Early Childhood and National Development: A Case for Toys, Libraries and Playgrounds

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Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth-Writer

I have read about free school meals being proposed by The Federal Government of Nigeria and I would therefore like to make some comments.

Liberian Soccer star George Weah in a message to the World Food Summit then in Rome was to Say ”More Food in Africa would lead to better football in Europe.” More food would lead to not only “better Football” but also better Literature, better Mathematics, better Engineering and better Medicine because when African Children are well fed not only their bones are well developed for physical activity like sports but their brains are also well formed for academic pursuits.
When the Americans realized that they had been beaten in the Space race by the Russians with the launching of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, then in 1957 they began to take early Childhood Ideas seriously.
We have been out-paced in many races by smaller African countries . Is it not time we began to take early childhood ideas seriously?
Besides free meals for Nigerian Children I would also like to propose, playgrounds, toys and libraries for children as it has been variously put forward by the Adetoun Ogunseye and Biola Odejide led International Board of Books for Young, Nigeria Chapter and and the Mabel Segun founded Children’s Literature Association of Nigeria.
On Play grounds, my Physics Teacher in The Secondary School, Sola Ayangbayi, then at Loyola College Ibadan, used to say: ”If you did not attend a nursery school you could not hope to understand Physics”. This was an an important point he was making. What you find in a playground in nursery school including the Swings, See-Saws Merry Go Rounds, Slides, Rocking Horses and Rocking boats help to develop cognitive function and can be be used to illustrate salient aspects of the foundation discipline of Physics known as Classical mechanics. Classical Mechanics is in a large part about Objects in Motion and it was Isaac Newton who said “Ignorant of Motion: Ignorant of Nature” Infact , I later on saw a documentary produced by the Germans under the title, PHYSICS OF THE PLAY GROUND” It should be noted here that the Germans gave us the word KINDERGARTEN meaning” Children’s Garden” So far no Nigerian President has passed through Kindergarten . They all started from primary school. Maybe Kindergarten should be made compulsory. in Nigeria.
One had to learn German in other to study Physics in its Lingua Franca. It was the German Rocket
Rocket Scientists, led by Wernher Von Braun who helped to land the Americans on the Moon with the Apollo program in 1969. Gottingen in Germany used to be the Mecca of Mathematicians and the German soccer team is known as the “German Machine” because of the prowess of the Germans in designing Machines.
According to Professor Segun Sowunmi, a Mathematician , now late and then Nigeria’s leading exponent of creative thinking, Nigerian Children should be provided with toys, that help them to think in three dimensions.; toys that help cognitive function; this ability to think in three dimensions comes very useful in solving certain Mathematics and Engineering problems like in the design of machines for instance. It was Obafemi Awolowo who said ”One of the badges of poverty is the inability of men to invent and maintain machines”. The Europeans do not grow Cassava but Europeans export Cassava processing machines to Nigeria and as the Engineer and Ex President Olusegun had observed, the Japanese do not eat Pounded Yam but at one time they were exporting pounded Yam Machines to Nigeria. The International Toy Libraries Association(ITLA) also asserts that : “play, playthings and playful interaction are essential to optimal educational, physical, psychological, social and cultural development and well-being.”
As regards Literature for children , a study carried out in the United States showed there is a correlation between the achievement imagery in Children”s books and the quantity of Steel and Electricity produced in the U.S. over a given period. We need books with a Nigerian cum African flavor. Books that would fire the imagination of Nigerian Children .It was Albert Einstein, Physicist and the greatest scientist of the 20th century who said” Imagination is a lot better than Knowledge”
With all that I have stated I hope the Early Childhood experts, Chid Right Advocates, Nutritionists, Educationists and Scientists would step forward so that these Nigerian children would grow up not only to win the World Cup but also to win Nobel prizes and land Nigerian Space crafts on planets and Comets

Your government appears to be a that of a “Northern Agenda”

I was a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari during the Presidential election and I casted my vote for him. At this point, I am still a partial supporter and I still believe if PDP had won the 2015 Presidential election, Nigeria may have disintegrated into total chaos and probably a failed state. However, some recent appointments of head of parastatals and agencies and the lack of action taken when appointees of the President are involved in scandals, is suggesting there may be a “Northern Agenda” in place for the Northerners. Some even less qualified or experienced when compared to the pool of choices available are chosen from the North while their counterparts from other regions are overlooked. Also it seems the EFCC is mainly targeting  certain regions of the country while the Northerners are given a free ride on the fight on corruption.

The most recent appointment by PMB is for the position of MD of Nigerian Port Authority, another Northerner albeit a woman, Hadiza Usman was appointed. This appointment came 2 weeks after the newspapers and blogs on different articles point to the favoritism played on appointments which tilts towards the North.

It has long been suggested that PMB is there to establish Northern and Muslim dominance on the people of Nigeria, which to a certain extent should be expected being a Northerner and a moslem, but why make it so glaring and blatant without considering viable candidates from other regions? At a time when the environment of the country is quite tumultuous with the East calling for a Biafran nation, Niger Delta militants are again bombing and destroying the oil rigs, the nation’s source of livelihood, and the West screaming marginalization is not the time for the President to show partiality towards a region or religion. Sir, you are reminded that the 2015 election was not only for the Northern Nigeria but for Nigeria which consist of different tribes, languages and religions that must form the nucleus of your government. We voted for real CHANGE and not for favoritism and nepotism.

I am also forced to ask the following questions: What are the criteria used in picking or making appointments in this sensitive positions? Are the “Kitchen Cabinet” pointing out this system of appointments to the President as being biased? Why are the APC leaders from other regions of the country quiet on this issue? Is this the change we voted for? And finally why is the President not briefing the citizens on why these appointments are lopsided and tilted to the Northerners?

Also, in the news lately are instances where members of the cabinet or head of parastatals have been accused of embezzlement, corruption or forgery and yet the Presidency is quiet on the matter. We have seen instances in other countries where Ministers resigned or step down after similar accusations are leveled against them. Already, the President has been accused of witch-hunting, this would be a perfect time for the President to tell Army Chief Tukur Buratai and the Controller-General of the NPS, Ja’afaru Ahmed, to step aside and defend the allegations leveled against them in order to preserve the integrity of his reign. People are already comparing the current government to his previous tenure as the Head of State in 1983 when non-supporters were jailed for various offenses and the masses were screaming austerity and suffering.

In conclusion, I still believe in President Buhari, just that the the decision making should not be for the Northerners alone but for Nigeria as a whole. Let’s not make NNPC stand for Northern Nigeria Petroleum Company. Empower EFCC to go after culprits regardless of party affiliation. Grow the nation by appointing competent individuals from other regions of the country, let your appointments represent the map of Nigeria. Doing all these would prevent animosities and help you to concentrate on more serious matters facing the nation.

