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‘Why I wrote National Security, Democracy and Good Governance in Post-Military Rule Nigeria’

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Dan Mou, Executive Chairman, Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity (CEPEDEO), Abuja, Nigeria.

Dan Mou is the Executive Chairman, Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity (CEPEDEO), Abuja, Nigeria. The highly accomplished political scientist and public servant with a firm grasp of national security and public policy tells Monday Evawomaha why he thinks his recent book is so special.

You have written several books before, two of which we recently reviewed in The Guardian. What makes this one on “National Security, Democracy and Good Governance in Post-Military Rule Nigeria” so special?
My book on “National Security, Democracy and Good Governance in Post-Military Rule Nigeria” must be so special to be nominated for five awards. These nominations came barely one month after its publication and release for sale, including on internet, through amazon.com and googlebooks.com.

The publisher, AuthorHouse UK Ltd. sent me an e-mail, informing me that my book, which is in two volumes, has already been nominated to compete for five different awards as the Best Book of the Year under the category or genre of Social Science & Politics. That they were so proud of my book and selected it as a perfect entry and believe strongly it will win all the awards.

They further informed me that these bodies or associations that make yearly selections of the best published books for the year in different categories, and which mine has been selected as a perfect entry in the genre of Social Science & Politics are: American Library Association; Association of College & Research Libraries; American Library Association Annual; National Education Association; and American Association of School Libraries. Even for this alone, I would say this book is very special.

Second, the issues of national security, democracy and good governance have become very popular the world over, including in Nigeria. So any major book on the subject will surely generate a lot of interests from book lovers. Third, its currency is not in doubt. It deals with these key challenges that Nigeria has faced since the return to civil rule in 1999. These are clearly issues of national security, democratic rule and good governance that Nigeria has been grappling with since then. Therefore, most people would like to read about them. Hence, this book is truly special!

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this Book to draw the attention of Nigerian politicians, public servants, scholars and the general public to the plight of the seventy-one per cent (71%) of Nigerians still living below the poverty line of one dollar a day. According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), that revealed these depressing statistics, the trend indicated that the poverty situation in Nigeria was even getting worst!

It worried me that despite the billions of petrol-dollars Nigeria has garnered as revenue over the past few decades, up to 71% of her citizens were still living in severe poverty and deprivation. I, therefore, wanted to prove beyond doubt that the security, economic, political and social problems challenging national security, democracy and good governance currently in Nigeria, would get better or worse depending on what happens to the seventy-one per cent of Nigeria’s population still living in abject poverty.

I was also motivated to point out clearly that one does not need to be a “political prophet” to predict that if these challenges arising from mass poverty are not successfully addressed through good governance and inclusive growth, Nigeria will witness a national catastrophe very soon. This will come by way of increased: civil disobedience, mass violence, revolts, militancy, breakdown of law and order and violent kidnappings. In addition, more of her citizens will be trying to “check-out” of the country to other parts of the world in future.

Since no Government will tolerate such threats to her national security, development and prosperity, I also wanted to predict what the Nigerian Government will do in the fact of these challenges. Hence, my conclusion in the book that under such intense pressures, the Government of Nigeria, even if it is simply for its self-preservation, will be forced by the objective conditions, to move against the interests of these dominant groups and classes in the country. These are the ones who have captured and hijacked state power and the national resources of Nigeria for their exclusive use to the great detriment of the rest of the population.

Summarize your book in one to three sentences as if you were speaking to someone unfamiliar with your book and its topic?
Many subordinate groups and lower classes, which had hitherto been docile in Nigeria under years of military rule, are now becoming very active and even militant in demanding for dividends of democracy, equal opportunity and inclusive growth, since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999. This has been made worst by the fact that 71 per cent of the population of Nigeria is still living below the poverty line of one dollar a day, as a result of bad governance and public corruption that have squandered the billions of petrol-dollars that Nigeria has been obtaining as revenue over the past few decades. If their demands, which include poverty eradication, job creation, equal opportunity and inclusive growth, are not quickly addressed through good governance and inclusive growth policies, my prediction is that Nigeria will soon be confronted with severe security, political, economic and social crises more intense than what is happening at the moment.

Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?
Nigeria, as we all know, is the most populous African country on earth. One in every five Africans in the world is a Nigerian. Besides, she is the most important and largest economy in Africa. Recently, she has also attracted the highest foreign investments coming into the continent. In addition, she is the fifth largest exporter of petroleum resources in the world.

