How we beat Clinton’s refusal to designate Boko Haram FTO — Ex-presidential aide

A former presidential aide and seasoned journalist, Laolu Akande, has shed light on his pivotal role in pressuring the United States Government to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 2013. 

The former presidential aide revealed this on his X handle where he shares pivotal nuggets weekly on Mondays.

He recalled how he and other members of the Christian Association of Nigeria-America defied odds and secured the US Government’s designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.

Akande encouraged people to always stand firm in the face of opposition in order to ultimately achieve remarkable success as far as they are based on the right values.

He offerred insight into the behind-the-scenes efforts and relentless advocacy that culminated in this significant milestone in the global fight against terrorism.

In 2012, amidst the escalating threat posed by Boko Haram, Akande and a group of Nigerians residing in the United States were mobilised under the auspices of the CANAN to rally support for the designation of Boko Haram as an FTO. 

This designation would not only bolster international efforts to combat the insurgency, but also impose sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the terrorist organisation.

At first, the US Secretary of State in 2012, when the advocacy began, Hillary Clinton, bluntly refused to designate Boko Haram a FTO.

Despite encountering rejection from the then US Secretary of State, Akande and his colleagues persisted in their advocacy and efforts, recognising the urgent need to confront the growing menace of Boko Haram. 

Their campaign gained momentum as they continued to engage with policymakers and stakeholders, emphasising the grave humanitarian and security implications of Boko Haram’s actions.

Their perseverance bore fruit in November 2013 when the United States officially designated Boko Haram as an FTO during the tenure of Secretary of State John Kerry.

Reflecting on his relocation to the United States in 1998, in the same thread, Akande revealed encountering skepticism from acquaintances who doubted the prospects of securing meaningful employment in the US when he relocated to America in 1998, despite his impressive professional background at then. 

He recalled that he was asked to accept menial jobs after he had served as the editor of a national newspaper in Nigeria.

He wrote on his X: handle: “#WeeklyPonder today: ‘Never allow anyone stop you in life, especially in your passion & values. I remember on relocating to US in 1998, folks said only menial jobs are available regardless of my profile (which included) eg. editor in 1997. I persisted & in months landed an editorial job @PhillyInquirer…’ 

“Philadelphia Inquirer then was the 7th largest newspaper in the entire US where every major city has its own major newspaper. There are hundreds of such major newspapers in the US then and now.”

The former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media continued: “Never let anyone intimidate you. In 2012, some leaders in Ngr needed Nigerians in US to organise & get US govt designate Boko Haram FTO. So we were given d job. Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State refused. We-CANAN- kept pressuring. By 2013 with Kerry as Sec, BH became a FTO in US!”

On a weekly basis on Mondays, Akande normally shares wisdom nuggets and the two posts were the ones for the current week.

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