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Soyinka: Enough Of The Hubris!



Soyinka, Pyrates Confraternity And The God Factor
Prof. Wole Soyinka

By Kennedy Emetulu

In all honesty, I’m getting quite pissed with all this attempt at beatifying Professor Wole Soyinka after his clearly insulting comments he’s now trying to pass off as some sagely talk. Soyinka has happily, but thoughtlessly concocted an acidic porridge of words and language to belittle, undermine and deride young people who’ve genuinely questioned his tone-deaf comment. He’s been at it for a while. I think he needs a moment of sober reflection. He needs to climb down from his Mount Olympus, discard his oracular false airs and think deeply about what’s going on with him right now. Sure, he’s our great Nobel laureate, our pride; but how many Nobel laureates in our world has he seen getting into these types of unseemly entanglements he now regularly gets into with young people whenever he opens his mouth? Not even the irascible wahala-magnet, V.S. Naipaul, was this toxic when he was alive. I wonder what Soyinka thinks his legacy would really look like with these latter-day smears on himself.

The counters against those rightfully criticizing him have been blindingly abysmal and so too, to a far lesser extent though, have been some of the counters against him. For instance, some say he went to prison for Biafra and so cannot possibly be an ethnic bigot. Some say he is only talking about Datti Baba-Ahmed’s comment that seemed to indicate he wouldn’t accept the verdict of the courts that do not favour them and so on. They defend his use of the term “fascistic” to describe Baba-Ahmed’s comment and the term “fascism” to describe the criticisms he’s receiving from the Obidients as okay, as though we have all suddenly become clueless about exactly what these words mean and what they connote as a language of politics.

Amongst those countering him, we have had some go off on a tangent making it a case of who is better between Soyinka, their new devil and Chinua Achebe, their revered hero. But this is not a literary contest between Achebe and Soyinka and it is not even a political contest. Achebe is long gone. He’s not part of this discussion. As literary persons, both were not in competition as they are masters of different genres where both did well and received national and international acclaim. As regards politics, Achebe was not a politician or a political activist by any stretch of the imagination. Though he did recognize the moral burden he carried as a writer and social conscience, he was a very private man who once in a while voiced his incandescent opinion in a manner compelling authority. The most political we had ever seen him was when he was talking Biafra – views he’s expressed in There Was A Country.

Please, you all should take a rest. Soyinka was not an ethnic bigot when he dishonestly supported Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 with his atrocious attacks against Goodluck Jonathan and his wife. Some of us took him on when we realized what he was doing with an intellectual sleight of hand; but, as usual, he escaped closer scrutiny because he’s a full card-carrying member of the Nigerian sacred cow fraternity. In 2019, he was fully onboard with his new crowd. Whether he was supporting them because of his Yoruba friends led by Bola Tinubu in the leadership group of the APC or not was irrelevant. We knew that there was no elegant way for him to go back to slurp up his vomit, which he did. In 2007, he wrote a screed that vehemently condemned Buhari and any idea of him seeking to contest for a public office. But in 2015, he was asking Nigerians to forgive the same Buhari. In 2019, he was well-positioned in the high tables of his new friends who’d returned to power after stealing the election of that year and, now, in 2023, he is raising as alibi the fact he was not in the country when all he ought to raise his voice against happened. As he tried to explain it, you would think he was clamped up in a place where he couldn’t get the news or reach people in Nigeria in this 21st century.

Rather than speak earnestly about the grand atrocity we just witnessed in the name of election, Soyinka went on a selective binge against a comment made by Datti Baba-Ahmed and the conduct of some Obidients he’s using now as stereotypes. And when the world descended on him for his obvious hypocrisy, he wants to drag out Baba-Ahmed for a public debate about what is not really up for debate.