Open letter to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a must read-Yoruba ronu

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I came across this article and I found it interesting enough to share on the blog. It is written by Bayo Adeyinka. please read and comment, we would like to know your opinion.

By Adebayo Adeyinka

My dear Asiwaju,

I am compelled to write this open letter to you because of the state of affairs of the Yoruba nation. Firstly, I wish to acknowledge that fate has put you in a prime position to determine to a large extent the direction that the Yoruba people will go. The indisputable truth is that one may quarrel with your politics but your sagacity is never in doubt. Even those who don’t see eye to eye with you agree that you are imbued with unusual native intelligence, uncommon people skills and unrivaled foresight. You, more than any other person, has been the game changer since the advent of democracy in 1999. It is for these reasons that I have chosen to direct this letter to you.

My singular purpose is to tug at the strings of your heart. I am not writing to appeal to partisan considerations but to see, if per chance, I can pour out my heart to you in a manner of speaking. God has blessed you even beyond your wildest imagination. You have installed Senators and Governors. You have removed Governors and even a President. You have also installed a President. There is nothing you have wished for or desired that you didn’t get. Fortune has smiled on you. Goodwill follows you everywhere you go. You have done very well- more than most men ever will. However, there is one area that is begging for your urgent attention. This area may well define you and all you have ever achieved.

This matter, in my opinion, is the only difference between you and the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Let me restate for the purpose of emphasis that this is the area in which the late sage and Leader of the Yorubas stand head and shoulders above you. It is the reason his name has been a constant denominator in our regional and national politics. It is the reason politicians, friends and foes invoke his name for political advantage and personal glory. It is also the reason why we can’t stop talking about him almost thirty years after his death. What will anyone say about you thirty years after you have transited?

Asiwaju Sir, you may be wondering what I’m talking about? It is the issue of legacy. According to Peter Strople, ‘Legacy is not leaving something for people, it is leaving something in people’. Legacy is building something that outlives you. Legacy is greater than currency. In the words of Leonard Sweet, ‘ What you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy’. You can’t live forever, Sir. No one can. But you can create something that will. Enough of speaking in parables- I shall now speak plainly.

When destiny brought you on the scene, we were enamoured because you championed the case for true federalism. It was your belief then that the Yoruba nation will fare better under a restructured arrangement than under the type of unitary government we run while pretending by calling it a federal government. Everyone knows that there is nothing federal about our government at all. If truth must be told, the Yoruba nation has fared very badly since the advent of our new democracy. And this is not about holding power at the centre.

Let me bring this home: someone passed a comment recently that he would want Biafra to become a reality because he knows the Igbo nation will survive. That comment led me to deeper introspection as I wondered if the Yorubas can truly survive. Let me cite my first example. From Oyo to Osun, Ogun to Ondo, Ekiti to Kwara and Lagos, hardly will one see any serious industry or manufacturing concern owned by a Yoruba person. I am not talking about portfolio businesses or one-man business concerns. Most industries in Oyo State are owned by the Lebanese. The native business and industry gurus who dominated the landscape- Nathaniel Idowu, Amos Adegoke, Lekan Salami, Alao Arisekola, Adeola Odutola, Jimoh Odutola, Chief Theophilus Adediran Oni and others- are all gone with no credible replacements. I’m sure you remember the tyre factory of the Odutolas and how Jimoh Odutola was even asked by the Governments of Kenya and Ghana to set up a similar factory in their countries.

Bayo Adeyinka

Bayo Adeyinka

Chief Theophilus Adediran Oni, popularly called T.A Oni & Sons started the first indigenous construction company in Nigeria. He willed his residence- Goodwill House, to the Oyo/Western state government, to be used as a paediatrics Hospital, which is now known as T.A Oni Memorial Children Hospital at Ring Road in Ibadan. This sprawling family Estate and residence was cited on a 15acre piece of land, 65 rooms, with modern conveniences, Olympic Swimming Pool and stable for Horses, etc.

People like Chief Bode Akindele started companies like Standard Breweries and Dr Pepper Soft drink factory at Alomaja in Ibadan. Broking House built by the late Femi Johnson, an insurance magnate, still stands glittering in the mid-day sun as an epitome to a rich history that Ibadan has. The most serious and only notable Yoruba entrepreneur we have now is Michael Adenuga. I say this quite consciously because most of the other names are oil and gas barons. Most of what stood as testaments of industry in Oyo State are gone— Exide Batteries, Leyland Autos and many others. In its place are shopping malls and road side markets but no nation develops through buying and selling alone- especially when you’re not actually producing what you’re selling.

Hypermarkets and supermarkets have taken over because of the need to feed our insatiable consumer-appetite and foreign tastes. In one instance, an ancient landmark in the form of a hotel was demolished to pave way for a mall. That is how low we have sunk. If our past is better than our present- if we always look back with nostalgia frequently, then there is a problem.

The case of other states is not different. Osun’s case is pathetic. Ditto for Ondo and Ekiti. Ogun State can boast of some factories at Sango-Otta and Agbara axis but most of them are not owned by the Yorubas. There is no significant pharmaceutical company owned by any Yoruba except for Bond Chemicals in Awe, Oyo State- and its wallet share is very insignificant. For Lagos State, more than 70% of the manufacturing concerns and major industries in the State are owned by the Igbos. If the Igbos were to stop paying tax in Lagos State, the IGR of Lagos State will reduce by over 60%.

In contrast, Sir, go to the South East and look at the manufacturing concerns in Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi. Please don’t forget those were areas ravaged by civil war a mere forty something years ago. The Igbos have certainly made tremendous progress but the Yoruba nation has regressed. I wish to state that this letter is not meant to whip up primordial considerations or ethnic sentiments but just to put things in proper perspective.

Asiwaju, I will like to also talk about the state of education in the Yoruba nation. Our education has gone to the dogs. We have a bunch of mis-educated and ill-educated young men and women roaming the streets. Ibadan, for instance, had the first University in Nigeria and the first set of research centres in Nigeria ( The Forestry Research Institute, the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), The Nigerian Cereal Research Institute Moor Plantation (NCRI), the NIHORT (Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research), the NISER (Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research), IAR&T (Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training), amongst several others). Ibadan was the bastion of scholarship with people like Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, D.O Fagunwa and Amos Tutuola as residents. In the May/June 2015 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, Abia came tops. Anambra came 2nd while Edo was 3rd. Lagos placed 6th while Osun and Oyo was 29th and 26th. Ekiti was 11th, Ondo State was 13th and Ogun State was 19th. In 2013 WASSCE, only Lagos and Ogun States were the Yoruba States above the national average. If we do an analysis of how Lagos placed 6th in 2015, you will discover that it was substantially because of other nationalities resident in Lagos.

