Many saw Seiyefa’s emergence as a succour and providence to change these narratives in the Buhari’s security architecture.
The recent appointment of Matthew Seiyefa as the Ag. Director General Department of State Services (DG DSS) must have come to many as a big surprise.
The surprise may not be that he is academically and professionally bereaved or incompetent to perfectly pilot the affairs of the Nigeria secret police but because many considered such appointment as an anathema under this present administration. Juxtaposing his ethnic extraction side by side with the proven unfavourable sectional and nepotic appointment of the heads of security formations by the President Muhammadu Buhari, his emergence looks like an aberration from the norms.
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Unending criticisms and complaints have continued to trail the rationale and wisdom behind the action of President Buhari to concentrate the headship of the Nigeria security apparatus sectionally in the northern parts against the constitutional stipulated federal character principles. In what has become a serious new media joke to many Nigerians, the appointments are so sectional that Hausa has become official language used during security meetings.
Many that have, in discomfort, made reference to the heads of police, military, NIA, Immigration, Civil Defence and other paramilitary agencies as northerners, saw Seiyefa’s emergence as a succour and providence to change these narratives in the Buhari’s security architecture.
But the appointment seems far from gaining wide acceptability considering the antagonisms and intense debate which have trailed it. For some, his ethnic nationality not competence, automatically disqualifies him to head the service. Yet to others, his southern ethnic nationality ought to provide the much clamoured stabilizer this administration needs to cushion the effects of the perceived lopsided appointment of the heads of security operatives in the country.
Though just appointed on acting capacity, mischief makers have already started labelling Seiyefa as former President Goodluck Jonathan’s man and brother simply because they are from the same ethnic extraction and state of origin.
However, those following events religiously at the DSS would understand that Seiyefa witnessed his longest period in the professional wilderness under the Goodluck Jonathan administration when he was quarantined to the service’s worst posting, the Base Command in Lagos.
He received his worst posting in the service under Jonathan administration yet he meritoriously served there for several years before taking charge as the Director of the Service’s training school, the DSS National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) in Abuja.Painfully, as it may sound, he narrowly missed the appointment as the DG in 2015 due to the same wicked speculation of the tag as Jonathan’s man for nothing other than coming from the same ethnic nationality.
Seiyefa, with a legal background, is said to be a detribalised thoroughbred security professional. He certainly seems to be the man for the job. He may look meek and unassuming, but he is professionally and ruggedly prepared to head the security outfit as sensitive as the Service.
With enviable security experiences gathered and garnered from various operational commands of the service for the past 34 uninterrupted years, Seiyefa is certainly one man who knows where the bones of the service are buried.
Having emerged the Ag. DG through providence after the sack of his predecessor, LawaL Daura, the wicked rumour linking him with former President Jonathan has been pedalled as the likely factor to influence the much awaited decision of Mr President. Regardless of whatever becomes President Buhari’s decision, Seiyefa has provided the opportunity for him to counter the narratives in the mistakes of the headships of the security formations. The confirmation or retaining of Seiyefa will not only right the wrongs of the biased composition of the headships of the security agencies but will also portray him as a nationalist.
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But will President Buhari resist the pressure from the centrifugal and centripetal forces bent on deciding who heads the service wrongly turning into a reliable portent instrument in the hands of politicians to whip everybody into line especially during this frenzy electioneering mood. However, beyond the shenanigans of who finally becomes the head of the secret police, what is incontrovertible is that Seiyefa will be an asset to the present administration.
Having served at different formations and commands in the South, and in the North, where he is known to have worked as both Director of Operations and Intelligence at different times, he will certainly decode the insecurity menace crippling economic activities in that part of the country. With a South-South background, he equally posses the secret code of the activities of the restive militancy in the Niger Delta area of the country. He is also an added tonic to the inroad the administration needs in the South.
Therefore, by every consideration – economic, socio-political and professional – Seiyefa, adequately equipped as an insider, will certainly be an asset and essentially a stabilising force to among other things rewrite the nepotic perception in the appointment of the heads of the security operatives. Already, he left no one in doubt of his preparedness for the task ahead and clear vision of his mandate during his maiden media parley recently. His body language which confirmed him as a detribalised person didn’t come by coincidence considering his many years of posting across the length and breadth of the country.
His appointment, even on acting capacity, could not have come at a better time than now that many have continued to clamour for a professionally-oriented DSS against the Service clearly becoming an instrument of coercion and victimisation by the successive governments.