The truth is people change and Soyinka has changed. The Soyinka of the sixties and seventies had, by the eighties and nineties started changing. He had become part of the fascist military establishment lending them his credibility because they were cunningly celebrating him, especially since after he won the Nobel. He had a cover for his jaunts with them with his gig as the Federal Road Safety Corps chief under General Ibrahim Babangida. But soon Sani Abacha woke him up from his slumber on their military bed and he returned to his activist best while on the run in exile. But, that was short-lived. Once Abacha perished and Abdulsalami Abubakar harbingered the Fourth Republic, Soyinka joined his friends in power to clink crystals and enjoy the nationwide privilege of being feted by them. His children and relations got into government by appointment in the AD, ACN and APC political assembly lines. By 2014, he had been wheeled out as the intellectual juggernaut fronting for the Buhari-Tinubu group with his vicious attacks against Jonathan and his wife. Well, we got his Buhari twice and now they’re trying to force-feed us their Tinubu. Soyinka who has obviously lost his voice and moral clarity for more than a decade now has presently been reduced to the Cerberus programmed to attack those they consider threats to the establishment of a stolen Tinubu presidency. If anybody doubted where his loyalties lie, we saw him bare his teeth against his fellow confraternity members who, in exercise of their political clear-headedness, made a sarcastic commentary about Tinubu’s age and evident frailties through a song. Soyinka would have none of it! He would have no one mocking his favourite presidential candidate! That episode told Nigerians the extent he could go to protect Tinubu, his friend.

What we know is actually hidden in plain sight – Soyinka is the intellectual strongman of today’s fascists masquerading as democrats. He is using the well-worn psychological tactic of projection by describing others as fascists so as to deflect attention from himself. And I’m not saying this lightly. It’s a fact. We see it writ-large in the insult-fest of a statement he issued titled, “FASCISM ON COURSE.” The evidence litters the whole piece, but we can just take a look at two grouses of his.

The first:

“That aspirant’s alleged gaffe cuts no ice with me. Far more alarming was the grotesque fantasy of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court disguised as a wheelchair, zooming off in space to a secret meeting with other parties of the conflict. On its own, that is sufficiently scary.”

It’s clear what Soyinka is doing here describing as “grotesque fantasy” the genuine concerns of Nigerians who woke up to hear that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Olukayode Ariwoola was in London at a time Tinubu was travelling to London, even though he first flew to France. Granted that the initial press reports were a little wishy-washy, but the facts undisputed are troubling enough! I mean, why the jittery headless-chicken press release made by the Supreme Court spokesperson to explain his travel? Why was it that they’re claiming he went for a medical procedure only for him to furtively return back after the reports of him being in London became public without him undergoing any medical procedure? What says he couldn’t have met with Tinubu secretly in London even as the claim was being made that Tinubu was in France? Tinubu could have left his plane in France and sneaked into London to see him! Of course, whether he did so or not is not known as a fact, but the possibility was clearly there!

Why should the Chief Justice of the nation put himself in that type of seemingly compromising situation, especially after he’s been caught publicly supporting the G5 in their fight against Atiku Abubakar when we now know the G5 were Tinubu’s agents in the PDP? Soyinka must be told that it is no “grotesque fantasy” for Nigerians who’ve lost all hope in the judiciary to smell a rat and it is not unreasonable for Datti Baba-Ahmed to insist that justice must be done, even with an underlying idea that Nigerians will not lie down and die if justice is not done. Yes, Datti Baba-Ahmed said swearing in Tinubu on May 29 without resolving the matter in court may be the end of democracy in Nigeria, but, really, democracy is on its deathbed already. The poison fed it on the 25th of February is a summon for the undertakers to get ready. Anyway, the SSS, have said they have no reason to arrest Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed because they have not seen any concrete evidence to do so. Soyinka may go present the evidence he has to them, rather than lobby for a useless debate. We recognize clearly what he’s doing here with that comment on the Chief Justice in London. He’s trying to make Nigerians who have seen what they have begin to doubt their sanity.

The second:

“I choose my methods of intervention without the permission of social media border patrols, so where you find a gap, just pick up the baton where last deposited and stop whining and belly-aching – “he stopped talking all this while, why now?” etc etc ad nauseum. Flat, easy disposable lies that gain traction by repetition. However, even more importantly, they remain irrelevant to the rights and wrongs of ongoing material issue. Sadly, these virtue vigilantes succeed with the ignorant and susceptible – especially among the younger, confused generation. The consequence is that the nation is plagued by fake CVs compiled by all kinds of amateur commentators, still wet behind the ears, who have too few truths to build on before they are corralled into positions of No-Retreat. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the effrontery of attempts to place the present contention on the same podium as the twenty-year old anti-Abacha struggle! This gross abuse of historic licence actually provides smug satisfaction for rookie activists. I advise them to seek out the school of survivors where pertinent lessons still exist for those with sufficient humility to LEARN before MOUTHING! Otherwise their world of false mythologies will collapse under their feet, and leave them dangling in the void.”

