UPDATED: “With Acknowledged Copy Submitted to US Embassy” – An Open Letter to Senator John Kerry and President Barack Obama – Re: The Nigerian Elections and Boko Haram

Note: I got a physical copy of this letter submitted to the US Embassy in Abuja on February 10th, 2015 – find copy attached:

Acknowledged-Copy-US-Embassy

February 9, 2015

Dear Senator John Kerry:

I have decided as a 39 year old Nigerian Citizen that has lived in Nigeria all my life to write you this letter – one that I am equally copying to President Barack Obama and Ambassador James Entwistle based on your press statement of February 7, 2015 that read thus:

-starts-

The United States is deeply disappointed by the decision to postpone Nigeria’s presidential election, which had been scheduled for February 14.

Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process. The international community will be watching closely as the Nigerian government prepares for elections on the newly scheduled dates. The United States underscores the importance of ensuring that there are no further delays.

As I reaffirmed when I visited Lagos last month, we support a free, transparent, and credible electoral process in Nigeria and renew our calls on all candidates, their supporters, and Nigerian citizens to maintain calm and reject election-related violence.”

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john-kerry-postponed-elections-nigeria

First, considering your comments and expressed concern about the elections in Nigeria, which was also the prime focus of your last visit to Lagos last month, I would like to present you with the table below – the contents of which I believe your research desk on Nigeria should have been able to provide you with already:

table-1

As you would notice, Sir, April seems to have become the official election date in Nigeria over the last 4 election cycles [the 1999 elections was supervised by the Military] in the same way November has always been the case with the U.S. [for all the ones I have followed in my adult life], and this has been the case under Three Different Presidencies – those of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umar Musa Yar-Adua, and the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. These four elections – always supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] has done these under four different Chairmen – Ephraim Akpata, Abel Goubadia, Maurice Iwu and Attahiru Jega – there is therefore an established pattern here – proving this trend has nothing to do with a season or an individual but the process.

Second, I am equally concerned that your country being the lead-propagators of Democracy around the world that constantly insists on the rights of all citizens to count in a democracy do not seem to concern yourself [at least not within your press statement] with the possible impending disenfranchisement of 23.71 million Nigerian Voters by INEC – being the number of registered members of the electorate that the agency as at February 5, 2015 had not yet provided with their Permanent Voters Cards [PVCs] – as shown in the table below, this number represents a staggering 60% of the voters turn out in the 2011 Presidential elections:

table-2

Seriously, how come the same INEC that begged Nigerians in 2010 to allow it postpone the elections by almost 105 days for the same reasons of not being able to provide the citizenry with Voter’s Cards now seem ever so willing to run along with this election despite several opposing views in that regard as demonstrated by elder statesmen, political action groups and even political parties – seemingly looking like as though only the lead opposition party – All Progressives Congress [APC] seemed willing to work along with INEC to deny these 23.71 million voters of their rights to vote.

Third, it is also noteworthy that this same Obama administration as exemplified by the actions and body language of the State Department under yourself and Senator Hillary Clinton has consistently played the politics of non-committal towards Nigeria in the last 5-6 years considering the massive security challenges the nation has faced in the course of that period – rather issuing positions via those connected to your office ranging from “the Nigerian Government is corrupt and unwilling to fight Terrorism” to “We cannot sell ammunitions to Nigeria to fight Terrorism because we are concerned about the safety of such equipment” yet today, your department and nation now have a problem with a push of these elections’ dates even though the same security challenges which you have abandoned Nigeria to face is now the official reason adduced by INEC and the security forces for these postponements.

I am therefore tempted to ask you the following questions:

  • “If the U.S. was so interested in the peace of Nigeria and knew that elections was a very important part of that, why has the US consistently refused to offer to Nigeria the same commitment and support that it is currently offering to Iraq, Syria, Yemen versus ISIL even though today, Boko Haram could have arguably taken more lives than ISIL in the last couple of months?”
  • “Is there any available statistics anywhere in the world suggesting that “the Nigerian Government is more corrupt than those of Iraq, Syria and Yemen that would warrant for those nations to receive the sort of support they are getting from the U.S. in fighting terrorism that your nation is currently denying Nigeria?”
  • So how come all of a sudden, the U.S. seems more interested in the Nigerian Elections beyond helping Nigeria to fight Terrorism which if it had done well would have helped Nigeria to be better prepared to hold the elections as scheduled?

