Service Chiefs: No Ethnic Nationality Should Have Monopoly of Offices, Says Bakare

Tunde Bakare

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC) formerly known as the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set a stringent standard for the appointment of service chiefs and ensure that no ethnic nationality should have the monopoly of holding offices to the exclusion of other nationalities that have capable hands.

 He made this call yesterday when he delivered a national live broadcast on the state of the nation entitled: “Resetting Nigeria on the Path of Predictable Progress,” in which he made an evaluation of the state of the nation through the instrumentality of a national security audit.

 “To this end, I appeal to Mr. President to take a serious look at the composition of the service chiefs and set stringent standards and objectives below which no service chief must fall, otherwise they risk replacement. It is a call for leadership by measurable objectives.”

“Any service chief that cannot create harmony on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines had become obsolete and should go home.”

He also stated that any Nigeria’s President that failed to maximise the Office of the Vice President does so at his peril because the vice president, according to the provisions of Section 18(a) and Section 25(b) of the Third Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, ‘is the chairman of the National Economic Council and the deputy chairman of the National Security Council.

“Therefore, the Vice President must be empowered to lead the socio-economic thrust of an integrated national security strategy that rewards enterprise, discourages crime, and ensures that every Nigerian has an honest opportunity to make a living,” adding that Nigerian economy should be restructured into six globally competitive geo-economic zones.

Nigeria, according to Bakare, is today confronted with several intersecting categories of national security threats based on the motivations and power blocs propelling such threats.

He pointed out that these threats were being manifested in political, economic, ideological, ethnic, zonal, state and strategic dimensions in collaboration of foreign interests and actors.

He noted that Nigeria could not curtail these threats due to the country’s faltering national security philosophy whose main preoccupation was protecting the Head of State and the government in power.

Other factors, according to him,  that bugged down the country’s security apparatus include the multilevel unpreparedness for national security due to lack of state and community policing, organisational inefficiency, security culture dissonance, security infrastructure deficit, security architecture dysfunction and security intra-culture dissonance.

Bakare believed that these challenges of nationhood which were manifesting as threats to national security provided the country the opportunity to go back to the drawing board to fashion out an integrated national security roadmap that would bring together diverse elements of nation-building, including the social, political, economic and strategic objectives to bear on the national security thrust.

“The first step towards securing our nation is revisiting the philosophical foundations of its security governance to prioritise the security of the governed above that of the government

“The need to return to true federalism through devolution of powers cannot be over-emphasised. State governments must be empowered to provide security alongside federal structures. The true test of leadership in a federal system is the willingness of the central government to empower the federating units. It must be a case of first among equals. The federal government must, therefore, stop being afraid of empowered states and local governments.

“We must embrace multi-level policing in the spirit of true federalism, setting in place appropriate constitutional checks and balances to prevent abuse. Not to act swiftly, or to do otherwise, can only be counterproductive to our stability and progress,” Bakare said.

He enjoined the President, as Chairman of the National Security Council, to accept the responsibility for combating the political threats by modelling statesmanship and exemplary politics as the father of the nation.

“By such exemplary leadership, the President must bring the political elite to the roundtable of brotherhood and compel them by astute politics and the force of leadership to put an end to the politics of banditry and to work for, rather than against, the interest of the nation,” he said.

Bakare said the ideological and ethnic nationalistic threats to national security called for national rebirth, reconciliation and reintegration that would end the regionalisation of rebellion in the country.

“As a matter of urgency, Nigeria should create a Presidential Commission for National Rebirth, Reconciliation and Reintegration that should be able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the country, thereby putting an end to agitations and forging true nationhood.

“In addition, we must rejig our foreign policy by designing a two-pronged foreign policy thrust defined as the Southern Foreign Policy Thrust and the Northern Foreign Policy Thrust,” he said.

“The Southern Foreign Policy Thrust that would be referred to as the Trans-Atlantic Thrust, would embark on astute diplomacy with such countries and regions that have greater cultural influence in Southern Nigeria, including the United States of America, Great Britain, Russia, Israel, South America, the European Union with special attention to France and Germany while the Northern Foreign Policy Thrust, which might called the Trans-Saharan Thrust, would lead diplomatic relations with Sahelian Africa, the Maghreb, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf.

“This would aim to leverage cultural diplomacy and political-economic cooperation to combat insurgency and ensure the recalibration of Northern Nigeria,” Bakare said.

He posited: “As a matter of urgency, create police forces at the state and community levels under the control of the respective state and local governments and reform the Nigeria Police Force into a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) focused on investigative policing, intelligence gathering, as well as interstate, inter-zonal and national security as the main law enforcement agency of the federal government.

“We propose the creation of a Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) headed by a Director of National Intelligence who shall report directly to the president and shall also sit on the National Security Council.

“The role of the Director of National Intelligence shall be to provide unbiased, nonpartisan intelligence, while the National Security Adviser, who is a political appointee, shall support the president in decision making based on intelligence provided by the DNI.”