Soyinka has managed to pack a lot of gratuitous junk into this paragraph, which, arguably, is his most important message or defence. He defiantly declares he chooses his own methods of intervention “without the permission of social media border patrols” as a response to those who question his silence when the nation was being stolen by his friends and, in the same breath, he declares such questions to be flat, easy disposable lies “that gain traction by repetition.” So, which is it? Is it that he was truly silent because he only intervenes when he likes and as he chooses or is it that those who say he was silent are lying?

Of course, knowing he cannot address the question above credibly, in a desperate obfuscatory gambit, he declares that the more important thing is that “they remain irrelevant to the rights and wrongs of ongoing material issue.” Well, they are not irrelevant to the rights and wrongs of ongoing material issue; in fact, they are part and parcel of the ongoing material issue! I mean, why has Wole Soyinka suddenly now found his voice and why is he avoiding talking about the big elephant in the room? Why has he instead decided to pursue rats and cockroaches while our Rome burns? Why is he choosing to attack a party in the election for what seems like a minor ‘crime’, while ignoring the great atrocity of his friends who have stolen Nigeria in broad daylight?

Soyinka derisively calls those questioning him “virtue vigilantes,” but at this point in our nation’s history, we should wear that as a badge of honour. In fact, we should be proudly hashtagging it – #WeAreAllVirtueVigilantes

Seriously, Soyinka knows deep down that he suffers a huge moral minus in this matter, which is why he considers those that courageously call him out on it virtue vigilantes. He thinks this will make his tormentors scamper away. They won’t! He’s twisted the lion’s tail! His attempt to virtue-shame young people he considers “ignorant and susceptible,” the same people he calls a “confused generation,” has only succeeded in bringing him down a notch. The more he does this, the more he’d be taken down a peg because young people are educated enough to see through him. Young people know that you don’t have to be a professional commentator to speak freely as a citizen. They do not have to buy the “truths” of a Soyinka. They live and feel their own truths daily in the harsh national environment created by Soyinka’s heartless friends and they’ll continue to speak those truths, despite Soyinka’s shameless attempt to undermine the pain of the moment by claiming that the young people questioning him have “the effrontery of attempts to place the present contention on the same podium as the twenty-year old anti-Abacha struggle!” What an insult!

If anyone is in doubt that Soyinka is a fascist, this right there is the stone-cold evidence. Only a fascist would tell flesh and blood Nigerians that stealing an election with INEC and the backing of state authority and all state instruments of violence is not as bad as Abacha entrenching himself in office against the popular will. He jauntily claims those making an analogy between today and the Abacha days are involved in a gross abuse of historical licence, but which history is he talking about? Is it the same history he has roundly distorted since he found accommodation in his dark moral orbit for his fascist friends and their costly antics against Nigeria and Nigerians?

He calls those making the analogy “rookie activists,” but at least they are true to their belief, unlike him who’s made a career of being changeling in less than two decades. Soyinka should know that this is today’s young people’s Abacha moment. The fight Nigerians are involved in right now against the Buhari government, INEC and the APC is a pro-democracy fight. The difference with Abacha is that with him, we knew what we were getting. He did not pretend to be a democrat. He proudly wore his uniform and jackboots and hunted us down in the streets. These fascists with Soyinka as their mouthpiece also hunted the people with guns and knives at the polling boots, but, more consequentially, they have stolen the peoples mandate and are waiting for the courts to legitimize their audacious thievery. The courts of Abacha’s days did not kowtow to the googled crook, but we are not sure of the courts of today. In fact, that the courts have said nothing since the petitions of Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar were filed at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal up till now is foreboding, but Nigerians are patiently waiting. Nigerians are not the ones on trial; it’s the courts themselves at the highest levels that are on trial.

Soyinka and his thieving wards can keep on celebrating in expectation of what they think is the inevitable legitimation of their crimes against Nigeria and Nigerians by the courts, but I can assure him that he and his criminal friends will not have the last laugh. Where we are right now, even our corpses will guffaw from the grave.


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The Black Tax: Family Charges And Mandatory Payment 



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

    You cannot be one rich man among your poor siblings and relations and not become poor. After all, you stole the destiny of six others to add to yours. Having made them poor, you must cater for them. Ogunde, my friend, built a house for his father and mum. You did well. On the day of house-warming Mama Ogunde called my friend to her room for a private discussion, advising him to buy a plot of land for his junior brother. The first tax has been paid, then the imposition of the second. Three months later, his sister called him to announce her wedding ceremony. Ogunde had to pay the third tax. Each time he calls me, Ogunde is lamenting the never-ending tax. Those payments, the mandated gift, and the exchanges are now what we call the “black tax”: it is the price you pay for knowing someone. Kinship was invented in an agricultural age for collective bonding and survival. Today, it is for purposes of tax collection with delivering public services. As you read this, you are either paying the tax or collecting it. Confess!

