Sunday 26 November 2017


The 'twin-city conferences' on 'Strategies and techniques for whistle-blowing and tracing property purchased and investments from proceeds of bribery and corruption transferred to the West and tax havens' moved from Lagos to Abuja on the 23rd of November, 2017. The conference was hosted by the Kent Law School, University of Kent and sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of International Education (IIE). The other partners were Corner House, Global Witness, Finance Uncovered and Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre). A unique aspect of the conference was the 'klepto tour' on the second day, when participants were taken on a guided tour of property seized by the Economic & Financial Crimes Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

I was a resource person at the conference, specifically for the session on 'What works and what has been failing: Multi-disciplinary approaches and best practices in asset recovery operations and international partners' engagement'. My submission was that beyond tracing noxious funds, prevention of such magnitude of looting needs to be prioritised through stricter procurement laws, building of strong institutions rather than strong individuals and mainstreaming women into the anti-corruption debate, since they bear the brunt of an empty treasury necessitated by graft, which excludes citizens from quality education, health care, infrastructure, etc.

Some of the other critical issues discussed were:

*Conducting company and land registry searches and the use of the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria
*The A-Z of international company and property search.
*Breaking corruption scandals at home and abroad: The citizen as journalist and the journalist as citizen.
*Tracing noxious illicit financial flows: Updates on the law and practice of asset recovery from Europe to Africa.
*Navigating Nigeria's perilous terrain of grand corruption from whistle-blowing to convictions: A case for criminal justice reforms.
*Anatomy of national and international criminal law and the prosecution of international financial crimes.
*Identifying, investigating and linking enablers of money laundering and hidden off-shore assets
*Tracking bloody oil and diamonds: Research and resilience in holding power to account.
*Next steps: What is needed to form a partnership against corruption among Nigerian activists in furtherance of asset recovery.

Some of the participants were:

*Dr. Gbenga Oduntan -  Associate Prof, Kent Law School, University of Kent, UK
*Olanrewaju Suraju - Chair, HEDA Resource Centre & Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)
*Dr. Kole Shettima -  Director, MacArthur Foundation, Abuja
*Ibrahim Magu -  Ag. Chairman, EFCC
*Prof Bolaji Owasanoye - Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption
*Femi Falana - SAN, Lawyer
*Akin Ajibola - Lawyer
*Nicholas Hildyard - Founder/Director, The Corner House
*Simon Taylor - Director, Global Witness, UK
*Lionel Faull - Investigative Journalist, Finance Uncovered, UK
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert
*Antonio Enricho - Italian Engineer/Analyst/Editor
*Prof Yemi Akinseye-George - SAN, Nigerian Professor of Public Law
*Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi - Project Officer, PACAC
*Kayode Ogundamisi - Blogger/Activist

The conference was targeted at anti-corruption activists, media practitioners, compliance officers, anti-corruption agencies, opinion leaders, bloggers, lawyers, conflict transformation specialists, mediators, etc. The course offered practical, doctrinal and procedural introduction to researching UK, USA and some other countries' property ownership and company registries, using public sources of information. Real life problem scenarios were solved under supervision by expert facilitators.

At the end of the day, participants were able to quiz world-renowned experts who have worked on some of the high profile anti-corruption investigations in the UK, with a view to being able to conduct such search un-assisted. It was suggested that beyond the whistle-blower policy, there should be a whistle-blower law, Proceeds of crime Act and Foreign corrupt practices Act. A new coalition of concerned citizens was born, who could effectively conduct searches where there is suspicion of illicit transfer of funds.

The conference was indeed a major addition to the armoury of the anti-corruption crusade. My suggestion is that the trained individuals should form the core of local resource persons who could train others - Training of other potential Trainers (TOT). The conference should not be a one-off affair, but a once or twice yearly undertaking to update knowledge in this field...

Related Links

*Security vote fuels corruption in Nigeria 2.pdf
*Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) in Africa: Drivers, destinations & policy options
*New trends in IFF from Africa
*FinCEN Files (US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network): Leaked documents reveal worlwide money laundering
*Global bank stocks plunge following FinCEN Files revelations
*Overhaul US anti-money laundering system & prioriise against illicit finance   #FinCENFiles
*'Fighting corruption is dangerous': The story behind the headlines by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
*$260m bribe: Chinese court sentences former Chairman of Bank to death
*How to fix Nigeria's worsening corruption stain
*Nigeria: Ecological funds & the cost of corruption (A CDD Documentary)
*How might faith-based actors play a role in changing values and norms of corruption? 

Photo below: Dr. Gbenga Oduntan @ one of the seized houses during the 'klepto tour' in Abuja
Below L-R: Nicholas Hildyard, Founder/President, The Corner House & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa at the Abuja post conference dinner.   

Tuesday 21 November 2017


A new dawn seems to have been birthed on the 20th of November, 2017 in Abuja when the interactive session between the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Buhari on Justice Reform, Barr. Juliet Ibekaku, and CSOs emphasised the need for the latter to collaborate with government by monitoring fund recovery. The forum was part of the 'Buharimeter Dialogue series'  hosted by Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), UKaid and DFID.

I was at the event as a member of the CSO community in Nigeria. Some other NGOs and CBOs, apart from the convener, CDD, were present. Specifically, CSOs were being invited to monitor the recovery of $321m loot with the Swiss government. See for example

In my intervention, I was concerned about the fact that investigations into allegations of corruption are done in a 'slip-shoddy' manner which makes prosecution difficult and convictions almost always impossible. Ibekaku's response was that the on-going reforms in the criminal justice system would address the process of investigation in a more orderly fashion.

Many of the NGOs and CBOs were worried about the terms of reference (TOR) for engagement with government on the recovery of the said loot. Ibekaku said the NGOs should get back to government as regards their thoughts on the subject matter. All the viewpoints would then be harmonised to produce a final TOR. Besides, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) - OGP Nigeria National Action Plan (NAP) document was launched on behalf of the FGN by Ibekaku.

The CSOs want the recovered loot channeled into 'social safety nets' for the populace while the government is interested in using same to fund the 2018 budget. For the CSOs, government could use such recovered loot to fund the budget, provided the money is channeled into projects that would positively affect disadvantaged groups in the society. Bilateral agreements on recovery of assets have  been secured with many countries, including the UK, France, USA, UAE, etc. Ibekaku said the ICPC and EFCC Acts need to be reviewed to accommodate seizure and confiscation of Nigeria's stolen monies domiciled in foreign countries.  

 While we await the fine-tuning of the TOR, this is indeed a welcome initiative that would further 'cement' government-CSOs positive collaboration for the empowerment of Nigerian citizens.

Related Links

*Action Aid, others, blame Nigeria's slow economic development on corruption
*3 ways to fight corruption and restore trust in leadership: Corruption costs the world $3.6trn a year    https;//
*Kleptocracy: The need for an International Anti-Corruption Court

Friday 10 November 2017


The fourth Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA) of Nigeria and the accompanying National Action Plan (NAP) were presented in Abuja, November 9, 2017 by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Abuja. I retired as a Director from IPCR in 2010. At the event, I was affectionately referred to by the anchors as 'Mama IPCR', a subtle allusion to the fact that I left positive and indelible footprints on the sands of time in the institution.  I was the very first and only female Director of IPCR to date!

The first three SCAs were produced in 2003, 2008 and 2012 respectively. I led the south-west team for the 2003 and 2012 field work (See p.96 of the 2003 SCA and p.212 of the 2012 SCA). This is the first time the SCA and NAP are launched simultaneously. It is also the first time the NAP is launched as a separate document, beyond being mentioned in the text of the SCA.

