MR. AZAZI’S REMOVAL, THE TRIUMPH OF POLITICS OVER PROFESSIONALISM
I BEG TO DISAGREE
Mr. Daniel Elombah’s analysis (http://www.elombah.com/index.php/articles/daniel-elombah/11633-azazi-s-removal-the-triumph-of-politics-over-professionalism) has only one truth namely that politics influenced Mr Jonathan’s decision to fire Mr. Azazi and Mr Mohammed. But it would be the same as saying that Mr. Elombah’s writing is often influenced by his knowledge and practise of law. It is now instinctive for Mr Elombah to consider legal implications in whatever he does. It is the same for the politician, Mr. Jonathan. They no longer consciously make a decision to view anything from a legal perspective or political perspective. They simply do it as the NIKE’s commercial asks us to: “JUST DO IT.” Mr. Jonathan is a politician and practices his profession 24/7. What ever he does has political connotations which he mostly would deny just as Mr. Elombah might say that he was not speaking as an attorney.
But beyond the fact that there is a political angle to Mr. Jonathan’s decision on his security team the rest of Mr. elombah’s essay have serious faults.
Mr. Azazi was sacked to satisfy the interest of the northern politicians. The north did not like the appointment of Mr. Azazi in the first place, according to Mr. Elombah himself, but Mr. Jonathan went ahead and appointed him. Why is his removing him different? I want to argue that Mr. Azazi was appointed because Jonathan believed that he was the best man for the job. Now that he has served, would Mr. Elombah, or anybody, assert that his service was exemplary? If one does not make that assertion, the benefit of doubt goes to Mr. Jonathan: that he sacked the gentlemen because of performance problems.
Given the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria what would be the next step if not rejuvenating the entire security apparatus. It started with the police chief to the military chief and to the national security chief. What is the argument against this? Mr. Elombah suggests that sacking these men would not stop deadly bombing. It probably would not but the president would need to be trying things until he finds the correct solution.
Nobody in the world, (CIA. MOSSAD, M1, Scotland Yard) has the answers. And the answers would eventually come from trials and errors.
“…The former Chief of Defence Staff was actually the first National Security Adviser from the South since Nigeria’s independence 52 years ago...” This
is a true statement but irrelevant and indeed self serving. Introducing the north/south purpose in this matter is distracting from the subject matter. Is Mr. Elombah advocating the retaining Mr. Azazi because both of them come from the same south? What piece of evidence is advanced to buttress Mr. Azazi’s continued tenure? If a northerner can provide Mr. Jonathan with the results he wants, why would he not seize it? The south will have more opportunities to lobby for one of their own in other appointments and even in the future appointments of NSA’s. We ought to realize that National Security works as a team effort just like the economic team. Mr Jonathan might be replacing the Defence Minister with a southerner although I find it difficult to see how that matters. One of the problems of Nigeria is that we all want to see one of our own join in the looting. If we believe that the goal is security; or education of our young; or economic development; why would we care who the boss is?
“…The newly appointed Col Sambo Dasuki, who once served General Ibrahim Babangida as ADC, did not serve in the Intelligence Corps and never headed any Defence Intelligence Agency...” What do the national security adviser and defence chiefs do on a daily basis? They are managers. They do not do intelligence work or command forces. Mr. Jonathan, who is their manager, has no such experiences either. Look around the world and look at history. All kinds of people had held these positions and accomplished great things while they were the bosses. Mr Henry Kissinger, a professor, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, another professor, Mr. Gates for the defence, another professor, Mr. Leon Panetta, a writer, etc. they did not have military or intelligence experience and they all had led the world’s biggest and strongest military machine.
A manager’s most important attribute is to find people, who know, and bring them together to form, to norm, and to perform as a team. He does not have to be the best university professor to be the VC, he does not have to be the best doctor to head a hospital, and he does not need to be the best general to head the security team. We just witnessed a mere medical doctor take over the reigns at World Bank beating out seasoned economists. The questions to be asked of Mr. Dasuki and who ever replaces Mr. Mohammed are: can they listen; can they understand; and can they motivate and inspire? If the answers are positive then we have nothing to fear.
“…Jonathan may have caved in to pressure and decided to play the ball back to the North by allowing their leaders to handle the Boko Haram crisis by themselves…”. I do not know what may have been intended by this sentence. But only in Nigeria will this not be a master stroke. If appointing a northerner to the position would defeat the BH group I would consider it a supreme master stroke. There is a saying that if you send a thief to catch a thief, a thief would be caught. Perhaps Mr. Dasuki would hear what Mr. Azazi and Mohammed could not hear. But we have to wait. We have to give them time to develop their strategy. I know that in three months or so if the BH people are still detonating bombs another set of people would be saying: “I told you so.”
“…as a brother-in-law to Gasau, the former NSA might have returned to office by proxy…Gusau had been itching to return to office long ago. Now, we can say that Gusau is back as the NSA…” I don’t know how much if any part of this speculation is true. But assume it is true. This would be a way to keep an eye on Gasau. He would then be so close that his actions could be monitored by the nation. If Mr. Dasuki becomes a double agent, then he would be running the risk of a man who decides to walk on the middle of a road. He would be risking being hit by either the east-west traffic or the west-east traffic. It is not a good place to be.
As Nigerians we need to keep our weather eyes open to see how the clouds are forming. National Security is the duty of all of us.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
June 24, 2012