Friday 27 July 2018


Non-Violence in Elections Advocacy Group (NViEAG) is an arm of my Consultancy Outfit, Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Associates, with me, Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa as the Lead Conflict Transformation Specialist. For more information about me and my work, see other relevant posts on this blog and my LinkedIn profile:

NViEAG was conceived in the run up to the 2015 General Elections when the situation in Nigeria was very tense and I thought in my own little corner I could make a positive difference in the area of Prevention of Election Violence (PEV). Our focus is the training of women and girls in the art of Conflict Transformation which could eventually lead to Conflict Resolution.

The details of the Three-Module Course which comprises 1) Peace & Conflict 2) Conflict Management & 3) Mediation are only available to our clients. The third Module, Mediation, entails Role Play by the participants, where we simulate real life situations in a controlled environment. This hands-on involvement of the participants in the learning process ensures that they remember what the process of Mediation is all about, and how it could prevent and indeed manage Election Disputes.

"In Africa, we tend to focus on elections, celebrate them as 'the milestone'. But as it is often said, 'elections do not a democracy make'. We must look behind the process and examine the barriers that shut down competition before the campaigns ever start" - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia & 2017 MIF Prize Laureate. NViEAG is our own contribution to the process of 'looking behind the process of elections and examining the barriers that shut down competition...'.

We could curb Violence in Elections by addressing the root causes of same. Some of these are:

1) Lack of confidence in the Electoral Process.
2) Absence of Internal Party Democracy
3) Maintaining the independence of the Election Management Body (EMB) - INEC
4) Re-assurance of the safety of the individual voter, gladiators, Party agents and other stakeholders before, during and after elections.
5) Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWE).

The above list is not exhaustive but represents only a few of the myriad of problems that could lead to and sustain Violence in Elections. The goal of NViEAG is to effectively impact our trained Mediators for Election Conflict Prevention, while disseminating Information, Education & Communication (IEC) materials for the sesitisation of voters against Election Violence (EV).

In the run up to the 2019 elections, NViEAG continues to strive to contribute its quota to the desired goal of Non-Violence in Elections by intensifying the training of targeted groups of women. The next in the series of training programmes comes up tomorrow, 28th July, 2018 for Women Advancement for Economic & Leadership Empowerment in Africa (WAELE/ARCELFA). WAELE is operational in 53 countries in Africa. The training programme coincides with their annual convention which is taking place in Abuja.

Mediation is indeed a powerful tool which can be used for prevention/management of conflict. But training in the art of Mediation and Conflict Transformation are necessary for the trained Mediators to master the art of peace advocacy, That's where the services of NViEAG are needed! Our team of Chartered Mediators/Conciliators & Conflict Transformation Experts would arm participants with the necessary skills...    

Friday 13 July 2018


The 70th birthday celebration on the 10th of July 2018 in Abuja by Iyom Barrister Josephine Nwogo Akubude-Anenih, mni, FNIM, former Minister of Women Affairs, was a private event. However, its public value for the position of women in Nigeria's democracy is worthy of emulation. To be sure, it is symbolic that the event was held at the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) built by Mrs. Maryam Babangida, former first lady of Nigeria. Both Iyom and Aisha Babangida (daughter of Maryam Babangida) were unhappy that the name of the beautiful edifice was changed from Maryam Babangida Women Centre to NCWD!
L-R: Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (1st Lady, Ekiti State), Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Iyom Josephine Anenih @ another event.

A birthday photo book, which fits the average coffee table perfectly, was launched by Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, CEO, The DOME. The cutting of the cake was supervised by Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande (Former Majority Leader, House of Representatives), while former President, Olusegun Obasnjo, who delivered the keynote address, titled 'Democracy & the Nigerian State - The role of Women' relished sharing the cake in a most comical manner, a task he assigned himself!

In his keynote address, Obasanjo (affectionately called OBJ), decried the low number of women in the National Assembly, saying that the situation is unacceptable. He called for the amendment of the Constitution to make it mandatory to reserve at least 40% of the seats for women. OBJ said 'Our Constitution should be amended to 40% of women participation in politics. It's about time that women should feature in all aspects of our democratic process and practice. The health of our democracy can be judged by the level of participation of women. The low number of women in the National Assembly is un-acceptable, and makes a mockery of the concept of gender balance'.

OBJ described democracy as the best form of government for Nigeria because it promotes unity. He noted that though Nigeria's democracy is alive, it is not healthy. OBJ said: 'Democracy is a form of government that allows team spirit and debate before decisions are reached; it is a government for all citizens to benefit from without fear or favour. OBJ congratulated Iyom, who was the National Woman Leader of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) during his administration on her birthday, noting that she's a woman worth celebrating.

