By Richard Murphy
The name Yushau Shuaib rings a bell. He writes well, but most times for the wrong reasons. In most instances, he arrogates the monopoly of knowledge to himself, which is a huge minus as no human being can claim to be all-knowing.
I must admit that I have followed his writings religiously especially with regards to the tenure of the Service Chiefs in the country. Yes, he has the right to his opinion. However, he must realize that he is not an authority in security issues. I believe his first stint at it was during the Goodluck Jonathan era where he served as a media consultant in the Office of the National Security Adviser.
I dare say that since Sambo Dasuki was relieved of his appointment as National Security Adviser, and the subsequent revelations that followed suit, Yushau Shuaib has not known peace for undeniable reasons. The attendant attack on the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been scathing and in most instances utterly disrespectful.
This is the premise on which I am penning this article. I used to be an admirer of his writings. But not anymore because a situation where an individual ascribes to himself sainthood that should be revered in an anomaly. I won’t say it is a function of lack of patronage since President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, but that can’t be ruled out entirely because we all need patronages to keep life going.
In seeking for that patronage, we must however not lose sight of the bigger picture which is and remains the national interest. This much Yushau Shuaib must come to terms with and come back to reality. Like I mentioned earlier, I used to be a fan of his, but the moment I noticed his tilt, I withdrew entirely, and after that, I always read him with a pinch of salt.
Two issues I want to address here; this is a new era where it is not business as usual, and Muhammadu Buhari is not Sambo Dasuki that was very generous to him with public funds. I am sure he can’t deny this fact because he indeed was the Chief Media Consultant to the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), a conduit with which he was paid hefty sums of monies under the Goodluck Jonathan era.
For those wondering what FOSSRRA meant, I would say it was more like an avenue for the boys to make good money. This is on the heels that the former National Security Adviser engaged Yushau Shuaib to serve as a media consultant to the military, security, intelligence and response organizations under a unified platform, and had as his core mandate the responsibility of positioning the agencies for desired public perception and changing the negative narratives regarding the war against terror.
FOSRRA was under the auspices of Office of National Security Adviser, and the Office of the National Security Adviser footed its bills. And what was his responsibility as the Chief Media Consultant? Issuing press releases of government security agencies to media houses. What a job description. In effect, that is good business for any media consultant if you must agree with me.
Having this background in mind, one would understand where Yushau Shuaib is coming from and why he thinks his views in security issues is yes and amen. In the light of this circumstances, it can be said that his scathing attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari is simply because the butter on his bread is no longer forthcoming and as such he is going for the jugular of the present administration.
In all of these Yushau Shuaib must come to terms that President Muhammadu Buhari is not one that would pay writers or media consultants to turn the truth on its head. If not for anything, the president rode on its principled stance on integrity to power. This fact can be verified. President Muhammadu Buhari that we all know wouldn’t patronize people to say what is not, nor his appointees would open the treasury under dubious nomenclatures for political patronage.
I can easily tell that his writings on the Service Chiefs are at the behest of his principal. Even at that, it must be noted that the President and Commander-in-Chief has the prerogative on the tenure of the Service Chiefs in the country. I don’t think there should be a basis for comparison between what we experienced under Goodluck Jonathan and now.
If Yushau Shuaib would be honest enough to admit that the level of commitment by the present crop of Service Chiefs is indeed noteworthy and a deviation from times past. As a security expert that he claims to be, he should know that in this era, there is no room for mediocrity. And this much has seen to the numerous gains recorded in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
The federal capital territory is no longer under siege, and the threats posed by the Boko Haram group have mainly been confined to the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region. If this is not a plus, I wonder what Yushau Shuaib wants us to believe.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not discouraging him from writing, but he should do well not to insult our sensibilities. I believe he can write with passion. But he should not be propelled by pecuniary interest because that was what took us to where we were when his boss and paymaster was the National Security Adviser.
The issue of Service Chiefs is clearly outside his purview. He should concentrate on areas he has a considerable advantage at the risk of sounding like a broken trumpet. I also believe that his PR outfit Image Merchants Promotions Limited can come back to life if they get their acts right and engage in genuine enterprise and not the resort to blackmail and half-truths thereby misleading members of the unsuspecting general public.
I believe Yushau Shuaib would take this opinion of mine in good faith because I am aware he fears the views of others. Yet, he wants his views to be canonized because he is the almighty expert that all Nigerians should revere.
Yushau Shuaib in his capacity as the revered expert on security affairs should also do well to tell Nigerians if there haven’t been concerted efforts to curb the security challenges in the country. This is the next assignment for him, and I would strongly advise that he does his research thoroughly to convince us on why President Muhammadu Buhari has kept his Service Chiefs.
I wait to hear from him, just like the generality of Nigerians. He should walk the talk and be guided by the principle of objectivity.
Murphy is a security expert and wrote this piece from Calabar.