Four, I would urge your department to desist from giving more impetus to already growing notion within the Nigerian Polity that “The U.S. government actively supports the Nigerian Opposition and would prefer to have a Nigerian of Northern-Nigerian origin with a Muslim Religious background to become the next President of Nigeria in order to help maintain a certain political balance within the Nigerian Polity” – and I am sure that one sure way to distance yourself from this misconception would be for you to respect the Nigerian Constitution by allowing the people of Nigeria to determine their own fate within the ambits of that same constitution by refusing to sign-up to the propaganda being spread by the opposition and their partners within civil society and intellectual class – at home and in the diaspora – that suggests the incumbent government has other ulterior motives aside those given by INEC and indeed other Nigerians, using myself as an example of such people, as I have already enumerated within this letter as the real reasons why a push in these elections’ dates has been necessitated at this time.

Five, those suggesting to your office and indeed the Obama administration that these postponements are similar to efforts to truncate our Democracy similar to the June 12 polls should be deemed a bunch of Alarmists and nothing more because while the that election indeed took place; and a winner was well-known to all before it was infamously annulled, this oncoming polls has not yet taken been conducted neither can the opposition provide you with any verifiable poll – local or international – even remotely suggesting that it will these elections – and as I see it, claiming victory in an election that has not yet been held would be tantamount to heating up the polity ahead of the polls that could result in a repeat of the post-2011 elections pogrom that led to the systematic killing of 800 Nigerians; burning down of 350 Churches; and displacement of 65,000 Nigerians – all within the space of about 3-4 days!

 I close by reminding you of the comments you made while you were in Lagos last month thus: “So let me be clear: Anyone who participates in, plans, or calls for widespread or systematic violence against the civilian population must be held accountable, including by ineligibility for an American visa. Violence has no place in democratic elections, and I can guarantee you that the perpetrators of such violence would not be welcome in the United States of America.”

I dare say that this would be a good time for you, your department and the Obama administration to remind the various parties in these elections that you are very serious about that statement.

I thank you for your generosity in taking my comments to heart.

Yours faithfully

Favour B. Afolabi
Founder and President, Online Republic Media
Lagos, Nigeria.
@favourafolabi

95 thoughts on “UPDATED: “With Acknowledged Copy Submitted to US Embassy” – An Open Letter to Senator John Kerry and President Barack Obama – Re: The Nigerian Elections and Boko Haram

  1. having studied the USA and UK antics in destruction of countries who do not agree with their policy, i am here to state that Nigerian has been enmark and God’s willing they will be put to shame, under no circumstance we will be made to accept same sex marriage as in the case of Uganda.

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  2. Yinka what do you mean by “when citizen have not experienced true democracy, absolutely free and fair election and good governance…” What an insult! You are probably one of those Nigerian runways for fear that Nigeria will catch fire. I am proudly a-no-place-like-home Nigerians. I have traveled overseas a lot of times, but I cannot endure being despised simply because I am desperate to live as a second class citizen in a foreign land. But for you to suggest that US or any western country has the best of democracy and rule of law and so should be a model for us, you are a thousand time wrong and better wake up from your trance. American democracy has veered off the vision of its founding fathers. A democratic culture that exports its values and bullies other nations of dissimilar background to adopt it. A free society that is morally bankrupt, where atheism is on the rise, and name of God forbidden from mention in public places. A hypocritical culture that forbids polygamy but embraces, nurtured and exports homosexuality and redefined marriage to be between man/woman and anything whether animate or inanimate. A culture that has recently shown the world that abolition of slavery was a mistake, and racism still reign supreme. A western culture that thrives on conspiracy, chauvinism and neo-colonialism. You stay there and try to tutor us about an ideal democracy and freedom. Let me tell you the west cannot be a model for Africa as regards what democracy and freedom are. True freedom is the liberty to do what you ought and not the liberty to do what you wish. I believe in true freedom and not in freedom. The latter you are very conversant with, but the former you know nothing about. The freedom of the west is chaos. Check out statistics on the rate of divorce in the West; the rate of suicide; the rate of murder; the rate of drug abuse and addiction; the rate of rape; prostitution; nudity; and violent crime; every bizzarr thing that stuns the world must first take root there, man marrying man, woman marrying woman, what a shame. That is the ideal democracy people like you wish to export to us. So please don’t claim you know democracy better than we do. The truth is that every nation should be at liberty to evolve its brand of democracy that suits its religio-cultural peculiarities. For your information Nigerians at home believe that the refusal of the US to sell us arms to fight terrorism and turning around to bully us to to go ahead to hold election when over 30% of Nigeria stood to be disenfranchised, amidst threat by Boko haram is not only a conspiracy to undermine our national security, but hypocritical. Nigeria government needed nothing else from US in its fight against insurgency but arms and intelligence. It does not need any American troop on its soil. If America is not comfortable with that, well am sorry. Show me any country US soldiers have been to and left it better than it met it. Iraq , Libya , Afghanistan, etc. You seem to be oblivious of wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s revelation on the US. .Please be aware of your environment, and rest not so much in your comfort zone, because you are a visitor there.

