The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni. MFR. FNAL, has said that good governance is the best foundation and guarantor of national security.
He said last Thursday in a paper he delivered at the National Security Institute (NISS) titled “National Security and the Challenges of Contemporary Governance” to the Executive Intelligence Management Course Eleven (EIMC-11) that “we must build institutions, enhance processes and strengthen our systems, not only to make them work more efficiently, but also to make them work for the people.”
“In this regard, we need to reinvent our local government system throughout the country and ensure that this tier of administration is allowed to function efficiently and effectively to restore people’s confidence and trust in governance, especially at the grassroots level.”
The guest lecturer said that we must encourage, in our populace, a sense of “ownership” and that the people must have the feeling, indeed, the belief that they were partners in governance and that public facilities and infrastructure are there for their own comfort and welfare.
“National Security would be, greatly, enhanced if the people developed the feeling that they have a stake in the affairs of the state,” he stated.
He said that in order to facilitate this attitude and achieve sustainable peace, Government must, on its part, adopt the approach of dialogue and conciliation rather than that of coercion by brute force adding that the successes of the DSS and other security agencies in securing the release of most of the Chibok girls, the Dapchi abductees as well as the Geology Staff of the University of Maiduguri clearly testified to the efficacy of negotiations and dialogues.
According to Professor Rasheed, “the application of force may appear to yield result, but the peace so secured can only last for a short while before crumbling.” He gave the example of USA adventure in Afganistan and Iraq to buttress this point.
He insisted that dialogue and political negotiations were the most effective methods of achieving a permanent state of national security. This is what happens in developed countries, with the USA again, as the most demonstrative of the use of dialogue in building public ownership. Americans fly the national flag in front of their homes and at every opportunity.
The guest lecturer said further that “the consequence is that the USA has millions of eyes and informal agents to monitor and protect the state from aggressors and miscreants.”
Professor Rasheed said that in Nigeria, the populace, especially in rural areas, was still excluded from the benefits of modern governance. “Our border towns are totally neglected with the consequence that Nigerians who live there are more comfortable with our neighbours than with their own Governments.”
He said that our border towns ought to be the first line of our security architecture; “unfortunately, they are not. The majority of Nigerians see national security as the responsibility of government alone because they are alienated from the state.” The big task is to make Nigerians trust their government enough to be able to work freely and willingly, for it, he posited.
This can only come from good governance not just at the federal level but also at state and local levels.
He said this last Thursday, in a lecture he delivered entitled: National Security and the Challenges of Contemporary Governance to the Executive Intelligence Management Course Eleven (EIMC-11) of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Bwari, Abuja.
He said that he accepted the invitation to give the lecture because of his “dream of a great nation that is sound, safe, secure and prosperous”.
He reiterated the need to identify, understand and in deference to participants’ knowledge and understanding, reaffirm some of the things the Institute had been known for, hence the need to sustain a periodic review of the challenges confronting the State.
The paper, also posed some fundamental questions that border on security and governance: “Why should we care?” “Is our dear Country still viable enough for us to continue to worry about our national security and governance?” “Do we have any stake in the survival of this Country?” Are the diverse elements that make up the Country interested in her meaningful survival and viability? Why does a section of our so-called educated elite spew out noises of hate, secession and war rather than embrace the language of peace, unity and progress?
Cognizant of these mind boggling issues and the large population of the Country, Professor Rasheed quoted Thomas Hobbes that “man is inherently self-centred and self-seeking, hence, without superior authority, which is characteristic of the state of nature, man would kill and maim in order to attain the objects of his desire”. In order to avoid violence and war according to Hobbes, is to establish a framework of authority governed by those whose powers would exceed those of the composite members of the society.
The guest lecturer took the participants through series of theories on security issues and governance as propounded by great Philosophers. He posited that the only thing that could guarantee security and governance was effective governance, adding that good governance that satisfied the economic and psychological needs of the people was considered a sine-qua-non for national security.
Prof. Rasheed enumerated some of the issues considered in current times that are germane to addressing national security to include, the economy, food security, the nature of environment, law enforcement, provision of physical infrastructure, political stability, effective leadership, human rights and sanctity of territorial frontiers among others.
He said that the neglect of those critical issues portended bad governance, alluding that the consequences of that resulted in insurrection, insurgency, militancy, ritual killings and kids’ rape. In order to contain the situation, the imperative of good governance must be embarked upon as an obligation, he resolved. Although several measures were put in place, a lot needed to be done to wrestle the Country out of the low rating in the Global Peace Index (GPI). He also recognised the enormous abundant resources both human and material, oil wealth and can-do spirit of Nigerian people as against other countries especially neighbouring nations.
