Dambazzau: A Strategic Thinker At Interior Ministry - Johnson Kolade

It is the norm in democratic governance for those at the political helm, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chancellors as the case may be...



It is the norm in democratic governance for those at the political helm, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chancellors as the case may be to take the glory for any diplomatic or military feat that occurred during their tenure while the subordinates that actually articulated and midwifed those successful policies normally take the backstage. For instance, during the Second World War, the respective American, British and Soviet victories against their Nazi and Imperial Japanese foes were ascribed to the leadership vigour of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin largely ignoring the battlefield contributions of famed Allied commanders like Generals Dwight Eisenhower, Field Marshell Montgomery, and Marshall Zhukov to name a few. Even during the 1st Gulf war, when American soldiers overran the Iraqi army in several decisive battles, President George Bush largely took the credit for that strategic military campaign while military planners like General Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkpoff were content with perfunctory references in the national and international mass media.

Coming nearer home, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has been widely acclaimed as the architect of the Niger-Delta amnesty programme that saw thousands of ex-militants laying down their arms and ammunition in exchange for government funding and patronage and the execution of crucial intervensionist infrastructural projects in the Niger Delta. However what is not known to many was that the carrots and stick stratgy adopted by the Umaru Yar’Adua administration was the brainchild of the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau, now Honourable Minister of the Interior.

During the tense and blood drenched months and days of 2008 and 2009, when as at now, shadowy Niger Delta militant groups had laid siege on the oil facilities installations and infrastructures, with indiscriminate bombing of critical installations, the militants also attacked military personnel, assets and facilities throughout the region applying lethal guerrilla tactics that took a toll on the Nigerian military forces stationed there. However rather than engage in panicky, unco-ordinated onslaughts against the militant strongholds that may lead to the avoidable slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians as occurred in the Odi mayhem some years back, Lt. Gen. Dambazzau painstakingly identified legitimate largets for military action while advising his political boss, President Umaru Yar’Adua of the options that need to be kept squarely on the table in order to convince the aggressive militants that they could never square off against the formidable Nigerian military on the battlefield. When the time came for action, General Dambazzau’s forces moved swiftly and surefootedly to neutralize and eradicate known militant strongholds like the notorious Camp 5 belonging to the errant, self-styled ‘General’ Tompolo which was razed to the ground sending foreboding signals to the militant camp that President Yar’Adua’s extension of the olive branch was not a sign of weakness on the part of the Nigerian state. In fact Tompolo was said to have escaped by the bare whiskers in his underpants. Eventually the militants signed up to the amnesty programme and the rest they say is history even though the crucial protagonist of the successful carrot and stick policy of the Yar’Adua administration, General Dambazzau remains largely unsung which to all intents and purposes is fine by him given his abiding distaste for self promotion and self glorification.

Indeed after his rather premature exit from the Nigerian Army, largely due to the political machinations of those not comfortable with his role in taming the Niger Delta militancy, Dambazzau did not begrudge any person or institution for his political persecution while remaining steadfast in his love for country and the Almighty God for whom all emanates and elapses from.

In the intervening years, Gen Dambazzau has perfected a course in Phd Criminology at the University of Keele and is the Chairman Board of Trustees, Nigerian Society of Victomology, the Foundation for the Victims of Child Abuse.

As far as the Kano born military tactician and consummate strategist is concerned, constant education training and re-training sharpens and re-invigorates the mind for the crucial tasks and challenges ahead. A stagnent mind is as unpleasant and unproductive as a stagnant pond. Q.E.D. As Honourable Minister of the Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau has wasted scant time in boldly stamping his administrative, operational and organisational ethos on this crucial MDA which is arguably one of the most strategic in the country as it superintends over a gamut of agencies like the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Prison Service, the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps, the Nigerian Fire Service etc. Indeed there is no room for aimless chatter, idle gossip, vile rumours or inter-ethnic or inter-religious squabbles, infighting or rancour in General Dambazzau’s Interior Ministry, in fact the only accepted slogan is hardwork, hardwork and more hardwork. The era of corruption, cronyism and setionalism are long gone and discarded and as one of the minister’s key aides, Hon. Aliyu Gebi opined ‘the minister (General Dambazzau) is not interested in your face, your geographical or religious background, the only thing that interests him is your attitude and disposition to work and your strength of character and principle.

If you are ready to work and uplift the nation, you are Dambazzau’s best friend as two things matter most to the acclaimed infantry general and accomplished war hero: God and Country above all other considerations.

— JOHNSON KOLADE Garki-Abuja

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