The African social system is unarguably built on the premises and strength of family and responsibilities. Society is built on collective responsibilities that spread even to every member of the society at large as a unit. This is why persons from the same village, like Umuahia, would always refer to their kinsmen as brothers or sisters merely because they have come from the same village or area. It is the sense of responsibility that bonds the African society that has been spelt out so eminently. But the question in this piece is not about the collective nature of the African communities but the responsibilities that follow from the family relationships, either for those within the same blood or the “village family.” The issue is of “black” tax; black here is not a racialized category.

    Black tax is a phenomenon that has been brought to bear in the African society of today; the modern exposure has allowed questions raised on whether the cultures are of necessity or mere subjections that have resulted in the slow pace of individual developments or castigated some Africans’ invisible slavery. African men and women give, and they take care of theirs. But then there is just one successful person in an extended family: the act of giving moves from mere social responsibilities to social burdens.

    Mikel Obi, a Nigerian footballer and a legend in the English Premier, recently lamented the plight of an average African. When you reach out to success and strive hard, you probably might face limited help from some of your family members. In fact, everyone is supposed to have his or her problems, and the contemporary conditions of African countries would actually justify their excuses. However, you could strive and become something without anything, but when that success comes, you have not achieved it for yourself or your immediate family; you have done so for almost everyone who carries the same last name as you, related by any measure of distance and acquaintances. The black tax must be paid.

    The concept of the black tax probably originated from South Africa; it was seen as the returns black workers, in the past, sent to their families and relatives for upkeep. It should be understood that the apartheid South Africans were such that Africans and blacks were discriminated against and had only a few opportunities to contend with. Hence, the few of them who had the opportunity to work were seen, to some extent, to have been in such a position for their families that they could not have similar opportunities. I have been in the company of people from Lesotho in South Africa, returning home with the Black tax. Many people from Zimbabwe living in South Africa pay it. In my heavy luggage to Lagos, only the contents of the carry-on belong to me; the rest is black tax. I pay it routinely. Recipients even now include chefs, drivers, and Malam the Gateman.

    Like the Brown Tax in the Latino communities, the Black Tax spread across Africa as a general description of family relations for every black. It is seen as an obligation, and the person who sends it must do something as a necessity. Those who are the beneficiaries sometimes develop a sense of belonging and claim over the income of the individual.

    Let’s address the culture. African cultures are beautiful, and the idea of taking responsibility for one’s immediate family, at least, is born out of the many philosophies that formed the foundations of the African society, from Ubuntu to Omoluabi to the collectivism orientations that have cut across the African societies; one would understand why the contemporary society should not quickly run into the mistake of casting the habit as a forbidden practice. 

We must understand that new cultures and the contemporarily subscribed behaviours born out of overbearing cultural diffusions gotten from excessive universalism have been gradually killing the bonds that the African societies have for each other. It has increased selfishness and made the act of philanthropism, which was initially a social necessity, become out of the ordinary.

    At what point should one say that the black tax is bad, and to what extent would the African circumstances create the limit? Are African parents truly entitled to the success of their children? Often than not, an average African parent assigns a primary purpose of nurturing and sacrificing their lives for their children. It is an African thing for parents to forego what they need the most in order to allow their kids a needed opportunity or resources that would put them in the right positions. In the pre-European interference era in Africa, what was paramount was to ensure that a child had the right skill as well as the right behaviour, but the parents were always on the watch to ensure that akosejaye, the written destiny, of a child is fulfilled to the fullest and they were ready to make any type of sacrifices. This mentality was carried on when the new order of definition of what success meant arose across Africa. Education and other resources must be attained, and the mothers would not mind selling their biggest clothes or properties to ensure that these voids were filled. The culture prevailed over time and is still predominant in the African society of today. Children in every African household became an ambition and duty that nothing would negotiate the commitments to them. Many African parents have continued working in toxic environments; many have lost their health or become disabled from the wares they sell in traffic jams and the hustles and bustles of places like Oyingbo Market.

