FEATURE ARTICLE

Eric TeniolaMonday, June 5, 2017
teniolaeric@yahoo.com


OBASANJO'S GRAND STRATEGY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

indful 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:

    1. 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.

    2. The pursuit of individual and community security in tandem with state security.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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 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:

    1. 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 globalization 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.

    2. Social Well-being: The greatest danger to national security outside external aggression is individual, family or community insecurity brought about by preventable or avoidable social condition of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, community strife, inequity, oppression lack of justice. These conditions easily lead to indiscipline, loss of trust in authority, frustration, apathy, desperation, agitation, anarchy, lawlessness and violent conflicts. Every effort must be made to deal effectively with the issue of poverty eradication, ensuring justice and equity, eradication of corruption, provision of essential services, food security, potable water, universal basic education, basic healthcare delivery and employment.

    3. Foreign Policy: The relationship between Nigeria and the world, especially neighbouring West Africa is vital to her national security. The magnitude of attention paid to national security may invariably be graduated in concentric circle of proximity, shared interest and like-mindedness. I believe strongly in the economic integration of the ECOWAS sub-region. This is why we are pursuing the Fast Track Integration of the community with other members. Nigeria's other commitments in the international community, namely, OPEC,UN,OAU,NAM,G77, etc. demand a very active and vibrant foreign policy. The changing realities of the international economic and political landscape require us to rekindle friendship in the Far East. The objective of our foreign policy vis--vis the grand strategy is peace, security and prosperity through friendship. We will strive to resolve any dispute through dialogue, resorting to force only as the last recourse and only to defend our sovereignty and integrity. Our foreign policy shall include the promotion of foreign investment, trade and debt remission while we protect Nigerian interest everywhere and we work for justice, fairness and equity globally.

    4. Defence: The armed Forces are the bastion of our national defence. They provide deterrence against physical aggression. They are also to provide aid to civil authority in the event of national emergencies and internal crisis.

      We shall continue to pursue the strategy of adequate defence. To this end, I have directed the infusion of fresh funds for the rehabilitation of the armed services and the upgrading of their equipment, training and readiness up to the standard demanded by our national, regional and international commitments and territorial defence needs. The armed forces face the challenge of modernization and transformation from a praetorian guard into a nimble, effective and efficient defence machinery. Our defence strategy shall include the development of local defence industries. It will include assistance to friendly neighbouring countries and participation in sub-regional and regional defence initiatives.

    5. Law and Order: The safety of lives, the security of property and the maintenance of law and order are, to me, very important priorities. We will continue to invest in the Nigeria Police Force so that they can be more effective. We are examining other strategies for encouraging the development of efficient and orderly private security enterprises to aid the police in curbing the high crime rate. We are also enhancing the capacity of the appropriate agencies to fight corruption, detect crimes, ensure the quick dispensation of justice and the reformation of offenders. I am impressed by the cooperation between the law officers and the law enforcers. The increase in the effectiveness of the security and the Law Enforcement.

      Agencies in the past year are noticeable and must be encouraged. The promotion of internal security at all levels will continue through proactive intelligence, the reduction of tension, the management of traditional agitators and prompt action against those who are bent on disrupting peace and instability. Law Enforcement Agencies should treat individuals with civility and firmness, respecting the rights of the individuals and obeying the rule of law and due process. The judiciary is an indispensable and crucial part maintenance of law and order.

    6. Information: The management of public has to be integrated into our grand national security strategy. Often times, the voices that are loudest are those of the rabble rousers and the disgruntled. The average citizen is often ignorant o the remarkable positive achievements of Government. Deliberate effort to keep the public informed of government activities, programmes and progress must be sustained. Similarly, inciting propaganda, from any quarter, must be countered with presentations of the true perspective of issues. Truth, transparency and openness must characterize all government policies, programmes and activities.

  6. I have outlined the above grand strategy, in detail, to provide Ministers and Chief Executives concerned a clear idea of what I want this administration to achieve. The policies, which we have pursued to promote change for the better, through transparency, integrity, incorruptibility, fairness, equity and Justice, can only be sustained through adequate security. The future of Nigeria and democracy in Nigeria depends on the commitment, dedication and personal sacrifice of all citizens, especially those appointed to protect her integrity. There is the need for smooth flow of information among the various agencies and departments. There is the need for constant consultation, coordination and the harmonization of policies. The spirit of willing cooperation must prevail. Every Nigerian must be to feel that he can be protected, guaranteed security and defence by his country. And every Nigeria is obligated to contribute his utmost to the upliftment of Nigeria, no matter where he lives.

  7. I expect that each and every one of you will strive assiduously to make this grand strategy work effectively for the enhancement of the welfare of all Nigerians, to the greater glory of Nigeria and for the honour of the Almighty God."

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