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Sardauna title celebrates Nigerian intelligence chief

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By Garba Shehou

At On Sunday, the last day of the year 2022, the honor is conferred on one of the best minds in intelligence circles on the African continent, Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, CFR, while the Emir, Abdulmuminu Kabir Usman, turbing him the third Sardaunan Katsina. The Sardauna is a revered title made famous by the late Prime Minister of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, himself the Sardauna of Sokoto.

Before him, Katsina, his hometown, had conferred the first title of Sardauna on Ahmadu Coomassie, a former inspector general of police and a model for all the force and, lately, on Senator Ibrahim Ida, a bureaucrat, businessman and accomplished politician who was promoted to the title of Waziri, Prime Minister of Katsina.

Before they bestowed the honor on him at home, Ambassador Rufa’i had received praise and wide acceptance beyond the shores of Nigeria, especially in the West African sub-region where his intelligence capabilities are known and highly respected, in continental Africa where he has just completed his duties as President of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and in the global intelligence community within which he has become a true benchmark in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. He is well known to our European and Middle Eastern partners for providing in-depth insights into the threats facing the country, West Africa and indeed the entire continent from within and from within. outside.

The Golden Fish, as the reference says, has no hiding place.

Ambassador Rufa’i did not begin this illustrious journey to the top by accident.

The polyglot (he speaks Hausa, Kanuri, some Fulfulde, English, French and Arabic) was chased into the secret service by the Katsina state civil service, which themselves snatched him from college Bayero de Kano where he taught French language and literature.

It had the distinction of being a product of an Arab school which later joined the modern school system and proved itself at all levels.

According to his official biography, the DG and the soon to be turbaned Sardauna were born in the Kofar Durbi area of ​​Katsina to a respected family of Quranic scholars. “As was the tradition in northern Nigeria and even in West Africa, Quranic scholarship took his uncle to the Republic of Chad and he took young Abubakar with him.

Upon his return to Nigeria, Abubakar attended the Arabic Teacher’s College, Katsina, where he obtained his Level II certificate. He then went to Bayero University in Kano where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature and a master’s degree in French-speaking Maghrebian literature. He worked as a lecturer at Bayero University before making an appointment with the Katsina State government. Later, he transferred his services to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA in the 90s.”

At the NIA, he worked as an intelligence officer for many years during which he served at the Nigerian Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, before voluntarily resigning to join the African Union peacekeeping mission. of the AU in Darfur, Sudan.

After meritorious service at the AU, he then joined the United Nations as Director of Peace Support Operations, Mediation Process, Preventive Diplomacy and Good Governance Office. He also worked as Political Director of the United Nations Mission in West Africa during which he, Ibn-Chambas and others oversaw the success of Nigeria’s elections and the transfer of power from a incumbent administration to an opposition winner, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The published biography goes on to explain how, as a senior UN official, the new Sardauna “gained extensive experience in UN peace support operations, the mediation process, preventive diplomacy and good offices, while helping to promote good governance and respect”. for the rule of law and human rights.

Shortly after leaving the UN, to return home and settle in retirement, he was appointed as a senior adviser to the Combined Joint Task Force, MNJTF formed by the republics of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad , Niger and Benin headquartered in Djamena.

Shortly after this appointment, President Buhari recalled him and placed him in the Office of the Chief of Staff as the President’s Senior Special Assistant for International Relations, where he oversaw the diplomatic and politically sensitive issues of the foreign affairs of the country.

Amid heightened tensions and fears within the intelligence services and in the West African sub-region, President Buhari nominated him to succeed the equally cerebral Ambassador Ayo Oke.

Ambassador Rufa’i shone the spotlight on the appointment following succession battles started by some members of the organization who thought it was their turn. In high profile appointments like these, succession battles are nothing new but in the case of this one it was very nasty.

But the governments take the last call, the head of government decides who to appoint to the joy of some and the disappointment of others; and for others, surprises. But it remains.

As the dust settled on the succession of fire and brimstone within the NIA, Ambassador Rufa’i immersed himself in the work, introducing policies and measures that continue to change the intelligence landscape for good. of the nation.

He sought and gained the support of most of his predecessors in power, some of whom had left greatly aggrieved and in a few court cases against the organization that had nurtured their careers. Many of these cases have been dropped.

Among the high turnout of ex-ambassador ce and ex-ambassador that at the Polo event in Abuja to honor the DG for obtaining the title of Sardauna were men and women who in the past , had sworn never to have anything with the intelligence agency. He brought almost everyone, serving and retired from various sections of the country into the tent.

Internal staff issues regarding delayed promotions, lack of due diligence and perceptions of unfair overseas assignments have been addressed and continue to receive transparent and honest attention.

Much is happening to ensure that field staff and those at headquarters are updated through training on the current challenges facing the nation and our neighboring countries. Technology is updated and made available, as are funds to perform essential tasks.

As Boko Haram takes a beating, with nearly 100,000 of them abandoning their arms and accepting peace, Islamic State-inspired terrorists have come knocking on the nation’s doorstep and the well-trained spymasters of The NIA, through effective coordination and collaboration with their national equivalent, the DSS and the Armed Forces and Police continue to steer the nation’s strategic and counter-intelligence efforts in a safe direction.

With a management style put into practice by President Buhari, the country’s security and intelligence agencies are doing more with what little is available.

Although essentially a secret service organization, the NIA morphed into a health center as the nation fell into the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. They housed the highest quality and efficient testing lab in the Federal Capital Territory, which has become the lab/clinic of choice for the nation’s leaders, including the presidency, for coronavirus testing and treatment.

The agency, in collaboration with other partners, is currently making a historic investment in the field of health. The building is in the advanced state of a new mega hospital in Abuja which will house centers of excellence dedicated to cancer, kidney sciences, orthopaedics, trauma, maternal and child care, and a centralized laboratory fully automated high-tech.

A charming personality and very popular in his network, the Sardaunan Katsina is also destined to bring progress and development to his native country.

To commemorate this turban, he did not call praise singers to cheat his ego and invite people to dance parties. Yes, there were polo matches, the signature sport of royalty in Katsina, played in Abuja and Katsina.

But the most remarkable thing that he and the committee of friends who raised all the money from donations for the event are doing is a two-day seminar on “Tradition and Modernity: Trends and Problems in the history of Katsina”. The seminar brings together scholars and practitioners from multiple institutions to interrogate the traditional system of government and suggest ways in which the institution will enhance national development. What remains of the donated money will go towards the construction of a quality primary school that will only serve the children of the poor.

Many prophets, it is said, end up without honor at home. For Sardauna (Ambassador) Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, there is honor abroad and honor at home.

• Shehu is Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity)

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