For President/CEO, Security Watch Africa Initiatives, Mr. Patrick Agbambu, his passion has always been to ensure a safe and secure Africa. Through his organisation, he has for 15 consecutive years carried the gospel of security beyond Nigeria to other African nations and even the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates. In this interview with Chiemelie Ezeobi, he talks about his expectation for the forthcoming prestigious Security Watch Africa Awards coming up on November 13 to 15 in The Gambia, and other sundry issues. Excerpts:
What drives you in pushing security issues in Africa and even beyond?
It is a truism that no meaningful development can take place without security. Security is paramount in any endeavour. As we strive for the development of our continent, Africa, the first thing we must get right is security. That is why I believe and work for security, peace and safety of the people in Africa.
How many years have you championed this cause?
The idea to champion the cause of security and safety began in 1996. By 1997, we started a television programme on the first truly private and independent television station in Nigeria, Africa Independent Television (AIT). Since then, the programme has remained on air. It is significate to note that some African countries appreciated what we were doing and requested that we spread to other countries in Africa and in 2009 after the INTERPOL Conference in Accra, Ghana, the idea truly went continental.
How many countries have you taken the award to and why?
To improve and encourage efficiency and effectiveness in the security system, we introduced the annual Awards and Conference series in 2004. The event has been hosted severally in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, The Gambia, United Arab Emirates and United States of America.
What is the theme for this year’s award?
This year’s event is the 15th edition with the theme; Effective Leadership and Good Governance: Panacea To Extremism and Insecurity in Africa. Our partners, from Stellenbosch University, South Africa are facilitating the Conference. Lead Speakers are Prof. Jacob Mofokeng, Head of Department, Safety and Security Management at the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa and Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army.
What are the expectations?
Various speakers from across the academia, governments, leadership, public and private security practitioners, safety professionals and the media will converge to deliberate, share ideas and experiences and proffer actionable solutions to the myriad of security challenges confronting the continent. Of particular importance is the rising insecurity emanating from extremism, which has led to terrorists and insurgents deadly attacks. We hope that the report from the conference will aid governments and the society to effectively overcome the disturbing reports of killings all over the African continent.
Who are the award recipients?
For the 15th Awards recipients, the International Awards Panel of Judges headed by Prof. Henri’ Fouche of Stellenbosch University, South Africa has thoroughly done their work to come out with winners. Some of this year’s winners include; President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; President Adama Barrow of The Gambia; Dr. Felix Anyah from Ghana; Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff; IGP Ibrahim Idris; Accra Metropolitan Assembly; Chief Willie Obiano; Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governors of Anambra, Kebbi and Enugu States, respectively. Others are Hon. Fikile Mbalula, former Minister of Police Affairs, South Africa; HRH Appolus Chu of Eleme Kingdom; Chief Gomba Okanje; Dr. Michael Addo from Ghana; Guaranty Trust Bank in The Gambia; GACEM Cement Company, The Gambia; CP Imohimi Edgal, CP Danmallam Mohammed, CP Zaki Ahmed, CP Ahmed Iliyasu and CP Garba Umar, Commissioners of Police of Lagos, Enugu, Rivers, Ogun and Anambra States, respectively, and DCP Abba Kyari of IGP Intelligence Response Team.
The high point of the award this year will be the award lecture, which will be delivered by Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu of Abia State on Tackling National Security Challenges Through Economic Empowerment: The Made-in-Aba Experience.
What qualifies one to be an award recipient of the prestigious Security Watch Africa Awards?
Winners of Africa Security Watch Awards over the years are those who have dedicated the time, intellects, resources and energy to ensure that Africans and Africa is safe and secured, despite the inadequate resources and tools.
Any partnership with government and private institutions?
We have been able to gain the confidence of some governments and institutions across the globe who believes in the ideals of what we represent. Of particular reference are Nigerian, South African, Ghanaian, Liberian, The Gambian governments have all supported and encouraged us. I won’t forget the immense support by the Mayor of the City of Houston in Texas, USA.
You recently signed an MOU with Stellenbosch University in South Africa, what was it all about?
Our solid partners in this enormous journey of making Africa a better place have remained DAAR Communications Ltd in Nigeria and Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Recently, we signed a workable MOU with Stellenbosch University to training and educate Security personnel in areas of Leadership and Governance. This year’s conference is in furtherance of that partnership.
What are the major challenges you have battled in the course of your journey in promoting security through the awards?
Like in every endeavour in life, there are challenges. Though, it has been very tough because we, Africans don’t believe in security and value to life until it challenged or threatened then we will begin to run helter-scatter. We don’t invest in security and that explains why the continent still called under-developed. But we are encouraged to continue pushing and pressing till the undebatable importance of security spreads and permeate the African continent.