Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (Retired)

There are times when we make history and there are times when history makes us. With all modesty, one undiluted truth about Dan-Ali, is that he is a man gifted with high degree of intelligence, professionalism, integrity and steadfastness in his arsenal, the weapon he used to calm situations and brought about peace that went a long way among the Nigerian states as Minister of Defence.

As far as we understand politics, there are many great leaders this country has seen, but here is a person whom we consider extremely impressive and professional.

We’re not talking about his decisions, his person or diplomatic relations or such big words, there are many intellectuals on this political clandestine to discuss these things, I think there are many other traits of a good politician, so here is the person I’m talking about.

Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (retired)

There are many names worth mentioning and I can’t argue that many of them have better policies and decisions than Dan-Ali, because he is not perfect but just human, but the reason that i mentioned him, is that he is a selfless servant worth emulating, and with whom a common person can relate with easily.

Like a household name, Dan-Ali has remained a formidable factor in the military and political equation of Zamfara state and Nigeria at large.
Thus, his towering and unparalleled status has elevated and precedes him.

Dan-Ali’s foray into partisan politics after retiring from the military informed by his service to the nation and some of his philanthropic antecedents which have thrown him up for recognition and that underscores his grassroot and wide network connections.

Our society today is usually quick to identify a bad leader, but how to identify a good one? What would most people say makes a good leader? Like any craft, leadership requests that you know from your mistakes and continuously work at strengthening your weakness. We need a good leader to help us make the essential large-scale decisions that keep the security and peace of the nation moving. We also believed that leaders are not born, but made, and are molded through experience, continued study and adaptation.

Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali, a Brigadier – General, who retired from Nigeria Army in 2013, and became a partisan politician, to become Nigeria’s minister of defense, upon his appointment by president Muhammadu Buhari, on November 11/2015, at a time when parts of the country was on boil. The northeast was under the siege of ideologist extremists who have picked up arms with ruthless delusional ambition of creating a caliphate within the Nigerian state and were indeed, already controlling quite a number of local government area councils in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Gen. Dan-Ali is known to be an outstanding officer/commander with no mean repute, he is credible and efficient in character and learning, he contributed immensely to the fight against insurgents as the minister of defense, when the country was at the verge of comatose. He fought Boko Haram in the northeast, Niger delta militants from the west, the group who chose to make the country ungovernable.

He also organized “Operation Awatse” which was an operation between members of the Armed forces and police to flush out all manners of criminals, including militants and economic saboteurs who specialized in pipeline vandalization to steal the nation’s oil wealth in the creek and other riverine areas. A special operation command for the Nigerian Air force in Bauchi and also the enhancement of allowances for both the serving and retired benefits of Armed forces personnel, and made sure no Armed forces are left out.

Dan-Ali established 6 and 81 Divisions of the Nigeria Army that handles various security challenges in the Niger delta region, Port Harcourt & Sokoto, Nigeria, explaining that the regions had suffered a lot of criminal activities, like sabotage of oil facilities, illegal bunkering, kidnapping and other violent crimes against humanity, and declared that the newly established 6 & 81 Divisions would perform their duties with the highest sense of professionalism and respect for human values.

In November 2017 he was at a meeting of Islamic military counter terrorism coalition in Ryad, Saudi Arabia, where he appealed for humanitarian assistant programme for the north eastern Nigeria and other areas affected by the activities of the insurgents. The Saudi Government promptly responded to his call and offered food items worth Ten million dollars ($10M) in aid to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northeast.

In Ankara, Turkey in 2017, Dan-Ali called for speedy ratification of the military training corporation agreement and the defense industry corporation agreement between Nigeria and Turkey by the parliaments of the two countries to enable the Nigeria military benefit from training at Turkish institutions and joint military exercise with the Turkish Army.

General Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali was commissioned a lieutenant in 1984, rose through the ranks and held various commanding positions, including Battalion Commander at the United Nations Hybrid mission in Sudan (UNAMD) Pioneer Commander, 32 artillery Brigade Akure, Nigeria, Commander 32 artillery Brigade Garrison, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Commander 301 artillery general support regiment, Gombe, Nigeria, among others, during his career in the military, with several honors to his credit, including the prestigious harmony and united nations medals, Silver golden jubilee medals, passed staff course Daggar, distinguished service star, meritorious service star, forces service star and a distinguished member of the national defense college of Bangladesh.

