A security consultant, Mr. Ladi Thompson, has made an impassioned plea to the Buhari administration to deconstruct Nigeria’s “War against Terror” and recalibrate the response of the nation away from the narrowly-militaristic purview and towards a more holistic engagement of enemy forces, in the light of an understanding that the nation faces a battle of the narratives, in which terror is just a component.
Calling the aggression against the nation, a ‘shifta war,” Mr. Thompson reasoned that the forces of contra-nationalism abroad and internal subversion at home are united in striking blows in the forms of “malignant cancers” which eat up the Nigerian nation from her insides.
Mr. Ladi Thompson was speaking during an interview in the Sun Rise Daily of the Channels Television on Friday, monitored by Lamprace.
Being that the attack on the nation is essentially geared at annihilating what might remain of its already-fragile nationalism, Mr. Thompson urged government to realize that it Nigeria’s best chance at victory abides in re-labeling the war as a national war, not the conventional military effort. In the new war approach, Mr. Thompson counselled, the average Nigerian citizen will be a part of ‘Nigeria’s enlarged, ubiquitous Army,’ but commandeered by strong and compelling narratives in Nigerian nationalism.
What the enemy aims at is to incite fear in Nigerians, through banditry, kidnapping, rapes and murders. The trauma liberated will ensure that the little Nigerian economy further atrophies, and people completely loose hope in their nation, Mr. Thompson added.
Africa’s pre-eminent leader, Muammar Ghaddafi had cautioned that: “Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin.”
Executed to be misunderstood within the capsules of religion, ethnicity or tribe, terror and trauma in the Nigeria attrition, he reminded, are just a part of a singular objective: to dismember Nigeria.
It has become necessary, more than ever before, Mr. Thompson continued, for the Presidency to make the “Declaration of a National War” – inspiring the people and calling ALL to ‘arms,’ and guiding the publics’ patriotic urges into war channels.
In safeguarding Nigeria’s National Interest and winning this war, Government would need to articulate counter-narratives against the enemy weapon of narratives, and execute a controlled campaign or rally around such narratives, peopling the media and publishing, Business, education and research.
Deriving from the educated view of Mr. Thompson, Lamprace conducted a brief research into other-nation experiences and responses to existential threats.
As is popularly stated, leaders are dealers in hope. And leaders have had to lead people inspirations to confront and counter national adversities. Leaders achieve this by selling narratives of hope against disdain, courage against fear.
This was precisely what Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, was doing when he stated: “America was not built on fear; America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
The world witnessed a classic engagement in the battle of the narratives, when the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, roused the British people to defend the Empire against the onslaught of Hitler and his philosophy of Aryan race superiority.
Hear Churchill, in the popular We shall Never Surrender speech: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our stand, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”
On 18 June 1940, barely a month after taking over as Prime Minister and sensing that Britain would be next after the fall of France in the hands of Hitler, Churchill had addressed the British House of Commons, where he delivered the legendary “Their Finest Hour” speech.
He said: “The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in the island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a New Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their Finest Hour.”
By the Great Depression of 1932, American stocks had lost fifty percent of their values and the United States of America was confronted with severe economic crisis and hunger. People took their own lives, in frustration. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, the 32nd president of the United States, in offering to drooping hearts stepped in with the “New Deal.”
While addressing the United States Congress, FDR said: “I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps to be used in simple work. More important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work.”
Yes, the Nigeria’s war on terror has frontlines feeding off Nigeria’s national fault-lines. What are required are new narratives laced with messages that extol the nation, encourage her citizens and unify her peoples. More ever before, Nigeria needs her own Churchill, her own FDR.