Therefore, many people have a stake in or are interested to know, what happens to and in Nigeria. As a consequence, any book that gives a detailed analysis and predictions of what may happen to Nigeria, as my book has done, will certainly appeal to a lot of readers, not just in Nigeria or even in Africa, but in the whole world.

How is your book relevant to today’s society?
My book is very relevant in today’s society, and not just in Nigeria. After the prolong years of military rule, the transition to democracy in Nigeria attracted the attention of lovers of democracy worldwide. Most felt that if democracy succeeds in Nigeria; it will certainly succeed all over Africa. Nigeria is also seen as the “African Giant”.

However, the performance of Nigeria has recently been vehemently criticized as not commensurate with her human and material potentialities. The hope that Nigeria is by destiny the “African Giant”, appears to be fading. Some analysts, seeing this, have blamed it on the character defects of the leadership in Nigeria. They argue that because the leaders are “predatory and corrupt”, they have preoccupied themselves with their interests, which are “primitive accumulation and luxurious lifestyles”. Meanwhile, the rest of the citizens are suffering.

My Book argues that such character defects may indeed exist in some of Nigerian leaders. However, these are not the main reasons for their dismal performance regarding the welfare of the citizens. The main problem is that Nigerian leaders have largely lost control over the state and its policies, which have been captured and hijacked by the dominant classes and groups – local and international. Nigeria’s main problem is, therefore, a structural one, rather than just a character issue, as other writers and scholars have long assumed or stated.

Thus, the book makes both methodological, theoretical and substantive contributions to the issues under investigation. This is quite relevant to today’s society as scholars, policy makers, the public services and the general public will all be interested in the issues discussed and analysed in the book. There are also developments that are currently happening in Nigerian society for which perceptive predictions have also been made about in this book, as well.

Is there any subject currently trending in the news that relates to your book?
Of Course, yes. The present Nigerian Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has as its primary agendum, to fight public corruption and misappropriation of Government resources in Nigeria since the return to democratic rule in 1999 and recover all monies and assets back to Government coffers. Many former political leaders and Public Servants are currently on trial in several courts, and more are being arrested and taken to court for the role they played while in Government. No one is being spared. Some of them are currently refunding to Government the billions of dollars or naira they stole while in office. Houses and other property illegally acquired by politicians and public servants while in Government, are also being massively confiscated. Monies deposited in foreign accounts by Nigerians illegally are also being recovered, with the help of foreign Governments, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This is Nigeria’s major institution for fighting economic and financial crimes, as we all know.

Incidentally, the EFCC was basically my brain-child, as I was the main author of the private personal security memorandum (with Dr. Rose Abang-Wushishi) which we submitted to President Olusegun Obasanjo while he was in power in Nigeria, that was accepted by him and the EFCC was created. Therefore, because of my key role in the creation of the EFCC, which is currently being widely praised by the Nigerian mass media, the public and even in Government circles, this kind of book coming from me is really “hot cake.” That memo that led to the creation of EFCC was titled: “Proposal for the Establishment of a National Economic and Financial Crimes Agency in Nigeria”, dated 19th July, 1999.

Besides, I was also the main author with Gen. Chris A. Garuba (Rtd.), of the private security Memo that led to the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta Militants in Nigeria. This private Memorandum which was done for late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was titled: “National Security and the Brewing Catastrophe in Niger Delta: Rethinking Current Agenda for Restoring Order in the Niger Delta and Fast Forwarding the Attainment of President Yar’Adua’s Vision for Nigeria” dated 8th August, 2008. The implementation of this Memo led to the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Amnesty Programme that brought about relative peace to the former restive Oil Producing Region of Nigeria, the South-South.

All these issues covered in details in this book, are currently trending in the news in Nigeria and even on the social media. These have combined to make me and my books very popular in the country right now. (Goggle my name and read some of the stories for yourself, please). Hence, this book has already started generating a lot of interests and positive reviews as well.

What makes your book different from other books like it?
Most of the books currently in existence on national security, democracy and good governance in Africa, especially in Nigeria, are written by academicians and university professors who are doing research on the subjects, with little or no practical experience on the job in Government. Others are written by retired security officers and politicians who have served in various positions in Government but lack intellectual and theoretical rigour. These are basically memoirs, that make little or no explicit theoretical contributions on these subjects, even though they provide useful participant observation information.

