National security: The DSS approach

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The advanced countries we tend to emulate when arguments, positions and thoughts on rule of law are expressed rarely toy with pristine issue such as national security.
Opinion leaders cannot merely display ethno-religious bias without evaluating the defect of the skewed federal character, which seems to respect competence and equality of citizens’ rights and privileges.
Had previous administrations in Nigeria between 1994 and 2015 not deviated from solid foundations for our society, where security of lives and property will not be jeopardized, by defiant members of the society that often expressed violent resistance to order of governance or agitations for resource control in their address of deprivations, the government would certainly not have been confronted with series of blackmail and propaganda by the detractors.
How can the discretionary powers of Mr President to appoint any trusted expert to positions in government as important as the Director of Department of State Security (DSS) become subject of attack, as if an offence has been committed? Alas, shallow thinkers expect President Muhammadu Buhari to play unmerited politics with sensitive appointments when security background checks are conducted on any appointee to such positions.
When Lawal Daura held sway as DSS director, there were reported cases of complacent behaviours by personnel that felt a kinsman of the President should not call the shots in the agency.
All through his reign as DG DSS, Lawal Daura handled State matters as circumstances demanded, especially with tension in different parts of the country.
He was adjudged as a no nonsense presiding officer that supervised the rebirth of discipline in the agency until he got involved in unfamiliar terrain.
Ordinarily when a public officer gets enmeshed in a scandal, no matter his defense, upholding morals compel such officer to resign and apologize for desecrating the seat of honour as often seen in advanced democracies.
Oftentimes, public officers enmeshed in scandals that resigned their positions were eventually discovered to have been framed up while some public officers seek protection of the court to retain their positions even when they are indicted.
When eventually investigated, it might be discovered that the Lawal Daura scenario was accidental.
Majority of those opposed to the eventual appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi as the new DSS DG are merely expressing lack of respect for the discretion of the President.
The acting DG, DSS Matthew Seiyefa, is undoubtedly a quality officer eminently qualified to be made a substantive DG despite his retirement from the Service is close to call.
Any person to be appointed must surely earn the absolute trust of Mr President for the most sensitive position (headship of an agency) with enormous responsibilities bordering on protection and defense of the country against domestic threats and other sundry issues.
The appointment of Seiyefa was surely to fill the vacuum created by the sack of Lawal Daura which was regarded by pundits as job hazard.
The fact that Nigerians get carried away with opportunities for their kinsmen to benefit appointments shouldn’t lead to tantrums against the new DG, DSS Yusuf Magaji Bichi with stainless record in the agency all through his years of service.
For the avoidance of doubt, Yusuf Magaji with experience as a former Director of State Service Academy certainly possesses required knowledge of the nitty-gritty of Nigeria’s security architecture.
One cannot doubt the sterling contributions of Yusuf Magaji to the advancement of the agency where he earned a career for a whooping 35 years of diligent services and his positive accomplishment must have endeared him to Mr President for such a highly sensitive appointment; why then the crucifixion by same people canvassing for one Nigeria only when appointments favour their kinsmen? Having gained the confidence of Mr President, the main challenges expected by Nigerians to engage the new DSS boss are issues that border on protection of citizens and public property, especially in the tensed environment.
Domestic threats are currently rising within oil producing communities in Akuku Toru Local Government of Rivers state over an alleged sponsorship of mercenaries by Shell Oil Producing Company(SPDC) against Belema Oil that is currently developing those communities with lightening speed as reflected in the giant developmental strides of Belema Oil Company.
It has given hope to those communities through series of commendable corporate social responsibilities that recently fetched the communities potable water, electricity, massive employment opportunities for youth, road construction, among other positive accomplishments that have eluded those communities over the years before the operational activities of Belema Oil in those communities.
That retired personnel are appointed to supervise and coordinate agencies they previously served is not alien to our polity and if it once worked well, it can actually work better without loss of motivation by serving officers.
It’s a known fact that the head of an agency cannot be everywhere to avoid sabotage by discerning minds.
Fault lines exist that mustn’t be crossed by personnel without getting fired, it’s left to those crying holierthan-thou to place their sense of nationalism above sectionalism.
The right and positive approach to issues bordering on appointments regarding discretion is to throw weight behind the appointed personality and guide him to success through regular call to order where needed.
Of all comments and voices of dissents to the appointment of Yusuf Magaji as the DG, DSS, not a single person has pointed an accusing finger at a personality that served in different sensitive positions and rose through the ranks for 35 years of diligent services to reach the peak before retirement earlier this year.
Going through various expressions, those that even exhibited bias in favour of Matthew Seiyefa have not in any manner placed him on better distinction over Yusuf Magaji in their records of services.
Both officers are trusted men of honour within the agency and opportunities equally exist in future for a fine officer like Seiyefa to return to head the agency one day, going by antecedents of appointments of retired personnel to head agencies in Nigeria.
For now, the man that deserves our support, guidance and prayers is Yusuf Magaji with a hallmark for effective service delivery.
Agboola, former President, National Youth Council of Nigeria


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