For proof, please look no further than the winners of the Spelling Bee competition which has produced One-Day Governors in Lagos State. Since inception in 2001, other nationalities have won the competition six times (Ebuka Anisiobi in 2001, Ovuwhore Etiti in 2002, Abundance Ikechukwu in 2006, Daniel Osunbor in 2008, Akpakpan Iniodu Jones in 2011 and Lilian Ogbuefi in 2012). Sir, there is something seriously wrong about our state of education. From the vintage times of Obafemi Awolowo who initiated ‘free education’, we have regressed into a most parlous state.

Let me talk about roads, housing and infrastructure . The first dualized road in Nigeria, the Queen Elizabeth road from Mokola to Agodi in Ibadan was formally commissioned by Queen Elizabeth in 1956. The first Housing Estate in Nigeria is Bodija Housing Estate (also in Ibadan) which was built in 1958. The state of roads in the Yoruba nation has become pathetic. Our hinterland are still largely rural. Even some state capitals like Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti are big villages when you compare them to towns in the South East. How many new estates have been built over the last decade? Even Ajoda New Town lies in ruins.

We have abandoned the farm settlement strategy of the Western Region and only pay lip service to agriculture. Instead of feeding others like we once did, others now feed us. We plant no tomatoes, no pepper and the basic food that we require. The Indians have bought the large expanse of water body that we have in Onigambari village. The water body in Oke Ogun of Oyo State can provide enough fish to feed the whole of the South West. From being a major cocoa exporter many years ago, one can point to just a few vestiges of factories that still deal with Cocoa in the Yoruba nation. 80% of Cocoa processing industries in the South West have been shut down. The Chinese have taken over the cashew belt at Ogbomoso in Oyo State. They have even edged out the indigenes as brokers.

They now come to the cashew belt to buy from the local farmers, sell on the spot to other Chinese exporters who now process the cashew nuts and import them back into Nigeria at a premium. Sir, there are only 7 major cashew processing plants in Nigeria and you can check out the ownership. The glory has departed from the Yoruba nation.

Apart from Asejire, Ede, Ikere Gorge and Oyan dams built ages ago, where are the new dams to cater for increased population and water capacity for the Yoruba nation? How have we improved on what our heroes past left us? Maybe apart from certain areas in Lagos State, others can’t even supply their citizens with pipe-borne water.

Our youth which we used to take pride in are largely a mass of unemployed and unemployable people. Have you noticed the abundance of street urchins, area boys, touts and ‘agberos’ that we now have all across the Yoruba nation? Have you noticed the swell in the ranks of NURTW (I mean no disrespect to an otherwise noble union)? Have you noticed the increase in the number of Yoruba beggars? There was a time that it was taboo for a Yoruba man to beg- but no more. The spirit of apprenticeship is dead. There was a time that people who learn vocational skills celebrate what we referred to as ‘freedom’. While that is largely moribund now in the Yoruba nation, the Igbos still practice it with great success.

The only thing we can boldly say the Yoruba nation controls is the information machinery- the press. We own largely the newspapers- the Nation, Punch, Nigerian Tribune, TV Continental and a few others. It is because of our control of this information machinery that we have rewritten the narrative in the country with the misguided self-belief that things are normal and we are making progress. A look beyond the surface will prove that this is so untrue.

We are largely divided. For the first time in the history of the Yoruba nation, religion is about to divide us further- and it is starting from Osun State. You are married to a Christian. My own father-in-law is an Alhaji. That is how we have peacefully co-existed but the fabrics are about to be torn to shreds because of poor management of issues. Afenifere has been reduced to a shadow of itself.

OPC that once defended Yoruba interests has gone into oblivion. Yoruba elders have been vilified in the name of politics and partisanship. It is no longer news to see teenagers throwing stones at their elders because of their political indoctrination. Even under the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Yorubas never belonged to just a single party- yet our unity was without blemish. Now, our values have gone down the drain.

Asiwaju, I believe I have said enough. The task is Herculean but I believe Providence has brought you here for such a time like this. It is time for the Yoruba nation to clean up its acts. What do we really want? How can we quickly right the wrongs? The Yoruba nation is in a state of arrested development. The Yoruba nation is gasping for breath and crying for help. Will you rise up to the occasion? I am aware you understand that all politics is local and charity begins at home. Our fathers gave us a proverb: ‘Bi o’ode o dun, bi igbe ni’gboro ri’. I know there are no quick fixes but I also know that if there is anyone who has the capacity to do something about our current situation, that person is you. This should be the legacy you should think of. Your legacy is our future.

Yours Very Sincerely,
Adebayo Adeyinka

EFCC and the Federal Govt means business on corruption, see what they did to this new building

A newly opened diagnostic center on Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja has been taken over by EFCC. St. Solomon health Care Ltd., a state of the art diagnostic centre was branded with a big red instruction that say ‘EFCC KEEP OFF” in front of the building.EFCC3efcc2
Nobody is willing to divulge why building was branded and or who owns the building during a visit to the property, in fact, the guards prevented us from taking pictures during drive-by visit.

In my opinion, since this is a facility that would help our health section, and whoever built it kept the money our economy rather than taken overseas, it should be allowed to open and run business as usual while investigation is on-going. This is better than buying properties off shore and the citizens don’t benefit. Just my 2 cents on the matter.


It is either I do not understand economics and how exchange rates work or a vast majority of us Nigerians still don’t get how we have wrecked our country with our own curious choices. Just this morning I was listening to the radio and the lady on air went on and on about how she thought CBN governor Godwin Emefiele was incompetent and should be sacked because the naira was now exchanging at 309 or so to the USD. That view pretty much echoes the sentiments expressed by many people I know and it amazes me that there are Nigerians who actually think there is some magic POLICY that can make the Naira strong in the near term. If my economics and my understanding of the way the world works are right, then that is as far from the truth as Jesus Christ is black.

The simple fact of the matter is that apart from oil that accounts for over 90% of our revenues, we really don’t have much of an economy. We hardly produce anything, we import even toothpicks, so exactly what policy is going to be implemented that will turn Nigeria into a top exporting economy in the near term? Where are our Apples, IBMs, Disneys, GMs, General Electrics, Coca Colas, Empire State buildings, Statues of Liberties, Lockheeds, Citibanks, JP Morgans, ExxonMobils, NBAs, Super Bowls etc? Let me bring that closer home. There was a time long ago when Nigeria had a truly strong economy and the naira was one to the dollar – even exchanged for higher than the USD, but that Nigeria is not this Nigeria. Sadly that Nigeria was laid by the British, and this Nigeria (if you don’t believe in the nonsensical imperialist conspiracies like me) – fueled by the DAMAGING Indigenisation Decree, has been the creation of us Nigerians.Back then we had a booming economy.