It is one thing to be involved in the study of national security, democracy and good governance as a scholar. It is yet another to be offered series of opportunities to actually put in practice, some of your theories and perspectives. God has afforded me the chance to do both over the years in pre- and post-military rule Nigeria. Hence, as stated above, I have personally been involved also in proposing the establishment of some Security and other Agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs; and the Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta Militants that brought about peace in the formerly restive oil producing region of Nigeria. These private proposals had all been accepted by past Nigerian Presidents and implemented. Thus, the contributions I have made in this book, both theoretically, methodologically and substantively, are clearly unique from other existing books on the subject, which in any case, are almost none existent on Nigeria. The reviewers, some of whose extracts are reproduced in this book on pages xiii to xvi, have clearly observed this as well. I was therefore, not surprised when one of the perceptive reviewers, Dr. O.W. Bashorun, pointed out that:

“Having successfully designed and master-minded many workable national schemes in the past in Nigeria, like the memoranda that led to the establishment of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta Militants, to mention just a few, Dr. Dan Mou, in this book, has [proposed] permanent solutions to these public policy challenges … it is no fallacy to say that no one else could have done it better.”

What do you want readers to take away from your writing?
I want readers to take away from my writings the fact that human and material potentialities alone are not enough to make great, highly developed and prosperous nations. Good and effective leadership and institutions are required to convert such potentials into realities, even in the lives of Nations.

In the specific case of Nigeria, the performance of her leaders and institutions in the post-military rule era, for several reasons as covered in the book, have clearly fallen below expectations for some of them. This has now created serious security, economic, political and social crises in the country, which might become better or worst, depending on what the present crop of leaders in power and institutions currently in place, some of which, as mentioned in this interview already, I personally helped to bring about, are able to do about them. If they perform better and more effectively than their predecessors, Nigeria can still be restored to the possibility of becoming an “African Giant”, as her citizens and most commentators are expecting.

In fact, I have already gone ahead and taken on this patriotic responsibility on myself by advising the present crops of Nigerian leaders in the Public and Private Sectors at all levels, my fellow public policy scholars, and the general public, on how we can indeed proceed to restore Nigeria proudly, fully and effectively, as the African Giant. This advise is contained in my other two volume book, appropriately titled: Making of An African Giant: State, Politics and Public Policy in Nigeria, Volumes one and two.

This book has also already been published by the same publisher, AuthorHouse UK Ltd. It has also been already released and is available also on amazon.com and gogglebooks.com for your attention and further necessary actions, please. I only hope you all will be kind enough, ready enough, and patient enough, to read how I believe this can be readily accomplished.

How did you learn about the topic? (i.e. personal experience, education, etc.)
I learnt about this topic from a combination of educational training and practical experience on the job. My Ph.D. degree was done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A, in Public Policy Analysis and African Politics. I have also already published several previous books and journal articles on these subjects.

My experience also played a role in the choice of this topic. This is so because I have served for three decades, at the highest levels in the Nigerian Civil Service, at the Presidency and at different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). For instance, I served as the Director (Narcotic Drugs Control), Director (Special Duties), Director (Monitoring and Evaluation), and later appointed the Secretary of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP). In addition, I also served as Director (Nigeria Air Force), and Director (Human Resources) at the Ministry of Defence as well as Director (Human Resources, Inspectorate and Management Services) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I also served as a Member, Presidential Jobs Board, State House, The Presidency in Nigeria.

I further served as Special Adviser (National Security Affairs) to the National Security Advisers in the Presidency under three consecutive Nigerian Governments. I am currently the Executive Chairman, Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity (CEPEDEO), at Abuja, Nigeria.

Is there a particular passage from your book you would like to highlight? If so, please mention it.
The quoted statement from one of the perceptive reviewers, Dr. O.W. Bashorun, endorsing my book, already mentioned while answering one of your questions, can be utilised instead of any particular passage from the book itself, copies of which I here donate you. He stated in his endorsement of my book as follows:

“Having successfully designed and master-minded many workable national schemes in the past in Nigeria, like the memoranda that led to the establishment of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta Militants, to mention just a few, Dr. Dan Mou, in this book, has [proposed] permanent solutions to these public policy challenges … it is no fallacy to say that no one else could have done it better.”



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