Saturday 26 May 2018


On the 25th of May, 2018, ahead of the 2019 general elections, registered Political Parties (PPs) in Nigeria adopted and signed the revised Code of Conduct (CoC) for PPs to guide their conduct before, during and after the elections. PDP, APGA, and ADC were absent as APC, SDP, LP and 50 other PPs signed the CoC. There are 68 registered PPs in Nigeria.

Hubu Galadima, CEO NIPSS, said the CoC for PPs in Nigeria (CoCPPN) is voluntary and it provides a set of rules of behaviour for PPs and their supporters. The validation workshop to adopt  the CoCPPN was organised by the PP Leadership and Policy Development Centre (PPLPDC) of the Nigeria Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies (NIPSS). The PPLPDC is the beneficiary of a 2.7m Euro Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGN) to implement component 3 of the project aimed to enhance pluralism, tolerance, internal democracy and equality of opportunity for PPs and the PP system.

Galadima said:
'Nigeria's PPs are largely characterised as lacking clear programmes and ideology, weak in internal democracy, not inclusive as well as having a tendency to disregard Party and electoral rules. As a resul, they have been unable to effectively mobilise and educate the public. Instead, they have been marred by internal crises and have been purveyors of electoral violations and violence'.

The Project Director of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), David Notre, described PPs as the primary stakeholders in the political system and their conduct considerably impacts the electoral process, outcomes and by extension the stability of the electoral system. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was represented by JNEC National Commissioner/Chair, Election and Party Monitoring Committee (EPCM), Prof. Antunia Okoosi-Simbine, expressed satisfaction with the official signing and adoption of the new CoC which has been updated from the one signed on July 16, 2013, by the then 25 registered PPs.

Okoosi-Simbine said:
'It is commendable that PPs in NIgeria have remained committed to the idea of developing and operating under a mutually agreed CoC that sets the parameters for acceptable behaviour for PPs, their candidates and supporters throughout the electoral cycle. By contributing to, signing the CoC, PPs have indeed committed to a pact with Nigerians and their activities will, going forward, be consistent with international best practices'.

Meanwhile INEC has warned candidates contesting in the July 14 Governorship election in Ekiti state against inducing voters with cash. The CoC has also become the instrument for the establishment of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), which now plays a significant role as the umbrella body for all registered PPs. Simbine told the PPs to use the umbrella of IPAC to exert peer pressure for the adoption of best practices in key areas, including:

*The promotion of internal democracy.
*Provision of expanded roles for disadvantaged social groups, especially women, youth and PLWDs
*Deliberate commitment by leaders of PPs to the rule of law and strict compliance with the provisions of respective  PP constitutions.
*PPs required to sign a Peace Pact before every election

The signing of the revised CoC could portend a silver lining in the horizon for Nigeria if all  PPs are in agreement. I salute the team that put together this revised CoC  

Friday 11 May 2018


The inaugural conference of the Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum for Regional Cooperation on Stabilisation, Peace-Building and Sustainable Development   #LCBGFORUM was held between the 8th and 9th of May, 2018. I was a facilitator at the conference which was held in Maiduguri, Borno state. The Forum, which is made up of 11 Governors of states mostly affected by the receding Lake and cutting across the West and Central Africa region, met to fine tune and promote continuous dialogue and information-sharing/exchanges to strengthen coordination and collaboration on cross-border initiatives at the sub-national level.

Lake Chad has shrunk from a peak of 25, to 1,! The UNSCR 2349 (2017) on Boko Haram and Lake Chad Basin was adopted by the UNSC at its 791th meeting in March 2017, following a visit to the Lake Chad Region. The resolution of the UNSC gave birth to the Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum, which involves Governors of three north-east states affected by the insurgency. Other members are Governors of regions in Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The Forum, which is supported by the UNDP and international donors, also seeks to promote peace-building and conflict prevention efforts as well as provide a path to sustainable development and peace in the region. The following are some of the participants:

*Kashim Shettima - Governor of Borno state, Nigeria & Chief host
*Mohammed Suraj - Representative of Governor of Yobe state, Nigeria
*Issa Moussa - Governor of Zinder,
*Bakabe Mahamadou - Governor of Diffa, Niger
*Mahamat Abali Sallah - Governor of Lac, Chad
*Aboubakar Djibrile Aboubakar - Governor of Hadjer-Lamis, Chad
*Midjiyawa Bakary - Governor of Extreme Norde, Cameroun
*Sen. Mohammed Umar Jibrilla - Governor of Adamawa state, Nigeria
*Ibrahim Geidman -Governor of Yobe state, Nigeria
*Edward Kallon - UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria
*Amb. Georg Schmidt - Africa Director of the German Foreign Office
*Daniel Wolven - Director/Deputy Head of Africa Department, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
*Birgitte Markussen - Deputy MD Africa/European External Action Service, European Union
*Dr. Sarjoh Bah - Head of Crisis Management & Post-Conflict Reconstruction Division, Peace & Security Department, AU Commission
*Dr. Ibn Chambas - UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa & the Sahel
*Francois Lounceny Fall - UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa
*Major-General Leo Irabor - Force Commander, MNJTF
*Roel Debruyne - UN OCHA Regional Office
*Samuel Bwalya - UNDP Country Director in Nigeria
*Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi - Shehu of Borno
*Amb. Mamman Nuhu - Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission
*Fatima Askira - Executive Director, Borno Women Development Initiative
*Major-General Bamidele Shafa - Coordinator, Operation Safe Corridor
*Fernando Medina - Stabilisation, Transition, Recovery & Reintegration Officer, IOM
*Pastor Wuye - Chief of Party, Interfaith Mediation Centre
*Imam Ashafa - Deputy Chief of Party, Interfaith Mediation Centre
*Maidama Hadiza Malam Manzo - Niamey Tribunal
*Joanna Garbalinska - Acting Director, Nigeria INGO Forum
*Tom Mugoya - Africa Development Bank