Some of the persons present were:

Geoffrey Onyeama - Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Khadija Abba Ibrahim - Minister of State, Foreign Affairs
Prof. Oshita Oshita - DG IPCR
Gen. Habila Naaba represented Gen. (Rtd) T.Y. Danjuma - Victim Support Fund (VSF), Nigeria
Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Conflict Transformation Expert/Former Director, IPCR
Prof. Sunday Ochoche - Executive Director, VSF
Dr. Ojezo represented UN Resident Coordinator
Dr. Ibn Chambas - UNSG's Special Envoy for West Africa
Commander J.G. Jaja represented Chief of Naval Staff
Dr. Godwin Ocheni represented Senator Shehu Sanni - Chair, Senate Committee on & Foreign Debts
Prof. Godwin Sogolo - Former Director, IPCR
Boss Mustapha represented - Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Dr. (Mrs) Jane Soboke represented Col (Rtd) Hameed Alli - Comptroller General of Customs
Paulo Yagudki represented Nikolay Udovichenko - Ambassador of the Embassy of Russia to Nigeria
Rear Admiral Stanford Eno represented General Gabriel Olonisakin - Chief of Defense Staff
Jens-Petter Kjemprud - Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria
Patrick Mayen - Conflict Adviser, DFID

The SCA seeks to 'provide Government and other stakeholders with informed and unbiased analysis of conflicts and their implication for the peace and security of the country (See page 13 of SCA 2016). The key findings and conclusions are as follows (See pages 18-20 of SCA).

*Compared with the previous editions of the SCA, changes have occurred in the context, weaponry, actors, protraction, spontaneity, geographical scope and victims of conflicts around the country. For example, armed non-state actors (ANSAs) from within and outside the country have emerged, often led by warlords.

*There is a transnational and global dimension to the sources of rage, grievances, weapons and conflict entrepreneurs.

*The concept of 'prebendalism' (money politics) seems to have changed in the last few years. Prebendalism has become even more pronounced, edging out committed patriots who could have contested in the political terrain.

*In the Niger Delta, the Amnesty programme is embroiled in allegations of corruption. More needs to be done in this area.

*The fault lines of ethnicity and religion as bases of electoral choices have had negative effects in the polity.

*Ethnic and religious minorities have become more resistant and sometimes violent.

*DDRRR efforts in some states are not devoid of partiality.

*Having used militias as enforcers in winning elections, many states are saddled with dangerous small arms & light weapons (SALWs).

*Paucity of funds makes CSOs incapable of going beyond advocacy.

*'He who pays the piper still dictates the tune' in the media. Conflict-sensitive reporting is necessary.

*There should be public-private partnership for effective peace-building.

*Women and children, among the vulnerable groups are fast becoming active conflict actors - e.g. as suicide bombers and protesters against the invasion of their communities.  

 There were quite a number of useful comments and suggestions at the event:

*The IPCR should be moved back to the Presidency. It is quite restricted with Ministry of Foreign Affairs as its supervising Ministry.

*There is a bit of 'analytical timidity' in the report. 'Let's call a spade a spade: Could it be a faction of Boko Haram (Al Banami) that is operating as 'herdsmen' in north-central Nigeria?'

*The role of government agencies like the Victim Support Fund (VSF) and others, set up to ameliorate the effect of conflict not mentioned in report.

*The Federal government should wake up to its responsibility of funding IPCR adequately. It's a shame that even the SCA being presented to the public was funded by donor agencies!

*There is a nexus between peace/security and good governace/development.

*The NAP, which emanates from the SCA should be integrated into the programmes of all relevant government agencies to guarantee efficient implementation of the recommendations. Peace-Building should be mainstreamed into all government programmes.

*Good governance, which entails the policy of inclusion, could be useful in mitigating conflict. 

*Lessons should be learnt from the first NAP which was too 'top heavy'. Besides, the rift at the highest level of governance affected implementation. This should not be allowed to happen again.

*Only 'implementable' policies should be enacted.

*The NAP & SCA should be used for conflict-sensitive work at all levels.

The NAP is expected to intervene through the following sub-committees:

*Security Sector Reform (SSR)

*Early Warning & Early Response (EWER)

*Political Conflict (PoC)

*Social & Economic Conflict (SoEC)

*Mainstreaming Conflict Prevention (MCoP)
On the whole, I commend the IPCR for painstakingly putting together an impressive NAP & SCA. It is easy to criticise. After reading the two documents, I suggest stakeholders should send constructive comments to the management of IPCR. Such comments might help guide the researchers for the next SCA & NAP. Kudos to IPCR for presenting these two useful documents to the public.   

Wednesday 8 November 2017


The book titled 'Nigeria's Space Journey: Understanding its past, Reshaping its future' by Dr. Adigun Ade Abiodun was launched in Abuja on the 6th of November, 2017. Dr. Abiodun is currently a member of the AU Space Working Group. He was a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Space Science & Technology (2000-2003). He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in Ottawa (1974-1976). The book was presented in three Nigerian cities - Lagos (University of Lagos), Abuja (National Universities Commission) and Ile-Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University). For more on Dr. Abiodun, see his LinkedIn profile -

At the presentation, I could identify the following:

Dr. Adigun Ade Abiodun - Author
Mrs. Abiodun - Author's wife
Prof. Rafiu Akindele - Nasaraawa State University/Author's childhood friend
Prof. Michael Faborode - Secretary-General of the Committee of VCs of Nigerian Universities
Hakeem Ajijola - Executive Chairman, Consultancy Support Services/Book Reviewer
Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert
Adenike Adeyanju-Osadolor - Publisher, ABBI Books
Representatives of DG NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed
Representative of the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed
Aliyu Aziz, Executive Secretary, NIMC

 The reviewer of the book, Hakeem Ajijola did a splendid job. By the time he completed his comprehensive review of the 400 page book with interesting anecdotes and experiences he had while working on various projects with the author, I actually got the impression that I had read the book without having done so! The book traces Nigeria's relationship with modern science and diplomacy. There have been many 'missed opportunities' and 'bad' decisions as regards space  technology.

There are six sections in the book, which include: Space in human life, Space efforts in Nigeria, Re-awaking Nigeria, Nigeria's space priorities, and Moving ahead. Indigenous technology should be 'harvested' for space development in Nigeria, rather than 'importing and deploying' foreign technology hook, line and sinker! It was a mistake for Nigeria to have swallowed the bait of 'micro satellite for developing countries' instead of developing such technology from scratch using indigenous knowledge. The bitter lesson learnt from this mistake is that Nigeria's space efforts have not delivered as promised.

Nigeria should focus on downstream space technology and re-jig the curriculum of tertiary institutions in the country to reflect this reality. I (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa) am particularly interested in the use of space technology for peaceful purposes because I am a conflict transformation expert. Space technology can be used for weather forecast, satellite imagery, agricultural land use, mapping hydrocarbon and other mineral deposit potentials, disaster management, earth observation, remote sensing, geo-scientific ground investigation, etc. In 2007, Dr. Abiodun and I wrote chapters in a book edited by Prof. Bola Akinterinwa (former DG, NIIA). See the references below:

Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, "Nigeria's satellite technology: Development, peaceful uses and challenges" in Bola Akinterinwa (ed.), Nigeria's National Interests in a Globalising World: Further Reflections on Constructive & Beneficial Concentricism (Ibadan: Bolytag International Publishers, 2007), ISBN 978-978-082-167-8, pp. 80-110

Adigun Ade Abiodun, "Space Enterprise and Nigeria's National Interests" in Bola Akinterinwa (ed.), Nigeria's National Interests in a Globalising World: Further Reflections on Constructive & Beneficial Concentricism (Ibadan: Bolytag International Publishers, 2007), ISBN 978-978-082-167-8, pp. 31-79 

Dr. Abiodun said he wrote the book because he wanted to put on record in a concise and systematic manner his foray into, and 'interventions' in the area of space technology with special reference to Nigeria. A think tank should be set up to constantly advise government at every turn on the right path to pursue as regards space technology. We should learn from the experiences of other countries. It is imperative for us to employ indigenous knowledge vis-a-vis space technology.

