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Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu at Chatham House: A PSJ UK Review

PSJ UK joined (virtually) Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) of the All Progressives Congress and Mr. Alex Vine of Chatham house at the event, Nigeria's 2023 elections: Security, economic and foreign policy imperatives as the candidate discusses his vision and manifesto for ‘renewing hope’ in Nigeria.

In his speech, he states that there is a close relationship between domestic development and national security, which to achieve, the nation needs to build and expand the capacity of its armed forces, welfare and wellbeing of its citizens.

He highlights the following points: Through a commitment to the promotion of human security, the country has attained true government just like other successive government interfaces security and human capital development as two sides of the same coin focusing equally on food sufficiency and sustainable development.

He is committed to continuing the trajectory of successive government that Interface development and security and establish an organic link between national security and economic development that will trigger peace, and prosperity. This he proposes to be relevant.

He lists the factors that challenge national security as Radical extremism, banditry, violence, terrorism, kidnapping, trafficking (humans and weapons), climate change, resource-driven conflict, vandalism leading to loss of life, shortages of food, Internally Displaced Persons, refugee crisis, etc.

He also states that foreign policy is but a continuation of domestic policy, and his administration will focus pursuit in poverty eradication policies, employment among others. During the Q&A session, a participant queried the candidate on his plans to curb insecurity in Nigeria, in an unprecedented turn of events, Mr Tinubu assigns all questions thrown at him at this time, including the question on security to his delegates who chaperoned him from Nigeria to the conference. While many have condemned this, this report places larger concern on the respondent’s response.

Gov. Nasir El Rufai proposed that the BAT Led administration will address security in 3 ways.

Policing: By doubling the number of existing police officers, amending the constitution so that policing can be at federal, state and local government levels.

Armed forces and security architecture: By increasing, equipping, and upskilling the members of the armed forces.

Proliferation of small Arms: The administration will set up a new security team that will collaborate with other countries like Mali and Niger.

Setting aside the obvious elementary-ness and lacking in depth of the responses, one would find that the BAT’s solutions on security as discussed were peripheral, too peripheral, demonstrating a lack of understanding, and lack scope of action/inaction of non-state actors and agitators such as IPOB. Nor does any of their solution demonstrate a recognition of the multi faceted-ness of Nigerian insecurity inclusive of religious tension and extremism. It was all rhetorics.

Another participant Mr. Ayo Adedoyin asked the candidate how he intends to maximise the defence partnership signed with Nigeria signed by Theresa May in 2018 which has been reported to provide no benefit. He inquired what changes BAT would make to the defence partnership arrangement to make it more beneficial?

The question was assigned to the speaker of the house of representatives Femi Gbajabiamila who responded by deflecting the question, emphasising that there has been progress made, but tactfully shifted focus to other defence pacts made. However, he mentioned that securing the country is a top priority but failed to say “how”. Overall, the candidate’s security plans are rhetorical and unconvincing.

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