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.