Related Links

*Geo-spatial Sciences & Space Law: Legal Aspects of Earth Observation, Remote Sensing & Geo-scientific Ground Investigation in Africa by Dr. Gbenga Oduntan
*Covid-19: When evaluators cannot make it to the field, they can always observe from space   #evaluation  #data


Sunday 5 November 2017


Photo L-R: General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), Nigeria's Fmr. Head of State/Founder AAAIPSDS & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

The Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN), held its third meeting in Minna, Niger state on the 30th of October, 2017. The meeting was held at the instance of Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in collaboration with the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace & Sustainable Development Studies (AAAIPSDS). I am a valued member of FFARN. The venue of the parley was Gen. Abubakar's Maizube farm in Minna. The farm occupies more than 500 hectares of land!

FFARN is a network of academics and practitioners from both governmental and non-governmental institutions. The purpose of the forum is to bridge the gap between peace practitioners and researchers, share views, experiences and discuss the dynamics of farmer-herder relations with a view to seeking sustainable solutions. The Forum also examines areas of policy research, advocacy and mobilisation, while providing a veritable platform for inter-disciplinary exchange of ideas that generate evidence for multi-level policy influencing (See for example, SFCG's TOR for FFARN).

Some of the participants at the meeting are:

*General Abdusalami Abubakar - Nigeria's fmr. Head of State
*Olubukola Ademola-Adelahin - Team Lead, SFCG
*Dr. M.A. Adedimeji - Director, CPSS, University of Ilorin
*Daniel Okafor - V.P. AFAN
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Strategist
*Dr. Diamond Nebechukwu, Director, AAIPSDS
*Abubakar Sadiq, Secretary, North-Central zone, MACBAN
*Thomas Adamu-Edor, Program Coordinator, USIP
*Lantana Abdullahi, Director of Programmes, Plateau Peace-Building Committee
*Dr. Philip Bande, Centre for Peace & Development, Veritas University
*Andy Nkemneme, Research Officer, IPCR
*David Ojelabi, FCT Chair, SPSP
*Henry Unongo, Program Manager, JDPC
*Ene Ede, Gender Advisor, SFCG
*Bitrus Dangiwa, Director, IMC
*Dr. Chris Kwaja, Research Fellow, SFCG
*Mohammed Baba, Researcher, SFCG
*Dr. Saleh Momale, Executive  Director, PARE
*Prof. Adagba Okpagu, Director, CFP, Benue State University
*Nathaniel Awuapila, CEO, CORAFID
*Dr. O.A. Oladejo, Research Fellow, IPSS
*Adeolu Adewunmi, Manager, PSN/Mercy Corps
*Toyin Falade, Executive Director, ISHD
*Haruna Dukku, Commissioner, Livestock, Niger state
*Abdullahi Adamu, Commissioner, Nomadic Affairs, Niger state

The meeting focused on the current re-escalation of violence in some communities in Plateau state as well as the passage of the Open Grazing Prohibition & Ranches Establishment Law 2017 in Benue state. Some of the recommendations from the meeting are as follows (See FFARN communique):

*Stakeholders should identify the lingering conflict as a struggle for economic survival, and desist from un-necessarily giving it ethnic and religious colouration that tend to escalate and proliferate the problem.

*Traditional methods of conflict transformation that sustained peaceful co-existence in the communities in the past should be resuscitated and strengthened to re-build trust and engender confidence-building among the various actors in the conflict, especially the farmers and herders.

*Governments, CSOs and security agencies at all levels should constantly engage one another to create robust and efficient frameworks for early warning (EW) and early response (ER) to conflict.

*Federal, state and local governments should be alive to their responsibilities as guarantors of security all citizens and decisively tackle the proliferation of SALWs in Nigeria.

*The implementation of the Open Grazing & Ranches Establishment Law in Benue State should be re-examined and treated with caution in order to ensure it does not lead to further violence and infringement of the fundamental rights of citizens.

*The security architecture in Plateau state should be reinforced in order to achieve sustainable peace and development.

*The Nigerian media should ensure conflict-sensitive reporting in order to prevent the escalation of prevalent conflicts or trigger new ones. Other stakeholders should moderate their language of engagement in a way that promotes peaceful co-existence.

*Governments, CSOs and other stakeholders should provide effective and efficient psycho-social support for victims and survivors of farmer-herder conflicts as a matter of urgency.

*Farmer-herder relations in Nigeria should be given adequate attention by the federal, state and local governments. The FG should take the lead in coordinating state interventions and creating a framework for the effective management of farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria.

*The FG should fully implement UNSCR 1325, while paying attention to the recently launched National Action Plan (NAP) in Nigeria.

FFARN meets monthly at designated venues in Nigeria...

Related Links:

*Pastoralists/Farmers conflicts in Nigeria
*6,500 killed, $14b lost to herders/farmers clashes
*Nigeria: Herders and farmers clash over land
*Farmers/herders clashes claim 2,500 lives, $13.7b in one year - Abdusalami Abubakar
*Benue state: Dragging herdsmen to civilisation
*Climate change, water stress, conflict and migration
*Soil-less farming (Hydroponics) can end farmer-herder clashes
*In search of common ground for farmer-grazer conflicts
*Herders against farmers: Nigeria's expanding deadly conflict
*Nigeria: Benue state lost N95b to farmer-herder clashes in 4years
*A case study of north-south migration in Nigeria
*Pastoralism & Conflict in the Sudano-Sahel: A review of the literature by Leif Brottem & Andrew McDonnell
*Farmer-Pastoralist conflict in West Africa
*Nigeria: Project report on conflict mapping into incessant crises between pastoralists and farmers
*From complimentarity to conflict: A historical analysis of farmer-herder relations in Nigeria
*Cultural relations quarterly review: Farmer-herder relations in Nigeria
*Farmer-herder clashes amplify challenges for beleaguered Nigeria
*Causes, effects and resolution of farmers-nomadic cattle herders' clashes
*The role of community development committees in farmer-herder relations
*Pastoralists vs arable farmers
*Rural banditry in northern Nigeria
*Farmer-Herder crisis can cause food crisis - UN
*Farmer-Herder crisis not religious - MACBAN
*Farmer-Herder crisis may lead Nigeria to Somalia route - IPCR DG
*What Nigeria must do to stop farmer-herder clashes
*9 facts you did not know about farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria
*Herders against farmers: Nigeria's expanding deadly conflict
*ASUU seeks solution to herdsmen-farmers' clashes
*Herdsmen-farmers' clashes today: Ecology, class & categorical politics in contemporary Nigeria
*Policy Brief: Implications of new legislation on farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria
*Southern & Middle-Belt leaders reject Fulani Radio station funded by FG
*Soldiers caught among robbers arrested in Borno
*Boko Haram/Herdsmen: Ethnic nationalities regroup to defend terrorists
*FG begins animal census, identification
*Buhari suspends Ruga settlement plans
*Court dismisses Miyetti Allah's suit challenging open grazing law
*Move beyond army in end to farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria
*Nigeria: Between BH & farmer-herder attacks: The complexity of the conflict
*Let's focus on underlying factors in farmer-herder conflict
*Media & peace-building roundtable on farmer-herder relations in Nigeria
*Policy Brief on Seeking security & stability: Analysis of security responses to farmer-herder conflict in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria
*Policy Brief on The impact of farmer-herder conflict on women in Adamawa, Gombe & Plateau states of Nigeria
*The effect of Covid-19 on farmers & pastoralists

30th January, 2019


On the 24th of January, 2019, the first FFARN meeting for the year was held in Abuja with Bukola Ademola-Adelehin (Project Lead FFARN, SFCG) & Katie Smith (Policy Officer, Global Affairs & Partnerships, SFCG, Washington DC) facilitating. We mapped out our strategy for the year while discussing the impact of farmer-herder relations at the state, national, regional and international levels. There was also an overview of the Conflict Mapping System earlier developed by FFARN. It was suggested that the pictorial format of the document be fine-tuned and patented to prevent plagiarists from appropriating same.

