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By Deolu Oyebode

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It’s official, I had a Masters Degree (with Distinction) in Security and Intelligence, from that great University, whose foundation was laid exactly 50years ago by that British heroine, who eventually rose to become the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, The University of Buckingham. The school is a small and highly competitive one, with just 3,000 strength across all levels (undergraduate and postgraduate). Only a privileged few attend here. This is a school that had graduated Nigerian Senators, Governors, Business tycoons, past and serving Ministers, and the current Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, among other African sons and daughters. It’s a household name in the United Kingdom, like our great Ife!

Great news! All thanks to God.

However, this is not the story.

My desire for a foreign studies was a very big project because from the first step to the last were all risk-involved; Course, Career, and Funding. Permit me to take you along this journey with this post. Like I said, it’s all about hope, self rediscovery, supportive partner, and the pursuit of a better Nigeria.

Academics and Choice of Course:
This was a guy who had a Third Class in Biochemistry. Will Oyinbo people give admission to him based on this?

Option 1: Well, I had postgraduate diploma in Journalism. Should I just apply for a Master’s Degree in Journalism or Media Studies?

Option 2: I have always loved Public Policy. It’s my passion. I have been involved in private and public sector policy development on different topical areas and it’s been a cool one. As a matter of fact, I got handsome pay in all of them. I once enrolled for a Postgraduate in Public Administration but suspended the program because of the 2014 reelection of my erstwhile principal which we eventually lost and by the time I was back for the program, it was a story of ‘unfortunately, you cannot continue this program’. So, another option was for me to go alongside my passion.

The icebreaker: What do you actually think humanity and Nigeria need, at a time like this? Our security is a call for global concern. Poverty is looking at us right in the face and above all, the rate of unemployment is worrisome. So asked by my wife?

Thinking big and very big, better put, I concluded that the anchor and end result of this all is INSECURITY. So I threw in my hat into the ring to study this unique course, SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE, coupled with the fact that it also included Security Policy Development and Advisory.

I was already enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminology and Security Studies at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Coupled with my work experience as a law enforcement officer in Nigeria, I took the risk. The available slot was limited because the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies had the best minds within the UK’s Intelligence Community. Prof. Julian Richards, Ass. Prof. Ian Stanier, Ass. Prof. Melina Dobson, Dr. Tanvi Pate among others, are leading authorities in this field globally. They were retired officers of the MI5, GCHQ and advisors to the British Government at several times. It’d be a great one to be trained by the UK’s best, so to say. Attending trainings and conferences at the Sandhurst Royal Academy and trips to troubled zones in the UK were the least I could ever imagine.

Remember, my 3rd class was a baggage and I never imagine that my NOUN program that I was enrolled, not completed as at that time, could be considered, for this competitive Uni.

I was given the admission conditionally till I could provide my transcripts from NOUN. NOUN is one of the best schools when it comes to transcripts and results. I got them handy in time and behold, I was admitted.

Career: I work with one of the best law enforcement system in Nigeria, the NSCDC. I thank the leadership for the support when it mattered. My background was a step closer to my dream.

I met best minds across the globe. Police Officers, Diplomats, retired and serving diplomats, Career Senior Civil Servants, Financial experts and Security enthusiasts were my classmates. Every teaching was inspiring, inciting and critical on security governance. Seeing big names entering classroom to teach and meeting those you could only read in books having handshake with you and gisting like old friends is inspiring.

My people, at BUCSIS, we tore Insecurity into pieces! Damboroba shege, as my Northern Nigerian friends would say.

We were trained not just taught, like small children. No “la cram, la pour”. You’ll be questioned based on what you have been thought and expected to know. It was all about providing advisory notes, reports and security policy documents to “big men”. I began to wonder, how did these people know that these are all we needed in Nigeria, that made me come here for studies.

My one year journey at the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies is the best risk that I took and actually worthwhile.

I thank everyone that supported this journey.

Above all, I give special thanks to my wife, the Odogwuress, who single handedly paid my school fees and managed the home to the very last penny.

A question that my friends both in Nigeria and UK have asked me, is Deolu, do you really believe in Nigeria this much, that even your suits and clothes have the Nigerian map lapel always? Affirmatively, I am a very proud Nigerian. A better Nigeria is possible.

Can Insecurity be reduced? Yes, to the barest “if the system wants”.

Congratulations to me!

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