We were either the top, or among the top exporters, of timbre, cocoa, groundnuts, rubber, palm oil, etc, in the world. Nigerians not only holidayed at home in their villages, at Yankari Games Reserve, at Obudu Cattle Ranch, at Oguta Lake, at Ikogosi springs, at Gurara Falls, at Mambilla Platueau, etc, we attracted international tourists who brought in loads of foreign exchange. Even Nigerian schools were foreign exchange earners because they attracted foreign students. We had different car assembly plants – Peugeot, Volkswagen, Anamco etc. Nigerian government officials only bought vehicles assembled in Nigeria for official cars. We had a thriving sports industry.

We were not Man United or Chelsea fans, we were Rangers or IICC fans. We had the Nduka Odizors, people made money from sports. We also had companies like Lennards and Bata producing school shoes in their thousands, we had the thriving Nigerian Airways and the Aviation School in the north that produced some of the best pilots in the world. In those days if you were brilliant you were respected much more than the crass money-miss-road contractors of today. Most of the Aje Butters I knew had fathers who were university dons. Back then it meant something to ‘know book’. Our textile industry was alive and well. Just recently I watched a news report on the textile industry in Nigeria on CCTV News. Though the main focus was on the comatose status of the industry, I was stunned by the gigantic Kaduna Textile Mill built in 1957. I could go on and on.

Today however, no thanks to our parents (and we must call them out the way Wole Soyinka did his generation) and many of us (and we should be remembered for failing our children if we continue like this), we have destroyed everything. Today for instance Nigerian football (which comes easy to me obviously) doesn’t appeal to us, we have to fly across thousands of miles to watch ‘our’ clubs play. Every year we collectively burn billions of Naira being fans of clubs that give us nothing back, but some ‘entertainment value’ – simple pleasures for which we are ready to destroy the future of our children. Well people, payback time is here. Even with our ta-she-re money we all want to wear designer clothes and carry designer bags, Armani, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton etc.

We all want to drive jeeps with American specs, our children must now school overseas and acquire the necessary accents to come back home and bamboozle their ‘bush and crass’ contemporaries that they left behind. Who holidays in Nigeria anymore, is there Disneyland here? No one buys made-in-Nigeria school bags for their children, after all no Superman or Incredible Hulk or Cinderella on them. We are no longer top exporters of anything and the demise of oil means we have zilch… zero. A country of 170m fashion-conscious people has no textile industry. We take delight in showing how our made-in-Switzerland Aso Ebi is different class to everyone else’s. When we help our musicians grow and pay them millions, they repay us by immediately shipping the monies overseas to produce their “i-don-dey-different-level”music videos. It makes no difference that distinctly Zulu dancers are dancing to a Nigerian highlife song. As stars concerned they also wed and holiday overseas to impress us all. All the musicians who acknowledge their Ajegunle roots now speak in a cocktail of strange accents to symbolise how much they have blown their monies overseas.

Were we a more serious people, the highly popular Kingsway Stores of the past would probably have a thousand outlets pan Nigeria today supporting a massive agriculture industry among others, but today we have the likes of SPAR, Shoprite, dominating the retail industry while Kingsway is dead. And we Nigerians make it a special point to shop from the Oyinbos who have ‘cleaner shops’, ‘better this and better that’. For our personal pleasure we don’t mind them dominating us in our own backyard and shipping proceeds overseas.

I could go on and on, but I don tire. Even as you are reading this, stop for a moment and look around you. What you see will probably explain why we are lucky it is not N1000 to the USD yet. And don’t think for a moment that it cannot get there. Just continue to wear your Armani gear and Swiss-made lace, continue to spend your money on Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barca and encourage your children to do same. (My article tomorrow in my Saturday column in This Day is on the Nigerian champions Enyimba FC – Nigeria’s most successful club – not having a sponsor, yet Nigerian brands pay over N600m to Man United and Arsenal for sponsorship to impress us.) Ehhh, no problem, continue to tell me the NPFL is rubbish or the clubs should clean up their act if they want sponsorship, mo gbo. Don’t curtail your interest in choice wines ( we were the number one champagne consumers in the world in 2015), continue to love your American specs, cheer the education ministry for letting schools sink to pitiable levels, don’t fight them to improve our schools, don’t chide them for letting schools drop Nigerian history and embrace British, America and whatever else curricula.

Carry on with your love of French wines and Chinese silk, don’t bother about Jamiu Alli when there is Roger Federer. Stock up on your Italian, American, British products which you cannot live without, including the ‘baby soft’ toilet rolls produced only in that small unique village in England – the days are long gone since you were a broke student who used wet newspapers to wipe your butt. Don’t even consider holidaying in Nigeria, it’s too dangerous – you have to fulfill your dream of being Nigeria’s Henry Ford. Don’t listen to people like me who have a wardrobe full of only cheap adire that is actually cheaper than just one of your Tom Ford blazers. Please keep dressing in fine silk made in some exotic place so you can be addressed accordingly. Finally keep letting corrupt leaders who have looted your commonwealth and shipped all the monies overseas get away because to attack them does not fit your political narrative. Let us continue with the fine life, let us all continue to work for Oyinbo. But don’t forget that there is payback time and Emefiele is not your problem. Time for us all to look in the mirror and take responsibility.


Akala- Ajimobi ‘reunion’: The lesson for the youths-By Festus Ogun

RIGHT from time, from 2007 to be precise, it has been a tug of war between Abiola Ajimobi and Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State. The two started the war in the 2007 state governorship elections. Ajimobi, who was then the flag bearer of All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), lost to Alao Akala of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
Since four years periodic election is the stipulation of our constitution, another governorship election was held in the state four years after. Ajimobi, again, contested on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Alao Akala on the same platform of PDP. This time around, the story changed. Ajimobi had the highest votes while Alao-Akala came second, which means that he, Ajimobi, now carries the mantle of leadership of the state.

Four years after, another festival of election took place in the state between these two warriors and among others. Ajimobi, the incumbent governor, re-contested on the platform of All Progressive Congress and Akala, for the Labour Party. After the election, Akala again lost to Ajimobi by coming third in the political race.

