The Three Models of National Security to Respond to the SOLUTIONS ONLY Request of the Special House Committee on National Security – By Prof Adoyi Onoja

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As the Special Committee on National Security awaits its “solutions only” request for Memoranda from Nigerians, let me draw attention to the three national security scenarios available for Nigerians’ to tap into. They are the United States perspective, the military rule inspired MILE perspective and the yet-to-be designed and created civil rule democracy driven perspective. In tapping into the three scenarios, Nigerians should be conscious of the roles of history, experience and reality (HER) and history, space and politics.

The founding perspective of national security belonged to the United States of America. It is in the USA of that the philosophy of national security began. Americans called their security national security. Every other reference to national security borrowed and/or imitate the American one. The genesis of national security began in 1607 and was concretised by Congress in the National Security Act of 1947.

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National Security is economic and strategic resources farmed and gathered anywhere and everywhere in the world using the military, intelligence and law enforcement for the wellbeing of Americans. Every American and each president regardless of party is aware of this and uses the national security strategy to pursue and attain this. Thus the NSA is the policy framework that has not changed since 1947.

What has changed and is constantly changing, as Americans switch between political parties every four years, is the strategy or solution to attaining national security. The fundamentals of national security – the pursuit of economic and strategic resources anywhere and everywhere in the world – as can be observed in the Trump and Biden presidencies national security strategies remained intact.

Therefore the concept of National Security and National Security Strategy are American concepts with their history, experience and reality (HER) and with their history, space and politics.

The second national security perspective available for Nigerians’ to tap into in meeting the “solutions only” request for memoranda is the one associated with military rule in Nigeria or the military, intelligence and law enforcement (MILE) national security. Beyond the references to Section 5 subsection 5 and Section 14 subsection 2b of the 1999 Constitution, there is no history, experience and reality (HER) driving this perspective. Indeed these two references belong to the civil rule in place since 1999 and cannot suffice for military rule security and the MILE national security.

So, how did this narrative come into being. The first and most logical explanation is the imitation of the founding perspective of national security by military rule. The second explanation is the association of the MILE in name and work as security hence national security. The third explanation is the socialisation of most Nigerians to the first and second explanations by prolonged military rule. There is no document of the military, intelligence and law enforcement that described their work as security or national security. The military defend the country on land, air and sea; the intelligence gather and process information to aid defence, law enforcement and policy and; the police, civil defence etc. maintain law and order and protect lives and property.

It was under military rule that the MILE became security and national security without any legal document specifying this. Under military rule as security and national security, they did not see the need for National Security Strategy (NSS). There was none then.

The military waited until civil rule was emplaced and using their Decree Number 24 that became the 1999 Constitution, they saw the need for a NSS which they birthed in 2014 and recalibrated in 2019.

What is the legal policy framework on which the NSS was based? There was none. Except if Section 5 subsection 5 and Section 14 subsection 2b represented the legal frameworks. These two sections are bundles of contradiction when viewed from the argument of history, space and politics and not to talk about history, experience and reality (HER). In the last twenty years of civil rule, national security and national security strategy failed and represented what Professor Oyedele would agree was the failure that succeeded. And they want Nigerians to contribute “solutions only” to a failed national security!

The third national security perspective is the stalled one yet to be constructed by civil rule even as the MILE security house and national security home to which they unquestioningly endorsed is crashing before their very eyes. The failure I described belonged to the civil civilians in the civil rule process particularly the legislatures.

The failure of security and national security does not belong to the military, intelligence and law enforcement. They are operating behind the scene as they benefit from all there is to benefit in their carefully orchestrated 1999 Constitution and the clauses on security and national security beginning with Section 14 subsection 2b.

The legislatures did not see anything wrong in security they did not construct. The legislatures did not see anything wrong in the national security they did not construct. They legislatures did not see anything wrong in the National Security Strategy (NSS) they did not construct. The simple endorsed all of these. What is the point asking for “solutions only” when they have the NSS, the one-off “solutions only” to national security manufactured under their watch? Are they admitting that security and national security that they did not participate in constructing failed? If security and national security failed as their soliciting for “solutions only” confirmed, it means that the security and national security they endorsed failed. And yet they are asking for “solutions only”? Is this not a contradiction? It is a contradiction of the highest order.

The Call for Memoranda is should instead solicit from Nigerians their views of what is security, whose security, what is a security issue and how to construct national security in this order.

As I noted, there is a history, experience and reality (HER) to the National Security philosophy of the United States of America on the one hand and on the other hand there is history, space and politics of this.

There is a history, experience and reality (HER) to the military rule and MILE inspired security and national security narratives in Nigeria on the one hand and on the other hand a history, space and politics of these.

What is the history, experience and reality (HER) of civil rule constructed security house and national security home, if there is any in the last two decades of civil rule, on the one hand and on the other hand the history, space and politics of these? There is NONE ever.

The debt the legislatures owed Nigerians.is to create one first before they can ask for “solutions only.”

*Prof Onoja teaches Security and Strategic Studies at Nasarawa State University Keffi

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