By Tony Eluemunor
Yes, I was checking how Covid-19 has affected education in Germany when I espied this: “MSC Postponed Indefinitely, As Global Partners Applaud Nigeria’s Military Change of Guard.” MSC stands for Munich Security Conference which was planned for February 19 – 21 but was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
This summit of global politicians and experts to discuss defence and security policies was expected to be American President Joe Biden’s debut on the international stage. The story, written by Steepen Claren, and dated February 1, 2021, gave me my first glimpse of how global experts rated the recent change of Nigeria’s security chiefs and Nigeria’s global security importance.
It read in part:”Some of the would–be participants who spoke through virtual platforms have reached consensus on major issues that affect global security challenges, also applauded Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari replacement of the Nigeria’s service chiefs in a bid to (re-address) the country’s security challenges.
The new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Leo Iraboh is a decorated soldier and competent hand, same with Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao as Chief of Air Staff.
However, the retention of Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) as the National Security Adviser elicited prompt response from Nigeria’s international partners.
Pentagon and State Department officials expressed delight and confidence that the new team will in partnership with all regional and international partners forge a better response to challenges, particularly in the Sahel.
We are happy to continue working with Gen. Monguno, a team player soldier, scholar and highly efficient Officer.”
A Senior E U official said Monguno enjoys immense respect and has built extensive security and intelligence contacts globally.
We like working with him on all facets of global security challenges, from terrorism, narco trafficking to fake drugs and narcotic,” a senior official with India’s RAW told newsplusview.”
As sign of Nigeria’s President’s delights with the performance of his security adviser, recently, President Buhari directed him to coordinate and formulate a holistic approach to stem the tide of the resurgent banditry, illegal mining in the Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina corridor– states in the North-Western region of the country— that has continued to cost lives and the displacement of thousands of families from their towns and villages.
The US Special Envoy for the Sahel, Ambassador J. Peter Pham and panelists from Global Coalition members, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Nigeria, acknowledged and applauded Monguno’s efforts and Nigeria’s roles in the fights against terrorism in the sub-region at providing key perspectives on evolution of ISIS affiliates and their troubling activities in West Africa.
While Nigeria and the USA are committed to lead global coalition against ISIS and other terrorist groups, the challenges of global terrorism had negatively impacted on the economy, polity and livelihoods of people as evident in the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin and parts of the North-Eastern Nigeria.”
Yes, the article reminded me of the service chiefs’ removal call, and that nobody excoriated NSA Monguno in that lengthy national blame game.
Now, dear NSA, President Mohammadu Buhari has appointed a new set of Service Chiefs. Now your time has come. You now have the opportunity to prove your worth. How do I really put it to you, dear General? Do you love music? I bet you do, for I see you, even from afar, as this urbane dude, a real Lagos boy who attended Kings College, Lagos, when that school really meant something.
You are from Bornu state, but it must stand for something that you speak the three main Nigerian languages, and have emerged tops at all levels of your military education. As Nigerians have been demanding for a new security architecture, it may be just right that a real architect (yes, you hold a PhD in Architecture from the United Kingdom as I gleaned online) should be the one to produce that much-needed security architecture.
And if it is true that you are somehow related to Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, a Minister in the Federal Government during the past 1960s-70s era, the line from our National Anthem “the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain” should mean a lot to you.
You may remember Simon and Garfunkel’s BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER music track. Please, could you be that sort of bridge to Nigeria and Nigerians? Remember the lyrics?
“When you’re weary/ Feeling small/ When tears are in your eyes/ I’ll dry them all /I’m on your side/ Oh, when times get rough/And friends just can’t be found/ like a bridge over troubled water/ I will lay me down/ like a bridge over troubled water.
“Sail on silver girl (which to me is mother Nigeria). All your dreams are on their way/ Like a bridge over troubled water/ I will ease your mind. “
Please, NSA, Gen Monguno, ease Nigeria’s mind. We have cried tears of blood. We’re tired, helpless, hopeless. Hey! bright soldier boy, make the much-needed difference. We are counting on you. Help save Nigeria. Let the dirge disappear. Let triumphant songs resound.