He is a man of few words, a philanthropist to the core and a card carrying member of Nigeria’s ruling political party, the All Progressive Congress(APC) he was a delegate to the 2014 National conference, where the nation’s wise men and women were assembled to proffer solutions to the country’s political problems, he attempted to contest election to represent his people at the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria in 2015, but by Providence he did not go to the senate and became the minister of defense.

Dan-Ali was heard saying he joined partisan politics because he believed that committed purpose-driven servant leadership can provide people with the tools that will empower them control over their destinies.

He is among those who ushered in the current political dispensation, on the road to success, the rule is always to look ahead.

Every election is a choice, and the year 2019, the choice could not be more clear, and even more a choice between personality and integrity. Dan-Ali’s choice was yearning for his people to come home and serve them with utmost sincerity and professionalism at his disposal, that’s why he decided to join the race and contest for Governorship office in the 2019 general elections.

The same 2019 conspiracy and injustice that clouded the political atmosphere of Zamfara state that couldn’t present a single candidate to clinch the Governorship ticket and made APC lose completely and left the state irrelevant.

Dan-Ali professionally holds two (2) masters degrees and a fellow of Nigerian institute of Surveyors (FIS) A masters degree in security studies, Bangladesh university of professionals, 2009 & public policy and administration, university of Kano, (BUK) Nigeria 2004/2005 respectively. He holds Higher National Diploma (HND) in photogrammetric and survey engineering, Kaduna polytechnic, Nigeria 1977/1982 and has presented several papers both locally and internationally, including, a paper titled ” REGIONAL SECURITY ASPECTS” Perspectives from Nigeria’s fight against insurgency, at 8th Moscow Conference on international security on April 29th 2019.

Mansur Dan-Ali is an astute manager of people and all-inclusive leader who respects the rule of law and follows due process in his dealings. Professionalism is one of the greatest weapons in his arsenal. His service delivery mandate as minister of defense serves as benchmark to measure the success of the ministry he chaired in 2015 when the country was in a critical and trying time.

The voice and aspiration of the people is deafening, the yearning is like a rushing of mighty water calling for Dan-Ali’s expertise, professionalism and service delivery mandate, he left an exemplary leadership and outstanding performances as minister of defense when Nigeria was ravaged by Boko haram, militant and kidnappers and crime and criminality was rampant.

The more reason Nigerians, especially the northeast are yearning and aspiring for expertise, professionalism, skills and approach of Dan-Ali towards fighting terrorism and other forms of crime and criminality in the country at large. We believe if his services are engaged one more time, Nigeria and Nigerians will reap immense benefits of quality and long lasting peace across the Nigeria states.

Dan-Ali’s vision and philosophy of leadership and service delivery mandate, intrinsically ideological, speaks volume and presents a systematic roadmap towards achieving a lasting solution to insecurity that is tormenting this great country. Many believed and are emphasizing that there is work to be done and fast. They believed Dan-Ali has the requisite experience, vision and commitment to take the country out of insecurity challenges and give her a solution that will go a long way.

Just recently, Dan-Ali was on a special mission as international election observer at the just concluded Niger presidential election, under the auspice of CEN-SAD, Sahel African countries.

As a philanthropist Dan-Ali has a passion for the vulnerable and less privileged children in the society, he extend his benevolence hands and built a school called EL-EMAN Nursery/primary school which he donated to his community and facilitated the establishment of eight command secondary schools at different locations to create more access to education by the less and vulnerable children. He holds the traditional titles of YARIMAN BIRNIN-MAGAJI & SARKIN YAKIN ZAMFARA.

Without any iota of doubt or contradiction Dan-Ali is the right man to tackle insurgency in the northeast and kidnapping from across the regions, he is tested and attested to be the best in what he is assigned to do. Today every committed Nigerian’s wish is for peace to take its course and reign again, for development and programmes to take place.

It is time Nigerians stop giving into religious fight, it is time to stop following misleading religious leaders, it is time to look at each other through the common thread of humanity disregarding all religious differences, let us cultivate a culture that encourages peaceful mental relationship. These are words of marble.

Haruna Yusuf – Editor, Commentator & political activist, wrote from Abuja.