Prof. Rasheed made comparative analysis between Nigeria and Pakistan as well as a number of developed Countries and noted that “the threats to our peace and stability, including the sustenance of our fledgling democracy, can and should be addressed by good governance because there is an inextricable relationship between national security and good governance”.
The Guest Lecturer lamented that the winner-takes-all attitude in the Nigerian political space that created dissatisfaction among the populace, bred negative feelings and practices ranging from complacency to prebendalism, undue pressure on political actors to distribute largesse as well as portraying politics as a project for making easy and cheap money. He opined that these tendencies precluded the political actors from identifying and pursuing the legitimate aspirations of the majority of the people with negative consequences for the human security plank of national security.
In his propositions at addressing the national security through good governance, Prof. Rasheed called for a rethink on the lamentable situation whereby Local governments were being systematically degraded. He said that part of the solution of the Nigerian Project was to restore the full credibility of governance at the local level as a prelude to addressing the security challenges confronting Nigeria as a nation.
The Scholar stated that Nigeria had had a time when money was spent judiciously, schools were provisioned, teachers were well paid and children well-educated, positing that for these to be relevant and for the country to regain its glory, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the battle of Anti-Graft war was sustained and expanded. To achieve this, loopholes must be plugged such that people who were found culpable must be held accountable.
He said “that way, when the next generation sees what is being done in the anti-graft war, they would begin to sit up and allow sanity to prevail in the running of the affairs of this country.”
Another weighty threat to global security, Nigeria inclusive, according to Prof. Rasheed, had to do with techno-anarchism currently constituting a great challenge for national security in the world. He said that technology was basically designed to be a useful tool, but had been transformed to be otherwise through some of its platforms, boldly showing dichotomy between positive rights and negative rights portending growing tendency to anarchy by increasingly turning into insidious weapon in the hands of many people, particularly the unscrupulous youths.
Prof. Rasheed underpinned the importance of verifying and authenticating information, especially from the social media, citing instances of the recent scandals involving the defunct Cambridge Analytica of the United Kingdom, an organisation that perpetrated elections manipulations on an international scale. He submitted that “Fake news and peddling of falsehood can have serious security implications for society.”
He posited that higher education had greater implications for ensuring peace, security and governance than most people could realise. He maintained that there was a connect between education with a sense of mission, social duty and patriotism, which had a role to play in rolling back irrational and anti-social behaviour, ridding the country of cultism, negative radical ideas/tendencies, corruption and indiscipline.
In proffering ways of addressing these issues in the Nigerian University System, the NUC Scribe, stated that “we are taking serious look at our Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS), not only as part of the goals of meeting up to international standards but also of transforming the youths of today with skills, knowledge and values that would enhance the security of the nation and its people”.
He reiterated that in doing so, higher education had the capacity to develop the mind to be tolerant of alternative views and beliefs system as well as the capacity to live with and accommodate others. Prof Rasheed underscored the role of higher education further by stating that it should produce a national elite that would serve as the vanguard of national peace, unity and harmonious coexistence.
As part of national security, the Scholar stressed the role of rural development in encouraging healthy environmental practices, stemmed rural-urban migration and helped in skills acquisition, industriousness, competitiveness and creativity. He therefore, underlined the importance of sustainable strategies that would help in rural development and poverty alleviation. This, according to him, had the significance of reinventing the Local government system to drive sustained growth and development in rural areas.
Prof Rasheed also called for a revisit to Nigerian cultural values and practices, saying that it had the capacity to enhance or undermine national security. He emphasised the urgent need to teach the people the basics of responsibility, adding that trust and confidence in the capacity of government to lead, must be rebuild in the interest of national security and good governance.
He said that government should encourage a sense of “ownership” by feeling and indeed believing that public facilities and infrastructure were meant for their comfort and welfare and therefore, take the position of being partners in governance.
As a measure of achieving that government must adopt the approach of dialogue and reconciliation rather than coercion by brute force in order to accomplish sustainable peace.
In his submission, the Guest lecturer featured that “good governance is the best foundation and guarantor of national security. We must build institutions, enhance processes and strengthen our systems, not only to make them work more efficiently, but also to make them work for the people”.
He also advocated for more funding of Nigerian security institutions and personnel, better training, advanced technology, modern infrastructures and robust welfare packages.
Prof. Rasheed commended the Director General of the State Security Service, Malam Lawal Daura, for the selfless service and doggedness in displaying exceptional level of dedication to his professional duties and to the tenets of Democracy in the Country.
The first of the three Discussants, the Governor of Borno, Alh. Kassim Shettima, dealt extensively on the security situation in Borno State, stating that he was disturbed by the various threats to the open and reckless linking of security issues with all kinds of conspiracy theories by the political class.
He said that the theories thrived around certain logic that appealed to moral, social and cultural emotions of a particular group of persons at an appropriate time. This he further said, were manufactured falsehood or assembled instances that could happen, taken out of context so that the new context filled into a narrative.
