Nigerian will have an excuse to resort to crime.

3. Ideologically Motivated Threats

Boko Haram, which derives its fuel from an extremist interpretation of Islam, falls in this category.10 The perpetrators of such national security threats tend to deploy terrorism and insurgency as a strategy.

Since 2009, over 30,000 people have died in the course of the war on terror. Winning this war is a national priority that has become synonymous with our quest for peace and stability.

4. Ethnic Nationalistic Threats

Due to the failure to unite as one nation, the fabric of our nationhood is being frayed by different ethnic groups threatening to go their separate ways. Groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Bakassi Boys, Egbesu Boys, a faction of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and, most recently, the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), fall under this category.

5. Zonal Security Threats

Several of our national security threats are zonally delineated. For instance, the epicentre of Boko Haram is in the North East, while cattle rustling-related banditry is based in the North West; the farmer-herder conflict has its base in the North Central; kidnapping first became an industry in the South-South and South-East, and so on. Our border challenges are also different across the zones. In the North East, for instance, the Mandara Mountains allow Boko Haram to traverse Nigeria and Cameroon. In the North West, the flatland borders with Niger make it easy for bandits to crisscross Nigeria and Niger. In the South West, smugglers from the Republic of Benin pose a unique set of border challenges, while the Southern coastlines grapple with piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

We celebrate the fact that the Nigeria Customs and Immigration services have taken steps to improve border security by closing the borders. However, we must go further to permanently resolve the loopholes in border management, because no nation can leave its borders closed indefinitely in a globalised world.

6. State Engineered Security Threats

My assertion that the Nigerian state has been a threat to its own national security might sound strange. However, when state actors such as the armed forces, the police force, and others, become perpetrators of acts of terror, the state scores an own goal and becomes a threat to its own security. According to Nigeria Security Tracker, 8,571 civilians were killed extrajudicially by soldiers and security agents between May 2011 and September 2019.

7. Strategic Threats

The strategic threats to Nigeria’s national security involve foreign interests and actors. In 2014, during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, one-time Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, raised the alarm over the strategic nature of insecurity in Nigeria. In his view: …there are…very strong forces, external to Nigeria…who’re actually masterminding these operations…There have been penetration of…our security agencies…So, we’re dealing with forces that are larger than Nigeria.

The forces involved in the Nigerian debacle are by far stronger than the Nigerian government. Even if you changed your president, his successor would have a major battle on his hand if he decided to confront these elements.

Five years later, Prof. Akinyemi may have been proven right. Some of the internal threats I have mentioned have external collaborators. We know, for instance, from intelligence reports that Boko Haram is affiliated with terror groups in Somalia.

Furthermore, in order to deal with the international nature of our security threats, we cannot ignore the interests of certain strategic countries,15 particularly regional hegemons, seeking to consolidate their interests in Nigeria as a result of our strategic importance to the world.

Assessing Capabilities: Challenges to Security Management

Our inability to successfully combat these threats and secure our nation has been due to the following:

1. A Faltering National Security Philosophy

Our national security philosophy reflects the words of King Louis XVI, France’s absolute monarch who once equated the state to
himself, stating “L’État, c’est moi,” meaning, “I am the State.”

Our national security philosophy was crafted in the military era when the main preoccupation was protecting the head of state and the military junta.

This persisting faulty security philosophy is the reason governors can legally access large amounts of monies in the name of security votes that they do not have to account for; it is why the police force, which ought to protect every Nigerian, has been comparatively neglected over the years in terms of funding, equipment, remuneration, and training.

It is why security, which ought to be a public good, has now become a private commodity.

Nigerians who can afford it make personal arrangements for their security while poor Nigerians are left to form vigilante groups or embark on prayer vigils for angelic protection.

2. Multilevel Unpreparedness for National Security

Due to constitutional constraints, our security strategies are incapacitated at the local, state, and federal levels.

The efforts of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), for instance, have shown that Boko Haram could have been curtailed if we had community and state police forces with mastery of the terrain and ability to nip threats in the bud.

Also, despite the zonally differentiated nature of our security and border challenges, we have excluded the idea of zonal forces from our border management strategies even as an overstretched federal government continues to grapple with border security.