Since or before 2007, thousands of lives and property have been lost and damaged in the name of elections. As part of Nigeria election characteristics, many lost their lives before, during and after the three gubernatorial elections. Many were seriously injured in the name of loyalty to these two politicians.

According to reports, most of those who died during an electioneering season were youths. Our youths are too catholic than the Pope. They give blind political followership. In fact, some of them are used as political thugs by these politicians for their selfish ambitions, while their children are abroad, having reaped from the sweat of these thugs.

Many of these youths who are meant to be friends, so as to serve as a formidable voice for the youths, are now enemies because of political differences. Though, it is natural and normal for the youths not to share the same political ideology, all the same it must not get to the level of hatred and killing of one another. If one goes on the social media, one would see the way and manner the youths throw foul words at one another in the name of defending their political leaders.

Sadly, many of them are not even known or catered for by these politicians. Politicians are usually busy enriching themselves while the youths come online to make unnecessary dins at each other. Many have gone far to ‘block’ themselves just because of their loyalty to one politician or the other. All these have or are still happening between and among the youths in Nigeria, Oyo state not being an exception.

However, it should be pointed out that not all these youths join the bandwagon. Because of poverty, many have to involve themselves in election violence to eke out a living. Unemployment is also a cause of political violence by youths during election. When these jobless youths are given tokens, cups of rice, etc., all they begin to do is to support the candidacy of such a person to any length.

Some of those referred to as area boys, garage boys, cults and members of road transport workers are also deployed as tools for creating violence before, during and after elections. Since most of the above mentioned are illiterates, except those in the cults, they are easily enticed and manipulated with little cash. Politicians also make use of higher institution cultists to actualize their dream in a violent and cruel way. These sets of youths are the key players in the “politics of do or die.”

May I seek the attention of readers to claim that our politicians are promoters of criminal activities in the society. One shouldn’t forget that the weapons distributed to these youths are not recovered from them after the election. After elections, they use the lethal weapons to engage in all manner of criminal activities which are detrimental to the society.

Hence, the graph of criminal activities rise dramatically day after day. What then happens is that it becomes very difficult for the government that once ‘used’ them to flush them out of the society. It is against this background that the reunion of Akala and Ajimobi becomes interesting and instructive.

Ever since the 2007 elections, Akala and Ajimobi have always appeared amiable, at least when they meet in public. It should be recalled that the duo embraced at the reception of Iyalode Ibadan in 2007 after the election. A similar thing happened after 2011 elections. The one that took many by surprise was that which happened recently at the Adegoke Adelabu post-humus centenary birthday celebration. These two warriors of Oyo politics embraced openly, which was described by one newspaper as “signaling an end to their political bitterness.” If this is true, which I think is the case, what then is the fate of those youths?

To prove the fact that he’s ready to put an end to all the differences, Alao-Akala joined or purportedly joined APC. Whatever may be the case, he’s in support of Ajimobi, his erstwhile political opponent. Akala has also vowed not to return to PDP, supposedly leading his supporters to the APC.

Another national newspaper also reported “his defection to the APC in Oyo State would most possibly spell the death of the opposition in the state.” Ajimobi on his own part described the coming of Akala to APC as a good omen for the party and Oyo State in general. And he has also gone further to refer to Akala as his ‘boss.’ All these symbolize the burying of the hatchet of political hatred and bitterness between them.

With these outward manifestations, words and actions, it requires little or no imagination to discover the fact that the duo of Akala and Ajimobi have reunited. Additionally, now that they are or will be in the same party, it simply means that they will have many things to do in common to serve the interest of the party and the state.

The lesson

It is known to all that in politics, there is no permanent friend or enemy. Akala and Ajimobi were once political foes; today, they are united. My concern is to those youths that are supporters of either to the bone marrow. The question for those that can die for one politician as against the other is: now that those for whom you are killing yourselves are ‘one’, what is your fate? This question is crying for answer.

Let’s even talk about those that have lost their lives or whose properties were damaged before, during and after the three elections. Who are they going to wage war against, now? What is the gain from all the problems they’ve caused to themselves and families? To those that have become enemies because of either Ajimobi or Alao-Akala, where are those you are fighting for? Is it not that you have only been wasting precious time?

Wake up! I mean, you should wake up from your long slumber, Nigerian youths. Politicians are not worth dying for since, those that were enemies yesterday are or will be friends today and vice versa, why should you stress yourself over them? Let’s begin to think…

It is high time we got focused and determined and abstained from all forms of distractions caused by the (chameleonic) politicians. Those we claim to die for have built their career and have enjoyed life so much—even before we were born.

Ajimobi and Akala are now happily working together. Yes, it is normal. It will leave a well-meaning youth thinking of the need not to embrace blind followership or blind loyalty to politicians. Let us consider for a moment: what has become of those that have died in the course of giving support for one of these men? Where are they today? (is it even my business). Anyway, may their gentle souls find peace. (Amen).

• Ogun is a 200 Level Law Student, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye ( festusoguntv@gmail.com)

Political Whores: Now Alao Akala, former Oyo State Governor under PDP switching to APC

Sometimes one has to wonder if belonging to a certain political party in Nigeria is about one’s ideology or just going with the party that is in power or going to where the money is? Case in point, Former Oyo State Governor Alao Akala under the umbrella of PDP is now switching party to the current ruling government. He is making the saying “politics makes strange bedfellows” more explainable than before. Considering he is now joining the same party with his known political foe Governor Biola Ajimobi who unseated him to become the current Governor.

For APC to remain credible, politicians switching parties especially this late after the elections should be screened and scrutinized before being admitted into the party. It will be recollected that after losing in the PDP primaries for the governorship position in the recently concluded election, Alao Akala switched parties to become the flagbearer for the same position under Labour party, he finished a distant third in the race. It is the belief that most are switching to the ruling party to prevent them for being investigated for their past atrocities.

In a more civilized world, a politician joins a party based on the way he or she reasons. The way you reason has to go with the ideas of the party. Example is the United States political parties. You are either a Republican, which makes you a conservative and reason along that line, or a Democrat whose ideas are more liberal and believe in big government. But then when you look at party manifestoes in Nigeria, you can’t tell if the the parties are conservative or liberal.

Alao Akala said his decision to leave Labour Party the party he defected to a little over 12 months ago has become expedient considering that the different political parties were set to commence their congresses, as well as the fact APC offered the best political platform at the moment. Which leads to the questions: “platform for what”? Did he not see that before he joined the Labour party? Why now? Or could it be he is joining APC to get under the umbrella protect himself from being probed? It shows lack of integrity. Yoruba’s say “Igi da, eiye fo”(the branch of the tree breaks, the bird took off).

