Lt. Col Abu Alli, a gallant, ebullient, young Nigerian Soldier has just been killed by Boko Haram Terrorists. A bright light in the Nigerian Army has dimmed into the background.
Our Colleagues in the US Military shared insights about the Navy, Airforce, Marine Corps and Army during our Mid Career Class Seminar last week.
I asked a question after their Presentations – “What makes you all so committed to your country? You speak with such pride and patriotism about your work. Brandon here, is Nigerian, from Cross River State actually, and it just dawned on me he could have been part of us back home, serving Nigeria.”

Rick Slye gave me this brilliant answer – “The US Navy has given me so much. I was sponsored to do my first Masters and now, they’ve sent me to come to Harvard. I’m inspired and grateful to serve my Country. Brandon is Nigerian but how much global impact can he have if he stayed back there?”
Take a Look. Brandon Essiet (next to me in the photo below) is 30 years old – Born in Nigeria, left at 2.


He is a Captain now and will become a major next year after graduation from Harvard. Went to the US Military Academy at West Point at 18: same alma mater of distinguished Men including President Eisenhower, a Commander of the Pacific during the World War 2 and other World War 2 Generals like Douglas Mac Arthur.
Brandon is a graduate of the US Army’s paratrooper and commando schools (airborne ranger) and serves as a Cavalry. He’s been deployed on Security Transfer, Training, Advisory and assistance to the Host National Forces in Iraq, he was part of the Haiti 2010 Earthquake and has worked throughout the Pacific on Training and Partnership Exercises. All at the age of 30.


I hope we will embrace better Military Reforms in Nigeria.
How can we the people sleep and snore when our policemen are paid peanuts and have to depend on bribes at checkpoints to feed their Families? Why won’t crime be commonplace? How educated are our armed forces? What reward system do we put in place for our Soldiers on the battlefield? How do their Families fare in their absence?

The US Military sent over 15 of their Officers to study in the Mid Career Master in Public Administration Program at Harvard Kennedy School on Full Scholarship and our Complete Student Expennditure covering Tuition and Living Expense for this 1year program is a tidy $96,420 per Student. Do the Math in Naira. That’s how much they value their Officers.
Now, in death, what will Lt. Col. Abu Allí get for paying the ultimate price with his Life?


God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is not a comparision and I recognize that we aren’t as old and developed as the United States but we can start to show a sense of promise by the actions we take now. I am negotiating the future for my generation – there will have to be motivation for our brightest and the best to join the Military.

The next time I meet a Nigerian Police officer or any other State Agent when I return home, I will be courteous and respectful. I will be kind in deed and words.
Salute to my phenomenal classmates – Robert M. Thelen Chelsea Hassett Trevor Mills Jason P Grammar James Marcus Caldwell and all others. History will record your names in Gold.