3. Organisational Inefficiency

Despite the significant burden of national security on the shoulders of the federal government, we have failed to properly organise federal governance to meet this need.

Instead, we have a cacophony of ministries, departments, agencies and advisory bodies that have failed to place national security as the cornerstone of social, economic, political, strategic and infrastructural policies, despite the fact that section 2(14) of the 1999 Constitution as amended states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

4. Security Culture Dissonance

A segmentation of our national security culture will reveal at least four categories of players: antagonists, survivors, neutrals and protagonists. Everyone listening to me falls under at least one.

The antagonists include the sponsors and perpetrators of insecurity such as double-dealing police officers, hired assassins and cybercriminals; the survivors include internally displaced persons and victims of kidnap; the neutrals are bystanders who could be swayed to any side and are readily available as contractors who carry out arms deals for criminals, couriers and vendors who run errands for terrorists, and communities that conceal the hideouts of criminals and become complicit by their silence; while the protagonists include combatants such as soldiers and the police force as well as non-combatants such as policymakers and citizens who are prepared to aid the government’s efforts.

Our national security challenge has worsened because the protagonist category is shrinking and many citizens are becoming bystanders due, in particular, to a low level of trust in our security agencies.

5. Security Infrastructure Deficit

Time will fail me to talk about Nigeria’s scorecard in military strength, including our stock and deficiencies inland and air-based military equipment; but where soldiers are reportedly forced to buy their own uniforms and our barracks are nothing but environmental and health hazards, reports of low morale are hardly breaking news.

Besides, it appears that our combined military and intelligence capabilities are no match for the security challenges we currently
grapple with. A recent report by The New York Times states that Boko Haram “fighters now have more sophisticated drones than the military and are well-armed after successful raids on military brigades.”

Drones in the custody of terrorists is a grave existential threat. Moreover, the absence of robust human and weapons databases has hampered the necessary intelligence that can aid the prevention and detection of crime.

6. Security Architecture Dysfunction

National security architecture has to do with security institutions, leadership, training and strategies. Central to our deficiency in this regard is a comparatively weak intelligence system.

Our foreign intelligence service has proved inadequate in meeting our strategic security threats. The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) should be our version of the United States of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United Kingdom’s MI6, or Israel’s Mossad, but the NIA came into the limelight in the first term of this administration, not for pre-empting a national security threat, but for stashing $43m in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos allegedly earmarked for their overt and covert operations.

Also notable is the Sambo Dasuki saga in which the Office of the National Security Adviser was linked with a phantom arms deal worth $2bn.21.

Moreover, the Office of the National Security Adviser may have become overstretched. Juggling the co-ordination of the main intelligence agencies with advising the president and overseeing the protection of government officials may have limited the investigative freedom and focus of the intelligence community.

On training and deployment of our military, how much longer will we dispatch poorly trained and poorly equipped recruits to their deaths? Are we truly using Shilka guns purchased during the 1979-83 Shagari administration in 2019?

Are children of the poor truly being deployed to battlefronts while the children of the rich are shielded? Is this the same National Defence Academy that positioned a poor orphan from Daura, Cadet Muhammadu Buhari, and set him on the path to the presidency? These are questions the army must answer to restore public confidence in this noble institution.

7. Security Intra-Culture Dissonance

By security intra-culture, I (Tunde Bakare)mean the dynamics of inter-agency relations. The killing of policemen by soldiers was not just an
isolated case of bad eggs in the army colluding with criminals; it was another case of agencies working at cross-purposes. Time and again, we have witnessed one inter-agency clash after another.

In 2017, the media was awash with the shameful clash between the EFCC and the DSS.

The inter-agency clashes may have even extended to the training of our officers. Should the establishment of separate universities for the army, airforce and navy be a priority at this time when we have a Nigerian Defence Academy?

In any case, the biggest indictment on our security intra-culture failure is not on the rank and file of our military and law enforcement agencies but the leadership.

Allegations of the deliberate spreading of alternative facts, as well as internal wranglings by service chiefs in the race to replace the Chief of Defence Staff or National Security Adviser, do not inspire confidence in the tenth year of Boko Haram’s onslaught.