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  3. Francis Abogunde or whatever you are called shut up if you have nothing meaningful to contribute. Look at you Americana. All those crabs you listed there, did they originate from GEJ? Have you forgotten other past governments including Buhari’s whose atrocities put us in this mess. I will not support GMB blindly. Just tell this forum one good thing general Buhari did for Nigeria, after he and his gangs picked up arms and overthrew a democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari in 1983, and hacked the vice president Alex Eekwueme into detention, while putting the president under house arrest. Which corruption is greater than subversion of the will of the people? Don’t remind me of his act of international terrorism when he attempted stuffing Umara Dikko in a container in UK in order to kidnap him into Nigeria. Even if Dikko was suspected of committing an offence, does it warrant Buhari to take to crime? Just mention one good thing buhari did, and I will give you twenty good things Jonathan did and is doing. This is a man that is still struggling to prove he has a WAEC certificate. This is a man that has lied on oath. This is a men that has not hidden his love for human being to be soaked in blood as monkeys and babbons. This is a man that has been running away from live debate at least to afford people like us an opportunity to ask him questions on how differently he will handle critical issues as president, since he said GEJ is not doing it right. This is a man that ordered to be shot on the stake the first woman in Nigeria in an unfair trial. I don’t know your age in1983, I advise you ask those who witnessed GMB administration who he really is.. Come to think of it , did you hear pastor Tunde Bakare’s revelation that Tinubu and Buhari asked him in 2011 to sign off as VP so that upon election victory, Tinubu will take over from him as VP. Now it is being reported that APC is at it again with pastor Osibanjo. But doubting Thomas’s will continue to say it is not true until their dreaming is over. Let pastor Osibanjo as a man of God say it is not true. You can Google Tunde Bakare’s statement on that. It is in the public domain. So please the greatest deceit is not the one from someone, but the one from oneself. The so called corruption which seems to be APC’s selling point. Let me ask you, how clean is Buhari on corruption. To start with, corruption is not just about money, for him and his gangs to have forced out a democratically elected president is corruption of a monumental proportion. Check the full meaning of corruption. Again, how can someone say that a military junta could be in power, with national vault open to them, and did not still even a hobo. There is no sense in that logic. The person must be an angel. Either he did not still much before being removed impromptu, or he has mismanamed his loot. Ok. Lets just say he was clean, what about all those people surrounding him in APC? Can we say so about them? Do you think they are just supporting him for salary? “All Nigeria politicians are corrupt”. Corruption in Nigeria is a systemic thing, that must be tackled systematically, not by building prisons. With all those in prison on criminal charges, crimes have not ended. I agree GEJ had not been visible in fighting corruption. It is a problem of the system. He ought to have done better than that. But even at that GMB is not the alternative. A corruption case for an individual in a democracy can last for years. So how many convictions do you think can be secured with legal bottlenecks in Nigeria? You can’t fight corruption in a democracy the way you guys think can be done in a military regime. So tell me one good thing GMB did during his government.

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  4. Some of the comments I read here amaze me especially the ones penned by Francis and Yinka. Must every opinion which fails to massage the ego of APC attract vituperation as expressed by both men? Must every excellent post made in highlighting the need for patriotism and protection of our dignity as a nation amount to paid or hatchet jobs? Like one of my Western friends remarked ‘the problem of Africa is Africa itself – why must some of you think like slaves even in your years of freedom’? The posts as submitted by both Francis and Yinka bellows this opinion that keeps haunting some of us. Guys think Nigeria first – this is not just about Jonathan – it is about your sovereignty as a nation. Where was America when we needed arms to fight Boko Haram – suddenly they are interested in our elections? Meanwhile, the election has not taken place and you people are already taking up ‘arms’ against an erudite piece like Afolabi’s – what will then happen if Jonathan wins the election – which I’m sure he’s poised to win – would baboons and monkeys soak in blood?

