By Agba Phiip, Margaret Adado and Modey Joseph
The lingering security challenges plaguing Nigeria have been blamed on the non-inclusion of the academia and strategic thinking.
A retired Army Colonel, Tony Nyiam made this assertion last week in Calabar while delivering a lecture titled: “Strategic Thinking In The Management of National Security” at the Universitiy of Calabar arts auditorium where he posited that the inability of the military and government at all levels to carry out root cause analysis has also contributed to the security challenges.
On the need to include the academic community in the management of the country’s security system, Colonel Nyiam said that: “Is there a community better suited for security strategic idea than the academic community which both of you belong to so the question is why have you members of the Nigeria academia allow yourself to be excluded from coming out with the strategies for the way out for our many strategic problems what is seen as being necessary in strategic management of the reoccurring challenges we face?
Nyiam who pointed out that: “Providing effective strategies can only be gained if we have a national vision and associated agreed national interest,” highlighted the weakness in the approach adopted by the federal government which did not include strategic thinking and has led to the “widespread insecurity in Nigeria.”
He stressed the need for the academia to structure a way out for the problem of insecurity via the development of a methodology to do a root cause analysis in other to fully comprehend the challenges and tackle them from bottom up.
He listed some of the possible questions to include: “What is the reason for the persistence of the national security challenges we have? Why, what and how come the lack of strategic thinking in Nigeria? What is strategy and what is not strategy? What is the usefulness of strategic thinking? What is the higher management?”
He stressed that the persistent security challenges were also the consequence of the lack of visionary leadership in the higher management of the federal government which led to the development of weak security architecture even as he wondered why Nigerian leaders have continuously ignored biblical exhortations.
“Why do Nigeria rulers ignore the biblical exhortation? In the book of Proverbs, it said that when there is no vision, the people perish,” Nyiam said and explained that: “The collective vision of the people is normally a set of guided principles which will concisely bring about the kind of society the founding fathers may have set which determines the nature of the day and these guiding principles are what I call the basic principles.”
“Nigeria ruler’s ignorance and consequently not putting to action the understanding that is sustainably anchored on moral principles and ideals are actually restraining forces about the bad practices in Nigeria,” he added.
Furthermore, he wondered why, “Experts are not (being) appointed security advisers; security advisers are given to the military since Nigeria’s democracy was copied from America. A security advise is supposed to be from the academia because they have all it takes to think in a strategic way but it been given to a man who doesn’t know how to operate its just like man who operate without ahead.”
Preferring more solutions, the retired military man who said questioned the rationale in leaving the handling of Nigeria’s security system to the military which has left the nation loose due to the lack of strategic thinking.
“There are dangers of the lack of strategic thinking in the higher management of Nigeria’s national security. Sometimes I will say in the last seven years or so the nature of the insecurity we face has graduated from low to high intensity security threats. The security threats are in fact so diverse and are becoming troublesome. The armed forces and the fire brigade approach have not worked and will not work,” he said.
He continued: “The national security failure needs to be tackled firstly from the angle of finding the reason for the origin of the challenges. The proper solution can only be found by going into the root causes of the problem.
“The practice of not subjecting problems to what is called a root cause analysis is the approach Nigerian leaders seem to be ignorant of and it is to our detriment.
“Root cause analysis is the process that leads to true understanding of the problem. If I may use the analogy of a tree we will see that most of our leaders handle problems at the level of the leaves of the tree, if you don’t go beyond the leaves; I am suggesting that you go beyond the leaves to the branches of the tree and through the stem of the tree to the root of the tree.”
Nyiam who continually queried why strategic thinking has been ignored by members of top echelon of the federal and state government, opined that it may be because, “many of these top positions have been kept and not well informed about strategic thinking or ignorance” even as he maintained that: “Strategic thinking among other definition means to list an important thinking it cannot there be left solely to expert security operations as it has been a practice in Nigeria”
Also, he sued for reflection on the issues raised and expressed optimism that strategic thinking was a sustainable solution in the bid to achieve national security.
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