The consensus was that FFARN's advocacy should continue even more vigorously in 2019. After extensive deliberation using certain parameters, the forum arrived at the conclusion that 'Crisis of livelihoods (competition for land & water resources)' should be the focus of FFARN for 2019. Details about what specific aspect of the issue FFARN wants to focus on, who has the power to make the changes we desire, what changes are feasible in 2019, etc were trashed out! A clear distinction was then made between Advocacy, Information sharing & lobbying. SFCG's advocacy principles were spelt out.

There you have it. FFARN is good to go in the year 2019!

L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa (Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Strategist & Member, FFARN) & Katie Smith (Policy Officer, Global Affairs & Partnerships, SFCG, Washington DC)




Saturday 21 October 2017


The 2017 edition of the Summit of AFRICA TODAY magazine followed the excellent tradition of previous ones, where speakers knowledgeable about the subject matter enlightened participants. In 2015, the topic was EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The consensus then was that Nigeria should not sign the EPA because it is not in the interest of our country. The Nigerian government has adopted the same position as was canvassed at the summit. My blog post on the 2016 Summit can be viewed via this link - These Summits are fast becoming platforms for advising the government and people of Nigeria as regards viable options available as regards critical developmental issues.

The subject matter for the 2017 edition was 'Renewable Energy (RE) Options in a low cost and low carbon world: Which way Nigeria and Africa?' This is a timely topic in the era when citizens are frustrated with the inadequate supply of electricity in Nigeria. The country has been grappling with this issue for decades. It was high time alternative sources of generating electricity apart from the national grid were explored aggressively.

The following were some of the participants at the event:

*Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Minister for Power, Works & Housing, represented by the Minister of State, Suleiman Zarma Hassan.
*Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY), Former DG UNIDO/Former UN Under Secretary-General For Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL)/Presidential Candidate of National Grand Coalition (NGC) in Sierra-Leone.
*Victor Eremosele, Fmr. GM Finance, NLNG/CEO, ME Consulting, Ltd.
*Waheed Olagunju, Executive Director, Bank of Industry
*Kunle Oyinloye, MD, Bank of Infrastructure.
*John Odeh, Former Minister of Information.
Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, Executive Governor, Taraba State.
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert.
*Danladi Bako, Former DG, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
*Yuri Tsitrinbaum, CEO, Lumos Nigeria.
*Orobosa Mantu, Business Development Director, Naija Sol.
*Ivie Igbinedion, Executive Director, Naija Sol.

The Summit was declared open by the representative of the Minister for Power, Works & Housing, Suleiman Zarma Hassan, who made opening remarks about what the Federal government is doing about provision of electricity for the populace. He said 'renewable energy is also on the cards in spite of the fact that the focus has been on the provision of incremental power via the national grid. Power supply has increased from 2,069MW in 2015 to 6,911MW in 2017'.

Victor Eremosele compared hydrocarbons with renewables. His preference was for the latter. Climate change has made the seasons less predictable, while hurricane has become more vicious in the Western world. We need to reduce carbon dioxide and GHG emissions. Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change because the continent depends on a climate-sensitive  natural resource base. According to Eremosele, the irony of the situation is that Africa contributes only 3.8% of the global GHG emissions, compared to China and America's 42%. The Economist says 'The sun is the world's battery package. In one, one quarter hours, the amount of sunshine could power all the world's electricity'.

Eremosele then asks: Why is Africa, and in particular Nigeria, not taking advantage of the immense amount of solar energy available? At least 30 million Nigerians are off the national grid! He emphasised the fact that Nigeria needs to go green and sustainable energy makes sense. Government can't do it alone, hence the need for Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Philanthropists have a very big role to play in the RE sector.

Dr. Kandeh Yunkella reminds us that 'Affordable and Clean Energy' is number 7 of the SDGs. He said the need for de-carbonised and green energy cannot be over-emphasised. There will be 2.2 billion Africans by 2050 and it's projected that at this rate, half the population would be without electricity! Nigeria has spent about N20b on electricity since 1999, and there's little to show for it. He then elucidated five stages of access to electricity in Africa, which could take us out of energy poverty. Yunkella envisages that with adequate planning, every Nigerian would be able to charge his/her phone, light a bulb and listen to radio in the next five years via RE. RE could liberate the populace from poverty.

Deby Palmer, Head of DFID, Abuja, talked about the international community's support for energy in Nigeria. DFID aims to end extreme poverty, and one of the ways of doing this is to support energy generation. She said 275million British Pounds has been spent in the energy sector in Nigeria in 2017. Power creates jobs, and poor people need jobs. DFID supports the Presidential Task Force on Power. DFID's Solar Nigeria project is aiding health care facilities and schools.

Odun Emesieulu, Chair Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Abuja branch, lamented the plight of manufacturers in Nigeria, due to the lack of 'high quality power' in Nigeria. He said for the past 15 years, his factory had been running on generating sets 24 hours daily because it's risky to use the unsteady power supply from the grid which could damage his sensitive machines! MAN favours clean cooking solution and the use of RE to produce effective power.

Waheed Olagunju and Kunle Oyinloye, ED Bank of Industry and MD Infrastructure Bank respectively talked about what it takes to finance RE projects. The bottom line was that because of the high risk involved and the slow/minimal return on investment, RE projects are not attractive to banks for funding. When in one of my interventions, I asked if the banks could support retirees who wanted to go into the RE business or at least acquire some type of RE option for their homes for their convenience in retirement, the answer was rather brash: 'You have your pension, and that should suffice'...Retirees seem to be an endangered species. Even their pension is not paid on schedule if it's paid at all. My take on this is that retirees deserve to live relatively comfortably in retirement, and this should include access to RE at least in their homes. Banks and other sectors of the society should show more empathy towards retirees and other 'disadvantaged' members of society. Even if you can do nothing, kind words go a long way...

For me the star of the Summit was Arc. Darius Ishaku, Governor of Taraba state because he came with slides of practical examples of the theory enumerated by other speakers. Ishaku told the audience in practical terms how he was able to re-invigorate the moribund 'Highland Tea' factory after he became Governor with only 400KW of electricity! He said Taraba state is thriving on a tripod of strides in agriculture, mining and tourism. The provision of electricity via RE has made the three sectors more viable in Taraba state. Ishaku said four other clusters are being re-awakened, since hydro-power plants no longer need waterfalls.This makes electricity generation easier since there is so much water in Taraba state.

Governor Ishaku is already working on 'Tunga II' in Maisamari, Taraba state. 'When the clusters are lit via hydro-power and other RE sources, the people are happy and they are gradually being lifted out of poverty', he said. In one of Ishaku's slides, a Taraban boasted: 'I am enjoying more light (electricity) 24/7 than anyone in Abuja!'. Gov. Ishaku's Taraba state, for me represents good practice in the generation of RE for the benefit of the citizens in Nigeria. Other governors, and indeed the Federal Government could borrow a leaf from his example.

I was particularly gladdened by the fact that two female role models for entrepreneurial youths in the renewable energy sector were singled out for recognition at the Summit. The Igbinedion sisters - Ivie Igbinedion (Executive Director, Naija Sol) and Orobosa Mantu (Business Development Director, Naija Sol) have been making giant strides in the solar energy sector with their relatively new company. Kudos to you two polite, forward looking and hardworking sisters. The sky is not your limit!

Oops! I almost forgot that the amiable publisher of 'Africa Today' magazine, Kayode Soyinka, will be 60 years old in December 2017. There was an early 'happy birthday' shout out to him at the Summit by his employees who presented him with a beautiful cake! The polished publisher blushed because he did not expect the gesture. The creme de la creme present showered encomiums on KS, as Kayode Soyinka is fondly called.

The women at the occasion showed appreciation for the Publisher, but they were viewed as 'suffocating'. They were therefore asked to leave the stage so the Publisher could have photo opportunities with the so called 'more important' male guests who included a former Minister! One of the 'important' male participants even shouted across the floor at an oblivious excited female who was on stage with the Publisher.

