Ribadu As NSA A Paradigm Shift

By Wole Oni

The news of the appointment of Nuhu Ribadu as National Security Adviser (if true) is cheering and elating. Nigeria needs a paradigm shift from the regular and this appointment comes across as one.

Ribadu’s choice is a master stroke from a great strategist that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu PBAT is known to be, he is an exceptional choice for this crucial position. Nigeria faces a multitude of security challenges, and Ribadu’s extensive experience makes him well-suited for this job.

The role of the NSA primarily revolves around intelligence management, an area in which Ribadu is well-grounded. While some argue that the NSA role is best suited for military personnel, nothing could be further from the truth. The military handles the operational aspects of national security and excels in that domain, but the NSA’s responsibility lies in intelligence management, a role in which Nuhu Ribadu is a perfect fit.

In the United States of America, where we have adopted a similar tradition, most NSAs have been civilians without military or paramilitary training. Examples include Condoleezza Rice, a political scientist, and Susan Rice, a diplomat. They were not only civilians but also women of color, illustrating the dynamic approach America has taken towards national security management.

Back home, some of the best that held similar position in our history were retired police and/or intelligence officers such as Gambo Jimeta , Aliyu Gwarzo and Umaru Shinkafi.

Therefore, it is heartwarming to see that PBAT is not just dogmatic in his appointments but is open to new ideas and approaches. This commendable stance portends a sign of positive things to come.

Ribadu is a lawyer and an alumnus of the University of Oxford, UK. He has received many international awards, including the World Bank’s Jit Gill Memorial Award for outstanding public service in recognition of his courageous anti-corruption fight in Nigeria. His years of excellent work as a crime buster in the Nigerian Police Force and his role as Chairman of EFCC makes him highly suitable, especially at a time when the President has promised a rejigging of the country’s security architecture.

Nigeria has never lacked men with ideas; our problem has always been the lack of courage to implement these ideas wholeheartedly. Ribadu, with his brilliance and courage, embodies the solution to this issue.

Hidden behind many of the insecurity challenges in our country are criminal financial benefits, whether it be kidnapping by bandits, Boko Haram activities, or oil bunkering. The backbone of these activities lies largely in the financial gains they accrue. With an experienced financial intelligence expert like Ribadu leading the national security team, we can be rest assured that the lifeline of these criminals will be targeted, and the breakthroughs will be astonishing.

Ribadu is patriotic, vastly experienced, well trusted, and highly respected by the international community. Nigeria’s insecurity challenges will still require significant support from the international community for a speedy resolution. Intelligence sharing and the acquisition of sophisticated military hardware are among the assistance that will be needed. During his time at the EFCC, Mr. Ribadu worked effectively with the international community, building a network and trust with Nigeria’s major partners.

It is worth mentioning that Ribadu’s efforts yielded gains such as the delisting of Nigeria from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of non-cooperative countries and territories in 2006, as well as the withdrawal of the United States Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) advisory on Nigeria. Such diplomacy skill will be highly required to get our nation out of the list of countries with some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations. This is certainly a round peg in a round hole.

This appointment is highly refreshing and further confirms that our hope as a nation is truly about to be renewed.


Wole Oni is a Public Affairs’ Analyst. E-mail: woleonigeo@gmail.com