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    • To Kess, #1 blogs are created to either solicit comments or not to, (this writer, has solicited comments). #2 the writer as you have been able to do as requested comments, which allows for anyone to give their opinion, just as the case of FAvour Afolabi, #3 Opinions are never facts, no matter who writes or states them or to whom it is delivered. #4 you and FBA need to go and research the outcome of the deliberations of the US govt when they came to assist Nigeria right after the Chibok episode, and also when the US State Secretary came to Nigeria recently and suggested help so that the Election date stands, find out also what the response of the Nigerian govt was. #5 democracy means each citizen is allowed and free to hold briefs and elect the candidate of their choice without fingers being pointed at them. #6 writing the above to me makes me wonder if there’s clear understanding of point#6. #7 I am not a man, I am a happily married woman with children, and I do not live in Nigeria, and really hope and pray no arms will be carried after an hopeful free and fair election.
      In general conclusion, when citizens have never really experienced true democracy, absolutely free and fair elections and good governance, they resort to looking for folks who are not tilted in their direction to pull down. A democracy starts from everyone being able to express their views and opinions without fear of castigation.

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      • I appreciate your last comment which I believe should have been your first. Since you know so much about the US interventions over the Chibok girls – wouldn’t you be saving us a lot of hassles if you could spent time educating Favour and I?
        Sincerely I think your last sentence applies more to you than anyone else – I”ll drive this home by quoting you “The above (Favour’s) piece shows pathetic evidence of myopic information gathering and an attempt to exercise literary skills; for that alone you did a great job………………Give yourself some time you will try to expunged this from the world wide web”. My take is that your other contributions were more emotive than issue-based as such attracted the attention of folks like me. I’ll like to pointedly inform you that writers in the ilk of Favour are in short supply in Nigeria at the moment – after all you dare not stand up to America. Madam, our sovereignty is actually more important than years of democracy and we must protect it otherwise we remain victims of neocolonialism. So I’m not surprised at your narrative given the fact that you live outside Nigeria ‘happily’ with your family – I lived outside Nigeria for a considerable number of years before relocating back to fatherland and do not think you Diasporians are happier than folks here. We love our dignity here and do not ‘copy and paste’ opinions of the West in our daily lives. We are unique and that’s what makes us Nigerians – the US cannot change that, not even a thousand Kerrys.

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  5. It is unfortunate politics has blinded some people to the realities of things. Has this administration done everything perfect? Definitely NO. But which past administration did? This writer has written an excellent piece devious of any political undertone. He just said it as it is. The same insecurity is what they are taunting this administration with despite all entreaties to assist in curbing it. Pls let’s read the handwriting on the wall and believe. In this nation.

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  6. The above piece shows pathetic evidence of myopic information gathering and an attempt to exercise literary skills; for that alone you did a great job. Insiders and generally those in the know, about what you are writing about would have advised you on the contrary about publishing this content.
    Give yourself some time you will try to expunged this from the world wide web.

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    • Mrs. Afolabi – what exactly do you disagree with in this OPEN LETTER to Senator John Kerry? FYI – I have received several phone calls from Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora thanking me for standing up the US – what do you say about that?

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      • What do I say?
        I say, you might want to use your pen again, hopefully you might secure the attention of the handful of folks “…..from Nigerians at home and in diaspora, thanking you for standing up (to) the US?…”, this time openly advise the Movers and shakers in the Nation to be sure to comply with the use of Card Readers as intended by the INEC in the few short weeks to come. Best regards, Mr Afolabi.