He said: 'Grandma, you are blocking our Minister!' Why grandma? This was simply because the female had earlier identified herself as a retiree and he assumed she was a 'grandma'. I'm sure he won't have referred to a male in similar circumstances as 'grandpa'. The downside is that the female was embarrassed and furious! Is this part of male chauvinism? Your guess is as good as mine. Women seem to wear their emotions on their skin, and I suggest they be accommodated when they are simply being 'nice'. Anyway, what do I know? Happy birthday, KS!

On the whole, the dynamic team of Africa Today has done it again - three years in a row with relevant topics from which policy briefs emanate to guide policy makers in Nigeria...

Related Links

*Outshining fossil fuel: Your guide to the revolution in solar energy
*Why AI is key to renewable energy grid resilience
*Anticipatory Regulation
*USADF-AU Nigeria On Off-Grid Energy Challenge 2020
*Improved Cooking Stoves & Environmental Health
*Greening Micro-finance Banks in Nigeria: Green finance includes loans to assist in purchasing environmentally friendly/sound products
*Eco-friendly stove promotes re-use of biodegradable waste
*Solar energy reaches historically low costs
*Solar energy in Africa: Green electricity powers pandemic response and recovery
*Universities collaborate in push for renewable energy
*Differences in carbon emission reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity vs nuclear energy
*Countries that backed renewables over nuclear power have cut more carbon dioxide
*Solar power could be 'the new king' as global electricity demand grows
*Bio-energy with Carbon Capture & Storage
*Carbon Mineralisation 
*Innovation that directly removes carbon from the air
*Device converts heat into electricity more efficiently
*Family Business Legacies: Building a global $400m Energy Group
*Scientists create jet engine powered by only electricity 
*How do we move about in a zero carbon world?
*Clean energy innovation - Analysis
*What Nigeria's power supply really costs & how a hybrid system could work for business
*'Floatovoltaics': Lithuania tests floating solar power
*Shell plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs, 10% of its work force, in its transition to low carbon energy
*First-Ever Peace REC (P-REC) Transction drives renewable energy development in Africa
*Renewable energy's dark side    https;//
*The promising future of renewable energy
*All-girl engineer team invents solar-powered tent for the homeless
*How the fossil fuel industry funds fascism
*Elon Musk announces $100m prize for New Carbon Captive Technology
*The future of energy is sustainable, clean & green- Dr. Maryam Shehu, Company Secretary, KEDC
*Global demands for carbon offsets to combat emissions is growing - But the supply is unreliable
*With 206 projects, Jeff Bezos' Amazon is now the world's largest RE buyer

Saturday 14 October 2017


The 14th edition of the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) was held between the 9th and 13th of October at the Silverbird Galleria. The theme for this year was: "Film as a tool for national security and patriotism". I was there at the invitation of the initiators of the festival, Fidelis and Temitope Duker.

On the 11th of October, Kathlyn Horan, Director/Owner, TinFish Films, USA, anchored the session on "Self-financing for independent film makers". Kathlyn was of the view that it's possible to manage a combination of self-finance, crowd funding, donations and grants in the process of producing a film. She was however reminded by her enthusiastic audience that the Nigerian environment was not as organised as is the case in America when it comes to funding films. The "starter film maker" is almost always up against a formidable brick-wall in this country.

Kathlyn showcased snippets of her flagship project: "The IF Project", which is a Logo Documentary Films/TinFish Films Production. The film tells a moving story of a cathartic writing workshop at the Washington Corrections Centre for Women (WCCW), near Seattle, where the inmates explore the cause and effect cycle that landed them in prison and the big "IF" of what might have led them down a different path. The brainchild of one of the incarcerated women, Renata Abramson, the programme is overseen by Officer Kim Bogucki, who invests an enormous time and energy to help these women help themselves. (See

Kathlyn said that the film maker needs an "elevator pitch" snippet of his/her film, probably on YouTube (which could be sent to potential sponsors) in order to get them interested. Like the IF Project, such a film should have a strong theme to which the average member of the targeted audience could relate. Then there was animated discussion about the film: "The Wedding Party" - a Nigerian film which is the brain child of the delectable internationally acclaimed film-maker and entrepreneur, Mo Abudu.

Kathlyn was told that what made "The Wedding Party" such a colossal success was a combination of factors:

*Four prominent and successful studios came together to produce the film.
*Each of the characters in the film is a "veteran" in his/her own right.
*The average citizen could relate to the theme of the film.
*The acting was top notch/sophisticated.
*The investment in marketing the film was massive before and even after its release.
*The film is social satire/comedy. This kind of film lights up the spirit of citizens in a depressed economy.

There was however a note of caution that "The Wedding Party" (TWP) should not be seen as the gold standard for aspiring film makers who don't have studios and therefore cannot attract the kind of funds the sponsors of TWP could in one fell swoop! The consensus was that there should be constant networking among relatively unknown film makers so as to identify specific talents (e.g. producers, script writers, actors, actresses, make-up artists, sound engineers, etc) from among them before seeking funds. In fact, such positive networking began right there in the hall and Kathlyn Horan was glad to witness same on Nigerian soil...         

Friday 29 September 2017


"The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be a source of pride and confidence".

 - Nelson Mandela 

The above quote by Nelson Mandela is conspicuously displayed on the third page of Initiative for Dialogue & Development's (IDD) brochure. SoapboxNG was launched in Abuja by IDD in Abuja on 28th September, 2017. IDD is a non-governmental, non-partisan, non-religious organisation that seeks to create an inclusive and positive citizen engagement. Other programmes of IDD include the Student Internship Programme (SIP) - a national initiative designed to groom a replacement generation of nationalists and YX - a youth platform for inclusiveness and exchange of ideas.

The theme of the maiden edition of the IDD dialogue series was 'Re-inventing our nationhood'. There were participants from the academia, civil society, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Secondary school students, Professional bodies, etc. The Chairman was General Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State. The Guests of Honour were:

*Dr. Christopher Kolade - Nigeria's fmr. High Commissioner to the UK
*Alhaji Balarabe Musa (absent with apology) - Second Republic Governor of Kaduna State
*Prof. Anya O. Anya, NNOM - Fellow/V.P. of the Nigerian Academy of Science

The Lead Speakers were:

*Prof. Jerry Gana - Fmr. Minister of Information
*Nze Fidelis Chukwu - Politician
*Engr. Buba Galadima - Politician
*Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs - Human Rights/Environmental Activist
*Prof. Adebayo Williams - Scholar/Journalist/Novelist

Gen. Gowon's desire for Nigeria is a united country where citizens have concern for one another and the youths are adequately provided for. For Prof. Anya, the main attribute of a nation is a governing elite that shares similar values with the populace. Nigeria needs to 'harvest' her cultural diversity positively. 'We do not need our present generation of truant leaders who do not provide viable models for youths to emulate'. It is out of 'elder-ship' the fruit of nationhood can be harvested. In the Throne Room, God seats on the throne, but He is surrounded by 24 elders. That's why elders have a role to play in Nigeria.

Dr. Christopher Kolade said it is not an accident that we are all Nigerians. God gave Adam and Eve a place to live in (Eden). If they had kept to God's instructions, they would have remained in Eden - in peace and harmony. But they reneged on their promise to be of good behaviour while obeying Almighty Father. This analogy is applicable to Nigeria. We should note that justice is germane to peaceful co-existence. Nigeria was here before anyone of us, and will remain after us. Let's make a positive impact while we are here.

Then the Soapbox was unveiled by Dame Virginia Ngozi Etiaba, the very first female Governor in Nigeria (Anambra state). Prof. Adebayo Williams was happy about the unveiling of SoapboxNG on the eve of Nigeria's 57th independence anniversary. Williams recommends as follows:

*There should be structural un-bundling of an over-burdened centre.
*Strategic national dialogue by leaders of thought with a timeline for producing a document.
*With about 70% of the population below the age of 30years, there should be a consultative forum for youths to to find out what they really want/need.
* There should be a Commission for vertical and horizontal integration (VHI) in Nigeria.