    Basically, to an African parent, a child is an investment and future insurance for old age and moments where one’s effort would not be enough to feed or meet necessary needs. The African family institutions are different from many other parts of the world. One would then ask whether the “wokeness” conceptions would justify taking such future expectations wrong. For anyone a parent has sacrificed for, there is a level of expectation from them, and I do not think contemporariness should be reason enough to remove that responsibility. This goes down to immediate family like siblings who have followed the rough paths with one.

    My point is not that one must give without control or that every ‘ask’ should never be met with a ‘no’; otherwise, one would never move to the point of self-actualization. However, the first condition to be put to black tax is the measure of sacrifice the potential beneficiary had made. This separates responsibility from mere philanthropy. It is a measure to keep one’s circle small and reduce unnecessary ‘billings.’ Young Africans who are growing must understand that what comes first is themselves, the means to secure their future, and after all personal or immediate needs have been covered, those that we owe come in, but it should never be at the expense of one’s development. One must know that the greatest responsibility owed is that that guarantees growth.

    The above is also not to say that we should kill the African culture of giving. There are many individuals to be lifted out of poverty. The continent today is positioning itself as a proper headquarters of poverty and as such, it cannot afford to stop all the help it could get. However, one must ensure that giving should be out of abundance. Abundance is indeed the remainder from excesses and should never affect fundamentals, secondary, and even tertiaries. It is an act out of comfort. So, the black tax may not be an unnecessary social responsibility, but instead, some level of necessity and discharge of appreciation to those who have made tangible sacrifices in our lives. Evaluate your black tax; instead of complaining to me as Ogunde does every other day, he should review the list and delete the names of several recipients. As I told him yesterday, why not use part of the tax to take me out?

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Obama, Clooney, And Gates Should Include Witch Persecution InTheir Campaign



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) welcomes the collaboration between the foundations of Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates to end child marriage in Africa. These foundations have committed to ending this practice within a generation. This initiative, announced during their recent visit to Malawi and South Africa, demonstrates the urgency that such a harmful traditional and cultural practice demands. Child marriage is a sore on the conscience of humanity. It violates the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Culture, tradition, or religion should not be used to excuse or justify practices that undermine the humanity of women and girls. So it was a great relief to know that these influential women would be working together to combat this menace.

At the same time, AfAW wants to draw the attention of Obama, Clooney, and Gates to another practice that is undermining the rights of women in Africa: witch persecution. Witchcraft accusation is pervasive in Malawi and other parts of the region. Witchcraft accusation is a gendered phenomenon that predominantly targets women and girls. Those accused of witchcraft are tortured, banished, or murdered in cold blood. In Malawi and other parts of the region, accused women are raped, stoned to death, or lynched. Many accused women are banished and forced to live in make-shift shelters called witch camps in Ghana’s Northern region. In Malawi and the Central African Republic, the accused are imprisoned, or flee to live in prisons to avoid being killed. Rooted in traditional and cultural beliefs, witch hunting is another vicious phenomenon which they said would not be eradicated.

This misperception should be rejected and discarded. This mistaken assumption has prevented international organizations including the UN from treating the problem of witch persecution with the urgency that it deserves. This misrepresentation has made the world ignore and look away while women and sometimes girls are accused, abused, abandoned, or savagely killed in the name of witchcraft. As in the case of child marriage, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches believes that witch persecution can end within a generation. The problem can be solved or resolved in a matter of years. AfAW is working and campaigning to rally national and international political will against witch hunting. That was why the organization announced in 2020 a decade of activism against witch persecution in Africa.

AfAW urges Obama, Clooney, and Gates to join efforts in stopping witch persecution of women and girls. They should know that the girls they are trying to save from being married away as children could end up being stoned to death or buried alive for witchcraft. Obama, Clooney, and Gates should include witch-hunting in their campaign because the practice is rooted in gender injustice and misogyny. The foundations should know that women are likely to suffer child marriages when they are young and witch persecution when they are growing old. So they should not focus on one and ignore the other. To effectively protect and defend the rights of women and girls, they should tackle both child marriage and witch-hunting . The foundations should commit to ending practices that violate the rights of women, whether they are young or old, children or adults.

Dr Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, which campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa by 2030.