For the best interest of the country, ruling party should have a strong political opponent keeping the ruling party from abusing the power entrusted on to them. If most members of the opposing political party defect to the ruling party, it makes the opposition weaker, this creates monopoly and the “change” that happened in the last election would be impossible to achieve again if need be. Politicians like Alao Akala should abolish their selfish interests for the sake of developing a nation in need of development and growth in all areas. We need opposition voice to the ruling party.

11 reasons Nigerian men run from marriage

When it comes to romance, Nigerian men are known to be actively engaging. Apart from their culture of carrying the financial burden of relationship with women, they harness every opportunity to appeal to their lovers, be it on social-network sites, in their respective offices, religious organizations, gym centers, parks, clubs among others.
Despite the many romantic attributes that could be said of men in Nigeria, women still hold a contrary account about them. Predominant among the contrary views women hold against men here is that no matter how romantic they are, getting them to the altar for marriage could be very challenging.
So, what are those factors that scare Nigerian men away from marriage? We have tried to compile some reasons that make most men feel jittery to converse on ‘Marriage’ as topic, feel free to add yours if not in our list.
No wife materials
Common among some men is the reservation that there is scarcity of ‘wife-materials’ in Nigeria. In this case, they are not referring to ladies not being in quantifiable distribution among men, what they are complaining about is that most ladies of this generation lack the necessary attributes that will qualify them for the lifetime commitment called marriage. If this is the case, time of quality search can help heal the wound of such man.
They get sex freely without marriage than in time past
Realizing now that they can get sex more easily than in times past, when ‘virginity’ for women was a pass value to marriage, some men now feel lot of women today have lost it when it comes to keeping themselves whole. But, this might not be the fault of women as promiscuity is not an exclusive act than can be carried out without the consent of either gender.
Nigeria weddings are expensive
In a country where a man is expected to marry a woman in three different kinds of wedding- Religious, Traditional and Court, the cost of marriage no doubt is something men find very intimidating. As of last year, the average Nigeria wedding cost something like N500,000 and the it goes upward from that to more unimaginable cost. For most people, especially in this economy, that’s a lot of money. But all we advise is that men should try and cut their coat according to their material
In search of a ‘working class’
Today, most Nigerian men are in search of a wife capable of sharing financial responsibilities with them. Gone are the days when men marry ‘full-house-wives’, the increasing cost of living has tilted most men in favor of ladies who have a means of livelihood and willing to share with their man, the burden of building a home.
Fear of freedom
There is a common belief among some men that marriage puts an end to one’s freedom. Single men today are much more proud about not being dependent and being on their own. They fear marriage because they will become answerable for every action they take to their spouse. That is one big responsibility some men are not ready to take up.
One of the predominant question most men will secretly ask themselves before making the decision to marry are, Will my partner make agitated about me being in office for long hours? Will he or she understand my love for my career? These are cogent questions and answering these questions could slow the decisive actions to be taken on marriage plans.
Unrealistic Expectations from In-laws
Some parents have set certain standards for anyone who will marry their child, either way be it that such expectations are from the groom parent’s or bride, the regulations sometimes affect relationships. If the expectations are behavioral, the challenge might be little but e are some discouraging situations where parents decide the profession qualifications, properties, etc that must be acquired by the suitor before they can give out their child to him in marriage.
Trust issues
Most times, people fear to get committed into a relationship because of trust issues. Some men have been bruised in their past relationships and therefore they don’t want to put themselves out there.
Bad Testimonies from Married couple
Generally, most men get intimidated by marriage as a result of the testimonies they hear from those in marriage. Before getting into marriage talks, it is a common thing among men to ask their brothers, friends who are already married on how the social institution is and the testimonies they get are most times discouraging, as such they fear their marriage will be a replica of the testimonies they have gathered.
Cultural limitations
Nigeria is a country with diverse culture and The diversity sometimes create challenges for men who are in search of women with similar culture. The good thing though is that those who endeavor to explore inter-cultural relationships get the opportunity to gain an in-depth appreciation of other customs.

You’ve got a life and friends that you are happy with.
If a girls shows up that’s cool, but you are not sweating it because every day is an awesome new adventure full of phone calls from loved ones, cupcakes, yoga classes and dance parties. You enjoy each minute, focus on the positive and when you are down (a symptom of life, not just single life) you have 500 friends to call, because you have spent time on all types of relationships, not just the kind that will lead to marriage. Friendship-the realest investment a man can make.

Culled from Vanguard and Jezebel.com

New Governors To Watch


May 29 brought in a new set of state Chief Executives who promised to hit the ground running once sworn into office. Few weeks after, some are already matching words with actions. ANDREW ESSIEN, PAUL CHIAMA and ADAH ABAH write.  

From the beginning of the last election’s campaigns, Nigerians were bombarded with promises that ranged from the believable to the unimaginable and then the outright ridiculous. It has been over two weeks now since the inauguration of new helmsmen across the states. Some have started to make good on their promises and define their administrations for the next four years (at least), while others are lamenting the huge financial commitments they inherited from the previous administrations and how it will take them ages to pay back talk more about settling down to work.

In what will define their leadership style and bring constant focus to them in the next four years, the following are some of the governors whose emergence and actions in the last few weeks after the swearing -in ceremonies has captured public interest and attention.

Nasir el-Rufa’i (Kaduna State)

Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i of Kaduna State is one of the new governors that the citizenry is expecting to make serious impact in governance. Apparently aware of the huge responsibility that rests on his shoulders, the governor declared during his swearing -in that “We pledge to avoid ostentation and foolish bigmanism, and to value transparency, modesty and accountability.”

He kick-started by forfeiting 50 per cent of his salary pending when the financial situation of the state improves, the pay cut also affects the Deputy Governor, Mr. Barnabas Bala, while cutting down on the number of commissioners including the declaration that the administration would “guarantee free and compulsory basic education for every child up to JS3, regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity.

On security, the governor promised to work with law enforcement officials to drastically reduce violent crime in the state including “communal violence, cattle-rustling and armed robbery.” if the successes recorded during his time in the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and Ministry of the Federal Capital is anything to go by, the people of Kaduna state are in for a big treat.

Abdullhai Umar Ganduje (Kano State)

Since the return of democracy in 1999, the name of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has always been heard in corridors of the Kano state government House. Having been a two-time deputy governor in the first and second coming of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015, a lot is also expected of him.

In view of the dwindling resources and as part of efforts to reduce cost of governance, the governor is rationalizing Ministries and other agencies in the state in order to reduce the cost of governance, as well as to increase its internally generated revenue.