There was a panel of discussants on the theme of the symposium who shed more light on various dimensions of the subject matter:

*Dr. Emem Omokaro - Executive Secretary, Dave Omokaro Africa Institute on Ageing & Development (DOFRIAD)
*Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande - Former Majority Leader, House of Representatives
*Prof. Remi Sonaiya - Former Presidential candidate of KOWA Party
*Dr. Otive Igbuzor - Executive Director, Centre LSD
*Maryam Laushi - Youth Activist
*Chinyere Stella Okunna

Other commentators from the floor are:

*Prof. Joy Ezeilo
*Hajiya Ai Maradun
*Dr. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi

Abiola Akiode-Afolabi was singled out for commendation on the occasion because of her role in bringing to the attention of the nation the sex-for-marks scandal, involving a Professor and one of his students. On account of Abiola's effort, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (my alma mata), has done the needful by firing the Professor!

It was indeed a graceful outing for the celebrant. Happy birthday, Iyom!

Thursday 5 July 2018


Photo L-R: Mrs. Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi, MD DoxaDigital/Keynote Speaker & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

Between the 28th and 29th of June, 2018, the Gender Studies Programme, University of Ibadan (UI) held its first conference with theme: 'Re-positioning women in service delivery: Research, Policy, Activism & Aesthetics. My friend, Mrs. Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi, MD Doxa Digital & Conference Bureau, delivered the Keynote address, and I was in Ibadan to support her.

Dayo decided to re-title her address: 'Re-conceptualising women in service delivery & development. She began by noting that 'it's 10 minutes to good afternoon. 10 minutes to mid-day could be a timeline. It could be 10 decisions or relationships that would take you to a a new stage in life. It could be 10 gasps of breath. Dayo said a single/simple conversation made the Director of the Gender Studies Programme, Dr. Seun Olutayo insist that she should deliver the keynote address at the conference.

Referring to Dr. Oby Ezekwesili's audacious and bold one woman march against the senseless killings in Nigeria, Dayo said: 'Yesterday, one woman took a lone walk against the senseless killings in our land. Oby queried where we stand as women in a global context in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Like Oby, I'm bothered about the bloodbath in our land'. Dr. Oby has stepped out from the BBOG movement to challenge us as women to do something about the killings. A generation has said 'enough is enough'. Would women take up the challenge to say no more work, close the shops, etc. until the killings stop? Let's create a lifeline together and say: 'I stand that something must be done now to stop the killings (3ce)'.

Dayo then asked the question: Do we need to re-position or embrace re-perception? According to her, there is nothing wrong with our position, but there is everything wrong with our perception. We need to change the narrative, how the story is being told. BH and ISIS have been branded terrorists, but they are still our children (sons and daughters). What happened? How did we miss it? We have demonised the image of a man to a whole generation, then our children run to guns.

A few men have caused generational trauma, but the bad ones are not more than the good/great men still standing! WAKANDA: Position 101 is not altruism, not utopia - the order-city of a regime to speak about re-jigging a time/space. A woman's position could be a matrix position. Dayo then formally recognised 85 year old Prof. Bolanle Awe, OFR, D.Phil (Oxon), Professor Emeritus and first Director of the Institute of African Studies, UI, which is home for the Gender Studies Programme. Mama Bolanle Awe is indeed an icon who has trained numerous girl kids, teenagers, damsels, daughters, Mamas, Professors, etc. It was indeed a delight for Dayo and I to have a chat with Mama Bolanle Awe! In spite of her advanced age, Mama remains witty and articulate!

As adult females, Dayo says it's important to keep the girl in us alive always. Dayo saw in Mama Bolanle Awe what gave her the 'northern star' when she was an English (Hons) student in UI. You need that girl in you to capture your innocence. She also admonished the audience to take up the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie challenge. Chimamanda has a viable platform on the international stage where she attacks African traditional practices which she deems 'un-progressive'. Many have criticised her for doing so. But Dayo admonishes us not to throw away the baby with the bath water. Dayo says Chimamanda is only calling attention to the fact that culture should be dynamic and we need to review those cultural practices which are archaic in the 21st century!

Some of those present are:

*Prof. Bolanle Awe - OFR, Prof. Emeritus, UI & Ist Director, Institute of African Studies
*Prof Aderinto - Rep. VC, UI
*Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi - MD, Doxa Digital & Conference Bureau/Keynote Speaker/VP Nigeria-Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert
*Dr. Jimoh - Rep. Dr. I. Pogoson, Director, Institute of African Studies, UI
*Dr. Seun Olutayo, Director, Gender Studies Programme, UI
*Kemi Ademola Aremu - Activist against rape
*Dr. James Ngaye - Justice, Development & Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Church
*Mrs. Patience Ekeoba - National Programme Officer, UN Women
*Mrs Hanna Schlingman - Co-convener of Conference
*Temitope Samson - Rep. BOVA Company Ltd.
*Dr. Agada Elachi - Head, ADR Section, Chamber of Commerce

Many papers were presented at the conference, but I concentrated on the Keynote speech because the contents set the tone for the conference, while the other papers looked into specific aspects of the conference theme. I have discussed the other papers in detail in a more comprehensive report written by me.