Towards an Integrated Security Roadmap: Resetting Nigeria on the Path of Predictable Progress

I (Tunde Bakare) believe that these challenges of nationhood, manifesting as threats to national security, provide an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and rebuild our nation.

It is a call to an integrated national security roadmap as part of a long-term masterplan to rebuild Nigeria. An integrated national security roadmap brings together diverse objectives of nation-building, including the social, political, economic and strategic objectives, and pivots them on the national security thrust.

We must bear this in mind as we proffer the following solutions to the challenges militating against our stability and progress:

1. Rethinking the National Security Philosophy

The first step towards securing our nation is revisiting the philosophical foundations of governance. This calls for prioritising the security of the governed above that of the government. It requires making a transition from the governance philosophy of Louis XVI to that of David, king of Israel, as captured in I Chronicles 14:2 (KJV):

And David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel. King David, by embracing the purpose for which he was made king, rather than just enjoying the perks and privileges of office, “served his generation by the will of God,” “shepherded [Israel] according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands,” until he became the lamp of his nation, placing national security above his.

Guided by this people-centred national security and governance philosophy, we can then begin to design policies,
investments and institutions that guarantee the stability, security and progress of our nation.

2. Reinstating National Security Federalism

The need to return to true federalism through devolution of powers cannot be overemphasised. Subnational governments must be empowered to provide security alongside federal structures.

The true test of leadership in a federal system is the willingness of the central government to empower the federating units. It must be a case of first among equals.

The federal government must, therefore, stop being afraid of empowered states and local governments. We must embrace multilevel policing in the spirit of true federalism, setting in place appropriate constitutional checks and balances to prevent abuse. Not to act swiftly, or to do otherwise, can only be counterproductive to our stability and progress.

3. Reforming National Security Governance

The National Security Council is central to dealing with the diverse threats to our national security.

In this regard, the president, as Chairman of the National Security Council, must take responsibility for combating the political threats by modelling statesmanship and exemplary politics as the father of the nation, reminiscent of the roles played by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America.

By such exemplary leadership, the president must bring the political elite to the roundtable of brotherhood and compel them by astute politics and the force of leadership to put an end to the politics of banditry and to work for, rather than against, the interest of the nation.

Next is the vice president. In an atmosphere of implicit trust, any government that fails to maximise the Office of the Vice President does so at its peril. By the provisions of section 18(a) and section 25(b) of the Third Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the vice president is the chairman of the National Economic Council and the deputy chairman of the National Security Council.

Therefore, the vice president must be empowered to lead the socio-economic thrust of an integrated national security strategy
that rewards enterprise, discourages crime, and ensures that every Nigerian has an honest opportunity to make a living. To do this, we must harness the resources in every geopolitical zone for the benefit of every Nigerian.

Therefore, this socio-economic thrust must be built on a long-term national master plan comprising six intersecting zonal master plans, aimed at restructuring the Nigerian economy into six globally competitive geo-economic zones.

The operational and financing mechanisms of this framework are spelt out in the pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria which I have presented to the nation since 2017.

The ideological and ethnic nationalistic threats to our national security call for national rebirth, reconciliation and reintegration. In
this regard, once again, we cannot ignore the zonal dimensions of these threats.

From Abubakar Shekau to Nnamdi Kanu, what we are experiencing is nothing short of the regionalisation of rebellion. Nigeria’s zonal distinctions are geopolitical leadership spaces waiting to be filled.

Failing to fill them with state structures leaves room for the occupation of those zonal leadership spaces by non-state actors like regional terrorists, criminals and secessionists.

Therefore, the president, by reason of the powers articulated in section 25(i) of the Third Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, should, as a matter of urgency, create a Presidential Commission for National Rebirth, Reconciliation and Reintegration, and appoint a Chairman over this Commission.

This Chairman should be able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the country, thereby putting an end to agitations and forging true nationhood.

As a member of the National Security Council, this person is expected to integrate the reconciliation and reintegration thrust into the broader national security strategy.

To combat the strategic threats to our national security, we must rejig our foreign policy and reorganise the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We must design a two-pronged foreign policy thrust aimed at managing relations with two broad categories of strategic threats and opportunities broadly defined as the Southern Foreign Policy Thrust
and the Northern Foreign Policy Thrust.

