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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dasuki, Monguno And The Rest Of Us – Jonathan Ivoke



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“I am waiting for the newspapers to tell me the performance of my ministers and whether I should make changes.” – President Muhammadu Buhari
By Jonathan Ivoke
In one year and the realistic review Nigerians have for President Muhammadu Buhari could best be likened to getting a black eye.
The President’s sincerity in relying on public opinion is commendable, it demonstrates a capacity to listen and feel the public pause. Left to Nigerians however, excluding direct beneficiaries of the government, their families and their associates, Mr President’s entire cabinet should go. Incompetence would not be their major offence as the true case against them is that they are ultra-capitalists serving in a boss who is largely liberal socialist and abhors unbridled acquisition by individuals.
Since it will not be practical sacking the entire cabinet considering what it took to cobble it together, one would be satisfied at this point if the most incompetent and the least patriotic ones are shown the door be that person a minister or any other high ranking official.
No scientific poll is needed to arrive on the National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno as the choice candidate, the first to get the boot given the dismal performance that has failed to highlight the importance of security to the performance of any other sector of our national life given our recent peculiarities. To fail in that aspect is to fail in all and this is profoundly at the root of every other thing that had not met expectations in Mr President’s one year at the helms of affairs.
As far as the performance of this man goes, his now infamous predecessor retired Colonel Sambo Dansuki is beginning to look like a show stopper. Dasuki’s seeming better performance than the incumbent is despite him never having his eyes on his job, preferring instead to be the conduit pipe for paying off cronies as the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been able to prove. In those days that now look like long ago, there was no coherence, the security agencies had their reports and the President had his report because someone who didn’t know his job was in charge.
A band of extremists was allowed to grow into the world’s most deadly terror group under his watch. In the whole of that time, he later had time to mount the rostrum in Chatham House to justify shift in election dates, Dasuki never as much as whimper once about the actions of nations that were putting western weapons in the hands of Boko Haram.
That someone can now trounce Dasuki’s record of incompetence without efforts is something we do not need newspapers or the entire media to raise before the country is saved from the doom being assembled for each day that the incumbent NSA persists in office. He should have left before this offer to Nigerians to name the non-performers in the government.
Before his loyalists come to his defence, and there are some unsurprisingly given the premise earlier established for political office holders, it is categorically clear that the NSA’s remit goes beyond defeating Boko Haram, which thankfully is being pursued by a crop of professionals that are leading Nigeria’s troop to success. Monguno’s responsibility to Nigeria is to have managed the security situation in such a way that we do not wake up with new worries every day. This may sound pedestal, but even the tomato crisis shouldn’t have occurred without him acting to avert it – after all there is the outside chance that hostile interests can now flood the market with contaminated tomato and do untold damage and riots could have been sparked off by the inability of Nigerians to get their hands on the succulent berries.
But more importantly, Monguno accepted to serve a government, whose head was threatened with inheriting an ungovernable country during the elections and the threats came from credible sources among whom were ex-militants and aspiring separatists.
It is therefore inconceivable that the Niger Delta Avengers surfaced right under the NSA’s nose and have continued their campaign of crippling the economy. If he can be forgiven for allowing the militants from regrouping without challenge should he also be forgiven for their groups continued existence after two weeks? His task immediately after being named to the position should have included immediately addressing those pre-election threats being that they came from persons with the means of executing the threats.
Now the country is faced with a catch 22 of going after terrorists whose community would never give up or provide information on.
Equally appalling was the ascendancy of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) before the DSS brought its leader before the law. Again, a useful NSA would have acted to prevent the disruptive and divisive activities of IPOB became a source of national irritation. The thriving of these criminal groups under the NSA’s watch is suspect and hints at another Dasuki in the making with huge funds being voted to combats crisis that were originally allowed to fester. Not realising that security breach should not be allowed to fester for monetary gains is in itself a lamentable level of incompetence.
This lack of competence has caused loss of revenue from the series of oil and gas pipelines that Niger Delta Avengers terrorists have blown up. The loss of revenue is telling on the economy that only just trying to diversify from relying on crude oil revenue. The hostile economic situation that is resulting threatens to create social unrests and even this has not been of any concern to Monguno. IPOB has been no less disruptive as its members have repeatedly shut down markets and even at some points taken over the Onitsha Head Bridge, a national infrastructure.
With these groups hitting the economy at will, education, health, agriculture and in fact every other sector are vulnerable. And Monguno cannot be allowed to continue in his comfort zone on the assumption that Nigerians will consistently hold the police, DSS or the military responsible for his failings.
So before the verdicts come in from the newspapers, President Buhari has his first candidate for a sack to make room for a more competent hand to come in.
The harsh assessment of the administration was not because Nigerians do not like President Buhari but it is because his advisers have failed and continue to fail him. The most dismal of them being the NSA who has repeatedly failed to identify and prevent what has now resulted into a full blown economic and humanitarian issue in the Niger Delta and being felt nationwide.
Ivoke, a political affairs analyst, contributed this piece from Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt.

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