In my intervention, I asked Prof. Williams what he meant by VHI. He said that HI is integration between and among contiguous entities/groups in the society like gender, disabled, ethnic nationalities, professions. Vertical integration is more difficult because it is across classes. 'Migration' from one class to the other is an uphill task in every society because the upper/elite class would do anything to keep the lower classes out. Quality education could however come to  the rescue of citizens who wish to improve their lot by moving up the 'class ladder'.

Prof. Jerry Gana was worried about the following issues:

*Making our brand of federalism less centralised.
*Devolution of powers.
*Fiscal federalism.
*Good governance. Gana advised citizens not to sell their votes.
*Focus on people's welfare and security because no Nigerian is more important than the other.

Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs wants government to review the reports of various panels/dialogue(s) with a view to implementing viable aspects of same. She also said that we need a 'constitution that is fair to all Nigerians'. Nze Fidelis noted that the amalgamation of 1914 was merely a 'merger' of north and south Nigeria and not a 'harmonisation' of the living conditions of the people of the north and south through their language, religion, economy, politics and social life. He noted that the dividends of democracy are not equivalent to corruption.

Prof. Dakas Dakas, SAN and Fmr. Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice Plateau state was particularly impressed by the composition of the youth ambassadors chosen from various Secondary schools in Nigeria by IDD. He was delighted that more than half of the youth ambassadors are female. Dakas said that communities develop more not by virtue of their wealth, but by the wealth of their virtue.

Comrade Ibu Chukwu Ezike, Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), noted that IPOB is not the first Igbo militant group, MASSOB preceded it. Dr. Bashir Yusuf Mundi, MD, Altair Consult, Abuja was of the opinion that Nigeria's unity is negotiable. The believes the legislature has a key role to play in the process of restructuring.

Engr. Buba Galadima, a politician, said that 'all those crying marginalisation/restructuring want a Nigeria that favours their part of the country more than other regions'. He says we should be 'dispassionate' if we are sincere that we want a re-structured Nigeria.

For me, it was Daniel Akinyiwola, one of the youth ambassadors, and a student of Aquinas College, Akure, Ondo state, who was the star of the event with his inspiring poem titled: 'My Fatherland'. Here's an abridged version of the poem, though as a feminist, I would have preferred 'My Motherland' as the title of the poem (lol!):

Nigeria my fatherland,
A country fully bestowed with grace and splendour,
Like locust on a wild mission.
Its fortunes are depleted by the very people meant to sustain same.
Victors are now living like slaves.

What can the contribution of a mere mortal amount to
As regards keeping the economy afloat?
This is a clarion call to all...
North, South, East and West
Our culture might differ,
But the good Lord created us to live together.

Youths of Nigeria,
Shall we eat the National Cake or bake it?
Shall we create a Nigeria that promotes its vast potential?
These questions are my starting point in creating a 'prosperity plan'...
Let's transform the nation by making development sustainable.

It was indeed an impressive maiden outing for IDD.      



Wednesday 6 September 2017


The dissemination workshop on 'Justice, reconciliation and healing in north-east Nigeria' was held in Abuja on the 6th of September, 2017. The research was conducted by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) with support from Nigeria Stability & Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), UKaid, British Council, International Alert and Social Development Direct (SDD).

The insurgency in north-east Nigeria as a result of the activities of the militant group, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awatiwal-Jihad (JAS), often referred to as Boko Haram (BH) has claimed about 20,000 lives since 2009. About 3 million people are internally displaced. Over $6m of public funds have been spent on prosecuting counter-terrorism. The cost of recovery and peace-building is put at $6.7b. Besides, an estimated 75% of children are out of school.

The study sought to evaluate the perceptions and views of victims, community dwellers, parents and other key stakeholders on reconciliation and healing, with a view to guiding initiatives towards the rehabilitation of IDPs and sustainable peace in the north-east.

The following were at the workshop:

*Prof. Deji Adekunle, Director-General NIALS
*Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, Conflict Adviser, DFID
*Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo, Programme Manger, NSRP
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja
*Dr. Amina Mohammed, Representative of Minister of Health
*Arc. Issa Halilu, Ministry of National Planning
*Prof. Peter Akper (SAN), Director of Research, NIALS
*Dr. Irekpitan Okukpon, NIALS
*Dr. Oladipupo Ipadeola, Project statistician & analyst
*Senator Shehu Sanni
*Ms. Habiba Makanjuola, Research Manager, NSRP

The following are the research findings:

*A majority of respondents believe that JAS has the greatest blame for the violence and death experienced in Borno and Yobe states. Unconditional forgiveness of the insurgents is not an acceptable option for majority of respondents in the north-east.

*Religion and religious sentiments that promote peace and forgiveness are key factors that have contributed to stabilising the psycho-social balance of victims in the north-east geo-political zone.

*Healing is a welcome prospect for respondents in the north-east, and centres for psycho-social support/medical therapy for victims which are already existing should continue to provide these germane service(s).

*Healing and rehabilitation of victims is key to achieving justice and peace in the north-east. The rehabilitation process should entail skills acquisition for the victims.

*A majority of respondents are resolute in their insistence that justice and accountability, particularly the successful prosecution of apprehended insurgents could help towards healing in the north-east.

*There is scepticism about the sincerity of repentant or de-radicalised insurgents. Respondents caution against amnesty for insurgents.

*The idea of de-radicalising insurgents is not a priority for most of the respondents. The preferrable option is the provision of basic amenities, especially food, water and clothing for IDPs.

*The preponderant view is that JAS insurgency is not fueled by religious ideologies but by fanaticism and poverty. The JAS targets jobless youths and young girls and women between the ages of 18 and 30 years.

*Discussants at the workshop wondered why the role of the Victims Support Fund (VSF) was not given prominence in the report, since VSF is meant to assuage the pain of victims.

The prayer of most participants is that the relevant government agencies and NGOs would critically study the report and implement relevant aspects of same towards sustainable peace in north-east Nigeria.

Related Links

*UN declares August 22 International Day of Victims of Religious Violence


Sunday 27 August 2017


The third in the series of the EBS-RED (Economic & Business Strategy - Refined Economic Development) quarterly lectures was held in Abuja the 26th of August, 2017. The convener of the series is Dr. Magnus Kpakol, economic and business strategist, who anchors a vintage programme on AIT. He said Nigerians have to be globally competitive in order to raise the standard of living. He has dedicated a larger part of his adult life to exploring ways of engaging young people on strategies for global competitiveness.

For Kpakol, the negative influences that inhibit this competitiveness are:

*Poor policy choices and the nature of fiscal/monetary policies.
*Revenue as a percentage of GDP has shrunk and this implies government has lost considerable leverage in the economy.
*Income has shrunk from $80b to $30b
*Unstable exchange rate/multiple exchange rates/slow rate of economic growth.
*African countries are weak on the global competitive index. Of the 30 countries at the bottom of the index, 24 are in Africa.
*Mechanisms for revving up export to boost the Naira.
*The level of efficiency, productivity and attractiveness of the Nigerian economy.
*Good monetary policies in recent times from the CBN e.g. anchor borrowers' programme/MSME development fund/CBN working with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
*The Nigerian economy needs to grow to at least 10%.
*Nigerians are exhibiting their frustration with the economy through begging, demonstration, low productivity, etc

The representative of Segun Awolowo, CEO of NEPC, took us through some of the activities of NEPC. NEPC was established 41 years ago, just like the NNPC. The NEPC was set up to develop non-oil exports while the NNPC was to take care of the oil sector. The Dutch disease made us neglect the NEPC and over-concentrate on NNPC. The major areas of involvement for the NEPC are:

*Export development
*Export marketing & market research
*Advising and training on non-oil export issues

There are three major sources of foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy - remittances from friends/relatives, foreign direct investment (FDI) and export earnings. Of these three sources of forex, export earnings are the most sustainable. That is why in NEPC, there is emphasis on the following:

*Capacity building for export, e.g. the zero to export programme/conterpart funding for youths (8 weeks, weekend course)
*Women in export programme - collaboration with International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva.
*Taking Nigerian exporters to international trade fairs
*Clear definition of who an exporter is - An exporter must be registered with the NEPC. Individuals are not registered as exporters, only limited liability companies (LLCs)/NGOs/Cooperative societies
*NEPC website - Initial amount for registration is N12,000. Yearly renewal of registration is N5,000

Ms. Folashade Aliu, President/CEO of Alpha Digitals Ltd. She is a certified systems engineer who runs a business coaching platform for unemployed/under-employed graduates. Aliu focused on emerging markets. She urged members of the audience to engage social media more constructively. Rather than spend precious time reading gossip on facebook and other sites, the entrepreneur should constantly peruse the websites of the following organisations for useful information - NBS, NPC, EFCC, FMH, NPC, NSE, Embassies & High Commissions, FMF, CBN, NNPC.

