On September 13, 2018, Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi, fwc, was appointed the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) also known as Department of State Services (DSS) for a four year (renewable) term. He was recalled from retirement to hold this position. He retired in 2016 after attaining the statutory age in active service.
That he was found worthy even in retirement to lead the organisation speaks high of his personality, industry, experience, capacity and general conduct. Four years in the saddle, the DGSS has undoubtedly proved his true mettle.
Instructively, the book, For the Records: A Compendium of YM Bichi’s Legacy at the DSS, tells the success story of the man, Bichi, who, as the DG of Africa’s most outstanding domestic intelligence agency, has recorded many feats. Before now, the Service’s in-house magazine, Verity, published quarterly or annually by the Public Relations Department was used to reflect the Agency’s successes.
This time, there is a rethink. To capture the four years in perspective, this Compendium is given a shot. Therefore, the book is apt. It is a permanent record of facts.
With mixed narrative styles consisting of prose and use of pictorials, contributors comprising Management staff and Heads of Departments and Formations among others recount their experiences with the man of the moment.
Aside active personnel, some former Directors-General and retired senior officers also gave account of their perception of the DG.
The articles are therefore compiled in honour of the DGSS in celebration of his achievements during the period, 2018-2022.
Indeed, the book x-rays the DGSS’ successes in the period he has held sway. With well over 30 contributors and related articles fused in Seven Sections comprising about 30 chapters, the authors highlighted Bichi’s background, leadership qualities, policy direction, staff welfare, contributions to national security, human and interagency relations as well as extra-curricular activities.
It is from such accounts that one is led into his family history: birth, parentage, and education as presented by Mr A. N. Muhammed, fsi. Otherwise, one would not have known he had a nick name, Sante, in primary school or Solo in secondary school or that he played football, volley ball and basket ball and won laurels for his alma maters or that he was once homesick and ran away from school.
Fate played critical roles in his life. The article on Bichi and the Irony of Fate by yours sincerely illustrates that.
His interview with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Alumni Association, as published herein in the postscript is instructive.
Using an easy-to-understand language, the different Directors and Heads of Departments, draw readers’ attention to the story of Bichi and the unimaginable efforts he has made as the DGSS.
The DG is presented as a professional who has confronted the various challenges facing our nation. Whether in dealing with terrorism and insurgency, kidnapping, secessionist agitations, violent extremism, cross border crimes, cyber, financial and economic crimes, human and drug trafficking, banditry, oil theft and illegal mining, militancy, piracy, cultism and youth restiveness among others, the DSS, under the direction of Bichi, has never failed on its mandate of detecting and preventing crimes and threats against the internal security of Nigeria.
The papers showed how he has used robust intelligence gathering and timely dissemination of same to action agencies and stakeholders to mitigate the threats.
Naysayers may turn blind eyes but it could have been worst. No nation of today’s world is shielded from the nature of threats that characterise the human space.
The book, which serves as an eye witness account of Bichi’s conduct and leadership as DGSS, reveals that they can best be described as transformational, purpose-driven and exemplary. It is however not surprising that accolades from various distinguished stakeholders continue to trail the exceptional feats achieved under him.
For those who had worked with him, he is not just a boss but a father, partner and motivator.
The attestations showed that he is a true bridge builder and a public servant with deep sense of infectious patriotism. Little wonder, he significantly stands out.
His accomplishments, civility and commitment to democratic ideals, according to the testimonials, have earned him respect beyond Nigeria and such awards as Face of Corporate Governance and Peace Ambassador by Media Dialogue Communication Ltd, Icon of Peace, Unity and Security Transformation by the ABU, Zaria, Postgraduate Representative Council, Defence and Security Achiever’s Award by Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) and Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fight against Insurgency by the National Crime Watch Magazine are testimonials of his character and capacity.
Considering the calibre of contributors, serving as the book editor is a life time privilege / experience I will always cherish. I am convinced that no one is in doubt about the reason behind the publication of the book.
It is not a biography though it looks like one. It is not promotional though it is value additional. The book celebrates resilience, hard work and dedication to nation building.
It is a rendition of accountability and transparency in governance. It presents Bichi as a hero. He, of course, possesses those qualities of a hero: determination, loyalty, courage, perseverance, patience, focus, intrepidity and selflessness, enunciated by Ricky Martin.
History will be kind to him. The future will remember him. He will continue to be a reference point for so many reasons, his innovative and creative ideas, principles, indefatigability, friendship, fatherliness, humanness, humility, the hope he raised and the giant development strides he accomplished. He came. He saw. He conquered.