The Southern Foreign Policy Thrust, which we may also refer to as the Trans-Atlantic Thrust, will embark on astute diplomacy with such countries and regions that have greater cultural influence in Southern Nigeria, including the United States of America, Great Britain, Russia, Israel, South America, the European Union with special attention to France and Germany, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, South Africa, and so on.

This thrust will aim to mobilise economic, technical and international political alliances towards Nigeria’s national security, using our strategic importance to international and global security as a bargaining tool.

The Northern Foreign Policy Thrust, which we may also call the Trans-Saharan Thrust, will lead diplomatic relations with Sahelian Africa, the Maghreb, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf.

This aspect of our foreign policy will aim to leverage cultural diplomacy and political-economic cooperation to combat insurgency and ensure the recalibration of Northern Nigeria; recalibration of the sort that transformed Dubai from a desert to a world-class city. To achieve this aim, the president must be prepared to make bold decisions.

In all of these, the National Assembly must live up to its oversight responsibility. The legislature must support our armed forces by making laws that will spur a radical progressive transformation of our security governance.

4. Recreating Security Culture:

“Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.”

Our security culture objective must be to restore hope to survivors, motivate bystanders and spectators to become protagonists and recruit contractors and dealers as agents and informants. By rewarding and guaranteeing protection for those who blow the whistle on terrorists, kidnappers, criminal herdsmen, cattle rustlers and bandits, we will shrink the population of the antagonists.

Furthermore, we must competitively reward valour in our security agencies. Team and individual award schemes should be instituted for police officers and members of the armed forces who bravely bring down criminal gangs and terrorists while ensuring that human rights are respected.

In addition, celebrating valour and heroism must become a central feature of our cultural experiences. Nollywood and the creative industries must be supported to produce inspiring epics and biopics in honour of our heroes.

5. Redesigning Security Architecture

We can begin to redesign our security architecture by taking a number of first steps. The funds being funnelled into extra universities should be channelled towards building the capacity of the Nigerian Defence Academy and prosecuting the war against Boko Haram. We must then refocus the training of our soldiers to cater to unconventional warfare.

However, to create lasting change, we must institutionalise security interventions rather than respond with a fire brigade approach to emerging challenges.

We already have too many task forces littered across the length and breadth of the nation duplicating efforts. What we need is the restructuring of our police force to allow for multilevel policing.

Therefore, we must, as a matter of urgency, create police forces at the state and community levels under the control of the respective state and local governments.

In addition, given the zonal delineation of security threats, state governments within each zone must come together to constitute Zonal Security Councils, to push for constitutional amendments to recognise and empower such councils and to have them represented at the National Security Council. Each Zonal Security Council must be chaired by a governor from the member states on a rotating basis and, at every point in time, the chairman of each Zonal Security Council shall represent the zone at the National Security Council.

Under the command of the respective Zonal Security Councils, each state within a zone shall contribute officers from its state police force towards the Zonal Police Force of that zone.

The Zonal Police Forces shall assume responsibility for policing interstate highways within each zone and for protecting the vulnerable areas in each zone.

For instance, the dense forests of the South East could be policed by the South-East Zonal Police Force, while Sambisa Forest and Mandara Hills could be policed by the North East Zonal Police Force, and so on.

The Zonal Police Force shall also assist federal agencies, such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), to provide border protection services in the parts of our national borders that fall within the respective zonal jurisdictions.

In this regard, for instance, the North West Zonal Police Force, under the command of the North West Zonal Security Council, could provide support to the customs and immigration services in securing all the porous borders around Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States where bandits, kidnappers, criminal herdsmen and cattle rustlers have been holding sway.

“What, then, happens to the Nigeria Police Force?” you may ask.

Currently, the only police force in the country, the Nigeria Police Force can be reformed into a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) focused on investigative policing, intelligence gathering, as well as interstate, inter-zonal and national security as the main law enforcement agency of the federal government.

By so doing, we will have restored policing duties to very effective police forces within our borders. This will position us to strengthen and deploy our defence forces, including the army, the air force and the navy, beyond our borders to win the war on Boko Haram and to neutralise aggressors beyond our borders as the military did in its heyday in war-torn Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Furthermore, to boost intelligence gathering, we propose the creation of a Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) headed by a Director of National Intelligence who shall report directly to the president and shall also sit on the National Security Council.