It is important to know the following:

*Top 10 rated export items - NBS
*Trading partners who are the buyers in each country
*Consumer price index (CPI). Know how the CPI affects your import business
*GDP - what does it mean to the small business owner?
*How unemployment affects small business
*Focus factors - information/participation/activation/diversification/mobilisation/connection/monetisation/vision & mission/M & E of market/coordinated effort/risk distribution/branding strategies/balancing BBF (
*Credit union or Cooperative union
*Look for opportunities around you that you can turn into a business
*Professional services - legal/business/medical, etc can also be exported

Dr. Mutiullah Olasupo, Senior lecturer, Department of Political Science & International Relations, University of Abuja was more interested in the global dimensions of the issues. He talked about the Dutch disease as the abandonment of traditional trading sectors like agriculture for crude oil. The could be detrimental when oil loses value in the international market. Nigeria is now experiencing this. The mono-cultural nature of the Nigerian economy is a challenge.

The inconsistency of the public policies and indeed the processes to arrive at same could keep the economy at a standstill if it does not retrogress e.g. the various poverty alleviation programmes. According to Olasupo, Nigeria has moved its citizenry from 'abject poverty' to 'exacerbating poverty'. Violent extremism prevents FDI. Besides, the quality of leadership in Nigeria needs to improve.

I could not stay to the end of the symposium because I had other engagements. I therefore missed the speech of Dr. Isatou Touray, Hon. Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration & Employment in the Islamic Republic of Gambia. On the whole, I wish to commend the passion of the convener, Dr. Magnus Kpakol for what he does - continually developing strategies for improving the livelihood of the average human in Nigeria, and indeed Africa. However, the rather inexperienced compere needs to be replaced so that persons in the audience who have germane contributions to bring to the table are allowed to do so in subsequent 'parleys'...

Related Links

*UN Report: 70% of the world lives where inequality has grown
*How to profit from poverty

Saturday 26 August 2017


A high level policy dialogue on the implications of the proposed ascension of Morocco into ECOWAS was held in Abuja on the 24th of August, 2017, under the auspices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) - Nigeria Office and CDD. There were three sessions:

The implications of the ascension of Morocco to ECOWAS
*Economic considerations
*Security implications
*Foreign policy perspectives

There were participants from the diplomatic corps, civil society, academia, labour unions, etc. I chaired the second session on security. Some of the panelists are:

*Dr. Adewale Aderemi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU)
*Comrade Owei Lakemfa, Former NLC Leader & Secretary General, Africa Trade Union
*Comrade John Odah, Immediate past Secretary General of the NLC & Executive Secretary of the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA)
*Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, Former Vice Chancellor of both Unversity of Abuja & Sokoto State University.
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Conflict Transformation Specialist, Chartered Mediator/Conciliator, Academic & Chairperson, Board of Directors, National Peace Summit Group (NPSG)
*Amb. Zango Abdu, Retired Diplomat & former Foreign Service Officer
*Amb. Dahiru Suleiman (OFR), Retired Career Diplomat
*Prof Isaac Albert, Professor of African History/Peace & Conflict Studies & Pioneer Director, Institute of Peace & Strategic Studies (IPSS), University of Ibadan (UI)
*Dr. Remi Aiyede, Associate Professor of Public policy, UI
*Amb. M. K. Ibrahim, Retired Nigerian Ambassador, former Chair of the OIC & former Director, Amnesty International (AI), Nigeria
*Prof. S.A. Ibrahim, President, Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA) & former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nasarawa State University, Keffi
*Dr. Jideofor Adibe, Associate Prof. of Political Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi

The consensus at the meeting was that the admission of Morocco into ECOWAS could be detrimental to ECOWAS, and indeed Nigeria for a number of reasons, some of which are:

1) Morocco is not a West African state
2) Morocco, which is Chair of a similar moribund REC, domiciled in her country, is yet to resuscitate same. Morocco therefore has no business wanting to join a REC outside her domain.
3) Morocco is interested in which West African country would be admitted into the UN Security Council, and her choice is likely to be Senegal, not Nigeria.
4) In 2015 alone, Morocco realised $14.6b from illegally mined phosphate from Western Sahara.
5) If Morocco joins ECOWAS, the latter's protocol on free movement of persons could be threatened. There could be security threats, since many West African, nay African countries are tormented by violent extremism.
6) Entertaining the idea of Morocco joining ECOWAS at all is a failure of Nigeria's foreign policy.
7) If admitted, the turf war between Western Sahara and Morocco could be transported to Nigeria.
8) Nigeria, and indeed West Africa have enough problems already. It is un-necessary to admit Morocco, which could further compound those issues.
9) There are no tangible benefits from Morocco's 'cheque book diplomacy'

On a positive note, participants were of the opinion that the various bilateral agreements/relationships between individual West African states and Morocco should be encouraged

Related Links

*Understanding Morocco's application to join ECOWAS 
*Explained: The significance of the US recognising Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara
*Why the US should re-engage Western Sahara

Thursday 22 June 2017


The title above was the subject matter of the discourse led by Prof. Nzongola Ntalaja at the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja on 21st June, 2017. Prof. Ntalaja is a specialist in African politics, development policy, administration and political theory. He is currently Professor of African Studies at the University of North Carolina, USA and Professor Emeritus of African Studies at Howard University, Washington DC.

Worried about the level of conflict in many African countries, including terrorist activities, Nzongola advanced three major reasons for this unpleasant trend:
*The absence of the rule of law
*Infringement of fundamental human rights
*Poor standard of living of the populace

According to Nzongola, the three problems stated above could be mitigated in African countries if:
*The 'sit-tight' syndrome is avoided by elected leaders
*Citizens' rights are extended, i.e. concentrate more on state of 'residence' rather than state of 'origin'. Exclusionary rules of citizenship should be resisted.
*Avoid hate speech, which could fan the embers of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
*Improve the living standard of the people.
*Involve civil society in the governance process. After all, governance should be about the people.
*Kleptocracy among the elite, especially the leaders should be curbed by having strong institutions which put adequate and enforceable sanctions in place to punish offenders.
*The challenge of poor infrastructure is addressed.
*The electorate should vote for 'visionary' leaders who have an acceptable ideology and have the interest of the citizens at heart.
*Economic integration should be put in top gear in each of the regions in Africa. ECOWAS is the undisputed leader in economic integration on the continent.

Animated discussion that followed had me (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa), the Commandant of NDC, Dr. Gani Yoroms (Director, Strategic Studies, NDC), Prof. Sunday Ochoche (Executive Secretary, Victims' Support Fund, VSF) making contributions that validated Prof. Ntalaja's position. It was nostalgic to see the lead discussant, Nzongola after so many years...

Related Links

*Hate speech: What have we learned from the Rwanda genocide?