He stated that though many people ignored the conspiracy theories, it however, sank into the minds of others including leaders who become deaf and dumb to the problems they were mandated to address.
Gov. Shettima said that the shrinking agro-economic land resources was partly responsible for the persistent ethnic and communal killings, saying that the population increase between 1980 and 1990 with about 73 to 95 million citizens, presently skyrocketed to nearly 200 million within a span of just 30 years.
He said that made more human settlements were taking over outskirts that used to be farmlands and grazing routes due to overstretch of limited resources. Rivers and lakes which used to provide access water for fishing and irrigation farming were continually receding, these environmental challenges deepened poverty and frustration”.
He concluded that armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnappings were as a result of weak citizens taking arms to become criminals, while proponents of conspiracy theory exploited the situation by telling the people who were to blame for their problemss and out of frustration, the citizens go bloody. The governor proposed that the National Security Council should build a consensus around the legislature for a legal framework that would discourage such acts.
Gov. Shettima commended Prof. Rasheed, for his encouragement to the State government especially towards the establishment of Borno State University being one of the only two states in Nigeria then without a State University, despite the increasing demand and competitive nature of admission experienced by indigenes. He further said that the NUC Scribe did not only formally recognised Borno State University, but also assembled a competent team that professionally guided and supported the University to take off.
In his address, the Director, Institute of Security Studies, Mr. M.B Seiyefa, commended the Resource persons to the 2018 Institute’s Seminar. He recalled that last year’s course, EIMC 10 marked a watershed for the Institute when it hosted notable personalities including Vice president Yemi Osinbajo who was then the Acting President, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and former Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama who delivered the Graduation Lecture. In addition, two other Governors of Ebonyi and Ondo States, Dave Umahi and Oluwarotimi Akeredu were also hosted respectively.
His presentation titled ‘National Security and Challenges of Contemporary Governance’ addressed the current security threat spanning the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, piracy, cattle rustling, farmers/herders clashes.
He reemphasised that a developing nation that did engage in development process cannot remain secure, noting that security and development were complementary and governance was the connecting tissue between development and security.
He quoted former US Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara, who said: “Security is development, without development, there can be no Security to buttress his point.
He concluded that it was his desire that the Institute’s training and research responsibilities should be in tandem with a national discourse on diverse issues of public interest, all geared towards stemming the national security challenges.
The DISS expressed appreciation for hosting the NUC Scribe as the Guest Lecturer, stating that for the first time in the annals of the Institute, three serving governors of Borno, Akwa Ibom and Kano States; Alh. Kashim Shettima, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje respectively were in attendance and accepted to be discussants.
In his address, the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who was his represented by the State’s Commissioner of Information, Youth and Culture said that the Seminar was timely considering the persistent security challenges in the Country.
He added that said that it was an opportunity to bring together members of the intelligence and security community, opinion leaders, analysts and students to chart a way for national development.
He said that security was paramount and government relied on a range of measures, including political, economic and military as well as diplomacy to enforce national security. He said that security challenges required extra-ordinary measures to combat the situation.
Governor Ganduje underscored the importance of good governance which would mean improving the society’s productive capacity, peoples’ welfare and enhancing their freedoms. He therefore recommended as a necessity, the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. Without which there can be no political, social and economic stability, he concluded.
The Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, commended the organisers of the event for ensuring the right contemporary approaches in Nigerian security. Mr. Udom stressed that individuals would under some circumstances consent to surrender some of their rights to the government in exchange for the protection of their remaining rights.
He reiterated that authority was a social contract and not a divine right, therefore, the essence of government’s existence was to provide security for the people it governed, adding that this would make the society to be more interconnected and sophisticated.
Citing the Akwa Ibom approach, the Governor disclosed that the State initiated entrepreneurial programmes which changed the mind-sets of the youths, such interventions included Dakkada (Arise) which was coordinated through the Akwa Ibom Employment and Enterprise Scheme (AKEES) and meant to impact moral and attitudinal rebirth of the people, agricultural training and other opportunities.
The state, according to the Governor, had zero-tolerance for any form of criminality and this had made it a second destination for foreign investments after Lagos. He said that the State government had signed a law on cultism and other violent behaviours which prohibits such vices and it had the support of other partnerships and collaborations. He called on federal government to create an atmosphere that would encourage more flow of foreign direct investment into Nigeria.
He aligned with the submission of the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen.Mohammed Monguno (rtd) on policy framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism on February 13, 2018 which include.
• Strengthening institutions and coordination in preventing and Countering Violent Extremism;
• Strengthening the Rules of Law, Access to Justice and Human Rights;
• Engaging Communities and Building Resilience and;
• Integrating Strategic Communication in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Programme.