Renewed Hope And Security Strategy The President-elect Can Reflect Upon

By Flt.-Lt. Aliko El-Rasheed (Retd)

Nigeria will witness yet another transition from a civilian President to another come Monday, May 29, 2023. This will later culminate into another legislative assembly called the 10th Assembly following successful completion of the Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections of 25th of February and 11th March 2023.

Following the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the 16th Nigerian President, Nigeria's atmosphere has been shrouded with series of protests and petitions regarding the outcome of the elections. This is as there were series of verbal altercations among serving and retired politicians, as well as other public and political analysts in expressing their satisfaction or dissatisfaction about the outcomes of the elections,  particularly, the election that produced Tinubu as president-elect. 

Could you allow me to skip some of the timelines of the whole process to focus only on what is relevant in line with the topic.

Shortly after his declaration, while keenly listening to his acceptance speech, I completely became relaxed when the President-elect made overtures to his erstwhile contenders to join forces with him to move the nation forward.

“To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku, former Governor Kwankwaso, former Governor Obi, and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign. Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance.’’

“There are divisions amongst us that should not exist. Many people are uncertain, angry, and hurt; I reach out to every one of you. Let the better aspects of our humanity step forward at this fateful moment. Let us begin to heal and bring calm to our nation,’’ Asiwaju Tinubu had pleaded.

I am sure that the President-Elect started showing Nigerians and the whole world that he can stick to his words. A few days after his speech, he extended his hands of fellowship to anybody willing to contribute to the betterment of our dear country. And to the surprise of all, Asiwaju Tinubu traveled on a two-day working visit to commission some projects executed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Nigeria’s major opposition party in Rivers, a  state controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party - PDP. 

Recently, Tinubu also hosted a former Kano State governor, Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso where the duo discussed issues that will be beneficial to Nigeria; and this is just to mention but a few. All these were achieved a few days after his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Now that the May 29th inauguration ceremony is fast approaching, what are the President-elect's plans considering the enormous challenges facing the country in terms of security, corruption, economic wrangling, poverty, youth unemployment, socioeconomic issues, and power will be of major concern to Nigerians and the global community. 

Another major challenge that Asiwaju Tinubu will face as president is his choice of right people to be appointed to assist him achieve his mandate and promises made to the people. As at now, I am sure there are dozens of lists being submitted for positions as Ministers, Special Advisers, Head of Agencies and Parastatals, Ambassadors, etc. Yet, to achieve all these, the President must ensure that the right people are appointed based on utmost merits, and not ethnic, tribal, or religious sentiments but competence, teamwork, integrity, and professionalism.

Now to the President-elect, sir! 

I will limit myself to the issue of Security which is my area of expertise. Mr. President-elect, I am sure you are fully aware and briefed on the many challenges the electorate currently face as some of them were already mentioned above. 

My appeal to you, is that over 200 million souls are looking up to you on how you can better their lives and that of the future generations coming after. 

Security is one of the country’s major challenges beginning with Boko Haram (JAS, ISWAP, Al Bakoura etc) in the Northeast; banditry and other non-state armed groups with linkage to terrorism in the Northwest; agitations by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and their likes in the Southeast. Others are abduction, kidnapping, tribal and ethnic violence, including a host of so many acts of traditional crimes across the country. Millions of people were displaced and IDP camps that littered almost half of the Nigerian states of the federations. 

In order to tame all these challenges, Mr. President-elect, please appoint only competent and seasoned professionals with the mandate to execute your security plan for this country. Such must be people of high caliber with robust security intelligence and professional expertise, and above all, the individual who is free from corruption should be saddled with the task of handling the sensitive security sector under the Tinubu’s presidency. That expert who has the country at heart, and will not enrich himself from the public funds at the expense of the nation’s protection.

Our dear incoming President, kudos must be given to our tireless military and other security agencies, but the current strategies in dealing with the numerous security challenges need to be closely looked into, rejigged and polished. 

For security reasons, I will be compelled to halt here. But a lot of work is awaiting you, and I am confident that your support and commitment will change everything. The primary responsibility of any government as enshrined in the constitution is to ensure the safety and security of its citizenry as safety and security are the bedrock of any societal development, and our dear country Nigeria’s case cannot be an exception.

Most of the major factors fueling the escalation of current challenges are poverty, youth unemployment, bad governance, and corruption. If all these factors can be tackled, I assure that we will witness zero or little incidences of security issues in our country. 

People are still living in abject poverty and our youth are loitering the streets without anything doing. Immorality has bcome the order of the day with “Yahoo boys” spreading like wildfire while sponsored assassinations’, and illegal trafficking and use of illicit drugs are now the only ventures with which our teeming youths now engage. 

To achieve all these, the incoming President needs to put the right peg into the right hole in putting our dear country first and make the people comfortable, so that normal businesses, both at domestic and international levels can resume. Nigerian people must be able to move from one point to another irrespective of time and without fear of being attacked, kidnapped, abducted, or even killed.

On assumption for duty Sir, you should consider immediate constitution of the LGAs, States, and National Dialogue of stakeholders with members drawn from the traditional rulers, heads of faith-based organisations, security agencies, and elder statesmen. Such should be replicated across states, while the one at the national level should include the members of the National Council of State.

Other sectors should also follow suit with either Ministers or Head of Agencies as Chairman. If these are implemented, there will be free flow of information where issues of national and state concerns will be addressed with zero or little bureaucratic bottlenecks.

Above is my little contribution, specifically as they bother on the security of our Dear Nation, and I hope that other well-meaning Nigerians will do the same for the betterment and well-being of our fellow citizens towards experiencing better life, and going about our normal businesses.

Long Live Our President-Elect
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

By Flt. Lt. Aliko Ibrahim El-Rasheed (Rtd) Pjsc B.Sc HD PGD M.Sc (PhD In-view), is a Security and Counter-terrorism Analyst