Wednesday 7 June 2017


Patrizia Scannella, Programme Director, Human Rights, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF - Geneva) was the facilitator of the organisation's event on the 2nd of June, 2017 in Abuja. The validation of WILPF Nigeria's Peace & Security coalition shadow report and workshop on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held.

About 30 NGOs and CBOs were in attendance in order to expand the initial coalition of NGOs. Joy Onyesoh of WILPF-Nigeria gave a good account of herself by lending a Nigerian perspective to the UPR process. It was indeed a learning process for the Nigerian NGOs. There were discussions on the following thematic areas:

*Relationship between the CEDAW review, the UPR and the Human Rights Council.
*Gender risk assessment for the UPR
*The difference between the CEDAW committee and the UPR
*The CEDAW reporting cycle
*The role of civil society vis-a vis the CEDAW review & the UPR
*Review of Nigeria's reply to CEDAW committee's concluding observations
*Overview of UPR of Nigeria to date
*How to prepare for the UPR process

The committee recommended that NGOs should:

*Agree among themselves prior to the UPR meeting often held outside Nigeria
*Produce a single report or coalition of reports
*Streamline contradictions in NGO reports
*Use advocacy at the national level
*Build on one another's strengths

The meeting was indeed a useful build-up to the UPR of Nigeria. Nigeria's shadow report is to be submitted on 12th June 2017.

Tuesday 23 May 2017


Photo L-R: Archana Bhaskar, Director, Asia-Pacific, Common Purpose GLE & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

On the 18th of May, 2017, a day after my birthday, I delivered a lecture titled: 'My leadership experience: Synopsis of signposts in my career' at the University of Abuja main campus. The lecture was delivered to a potpourri of undergraduates and graduates of various universities and disciplines across Nigeria. There was animated discussion under the Chatham House rules. The session was indeed interactive.

My lecture was scheduled for the third day of Global Leadership Experience (GLE), initiated by Common Purpose in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation and University of Abuja. GLEs are run for University students in 'Magnet Cities' across the world, where large numbers - at least 100 nationalities - of the world's talent convene to study. In 2017, GLEs are taking place in Abuja, Auckland, Bangalore, Boston, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jakarta, Lagos, Melbourne, Montreal, Sao Paulo and Singapore.

According to Common Purpose GLE, 'we live in a world that faces challenges which transcend national boundaries, demanding smarter, more inspired and globally connected leaders'. One challenge is set each year and participants on each GLE taking place that year will tackle the same challenge. The challenge for this year is 'How can you increase civic engagement in your city?'

With more people than ever before residing in cities, our urban areas are constantly under pressure as regards the environment, food security, community cohesion, housing and security. With over 75% of the world's population expected to be living in cities by 2050, governments, whether at local or national level, can't solve these issues alone. Civil society needs to be involved, and students are a critical mass of the sub-set.

Stanford University Professor and civic engagement authority, Thomas Erlich, defines civic engagement thus: 'working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community through political and non-political processes'.

Rendition of my own real life experience as a leader inspired the students to get involved in the community. I told them about how I was a student leader in the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria) in the 1970's as an undergraduate. Though I did not seek any elective post in the Student Union, I was a 'kingmaker'. No candidate could secure the votes of the female population on campus without consulting me and my group of progressive female students.

That was why when I voluntarily changed my course from Chemical Engineering to Political Science, I led my class at graduation in 1980 with a high Second Class Upper Division and a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.2. Some of my classmates in the University of Ife Political Science Class of 1980 are: Barr. Yinka Ojora-Adejiyan (Former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Civil Service Commission); Oba  Dokun Abolarin (Orangun Oke-Ila) and Hon. Funminiyi Afuye (Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly). 

I started my working career as an Advertising Executive after my M.Sc in Political Economy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1982. After that I joined the Guardian newspaper at inception in 1983 as Senior Reporter and the very first National Assembly Correspondent. While at The Guardian, I 'reported' both the Upper (Senate) and Lower (House of Representatives) Houses of Parliament. I wrote a weekly Column, 'The Legislature', which became very popular and authoritative. I met my husband, Femi Kusa, who was then the News Editor, in The Guardian newsroom.

I needed flexi-time to care for my young children after marriage. I chose to start a career as an academic in Lagos State University (LASU). I lectured there for about 20 years, where I rose to become Head of Department of Political Science and the first Director of the Centre for Refugee & Conflict Studies. In fact I set up the Centre in 1997. Then the Sierra-Leoneans and other nationals were harboured  by Nigeria in Oru camp, Ogun state. The leader in me made me plant lemon grass in the camp to alleviate the incidents of malaria. Condoms were also provided to the refugees. Within a year, my leadership initiatives led to a drastic decrease in the number of unwanted pregnancies/HIV/STD/Malaria among refugees.

From LASU, I was appointed the first Director of the Department of External Conflict Prevention & Resolution, Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR), The Presidency, Abuja. There, as a leader, I formulated the project, 'Post-Conflict Peace-Building in Africa' which was the very first project approved for IPCR by the National Assembly! All other departments had to latch on to my project in order to get busy and make my project relevant in some way to their department. Another first by me!

I retired in 2010, and instead of sitting pretty and living the idle life of the typical retiree, I set up a viable Consultancy: 'Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Associates', where along with my dynamic team we have been involved in conflict transformation in the Niger Delta & North-East Nigeria at various times. In retirement, I am a non-resident Senior Fellow of Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD) - a think tank for social/political engagement. It was after retirement that I concluded my Ph.D in Peace Studies on line. The title of my thesis is: 'Mediation: A viable method of conflict transformation in Nigeria'.

My audience was indeed fascinated by my leadership odyssey. I have shown that you can be a career woman and also be a successful wife and mother. My marriage to Femi Kusa, a veteran journalist/herbal medicine practitioner is 34 years young and still counting. Our three adult sons have turned out very well. My first son, Tope Kusa is a medical doctor (MBBS) with an MPH degree from Harvard University. He is a Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. My second son, Seun Kayode Kusa, a law graduate, is now a content provider for start-ups/herbal medicine enthusiast/Chartered Mediator & Conciliator. He is a law graduate of the University of Abuja, where I delivered the lecture. My last son, Ayokunnu Kusa, is a graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (Animal Breeding & Genetics - Upper 2nd, GPA 4.09). Ayo is an Agro-preneur who operates within the agricultural value chain via innovation. 

There are major points to ponder from my leadership experience:

*It is not necessarily what you study in the University that would eventually put food on your table. I read Political Science, but ended up with Peace/Conflict Transformation & Mediation.
*Seize every opportunity at your disposal, never take anything for granted. I attended all the courses as a Director in the Presidency. Some of the papers I presented at conferences became useful for my Ph.D
*For female mentees: It is quite possible to be a career woman and also a successful wife/mother. I am a living example. My husband, Femi Kusa, has been very supportive.
*You can pick up leadership qualities in the most unlikely places, even while watching children play.
*Always pay attention to detail.
*Serve your superiors diligently, just like you would like your subordinates to relate to you when you become a leader.
*The fact that I was the first Director of the Centre for Refugee & Conflict Studies stood me in good stead to become a Director in the Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, The Presidency. Moral of this: Do your very best in every position you find yourself, it may be a stepping stone to bigger things!
It was indeed pleasant to share my leadership experience with the students. I also met the amazing Common Purpose GLE 'crew' that came to Abuja:

*Archana Bhaskar, Director Asia-Pacific, Common Purpose GLE
*Adeola Ogunkolade, Founder, African Fashion Development & Empowerment Centre (AFDEC)
*Kosi Okolo, Programme Manager, Common Purpose GLE

How can I forget Ridhima Tomar, the first person to contact me from Common Purpose via Linkedin. Pity Ridhima could not be with us in Abuja due to logistics issues. However, she stayed constantly in touch via email throughout. It was an exciting time mentoring the younger ones as regards my leadership experience! Kudos to the Common Purpose GLE team. Bravo!

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