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Powering Prosperity: Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential Through U.S. Partnership



Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

By David Greene

Nigeria is on track to be the world’s fourth-most populous country by 2050. It already has the largest economy in Africa and, with 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, it stands on the threshold of a demographic dividend that can dramatically transform its economy for the better. Nigeria’s strategic partnerships are essential in harnessing this potential, and the United States is playing a leading role. As we near the six-month mark of President Tinubu’s administration, our relationship has emerged as a key for success. One year ago, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Biden renewed our commitment to deepening engagement across the continent. Here is how we are doing that in Nigeria – working in areas that matter most to everyday citizens, such as growing the economy, strengthening democracy, improving health outcomes, ensuring security, and addressing the climate crisis.

Nigeria’s economic potential is vast, and with the right macroeconomic framework, a sound fiscal strategy, and a strong commitment to rooting out corruption, it can become a preferred destination for foreign direct investment. American investors and companies are eager to engage with Nigeria, and the United States government is doing its utmost to build our bilateral trade and investment ties.
Consider these examples: We have joined forces to accelerate Nigeria’s digital transformation, with investments from U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Meta, Google, and Starlink. This partnership has built a platform to train unemployed and underemployed women and youth. Moreover, it has been a catalyst for quality investment, accounting for more than a quarter of all venture capital flowing into Africa.
Collaborative efforts in agriculture further underscore our commitment. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently dedicated $22 million to strengthen Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, supporting more than 60,000 cocoa farmers, processors, marketers, and other agribusiness service providers in what is Nigeria’s #2 foreign exchange-earning export. From tech to agriculture, these steps go beyond statistics. They translate into tangible outcomes: good jobs, seed money for new ventures, and higher-value agricultural exports.

The United States is also a steadfast partner in strengthening Nigeria’s health sector. With World AIDS Day – December 1 – approaching, it is worth recalling that over the past two decades, PEPFAR, the leading U.S. initiative to address HIV/AIDS, has invested nearly $8 billion in Nigeria, providing more than 1.6 million individuals with life-saving HIV treatment. In response to COVID-19, the United States donated more than 44 million vaccine doses, helping the Nigerian government approach its target vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population. Partnerships like the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, with an annual budget of more than $71 million, have reduced child death rates and strengthened health systems.
Those investments are just part of our overall development assistance to Nigeria. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the U.S. government allocated over $1.2 billion dollars in such support. These funds provide humanitarian assistance, and improve health, economic development, education, social services, democracy, human rights and governance, and peace and security.
In the latter two areas – democracy and security – we aim to support an inclusive future where Nigerian citizens’ votes count and translate into responsive governance, and where they can live in peace. We are a steadfast partner in seeking to strengthen election processes that will enhance accountability to meet citizens’ expectations, and pursuing innovative projects to help communities resolve differences without violence. Through cooperation with and training of Nigeria’s military and police, we are building more capable forces. Collaborating with civil society, law enforcement, and the judiciary, we are confronting the security challenges that stand in the way of economic growth while upholding a shared commitment to human rights. Initiatives include building Nigeria’s counter-terrorism capacity, bringing technology to courtrooms and case-management systems to help in the administration of justice and reduce pre-trial detention, and supporting efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in police forces.

Our partnership to address the climate crisis reflects our mutual recognition of this challenge, and our respect for Nigeria’s role as both an energy producer and a country profoundly impacted by the effects of climate change. In the leadup to COP28 – the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, which begins this week – the United States and Nigeria are aggressively seeking solutions. For example, U.S. support for Nigeria’s leadership as a Global Methane Pledge champion has led to action that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all.
These programs and cooperative efforts advance a joint agenda that is built and driven by the highest levels of our leadership. President Biden met with President Tinubu in September, and numerous senior U.S. officials have come to Nigeria in recent months to confer on meeting Nigeria’s energy needs, driving U.S. trade and investment in Nigeria, and strengthening our law enforcement cooperation. These engagements strengthen our ties, address Nigeria’s pressing needs, and tackle shared challenges.

Ultimately, realizing Nigeria’s potential hinges upon enhancing its fiscal and economic health – and capitalizing on its strategic partnerships to build on that foundation. The opportunity has never been greater. Nigeria, with its youth, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit, is poised to seize this moment. We commend the government for its bold actions thus far to try to move the economy to a more solid footing. The United States is your partner in that effort – through investment, better security, a stronger workforce, and resilient institutions – that benefits all Nigerians and expands prosperity for both our peoples. Our journey ahead has its obstacles, of course. But together we will find a path toward a shared prosperity.

. Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

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