Since President Muhammadu Buhari, in a meeting with some traditional rulers from southern extraction, said there is a need to change the security architecture of the country, the social media and the security and intelligence space have been awash with insinuations as to who and who are qualified or maybe favoured to handle the frightening security conundrum threatening the nation.
Knowing that the office of the National Security Adviser may not be left out like the Service Chiefs, there is already growing discussed as to persons that may jostle for the top security positions?
Names of contenders currently flying but unconfirmed include the incumbent NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), former Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), Major General SD Aliyu (rtd), and Ambassador Ahmed Rufai.
It is that time of democratic reign when appointments are made and loyalists rewarded for their unflinching supports or loyalties to the ‘powers that be’.
Interestingly, some high profile names have been dropped from that list and while new ones are being adopted, some are trying to remain relevant in politics and look at the slightest opportunity to explore.
Unfortunately, the past could catch up with some of them and history will be the mirror to judge if they deserve positions in today’s political space.
President Buhari has been somewhat quiet about the re-nomination and reappointment of his National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd) even though Mr Monguno’s name, far and above other names, is on the lips of every discerning mind, especially within the military environment.
Appointed on July 13, 2015, as the National Security Adviser in Mr Buhari’s first term, replacing embattled Sambo Dasuki, Mr Monguno, before his retirement in 2013, was Chief of Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) from July 2009 to 2011. His last assignment in the army was Commander, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) from January to September 2013.
As NSA, Mr Monguno has witnessed the worst of terrorist battles when his village in Borno State was temporarily captured by the Boko Haram, his brevity along with the energetic members of the Nigerian Army, within days, retook that territory in a coordinated air and ground attacks.
At a time when the fragile unity of Nigeria was on the brink, the ability of Mr Monguno to speak the three major languages fluently including Idoma could pass as an asset. Indeed, this asset was extensively deployed to good use as he was at home with all military chiefs and speaking their local dialects. A clear example of this asset: At the war fronts, according to an impeccable source, some of the soldiers were said to have approached Mr Monguno, speaking in their dialect and explaining the challenges being faced. His understanding of Yoruba language makes even an easier communication with the Ekiti State-born Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Abayomi Olonisakin, the same with Mr Buratai, the chief of army staff, who is a northern extraction, like himself.
Unlike other military chiefs, Mr Monguno work’s is unseen, because it is strategic. It is far more important than all the military chiefs. His office as security adviser is the coordinating room between the office of the president and all security-related matters in the country. These include all the military formations, purchase of all military hardware, security and safety of Nigerians both within and outside the shores of the country, curtailing smuggling within the country’s borders. The work of the office is enormous.
In one of his proactive moves to foster national security and economy, when it was discovered that fertilizer was being used to manufacture Improvised Explosive Device (IED) by terrorists, he immediately put a stop to it.
Without discountenancing the credibility of other speculated contenders, Mr Monguno’s efforts in helping President Buhari to stabilise the country cannot go unnoticed. He might not be often seen or talking on the pages of newspapers, just like Buhari, but the military, especially within its hierarchy will give a thumbs up for his professionalism, understanding and detribalized nature.