Some of the major decisions arrived at after two days of intensive deliberation are:

*The Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum for Regional Cooperation on Stabilisation, Peacebuilding & Sustainable Development was formally launched as a platform for fostering regional cooperation on stabilisation, peacebuilding and sustainable development for the region devastated by the Boko Haram (BH) crisis.

*The Forum meetings, to be held annually, should rotate between Governors of the four countries - Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger in the spirit of shared ownership. The next meeting is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 in Niger Republic.

*A community-based approach is essential for sustainability.

*The Forum should be used to facilitate a bottom-up approach to stabilisation and peace-building in the Lake Chad region.

*The Forum shall support on-going efforts at stabilisation in the Lake Chad region.

*The Forum needs to come up with viable solution as regards what to do with ex-BH militants who have concluded the 16-week rehabilitation course but cannot be re-integrated because they are rejected by their communities.

*The need to draw up a road map for collaborative and concerted multi-level approach to stamping out BH in the Lake Chad region.

*The re-invigoration/re-charging of the Lake Chad Basin via inter-basin water transfer. This should be adopted as an African strategic project specifically for the Lake Chad region
*There should be more judicious use of funds from the donor basket. Such monies should be put directly into viable projects that would benefit the target communities. The implication of this is that the input of the citizens as regards the projects they need is vital.

*At the national level, open and 'good' governance should be encouraged.

*The projects in the region should be aligned with the SDGs for maximum impact.

On the whole, the inaugural #LCBGFORUM was indeed very successful. It is anticipated that the Forum would bring a significant level of relief to an otherwise devastated region... 

Related Links

*What doesn't break BH in Niger makes it stronger   https://issafrica/

*Economics of terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin

*Cameroon's Far North: A new chapter in the fight against BH

*Shrinking Lake Chad forced many into crime

*Deby's death, security in the Lake Chad Basin & democracy by Jibrin Ibrahim

*BH & Covid-19: Lake Chad Basin's war on two fronts

*Lake Chad Basin Governors are not restoring livelihoods, so locals make deals with violent extremists    http:''


Thursday 3 May 2018


Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) has been fighting poverty through volunteering for the past 60 years! It was time for VSO Nigeria to roll out the drums in Abuja on the 26th of April, 2018. VSO's Livelihood Programme interventions have improved farmers' access to guaranteed markets. When farmers' produce is aggregated, they are guaranteed better prices for farm produce. Volunteers have also been trained as teaching assistants in schools...( Many ex-volunteers reminisced at the event.

I could identify the following:

*Philip Goodwin - CEO, VSO International
*Lucia Balonwu - Country Director, VSO Nigeria
*Avril Abena Kudzi - Country Director, VSO Ghana
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja
*Patrick Proctor - Operations Director, VSO Nairobi Hub

Philip Goodwin alluded to the fact that systems, rather than individual schools, were now the focus when posting volunteers. Volunteerism is now more 'nationally based'. Before, more foreign nationals were deployed as volunteers in Africa. Philip reminded us that the core values of VSO are focus on people, accountability, 'reflectiveness', making a difference, even-spaced work, etc. Volunteering is giving to make a change.

There were beautiful renditions by two poets: Bashiru Amuneni and Debbie Braide. Some volunteers gave inspiring accounts of their stewardship. They are Marie Contte (Sierra Leone), Henrietta Mensah (Ghana) and Frankkie Walter (Eritrea). Then there were awards for:
*Impact building - Lamin Conte (Gambia)
*Longest serving volunteer - Gregory Okemafua (Nigeria)
*Longest serving member of staff - Comfort (she rose from cleaner to middle level staff)
*Most innovative volunteer - Sipansi Olalekan (an agronomist who set up 3 enterprise projects in Ilesha, Nigeria)

There you have it, happy anniversary, VSO. I wish VSO many more years of adding local flavour to interventions via re-kindled relationships!

Related Links

*Thoughts about volunteering
*Philanthropy on a low budget: 3 things to ignore   #Microgiving
*2 reasons why we should invest in the poor
*Rural poor left as the rich hug 3 affirmative funds
*Covid-19: The enduring spirit of volunteering
*VZO, Covid-19 & response to the global education emergency: When school stops, learning must not