By Bartholomew Madukwe
Former National Security Adviser, NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), has said the prompt intervention ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in tackling the Boko Haram menace and recovering dozens of towns and villages made it possible for the 2015 general elections to hold smoothly in the North-East.
Dasuki stated this in his foreword to a new 308-page book, entitled: “Boko Haram Media War: An encounter with the spymaster,” written by Yushau A. Shuaib.
He said: “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.
“In fact, without our intervention in ensuring the defeat of Boko Haram, the electorate could not have had the opportunity to exercise their franchise. 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.”
He noted that apart from the soft Approach Programme initiated for countering terrorism through de-radicalization without the use of force, the administration also introduced and implemented programmes for economic empowerment, education, communication, rehabilitation and counselling in the North-East.
He said: “Crisis communication, as one of the components of general campaigns, was initiated to win the heart of the citizens, boost the morale of the troops and weaken the fighting spirit of the terrorists.
“On 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 and May 2015.’’
He contended that sensitive security issues were handled in a most professional manner, with strict adherence to confidentiality, to avoid compromising national security.
He 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.”
Dasuki said as part of efforts to ensure the mutual relationship with the media stakeholders, a 17-member Forum of the Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies, FOSSRA, was established with representatives from the military, security, intelligence and response agencies.
He added that through the media component of the war on terror, Yushau Shuaib and his team carried out various activities, including issuance of 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 specialized publications, among others.
He commended the author 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.
The book provides a first-hand information on the politics behind the author’s premature retirement from federal public service and his strategic re-engagement by the system in serving the same government as a consultant.
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