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  7. It is quite unfortunate that you’re not well informed about Nigerian politics before those that paid you to write this useless letter chose you as their tool. For your information, Ephraim Akpata was the INEC chairman when Obasanjo was elected in 1999 and our elections have so far been supervised by 4chairmen and not three. I don’t know the country where you live either within or outside the shores of Nigeria, but I can tell you that it is only wicked souls that will be rooting for this evil regime to continue because the tone of your letter says so. Where were you in 2010 when Nigerians in their thousands rose to prevail on the Turai Yardua cabal to handover to this Man. Where were you in 2011 when entire Nigerians massively voted for the same person believing that we’re having a new wine even if it is still in old bottle. But now, even your principal knows that he is a stale product that can never be bought anymore by Nigerians and is looking for means to perpetrate himself in power again, which Nigerians home and abroad will vehemently stand against. Is it about US, or about performance of this regime? Jonathan and co are deliberately heating up the polity so that he can have excuse of not conducting the election and not quitting when his tenure expires. Nigerians are wise enough to understand his tricks. Do you know what ordinary Nigerians go through in our cities on daily basis? Do you know number of life that has been wasted by this regime due to corruption, insensitivity among others? Do you know the number of retirees that their pension and gratuity have been stolen and now their left to die in penury after serving their nation properly during their youthful days? Do you know the number of hospitals that various amounts they’re stolen can equip to the standard of those you’re seen in the States thereby reducing the maternal death on one side and mortality rates in general? If you happen to be relative of one of those that lost their life through immigration job scam by one of his ministers last year, I wonder if you would have written this. I will advise you to return the money paid to you by whoever employed you for this, as I am very sure that it cannot sell not in the United States and neither will it in the street of Enugu, Kaduna, Ibadan, Abuja, Lagos and others.

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    • @francis I had not even read your comments before I made mine, I wish she spoke to someone before rushing for pen and paper. Obviously written from the put of view of someone with a tunnel view of happenings in Nigeria.

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    • Francis: Thanks for pointing out Ephraim Akpata – FYI, I was paying more attention to “Three INEC Chairs that supervised elections held in APRIL being Goubadia, Iwu, and Jega!”

      And this article was directed to the US to discuss US v NGR relations not “lack of hospitals in Nigeria!”

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  8. well said bro. #kerry, d west, #bbc hausa n #aljazeera av a plan 4 nigeria but dy shall fail IJN. ds is d 1st time d west n d islamic world will gang 2geda in world history n its cos dy av a common objective wit their varying aims. if d election had held n dere was bloodshed, dy will b d 1st 2 lampoon #gej cos gej will surely win n d apcs dt tink dey ar d majority n tink dy av won will do like deir boko brothers n reign terror on d land

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  9. I swallowed very hard when I read John Kerry’s statement about the shift in the date for the polls. I was troubled not because they expressed concern but because it was ill – timed. Come to think of it, more than 20 million voters would have been disenfranchised, adhoc staffers of INEC had not been trained, the public had not been educated as to how to use the new technology deployed for the elections and security of personnel and election materials were yet to be catered for and Jega went ahead to say they were ready?
    It is laughable that Nigerian were that gullible not to see through Jega’s smoke screen. He hid behind security concerns since the Electoral Act permits that, but failed to tell the world that he had failed in his responsibility to plan adequately, employ requisite men and materials, try and conduct free and fair polls.
    Kerry and Co. should Bury their heads in shame for hastily condemning the Nigerian government.

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  10. This is neo-colonialism by the US government. Nigerians please beware! When US and UK begins to play this dirty and partisan politics in any African country, be sure that crisis is imminent in that country. Libya, Egypt and recently Syria are big lessons. When the crisis starts, they’ll disappear and we’ll be left to kill ourselves. They do not mean well for any African country, they’re only interested in what they’ve set out to gain from the crisis.

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  11. How come our Muslim brothers are supporting this ill conceived statement by Kerry – is this not the same America that the Muslim world had continually vilified. Could it be that it is a case of ‘I hate America but love them when they support a Muslim against a Christian’ – with Obama really trying hard to make Muslims happy worldwide? Could the likes of Hamza and Muslim thump their chest and say that this writer has not ‘spoken’ the minds of most young Nigerians? Bottomline is that Nigerians ought to ‘shine’ their eyes – America is about to install a puppet government like UK did in the 60s. Have you realised that if GEJ wins this election that we would have freed ourselves from Neocolonialism and Godfatherism? No America/UK and no OBJ/IBB controls. These are interesting times. Jonathan is the man God has chosen or would you question God’s choice too?

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    • Did ur govt give them go ahead to do their job here, also did they not provided our security with the vital information they need to know? what ur so called govt do about it?

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  12. The US “spies” or “informants” in Nigeria and about Nigeria’s Affairs are mostly OLD Missionaries whose thinking has expired. They are still giving the US government outdated information about the Nigeria of today. Let the US go to hell and leave us alone!

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