How Understanding Failures Will Help Solve Nigeria’s Security Problems

Nigeria is home to two of the world’s top 10 deadliest terrorist groups (Boko Haram and killer shepherds). It is currently the third most terrorized country in the world, according to the Global Terrorism Index, and spent much of its annual budget trying to bolster its security, with little or no success. This circumstance, however, can still be studied, analyzed and transformed into a victory. No one wins by quitting, like in chess.

Insecurity has rocked Nigerian religious, educational and even defense institutions. It is therefore understandable that many Nigerians have lost trust in the system and believe that the root of these problems lies in Aso Rock, the presidential villa. There is a need to start looking beyond the blame and see how the Nigerians can unite to fork their enemy pieces one by one until the enemy kings are tamed.

Chess is a game of strategy and striking when opportunities arise. The fight against insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria can only be won with careful long-term strategies against enemies.

Nigeria lost his chief of staff and 10 other servicemen six months ago in a helicopter crash. Even though chess sometimes requires the sacrifice of stronger pieces, it’s sad that in this case it was just a blunder as it was not the case with Boko Haram’s checkmate. The deaths could be attributed to a major error from within the system. This means that for Nigeria to have any hope of winning the war on terror, we must stop making mistakes or gaffes. This is how the game of chess works; players strive to play for perfection, and the loser is the player who does the last mistake.

In chess, you must identify the weaknesses in your position and play to repair or correct them. It’s a way for masters to win games. Nigeria has not yet identified all its weaknesses because despite the number of deaths, kidnappings and destruction of property assigned to the killer shepherds, Nigeria has yet to speak to them in the language they would understand, despite the fact that the international community has declared them a terrorist group. We need to stop being amateurs and stop unnecessary delays, because that can mean we overestimate our enemies. It would even make them stronger.

The Nigerian Ministry of Defense must also seize every opportunity to completely defeat Boko Haram or banditry. Chess requires sharpness vigilanceand ironically the headquarters of the Nigeria Defense Academy in Kaduna has been offensive. Mental and physical alertness must be improved at the Department of Defense if we are to win the war on terrorism.

One of the greatest chess players in history, Emmanuel Lasker, once said that “when you find a good move, look for a better one”. Nigerian defense not only needs good ideas, but also better implementation plans. As an arsenal and chess fan, I know the importance of a good defense not to mention a country of over 200 million people. Our borders must be as solid as the Berlin Wall. Interestingly, the defense of Berlin is one of the safest opening choice for chess grandmasters. Much like the Berlin defense in chess, Nigeria must emulate an impenetrable defensive setup.

It may be interesting to know that women can also play a vital role in the war on terror: Queen Moremi Ajasoro, Queen Amina of Zaria are historic Nigerian women who led their people to victories. If a woman deserves promotion to the highest military rank, she should have the opportunity to lead. Nigeria may be one step away from the best military leadership we’ve ever seen, just as Netflix was one step away from having the the biggest scripted series.

In conclusion, the experts have opined that the hallmark for solving insecurity in Nigeria must be strong political will. No matter how strong a chess player is, the player will lose a game of chess if he simply lacks willpower or motivation. No matter what recommendations we offer, if there is no will from the government whose primary responsibility is security, then we cannot say the same as we see little results.

Babalola is a researcher at African Liberty.

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