Despite the Boko Haram taking over several territory including about 16 local government areas during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the then National Security Adviser, NSA, said the government deserves commendation for defeating the group.
Speaking from detention where he is being held for allegedly mismanaging about $2.1 billion meant for purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram, Mr. Dasuki said it was the actions of the Goodluck Jonathan administration against Boko Haram that made the 2015 general election possible in Nigeria.
Mr. Dasuki spoke in a foreward he personally wrote to a 308-page book titled ‘Boko Haram Media War – An Encounter with the Spymaster,’ authored by Yushau Shuaib, an award-winning Public Relations professional.
According to the former NSA, the 2015 general elections would not have taken place especially in the volatile north-east if the government under which he served had not risen to the occasion to “defeat” Boko Haram.
“In fact, without our intervention in ensuring the defeat of Boko Haram, the electorates could not have had the opportunity to exercise their franchise,” Mr. Dasuki was quoted in the forward.
“It is a fact that we provided peace and stability that afforded Nigerians, especially in the North-East in voting for their governors, legislators and others in the 2015 elections.
“In the war-front are evident success stories which Shuaib has mentioned in some of the articles that featured in this book, especially on media relations, self-censorship, gallantry in recovering dozens of cities and towns among other declassified revelations,” he said.
Mr. Dasuki did not, however, elaborate on how the former ragtag militants were able to mobilise and defeat several military formations before taking over the territories while he was NSA.
It was also during his tenure that the terror group kidnapped about 270 teenage girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State. Many of the girls have since been released due to the efforts of the current administration, although scores still remain with the insurgents.
According to the federal government, funds meant to equip soldiers were allegedly shared amongst various politicians by Mr. Dasuki’s office, allowing the insurgents to defeat the poorly equipped and poorly motivated soldiers.
The Muhammadu Buhari government that eventually won the 2015 election is currently prosecuting the NSA alongside several others who took part in the alleged scandal, now termed #Dasukigate.
The government has also refused to release Mr. Dasuki on bail despite several court orders.
In the forward he wrote, the ex-NSA said part of the strategies deployed by the Jonathan administration was the use of what he called, “Crisis Communication”, which he said aided the government in “to win the heart of the citizens, boost the morale of the troops and weaken the fighting spirit of the terrorists.”
Short of blaming the Buhari administration of not doing enough, media wise, in the current war against Boko Haram, Mr. Dasuki said, “In strategic communication for crisis management, especially in confronting the Boko Haram, the media was a major tool in the campaign against the insurgency. There was thorough, timely and responsible reportage of the campaign. Some of the media played very strategic roles at great risk to their lives in the successes recorded, especially by our forces in the war against terrorism.”
He added that as part the Jonathan administration’s strategy in ensuring the mutual relationship with the media stakeholders, a 17-member Forum of the Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies, FOSSRA, which included Mr. Shuaib, the author of the book, was established with representatives from the military, security, intelligence and response agencies.
According to Mr. Dasuki, the media component of the War on Terror, which “Yushau Shuaib and his team” carried out included various activities including issuance over 3000 media contents including newsworthy items and publications, exclusive news placements and editorial control of sensitive reports, hosting of timely and regular press briefings, social media engagements and production of specialised publications amongst others.
Apart from the military intervention, which he said Mr. Shuaib’s 308-pager talked about, the former NSA said the Jonathan administration implemented a “Soft Approach Programme” by initiating the countering terrorism alternative through de-radicalization, as well as implementing programs for the economic empowerment, education, communication, rehabilitation and counselling in the North-East.
He submitted that sensitive security issues were handled in a most professional manner, with strict adherence to confidentiality to avoid compromising national security.
Mr. Dasuki commended Mr. Shuaib for his “courage and boldness in the face of the current situations in the country and for his principle and consistency” in stating the obvious and indeed the facts in the book.
“On the media campaign, Yushau Shuaib who came highly recommended had been disengaged from the public service but was immediately re-engaged by the system to act as Chief Consultant on Crisis Communication. From the theories of Mass Communication, we deployed practical aspects of Crisis Communication throughout the Campaign period, especially between June 2013 to May 2015,” he said.
The ‘successes’ achieved by the Jonathan administration, referenced by Mr. Dasuki, occurred after a six weeks postponement of the 2015 general elections was announced from February 14 to March 28 of that year.
During that period and since then, the military have retaken several of the territory initially controlled by the sect. In the north-east, especially Borno State, the 2015 general elections were conducted largely in the IDP camps, due to the frail nature of security at that time. The then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, eventually lost the presidential election as well as most of the elections conducted in Borno and many states of the north-east.