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Preventing Nigeria from becoming a “failed nation” – Part 3


President Muhammadu Buhari

The second broad approach, is the Organizational Determinant Categorization of National Security Systems or Architectures. This second approach also categorizes National Security System or Architectures into three types. These are: (a) the Segmentary National Security System (SNSS) or Architecture; (b) the Coordinated National Security System (CNSS) or Architecture; and (c) the Integrated National Security System (INSS) or Architecture. The three key distinguishing words are: Segmentary, Coordinated and Integrated. Each of these National Security Systems or Architectures has its advantages and disadvantages, and different effects on electoral integrity as well, which are considered briefly below.

(a) Segmentary National Security System (SNSS) or Architecture
The Segmentary National Security System (SNSS) or Architecture tries to apply the principle of federalism or even Confederalism to the security of a country. Under this arrangement, the country’s security arrangement is left to the individual military or security services or their special units. In the event of security threats, each Service adopts its own strategy in repelling the threat. Individual Service Chiefs or Heads of Security Agencies therefore, mobilise their men and weaponry in the defence or securing of whatever target is threatened. There is little or no harmonization of efforts by the various Services or Agencies and no coordination of their attack/reaction to the enemy or enemies.

There is usually little or no communication and reporting across Services or Agencies during the operations. With the exception of South Africa and Libya (during President Gadhafi), all other African countries (including Nigeria) have adopted the Segmentary Security System or Architecture at one time or the other, even though the degree of application varied from one country to the other.


Because this approach is not effective, it allows room for internal security threats and creates fertile ground for the emergence of insurgencies. These internal crises and insurgencies become serious obstacles to the conduct of elections and diminishes electoral integrity and good governance, as a whole. This is the current situation in Nigeria right now. Hence, several insurgencies have emerged, as we shall see below, which affected the conduct of the 2015 national elections in Nigeria negatively. It will in fact create even more serious problems for the forthcoming 2019 national elections in Nigeria as well, if they are not stopped or curtailed before February, 2019, when the general elections are scheduled to commence.

In Nigeria, for instance, under the administrations of former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Goodluck Jonathan, the Military and other security Agencies all operated separately, with little coordination and integration between them and other Security Agencies. This became more visible in their different strategies and operations regarding the control of Boko Haram Religious Insurgency and the Herdsmen and Farmers conflicts and clashes all over the Nation, but especially in the North Central Zone of Nigeria. In the event of any security threat, as is the case with the Herdsmen and Farmers clashes, therefore, these Services reacted differently, with little coordination and integration of their efforts.

For instance, instead of the Armed Forces Coordinating efforts, with the Nigeria Police Force and other security Agencies, they always order the Nigerian Police Force, even the Police Special Terrorist Units, to withdraw before they start their own operations, as it was the case with the “Cat Race” operation “Ayem a Kpatuma” in the North Central, particularly Benue State.

Coordinated National Security System (CNSS) or Architecture
The CNSS ensures that all Services, Agencies and Units assigned with the responsibility of national Security are closely monitored and supervised. This is close to the INSS approach, except that in this case, the Agencies and Units are not brought under one top command umbrella. The closest example of coordinated national security system in operation in Nigeria, was during the Governments of General I.B. Babangida at the time of Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta as the National Security Adviser (NSA). This system is certainly more effective than the segmentary one. However, it is not as effective as an integrated national security architecture. Because this too does not and cannot effectively deal with security challenges to the nation, especially insurgencies, this ends up affecting electoral integrity and good governance as well.

Just like the segmentary system discussed above, it gives room for electoral malpractices and fraud. First, it disenfranchises a lot of people who have been displaced in their villages and towns because of the continued internal security crises. Second, the expected violence or potential violence that will result from attacks on polling places, keeps voters away. Most polling booths become empty on electoral days giving room for frauds of ballot box stuffing and other forms of electoral frauds.

The Integrated National Security System (INSS) or Architecture
The INSS or Architecture is the most comprehensive approach to National Security yet devised. It has also proved, in practice, more effective than the rest discussed here so far. It is variously referred to by security and strategic studies experts as the “multi-services” or “multi-faceted national” security system. In Nigeria, this approach had been adopted only by General Yakubu Gowon, during the Civil (Biafra War) of 1967-1970; General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau when he was the National Security Adviser under the regimes of General I.B. Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It was also adopted by Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, during General Sani Abacha’s regime.

This INSS or Architecture stated above, is a comprehensive and demanding approach to National Security. It is also the most effective and efficient one ever devised so far. Because General Yakubu Gowon adopted this integrated national security architecture, he was able to complete the Nigerian Civil War and re-integrate the Ibos (Biafrans), who were fighting to be independent from Nigeria in only thirty months.

Similarly, using this integrated security system, General Ibrahim Babangida was able to crush the then “Boko Haram”, insurgency, Maitatsine Uprising, which was spreading like fire, within three months during his Administration. Compare it with the Segmentary security architecture President Goodluck Jonathan used for five years, and could not conquer Boko Haram. Instead, the insurgency, Boko Haram, captured seventeen (17) Local Government Areas within Nigeria, mounted their flag and declared it an independent caliphate within the territory of Nigeria.

Mou, Executive Chairman, Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity (CEPEDEO), Maitama, presented this paper at a conference on the theme “Sustaining the Integrity of 2019 General Elections in Nigeria with the sub-theme “National Security and Electoral Integrity” organised by the African Electoral Integrity Initiative (AE2i), in collaboration with other international and local organisations, Abuja.

The ineffectiveness of the segmentary approach to national security can also be seen in the failure of Nigerian soldiers and other security agencies, to tackle and end the Boko Haram insurgency and the Herdsmen versus Farmers’ conflicts that were President Buhari’s major campaign promises, when he was canvassing for votes to be Nigerian President. Three and a half years into his Administration, even Boko Haram is still to be crushed completely.

Instead, they are still causing untold death, destruction of property and displacing not just the civilian population in the North East. They are also killing soldiers, capturing their barracks and capturing weapons, including armored vehicles. This shows quite clearly the drawbacks of the segmentary national security system. Yet, it is not changed or modified, despite over eight years of its operation by the Nigeria Government. It is clear that this will drastically affect the conduct of the 2019 general elections.


III Scope of Electoral Integrity
No national political event ever involves so many people participating to exercise their political power, than general elections. Elections truly show that “power belongs to the people”. However, this view assumes that such elections actually reflect the wishes of the voters. It is concern for this that gave birth to national and global interests in electoral integrity. It is also this concern for electoral integrity that led experts to devise a measure to test the validity and transparency of elections, known as the Perception of Election Index (PEI).

Elections are the mechanisms by which the voters periodically, in accordance with the electoral cycle, choose the leaders to rule over them for a defined period of time. Democracies, especially liberal democracy, relies on elections both for selecting leaders and holding them accountable. The whole business of the various legislations in Electoral Acts for recall, represents the concern that voters should be able to hire and fire.

Mou, Executive Chairman, Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity (CEPEDEO), Maitama, presented this paper at a conference on the theme “Sustaining the Integrity of 2019 General Elections in Nigeria with the sub-theme “National Security and Electoral Integrity” organised by the African Electoral Integrity Initiative (AE2i), in collaboration with other international and local organisations, Abuja.


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