Ganduje has promised that his administration will complete all inherited on-going projects and initiate new ones even as he added that priority attention would be given to environmental sanitation in view of its importance in the scheme of things. This has led to a contest between local governments across the state to contest on which will emerge the cleanest.

Muhammadu Abubakar (Jigawa State)

Governor Muhammadu Abubakar’s private sector background may be a breath of fresh air for Jigawa state as he is eager to justify the mandate given to him. After his swearing in, governor Abubakar declared that he is going to ignore the debt profile inherited from the past administration asserting that “debt should not hold down government and governance.

He also invited technocrats and business tycoons, notable is Aliko Dangote, who has even promised to start a Sugar and rice factory which will create jobs and boost internally generated revenue for the state. The vibrant youths in the state are not left out as the administration is re-engineering the youth empowerment programme so that it trickles down to the very people it was intended for, irrespective of political affiliations and without unnecessary protocols.

Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar (Bauchi State)

In what looks like taking a leaf from his counterpart in Kaduna state, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, after taking over the reins of government, in a state-wide broadcast announced 50 percent reduction in his salary alongside that of his deputy Engineer Nuhu Gidado. This, he said, is done in good faith as a mark of leadership by example apparently to provide the best leadership to the people of the state and in keeping with his campaign promises.

He also dissolved the council care-taker chairmen of 20 LGAs including heads of boards and parastatals, froze all government accounts in every bank, suspended pending transactions except for MDAs with essential services who were, directed to apply from the governor’s office, and suspended the resignation of civil servants from the services of Bauchi state government all in a bid to ensure equity and accountability in the business of government.

While promising to tackle the enormous challenges facing the state, the governor said he will institute a robust monitoring and evaluation framework in the areas of both service and project delivery audit to ensure better planning, prioritization and implementation of policy and programmes of the government.

Simon Lalong (Plateau State)

One Governor who is likely to bring the desired democratic change to his state in no time from now is Simon Lalong of Plateau State. Lalong, whose emergence as governor of the state marked the end of the over three-decade rule of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), spoke hope into Plateauans when he said “The policy thrust of our administration will anchor on peace, security and good governance, human capital development and social welfare.”

Lalong is one of the governors who inherited huge debt and social crisis; yet he appeared undeterred in his resolve to bring the state of peace which has not known peace for a long time out of the wood: in his inaugural speech, he urged the unpaid striking workers to suspend their action, promising them a better deal from his administration.

Without wasting time, Lalong has swung into action; he has appealed to the police as well as the Fulani and Berom community leaders to end the incessant attacks on innocent citizens in the state. And the State has enjoyed relative peace in the last three weeks of Lalong’s reign.

If his grand plan for commerce and trade in a peaceful atmosphere is prosecuted to the latter, there is no way Lalong will not make the list of best governors at the end of his tenure.

Darius Dickson Ishaku (Taraba State)

To say that there are high expectations before Governor Darius Ishaku is an understatement owing to the state record in the past few years. Infact, Ishaku had, on one of his campaign tours across the 16 local government areas of the state, assured the people he would ‘rescue Taraba’ from its socioeconomic, infrastructural and security challenges if voted in.

Ishaku promised to rescue Taraba State from the stranglehold of illiteracy, disease, poverty, unemployment and social vices while assuring that his administration will harness the potentials and endowments in agriculture, tourism and commerce and industries, as well as pay attention to education, health, water and sanitation and strategic infrastructure, using leverage from development partners and engaging public-private-partnership (PPP) option.

Abubakar Bello Sani (Niger):

Given the inaugural speech and the commitment of a true compatriot professed by the just sworn in Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, immediately he took the oath of office exactly three weeks ago, many would have been convinced that the people of the 39-year-old state will be among the top beneficiaries of the political wind of change that have started blowing across Nigeria.

Referring to himself as a change agent, Governor Bello says his immediate concern is to make an impact: “I see myself as a Change Agent-whose primary mission is to chart an effective and sustainable development path for the State….”

Bello made passionate promises of a better living standard for the people of the state which include among other things, charting an effective and sustainable development path for the state, running a transparent and people focused government, leading by example, proper assessment and management of the state’s resources, repositioning the civil service for optimal performance.

His determination to bring to an end the 16-year rule of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, with a focus on Education, Healthcare and Youth empowerment, will definitely place him among the best performing governors in due course. Now the die is cast; the Governor has started with appointing principal officers of his administration. Nigerians are eagerly waiting and hoping for the best that is to come.

Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State):

it is not in doubt as to the fact that Ambode ran one of the most vibrant campaigns in the view of many stakeholders in one of the largest states of the federation. In an interesting twist of fate, the governor, born on June 14, 1963, became the 14th governor of Lagos State. Even though he inherited what is arguably one of the best performing states before the general elections, the reality that poverty still pervades the land is not in doubt.

On assumption of office, Ambode created three totally new offices to project his development plan for the state; the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment and Office of Civic Engagement came into being.

Going forward, he has promised to “run an open government of inclusion that will not leave anyone behind. No matter your age, sex, tribe or any other status, as long as you reside in Lagos”, knowing how fierce the period of politicking was, he also pledged to make Lagos work.

Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State)

Ifeanyi Okowa Delta state governor

Counting on the succour and improved life his campaign promises are to present them with, Deltans, especially youths, are looking unto the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa with huge expectations. Before the April 11 governorship election where he emerged as governor of the state, Okowa had promised youth and women empowerment as an issue to be tackled by his administration. Deltans can still remember this if they recount Okowa’s speech when he visited Bomadi and Patani local government areas of the state during his pre-election campaign. There, he stated his resolve to engage Delta youths and women in productive ventures which could improve their lives.

Okowa’s promises also included all-round development in the state, to boost agriculture, improvement of health sector, industrial growth and massive infrastructure development.

After assuming office, one of the first steps the Delta governor has taken is the recent sack of about 3,000 workers engaged in the state from 2013 to 2014 on the ground that the process of their recruitment was a complete fraud. This step, he took, regardless of the relationship existing between him and the immediate past governor of the state, Emmanuel Uduaghan under whose administration those workers were employed by the state. This gives an indication of the governor’s commitment to place the interest of the state above personal interests in his resolve to give Delta a face-lift.

Ben Ayade (Cross River):

If the campaign promises heaped in the minds of the people of Cross River State is anything to go by, then, there will be great improvement which will put smiles on people’s faces in the state. The state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, seems to have adjusted his trouser in readiness to fit into responsibilities that need to be performed in the state.

Ayade has earlier indicated his familiarity with the poor masses when he emphasised that he came from a very poor background which will be an advantage to be explored in governance of the state. According to him, he knows what it means to be poor, having come face to face with poverty earlier in his life. He, therefore, promised to do everything within his disposal to improve the welfare of the people of the state.

