The detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, retired colonel Sambo Dasuki, has broken his silence, saying the prompt intervention by the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in tackling the Boko Haram menace and recovering dozens of towns and villages led to the smooth conduct of 2015 general elections in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Mr Dasuki stated this in his foreword to a 308-page new book titled: “Boko Haram Media War- An Encounter with the Spymaster” written by renowned PR guru, Yushau A. Shuaib.
“In the war-front are evident success stories which Shuaib has mentioned in some of the articles that featured in this book, especially on media relations, self-censorship, gallantry in recovering dozens of cities and towns among other declassified revelations,” he said.
“In fact, without our intervention in ensuring the defeat of Boko Haram, the electorate could not have had the opportunity to exercise their franchise. It is a fact that we provided peace and stability that afforded Nigerians, especially in the North-East in voting for their governors, legislators and others in the 2015 elections.”
He noted that apart from the ‘Soft Approach Programme’ initiated for countering terrorism through de-radicalization without the use of force, the administration also introduced and implemented programmes for economic empowerment, education, communication, rehabilitation and counselling in the North-East.
According to the former National Security Adviser, “Crisis Communication, as one of the components of general campaigns, was initiated to win the heart of the citizens, boost the morale of the troops and weaken the fighting spirit of the terrorists.”
He said: “On the media campaign, Yushau Shuaib who came highly recommended had been disengaged from the public service but was immediately re-engaged by the system to act as Chief Consultant on Crisis Communication. From the theories of Mass Communication, we deployed practical aspects of Crisis Communication throughout the campaign period, especially between June 2013 and May 2015”.
He posited that sensitive security issues were handled in a most professional manner, with strict adherence to confidentiality to avoid compromising national security.
He further said that “In strategic communication for crisis management, especially in confronting the Boko Haram, the media was a major tool in the campaign against the insurgency. There was thorough, timely and responsible reportage of the campaign. Some of the media played very strategic roles at great risk to their lives in the successes recorded, especially by our forces in the war against terrorism”.
He said as part of efforts in ensuring the mutual relationship with the media stakeholders, a 17-member Forum of the Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) was established with representatives from the military, security, intelligence and response agencies. He added that through the media component of the War on Terror, Yushau Shuaib and his team carried out various activities including issuance over 3000 media contents including newsworthy items and publications, exclusive News placements and Editorial control of sensitive reports, hosting of timely and regular Press Briefings, Social Media engagements and Production of specialized Publications amongst others.
Mr Dasuki stated that while Mr Shuaib’s narration covers only one of the great strides in the media campaigns, he appealed to media practitioners to embrace the challenge to examine other areas of the interventions such as the Soft-Approach Programmes, Strategic Alliances and Military Operations that the erstwhile regime carried out successfully.
He commended the author for his courage and boldness in the face of the current situations in the country and for his principle and consistency in stating the obvious and indeed the facts in the book.
Yushau Shuaib is an award-winning Public Relations professional whose stock-in-trade is nothing else, but writing. Meanwhile, in 2013 he ran into trouble over one of his writings and was compulsorily retired from the public service when a cabinet minister lodged a complaint.
After his unceremonious exit from the public service, a presidential adviser hired him to serve as a consultant on strategic communication to security agencies in Nigeria.
Four years in his compulsory retirement, Shuaib has published over 50 articles and assisted many organisations in crisis communication strategies.
His professional initiatives and platforms have garnered recognitions and commendations.
They include, but not limited to the African Excellence Award for the best PR Platform in Africa, SABRE Award on Public Affairs hosted by African Public Relations Association (APRA) and Golden World Award (GWA) on Crisis Management from International Public Relations Association (IPRA).
The book provides a first-hand information on the politics behind the author’s premature retirement from the Federal Public Service and his strategic re-engagement by the system in serving the same government as a consultant.