The role of the Director of National Intelligence shall be to provide unbiased, non-partisan intelligence, while the National Security Adviser, who is a political appointee, shall support the president in decision making based on intelligence provided by the DNI.

6. Retooling Security Infrastructure

A well-designed security architecture requires a sophisticated enough security infrastructural outlay. First, we must ensure that we kit and equip our soldiers and security agencies adequately.

We must also ensure that the living conditions of our soldiers and police officers meet standards of decency.

Therefore, we must embark on massive infrastructure renovation in all barracks across the nation. This will boost the morale of our officers and spur them to fight on for their beloved country.

Furthermore, from machines to missiles, from precision-guided weapons to unmanned aerial vehicles, from surveillance technologies to reconnaissance satellites and data management systems, we must upgrade our security infrastructure. In this regard, Nigeria would do well to leverage our proposed foreign policy framework with a view to attracting international collaborations in acquiring, deploying and even innovating military, security and intelligence technologies.

7. Remodelling Security Intra-Culture

In dealing with inter-agency discordance, much depends on the heads of each agency and the decisiveness of Mr President who is the Chief Security Officer of the nation and the Chairman of the National Security Council that brings all the agencies together.

To this end, I appeal to Mr President to take a serious look at the composition of the service chiefs and set stringent standards and objectives below which no service chief must fall, otherwise, they risk replacement. It is a call for leadership by measurable objectives.

To the service chiefs, perhaps the words of a fellow general, James N. Mattis, popularly known as Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, former US Secretary of Defense, will serve as sufficient indictment:

In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally you are, if you cannot create harmony—even vicious harmony—on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete.

Conclusion

As I (Tunde Bakare) conclude, let me challenge the church to awaken to its responsibility as a watchman over the nation. National security strategies are incomplete without the spiritual role of the watchman.

In the words of Reverend Father George Ehusani:

Nigerian Christians…cannot sit idly and complain endlessly about the deplorable state of affairs in our country. We must get into action in whatever way is open to us, and ignite our Christian candle to fight back the forces of darkness and decay, whether as responsible parents or respectful children, devoted teachers or diligent students, God-fearing doctors or dedicated nurses, dutiful administrators or faithful labourers. If a sufficient number of Christians lit their candles in this way, then we can be sure that dying Nigeria shall rise again to greatness, by the power of God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

Saints of the Most High God, we can respond to this compelling call backed by the knowing that God’s set time to favour Nigeria is here.

Overnight on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, God showed me a vision for Nigeria. I saw a rainbow across Nigeria with the word “RESET” written boldly across the land. I knew at once that the time to reset Nigeria on the path of predictable progress is here. In computer terminology, to reset means “to turn a piece of computer equipment off and then on again when it does not work correctly, to make it start working correctly again.”

The rainbow was the symbol of a covenant with Noah, which God placed in the sky after He had shut down the earth by sending the flood that destroyed it from its foundations. It is time to return to the foundations of our nation – foundations which were laid by our founding fathers, but which are now devastated. It is time to rebuild. It is time to reset.

As it was in the days of Nehemiah, when each group built the aspect of the wall within its jurisdiction, the rebuilding has to be done zone by zone in line with our foundational governance paradigm of true federalism. Hence, the resetting will require revisiting the federal governance architecture. I am reminded of the pre-2019 election admonitions of Elder Statesman and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku:

“…judged by all the relevant indices, Nigeria today is clearly underperforming and lacking national cohesion as never before. If our country is to succeed on the road to political stability and realisation of its rich development potential, it must, by restructuring its present governance architecture. It must return to the true federalism that it practiced in the years before the military intervened in our national politics.”

Fellow Nigerians, upon the foundation of a restructured Nigeria, we can forge a new nation, one of diverse peoples, bound together in unity like the colours of a rainbow, beaming light to the world, working in collaboration, not in conflict, with the rest of Africa, including South Africa, a fellow rainbow nation.

I remain confident as ever that Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime. Amen.

Thank you for listening; God bless you, God bless Nigeria, and God bless Africa.

Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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