Tag Archives: Nigeria

Ekiti elections

Africa Confidential on the Ekiti elections, ungated at the moment:

The most obvious conclusion is that a well-financed and highly aggressive campaign with a bad policy record backed by state security will trump a decent policy record presented by less ruthless campaigners. [...]

State security also intervened to stop Fayemi’s fellow governors [...] from going to Ekiti on the eve of the poll. Under such security conditions, Lagos State Governor and opposition kingpin Babatunde Fashola questioned whether the vote was really free and fair as did northern activist Shehu Sani. Fayemi had conceded, they said, to avoid a bloody confrontation. [...]

From the effort and finance that the PDP put into the Ekiti vote, it’s clear that its leaders are determined to break the opposition’s grip on the south-west. [...]

Fayose’s team ran a textbook negative campaign – well funded and personally targeted.

“It’s not where you have the rich and mighty people doing their shopping.”

On the attacks on two markets in Jos, from the New York Times:

[Gad Peter, who works in the Jos office of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program, an activist group] was near the blast site on Tuesday. “It’s a business area, but it’s for the very poor,” he said. “There are women selling tomatoes. It’s not where you have the rich and mighty people doing their shopping,” he said.

Africa Confidential on Chibok


This week, the government has been trying to extend the state of emergency for another year in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, all held by opposition parties. Few think the state of emergency has achieved anything, least of all a reduction in attacks. Yet Jonathan’s advisors, such as veteran Ijaw leader Edwin Clark, want to replace elected governments in those states with military administrators.

The crisis has also wrong-footed Jonathan’s political opponents in the All Progressives Congress. Jonathan’s advisors have convinced him that Boko Haram, a multi-sided organisation with local and regional ties, works with northern opposition politicians to destabilise the government. With the State Security Service closely monitoring oppositionists for any remark or action that gives succour to the insurgents, the APC coalition is keeping a low profile while policy, strategy and tactics change by the day. [...]

Politicians of all parties ask how the counter-terrorism campaign, which on average has cost over US$2 billion a year for the past three years, can have had so little effect. Millions have been spent on high-technology gadgetry procured through no-bid contracts and often useless in local conditions. Training and equipping commandos has come a very poor second, say military insiders.

Much of the blame is directed at the politicisation of the High Command. Major Gen. Kenneth Tobiah Minimah, the Chief of Army Staff appointed in January, replaced Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika: both are reputed to be friends of First Lady Patience Jonathan.

Fashola denounces VIP intros

Not for the first time, Lagos state Governor Fashola has denounced certain Nigerian customs in an article discussing his thoughts on the World Economic Forum in Abuja. (H/t to Lola Shoneyin, author of one of my favorite books)

He praises the Forum for the absence of prayers and VIP introductions. He praises the photographers for not blocking the view of the audience with iPads. And he praises the Transcorp Hilton for getting its act together to meet high hospitality standards: “They must choose whether they want to be part of the global Hilton brand name or a bad imitation where all types of stragglers roam about the reception, lobby and even corridors of what should be a hospitality facility of the highest repute.”

If a non-Nigerian had written this article I would scoff at them for focusing on the length of prayers and not more serious issues. But because Fashola wrote this…I don’t know. It’s hard to know what to think.  Complaining about the quality of one of the most expensive hotels in the country, though, is pretty elitist, whether it comes from a Nigerian or foreigner.

It’s really interesting to read this article. You can hear Fashola letting loose a rant that has clearly been building up inside him for years. Some excerpts:

The reason is that this was not a Nigerian event; it was a global franchise hosting in Nigeria.
Think of how many minutes we have spent on prayers at economic and business meetings that are Nigerian. Now multiply them into hours and days and calculate how much productive time we have lost. [...]

I did not see sessions being interrupted to announce the ‘late arrival’ of a VIP who was being led to a front seat where somebody who is not a VIP, but who arrived on time, will have to yield his seat for a person who at best should have been kept out of the venue for tardiness or, at worst, given a vacant seat the BACK of the hall. [...]

I did not see any Ipad and camera-phone totting Mamarazzi and Paparazzi and their better equipped competitors standing in front of particpants and panellists in the ‘Nigerian Way’ and obscuring the view of the audience in the hall.

Full article.

“We know the Nigerian Government…will not bring back out girls.”

