By Maiwada Dammallam
If President Buhari is a novice in security management, probably by now he might have exhausted the list of the high ranking officers of the armed forces by daily substitution of its leadership going by needless calls for such removals for as little as road skirmishes. Going by the same demand, by May 2019 President Buhari would be searching among the rank and file of the armed forces for suitable candidates to manage Nigeria’s security.
For a rare kind of “blessing” every Nigerian is a security “expert” with all the requisite credentials to understand the enormity of the security management of a complex country like Nigeria. You find people with zero understanding of the security architecture of Nigeria calling President Buhari names when his decisions, generated by decades of training and experience, did not match their “computers games” or tales by moonlight idea of security management.
Among the current leadership of the armed forces are some of the finest officers that are respected across the globe. One of such officers is Lt-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Buratai didn’t happen by accident. He’s the end result of a careful and meticulous search for a meritorious officer to fill the serious gap between Nigeria’s quest for peace, the huge resources expended in that regard and the almost conquered nation inherited by President Buhari.
Whereas, Gen. Buratai is a celebrated officer across the globe, in Nigeria he is yet to be appreciated by cynics and “roadside security experts”. To Gen. Buratai’ credit, he is the only Nigerian military officer to have the honour of being invited to deliver a paper at the annual RUSI Land Warfare Conference in United Kingdom. Even more, he’s the only African to be invited to deliver a paper at the event twice in a succession – 2017/2018.
To the large collection of Nigeria’s “roadside security experts”, RUSI Land Warfare Conference is an annual event conducted by the UK Chief of the General Staff. The conference reflects on the breadth of challenges confronting today’s land forces in a global security environment characterised by constant competition and unpredictability. Making the list of speakers at the event is not “eating beans”. It’s an assemblage of the world best.
Even a blackened pot could appreciate the feat of achieving the honour of presenting a paper twice in a succession to the august conference as achieved by Gen. Buratai. Yet, this is the Nigerian military officer we love to bash for falling below our undefined and diverse expectations.
On a more practical term understandable to a layman, Nigeria of 2014 is not so distant a history for Nigeria’s assorted collection of “experts” to ignore the success of Gen. Buratai in halting and reversing the disintegration of Nigeria. Forget the lies about people electing President Buhari for any reason other than to save Nigeria from Boko Haram.
Who cared about poor healthcare services, poor education, poor electricity and almost absolute collapse infrastructure and other social services back in 2014? The only worry back then was, when (not if) will Boko Haram come knocking on our doors. The issue back then was how to get from point “A” to “B” without being blown to pieces. I’m sure majority Nigerians would have elected Diezeni Alison- Madueke president and expressly adjust the constitution to make it legal for her to steal as much as she could had she exhibited minimum capacity to save Nigeria from Boko Haram.
Very few people seem capable of recalling where we came from or how we got to where we are today otherwise, Gen. Buratai would be a national hero not the punching bag he is today. Today, to his credit, people could drive through Damaturu and Benesheikh to reach Maiduguri safely without incidences. These places were turned into human abattoirs where innocent commuters slaughtered in the most barbaric manner imaginable before the coming of President Buhari and Gen. Buratai. Ask any citizen from the N’Eastern Nigeria if back in 2014 he/she wouldn’t trade his/her Nigerian citizenship for a refugee status in Afghanistan or Iraq. Yes, it’s that bad!
Security is an ever evolving phenomenon which requires evolving methods to tackle. Solving security issues by blind debates of the applicability of measures put in place by the government to restore normalcy from behind the safety of iPads screens and without the requisite background to understand the complexities involved is the worst injustice being meted President Buhari and members of the armed forces supervising the process. We carelessly condemn the efforts of these officers and hardly appreciate the sacrifices they are making for us to live. We demand to know even critical informations that requires utmost secrecy and could mean the difference between life and death to the gallant officers fighting a war on our behalf.
We should appreciate that each time we carelessly hit the keyboard to condemn these officers, there’s a high chance that one (or more) of them is dying just for you to survive. If the best support you could offer them is sharing their pictures on the social media when they are gunned down, please save your support. What they require is our collective encouragement and appreciation. Certainly, twisting the narratives to suit our political whims is unpatriotic. No matter how effective President Buhari and his service chiefs could be, peace could only be achieved if the people agree to live in peace and harmony.
Those who should know and those with the requisite capacity to assess the situation properly and its professional context would certainly applaud the achievement of this administration in the area of security given the constraints involved. Very few (if any) of the social media “pundits” know that the combined strength of the NPF and the Nigerian is below 800,000 for the entire 190 million Nigerians much less, debate the success of the armed forces in this context. Given that, the police and the Army need to be magical to produce the speedy and conclusive result these pundits propagate in the virtual world.
Debating the complex Nigerian security problem doesn’t end with the simple ability to write flowery grammar nor does it end with having a having a “video game” generated professionalism. It’s a real problem that requires a real solution and we should leave that for the true professionals to handle. Stop being fooled by unpatriotic elements who have no problem using a national tragedy to promote their diabolical ambitions.
Dammallam, Public Affairs Commentator wrote from Kaduna.