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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Dasuki’s Unflinching Integrity Stands

Sometimes, over excitement has a way of blurring reality. It is a short-lived euphoric state that, if not handled well, erases a long-standing cognition. As soon as the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, was mentioned as a member of the three-man administrative panel of enquiry set up by President Jonathan to probe the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, hasty and overzealous publications began to emerge quoting a source from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) regarding whether or not the allegedly procured bullet-proof cars were duly permitted by the ONSA.
Col Sambo Dasuki

Many have criticised the need for an administrative panel for the purpose stated above. However, it is my opinion that the idea may not be a bad one. After all, Nigerians demand prompt resolution of the matter. Also, with a little profiling, the general public should be able to conclude that the three men constituting the panel are of the highest integrity. None of them, especially the NSA who is pretty well known to me, is ready to trade his integrity for any cheap political mark. In fact, they are not even politicians. 

It is disheartening for anyone to doubt the ability of any constituted body that includes Col Sambo Dasuki. This is a man who has achieved tremendous success in just over a year as the NSA. Dasuki’s exemplary qualities of dedication, hard work and straightforwardness all complement his competence, detribalised nature, as well as meticulous and innovative approach towards problem solving. Early in his tenure as NSA, he made it clear that matters of national tragedy and security threat in countries that are united elicit cooperation for common solution, irrespective of political, ethnic and social affiliation. Thus, cooperation and synergy are the basis of his managerial philosophy.

In every sector, when relevant outfits pursue different agendas the result is always counter-productive. In matters of national security, the situation is much more critical. It is a well-known fact that intelligence coordination is as vital to national security as intelligence gathering. In fact, failure of a country to adequately coordinate all its security agencies could portend greater danger than any internal or external security threat. After the 9/11 attacks in the United States of America, there were calls for greater coordination among the country’s many national security agencies in spite of an already impressive coordination system. The British government responded to criticisms that lack of coordination among its security agencies was responsible for its unpopular handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by recently setting up the country’s first National Security Council. More recently, the panel of enquiry set up to look into the September 11 killing of American ambassador in Benghazi revealed that inadequate intelligence coordination, not gathering, led to the unfortunate incident.
Therefore, Dasuki’s first step in seeking creative ways of tackling insecurity was to unite all security apparatuses for the benefit of the nation and the safety of its citizenry. It was that effort and synergy that engineered effective running of a counter-terrorism department in ONSA. This has also helped in implementing the counter-terrorism blueprint known as the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST). Going by what is now our national manual for counter-terrorism, security is everybody’s business because insecurity is everybody’s headache. The modest achievements recorded in the fight against terror have been largely due to an improved inter-agency cooperation and proper intelligence coordination.
The NSA did not stop at cooperation within the intelligence community alone. In May 9, 2013, his office organised a one-day workshop for media practitioners geared towards the Effective Understanding and Reporting of Terrorism by the Mass Media. The event underscores the inevitable collaboration that should exist between the security and intelligence community and the media. By this, the ONSA demonstrated that premium importance is placed on forging a cordial relationship with the media because no meaningful headway can be made on security matters if the media is kept in the dark. As a participant at the workshop, I attest to the fact that it was a constructive attempt at cementing mutually beneficial collaboration. It was at the workshop that it was agreed upon that social responsibility has changed in both broadcasting and security due to the social media. If the media fails to feed its audience with prompt, verifiable and credible programming it would seek hearsay and mindless speculations reeled out from people’s living rooms capable of fuelling social unrest. That was the initial challenge.
Also involved in the ‘whole government whole society’ approach of the Dasuki-led intelligence community are non-governmental organisations, traditional and religious leaders, researchers and development agencies.

No doubt, public perception about the nation’s security challenges has changed for the better, and it is due, hugely, to the influence of the ONSA headed by someone who took office amidst high expectations. Thus far, he has not failed, and should be ceded the respect that comes with his integrity.
Munsuru Arilesere, a media and public affairs analyst, wrote from Ring Road, Ibadan

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