Tolu Ogunlesi on Chibok: h/t Carmen, Glenna, Katie

Somewhere between being unwilling and being incapable, we know the Nigerian Government / military / authorities will not bring back our girls. There are those within the government who either do not believe the abductions took place, or who believe it was staged by the enemies of the President and his government to cause embarrassment on the eve of the World Economic Forum. [...]

We know that Boko Haram will not let go of the girls. Boko Haram has proved to not be the sort of terrorist organisation that is open to negotiations. In September 2011, President Olusegun Obasanjo paid a negotiation visit to the family of the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Less than 72 hours later, the man who hosted Obasanjo was dead, in a hail of bullets. Unlike al-Qaeda, there’s no publicity too bad, or no action too extreme, for Boko Haram. [...]

But in the end, this is a crisis that Nigerians will have to deal with by themselves, and not leave to outsiders who are not equipped to understand the nuances that make difference between temporary and lasting success. The world thinks of #Chibok and recalls #Malala, and instinctively casts this as a battle between Islamists and young girls seeking an education. We know that it is far more complicated than that. We remember Mubi and Buni Yadi and all those innocent boys whose slaughter didn’t generate any hashtags. We know that even if we found every single one of our girls today (and I hope and pray we do), we’d still be as far away from true victory as we are now.

Military had advance notice of Chibok attack but did not send reinforcements

A new short Amnesty briefing provides evidence (verified by military officials themselves) that the military–both a local command and headquarters in Maiduguri–was alerted repeatedly, hours of advance, that Boko Haram was heading toward the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, and failed to do anything. On the way to Chibok Boko Haram militants told villagers they were going to Chibok, and in one case asked for directions to the school. Vigilante groups informed the military and the Borno State Governor’s Office. They were assured help was on the way.

Two senior officers in Nigeria’s armed forces confirmed that the military was aware of the planned attack even prior to the calls received from local officials. One officer said the commander was unable to mobilize reinforcements. He described to Amnesty International the difficulties faced by frontline soldiers in north-eastern Nigeria:

“There’s a lot of frustration, exhaustion and fatigue among officers and [troops] based in the hotspots…many soldiers are afraid to go to the battle fronts.”

I’ve read competing reports as to whether the military who were stationed at the school fled in advance or stayed. This report says they stayed but were overpowered, and that one soldier might have died.

Market Men and Women Association in Lagos orders markets shut in Chibok protest

The Market Men and Women Association ordered several big Lagos markets to shut down yesterday to protest the abduction of the Chibok girls.

Though not noted in the article, Lagos traders have been affected by insecurity in the North. Traders from Chad and Niger used to travel to northern cities like Kano to buy cloth, clothes from China, electronics, etc. The Kano wholesale/retailers in turn traveled to Lagos to supply their shops. Because of insecurity in the North, now, traders from neighboring countries don’t travel to Kano, and Lagos traders have thus lost some of their biggest customers, the Kano-based wholesale/retailers.

“Keep it to Borno” -1st Lady Patience Jonathan

In a statement, Patience Jonathan denied local media reports that she had ordered [a protest leader's] arrest but urged the protesters in Abuja to go home, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria said.

“You are playing games. Don’t use school children and women for demonstrations again. Keep it to Borno, let it end there,” the agency quoted her as saying.

From a Reuters article by Tim Cocks.

Teju Cole has had some spot-on tweets:

The First Lady of Surrealistan joins the protests. “I don’t mind being shot,” she said. Who’s going to shoot her?

The First Lady pretends that the perpetual danger to protesters in Nigeria (tear gas, arrests) isn’t from the government itself.

And she pretends these protests aren’t against the unresponsiveness, incompetence, and corruption of the Jonathan administration.


How far now? Come by my side around six

The best part of BattaBox is the Two Angry Men series. Here they discuss dating in Nigeria, and there’s just so much to love. For example, I learned that the modal form of courtship in Nigeria is taking a girl on a shopping trip to Dubai.  


Once a woman says I love you, at the back of her mind ‘I don marry you.’ Once she tells you ‘James I am crazy about you’ conclude in your mind she don wear white gown.

In Nigeria we don’t even ask girl if she wants to go out. It’s ‘How far now? Come by my side around six.’

In the wooing process the girl is sizing you up, sizing you up when bottle of Champagne pass when Hennessy pass… she go check kind of whiskey you go order…sizing you up. Sizing your pocket up.