By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Director-General of the Department of State Services (DG SS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi, and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, have underscored the importance of strategic communication by security and top government officials, as a veritable tool in dousing tension in the polity.
The duo spoke on Monday, at a crisis management seminar with the theme “Strategic Communication in Governance, Security and Crisis Management for Sustainable Development”, held at the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Abuja,
The seminar was organised for participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC 14), as part of requirements for the award of fellow, security institute (fsi).
Addressing the sixty-six participants drawn Nigeria, Liberia, the Gambia, as well as Ghana, the Spymaster said: “The positions you are occupying in the civil service and your respective agencies before you came to this place are strai positions so your position in institutional communication is therefore, very key and he reckons with the fact that you serve as an intermediary between the lower strata of the civil service, and your various agencies and the people at the head.
“You are senior civil servants but you are not the ultimate, you are not at the pinnacle of it all. So, what you present to the top is supposed to be a product that was generated from the bottom to your table, so you are expected to sieve it, bring in your wealth of experience and part of which is the training you are receiving in strategic communication.
“Sieve it, make it sharp to the point and strategically position, to be able to get the result that you want to achieve. Every memo you want to send to your boss is intended to achieve something and the way you communicate determines how you are going to achieve that objective.
“So, as strategic leaders this seminar is very key because what you present to your leaders will determine the outcome of the activities of your ministries, departments and agencies. And if you are in the security sector, often atimes you are confronted with the responsibility of explaining institutional positions on certain things; it is either your institution is attacked from the media , social media one of your own in the institution that something that infracts on the ethics of democracy, freedom of speech and other rights.
“The way you communicate the positions of your services or institutions is very important in assuaging the feelings of people that are offended by your actions. So, it is very key that this seminar is taken seriously and the take aways here, are taken to heart and utilized at the end of the day”.
On his part, the former Governor of Osun State, said: “To me, leadership is ability to predict accurately the future and guide your followers. And be careful here: I am not talking of politics now. A leader that is worthy of that title must have the capacity or vision to see beyond the ordinary, must predict accurately what is there, and lead and mobilize and lead the people into it. It can be in politics, in profession; it can be in business but a leader must able to stand comfortably and say, ladies and gentlemen, this is where we are going today and this are the possum there, these are the challenges before we get ready we will overcome.
“When you fail to have that capacity don’t even aspire to be a leader . It is the absence of such qualities in leaders that our people and continent is backward.
“The leaders of the rebels on the streets obey him because they trust him.They trust him because he never gets it wrong. So they follow him blindly. They rather die following him or so otherwise.
“So, in political leadership, I will say, politicians use prose to campaign; they use poetry to govern. Politicians generally, especially those who know their onions, campaign in prose, but to govern, your head must be on your neck. People say politicians are sweet mouthed, it doesn’t matter. Every politician campaign in prowess and they governor in poetry.
“So, a political leader therefore, is he who can sufficiently mobilise the people to follow him and sustain that love throughout the difficulty of governance because it’s not easy to govern. It’s not about resources. It’s your ability to organize what you have and carry the people along as you are moving and that is where strategic communication comes in.
“You must be able to communicate even your failure learn how to communicate. If you communicate properly to the people who you have mobilized will understand you, and once they understand you, they follow you.