During his electioneering campaign period, Ayade promised job creation for youths in the state. He strengthened this promise by adding that his government would create 1000 jobs within his first 100 days in office. Similarly, the governor has promised to establish a garment factory in Cross River both for job creation and revenue generation.

During his inauguration, Ayade promised to set in motion a process for the realisation of a new Cross River. The people of the state are also filled with hopes over his promise to establish a seaport in his first term as well as dualize Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja-Obudu road.

Considering these, the governor could be said to have filled his hands with promises that will ensure wide impacts in the state during his administration if faithfully implemented.

Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State)

Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, is not left out. He seems to be poised to move Abia to greater fortune. As rare as it is, he recently banned courtesy visits by supporters and well-wishers to allow him to concentrate on the responsibilities ahead in the state. This is at parallel with the interest of some governors and other public office holders who are very comfortable with receiving delegation of visitors as a way of gaining popularity.

The governor made his reasons clear when he said that “Because of the enormity of the task ahead, I require all the time I can get to plan to ensure that I justify the enormous confidence you have all reposed in me”.

Indeed, Ikpeazu has a good understanding of the need to consolidate on the economic potentials of the commercial city of Aba in the state. He, therefore, quickly announced the creation of the Office of Aba Urban Renewal. This, according to his government, is to demonstrate the level of importance he placed on rebuilding the commercial city.

This singular step places the Abia governor in the eyes of the public as one who intends to leave the state better than he met it, considering especially that Aba is a huge contributor to the economic sustenance of the state, apart from presenting youths from the state and beyond with entrepreneurial opportunities. To have given this industrial and commercial city widely referred to as “Japan of Africa” this timely attention is, to say the least, a positive step and an indication of readiness to make impact in the state soon. The governor has also decided to operate from Aba in order to be able to monitor the works going on there.

Buhari must hold corrupt military officials accountable

Nigeria’s security sector needs a radical overhaul, with an emphasis on improving professionalism and accountabilit

On June 3 the London-based Amnesty International released a scathing report accusing the Nigerian military of war crimes, based on hundreds of interviews, satellite images and leaked military documents. The revelations came only days after Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in, after his election in March.

The report recounts the military’s abuses in Nigeria’s conflict-affected northeast. It documents the arbitrary arrests of 20,000 Nigerians, the extrajudicial killings of an estimated 1,200 civilians and the deaths of at least 7,000 Nigerians held in military detention centers.

The Nigerian military’s abuse of power and lack of accountability is not new. Over the years, it has shown a stunning lack of professionalism, has engaged in gross human rights violations and suffers from high rates ofsoldiers being absent without leave on the front lines of the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. In fact, its grave improprieties have fueled the conflict, which has claimed nearly 19,000 lives and displaced an estimated 3 million to 4 million people since 2002.

Buhari has proposed to relocate the military headquarters to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and the center of the Boko Haram crisis. Reining in corruption and the military’s abuse of power is key to effectively countering the insurgency. Amnesty’s report offers Buhari a unique opportunity to do just that. He can send a clear message to the military brass by removing the officers implicated in the report from their positions and launching an investigation into the alleged abuses.

Throwing more money and soldiers at the insecurity in the northeast has proved ineffective. The security sector needs a radical overhaul, with an emphasis on improving the professionalism of its forces and accountability for human rights violations. Buhari’s reputation as a former military leader who took on corruption and indiscipline suggests that he could radically reform the military to prevent more abuses. But he can’t do it alone. The precarious state of the Nigerian economy makes international support critical to facilitating that effort. While Nigeria’s allies may now recoil from military partnership, the latest revelations underline the importance of international cooperation to promote professionalism and restore trust to Nigeria’s security sector. Rescinding military assistance to Nigeria would only increase the likelihood of more human rights abuses, further galvanizing Boko Haram and destabilizing the country.

Ending the alleged embezzling of funds intended to finance the campaign against Boko Haram should also be part of Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign. Prosecuting those who diverted funds from the military to their own pockets would demonstrate that no institution is above the rule of law. A 2012 survey by Afrobarometer, an African independent research group, found that 53 percent of Nigerians don’t trust the police. The lack of public trust in the security sector represents a significant threat to Africa’s most populous nation.

Boko Haram has capitalized on this mistrust and the erosion of legitimacy in the security sector. During the Giwa prison break in March 2014, the insurgents reportedly gave detainees the option of returning home or joining Boko Haram’s ranks once they were freed. The incident was featured in a propaganda video from the group that portrayed the rebels as the defenders of innocents persecuted by the state. Amnesty found that more than 600 of the detainees released during that raid were recaptured and extrajudicially killed by the military.

In light of Amnesty’s report, Nigeria’s allies, including the United States, must take critical stock of the security assistance they provide to the country.

The killings of suspected Boko Haram members and civilians serves as another useful recruiting tool for the group. “In a village in Kaduna state, Muslims were pushed into a dug-out hole and gasoline was poured on them before they were set ablaze,” Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in a 2011 statement directed at Nigerian Muslims. “What did your government do about this? We are aware of how they are persecuting the ordinary people in the city.”

In light of Amnesty’s report, Nigeria’s allies, including the United States, must take critical stock of the security assistance they provide to the country. U.S.-Nigeria relations are strained, but Nigeria is one of the top recipients of U.S. military aid in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving an estimated $1 million in 2014, in addition to the funding it receives through the multimillion-dollar regional security partnerships such as the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership and the Global Security Contingency Fund to counter Boko Haram.

The Leahy amendment, which prevents Washington from selling weapons, sending aid or providing training to foreign security forces that commit human rights violations, may complicate Washington’s ability to support the Buhari administration’s fight against Boko Haram. The U.S. must rethink its military partnership with Nigeria with an eye to the military’s lack of professionalism and credibility to ensure that its support improves the military’s conduct.

Any international support that focuses on providing weapons or financial assistance to Nigeria’s military will do little to restore stability to the country’s troubled northeast. Nigeria intensified its campaign against Boko Haram in May 2013 when President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states and escalated it again in February after the presidential elections were postponed over insecurity in the region. The offensive against Boko Haram has since gained support from neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger as part of an African Union–backed force. As Amnesty’s report illustrates, though the government has drastically increased the military’s budget, corruption in the military has prevented this assistance from making it to the front lines.

International cooperation remains critical to defeating Boko Haram. But the Buhari administration must prioritize security sector reform by implementing accountability in the chain of command, undertaking measures to professionalize soldiers and police officers and reducing the military’s reliance on vigilante groups.