Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has challenged Course 30 participants of the National Defence College (NDC) to be relentlessly innovative in developing national security and defence strategy to address security challenges.
Osinbajo made the call at the college’s 30th Year Anniversary and Course 30 Graduation Dinner and Award on Tuesday in Abuja.
He was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Amb. Adeyemi Dipeolu.
The vice-president noted that security was an entire societal responsibility that could only be achieved in unison with a diverse range of state and civil society actors.
He urged the military and other security agencies to recognise the regional, continental and international ramifications of the threats facing nations in developing security and defence strategies.
“You must embrace smart ways of managing society in a pervasively digital universe as contemporary technologies have introduced new levels of complexity to an already challenging security environment.
“Technological revolution in the present era also avails you of a broad range of tools with which you can protect our vital interests and safeguard our people.
“You must be relentlessly innovative in exploiting these options.
“Overall you must be sensitive to the needs and demands of the people who are the primary reference of national security as the spear and shield of our nation,” he said.
Osinbajo observed that the world had moved from the erstwhile exclusive approach to security management wherein the military and security agencies were thought to be the exclusive custodians of security.
He said the whole of society approach to security management had become the primary governing principle of national security governance, noting that the approach was the theme for Course 30.
The vice-president also urged international participants to be proud alumni of the college and to maintain the bonds they had made and continue to support Nigeria’s efforts at maintaining peace and security.
“I have no doubt that you have come to fully appreciate this activity and security management in furtherance of the whole of society doctrine.
“It is clear that you must also embrace the role that women play in contemporary security management and give meaning to it in your future engagements.
“In this regard, I am glad that this institution has consistently given female participants equal opportunity to participate in this highly rewarding strategic leadership training.
“Our defence cooperation with friendly nations in Africa and the world has been mutually beneficial.
“I specially recognise all the foreign dignitaries and international participants here and convey our appreciation for your association with Nigeria and the NDC,” he said.
In his remarks, NDC Commandant, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the celebration of the 30th set of graduates since establishment in 1992 was a milestone in the college’s history.
Bashir commended the participants for their commitment and resilience throughout the duration of the course.
He said the participants would have understood and appreciated the fact that the course was designed to test their resilience and ability to take difficult and complex decisions in terms of uncertainty, stress and strain.
He observed that the security environment had been volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and said the ability to pull through the complexity and uncertainty was what made the participants strategic leaders.
Bashir expressed the hope that the knowledge and experience gained at the college would distinguish participants in leadership wherever they went.
“We are doing everything possible to reduce the workload of the course without compromising standards.
“Permit me to emphasise to you two training philosophies of the college which I would encourage you to always carry along.
“First, you must remember that military training and operations are anchored on teamwork. You must have been told repeatedly that you are as strong as your weakest link.
“This philosophy is reflected in the group exercises you conducted during your training in the college.
“For a long time, however, team work had been narrowly understood to mean intra-service solidarity, but we know today that the era of single service operations is gone.
“You must leave here thinking of cooperation; you must be prepared to think, act, plan and operate jointly,” he stressed.
The commandant also reminded participants to always remember that security management was no longer the exclusive domain of the armed forces, intelligence and other security forces.
He said civilian populations were crucial to military operations, adding that there was hardly any operation these days that did not involve the civil populace directly or indirectly.
According to him, it is for these reasons that the participation of the police, other security agencies, as well as civilians from strategic ministries, departments and agencies on the course has become inevitable.
Our correspondent reports that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor and other services chiefs as well as the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba attended the dinner.