For now, let's highlight the major submissions made by Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi:

*We need to have a second/third more realistic view of what we uphold as culture. Practices that hold women in bondage need to be done away with.
*The woman has the capacity to deliver service no matter the assignment.
*African women created the African Economic Matrix and the Nigerian woman is a super model of enterprise in this reagrd. For example, Ibukun Awosika started life as a carpenter, but today, she's on the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria.
*Just come as a practitioner in your place of endeavour, and render service conscientiously.
*Have faith/courage over confidence. But remember, courage is not the absence of fear.
*There should be positive social re-construction between men and women.
*A woman's rights are distinct from her human rights.
*Women are their own best friends.
*Service should be aligned with platforms, positions and paragigms.
*The psychology of service includes the following: Self/Empathy/Resources/Conduct/Elevated sight, etc.
*Always stand up for your sister. In this regard, Dayo said: 'My good friend, Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa accompanied me all the way from Abuja to Ibadan to support me. She always has my back. She is an example of a true sister!'.
*Don't teach women to fish, teach them how to buy power boats for the fish!
*When you aim to dominate, you become competitive, but when you aim to serve, you seek collaboration and cooperation.
*You may not emerge the best, but be distinct in whatever you do. Nigerian women are pregnant with doctors and lawyers, not sons and daughters (who are allowed to choose what they want to do in life at which they can excel!).
*Common hours give you trophies.

On the whole, Dayo's message is: Re-conceptualising is much more important than re-positioning for women. Strategies for such re-conceptualisation are indeed a continuum, which cannot be exhausted in one fell swoop or a Keynote address...

Related Links

*The new war on Gender Studies
*Gender identity: Facts & Stats
*By their numbers: The oppression of women and girls globally
*#MeToo & the call for Restorative Justice: Are they compatible?
*The creation of patriarchy: How did it happen?
*Female entrepreneurs: The future of Africa
*The pain of success - To all hardworking women
*Women in South Korea are ditching their cosmetic products  #EscapeTheCorset
*Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A decade of literature, politics and cultural activism
*Chimamanda: Nigeria's most decorated personality?
*The key to bliss for a dual career couple? A contract

Tuesday 3 July 2018


On the 25th of June, 2018 the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD) in collaboration with Partnership for African Social & Governance Research (PASGR), organised a one-day stakeholders' dialogue on the research findings from the study of new forms of social and political activism in Nigeria. The case study is the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement in Nigeria. We recall that the BBOG movement began in 2014 when about 200 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, Borno state.

The BBOG movement began sit-outs at the Unity Fountain in order to call attention to the plight of the missing school girls, while calling on the Federal Government at that time to do the needful and bring back the girls safe and sound. This was a herculean task because at the beginning, there was denial that there was any abduction at all. This delayed the search for the girls. For more on the progress as regards the rescue of the girls, see for example,

We note that Nigeria is a fragile and conflict-affected setting (FCAST). Similar research has been carried out in other countries viz; Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar and Pakistan. The PASGR team was led by Prof. Tade Aina, while the following researchers came from the University of Ibadan (UI): Dr. Martin Atela, Prof. Ayo Ojebode and Prof. Fatai Aremu. To be sure, in Nigeria, there has been some agitation before BBOG came on board:

*Fuel price increases in Nigeria - 2012 & 2016
*Situations in FCASTS are difficult to predict.
*Under what conditions will protests in an FCAST country produce results?

         Photo L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Ms. Dorothy Njemanze & Mrs.Yemisi George

4 themes were under review:

*Emergence & structure of BBOG
*Operational strategies & context
*Impact & challenges of BBOG

The process for the research included the following: the BBOG strategic team, sit outs, BBOG members beyond the 'inner caucus', Chibok community and rescued abducted girls, Social media tracking of BBOG, 12 sessions of observations in Abuja and Lagos, 12 KIIs in Chibok, 4 KIIs in Maiduguri.


*There is none/weak command structure/chain. The members are held together by vision, an objective and emotions.
*There are some strong individuals on BBOG, who 'make things happen'.
*Very heavy online presence e.g. April 2018 - 219, 694 followers on Facebook; 26,300 followers on Twitter and 231,000 likes.
*There is strong city presence of BBOG in Abuja in particular.
*Collaboration with Chibok parents?


*Approximately 100 protests since inception. Protest appears to be the main form of protest.
*Press releases.
*On line campaigns.
*Daily sit outs in Lagos and Abuja.
*Tactics used are mainly adversarial, no lobby group or shift of ground.
*Presence of the BBOG movement in schools - 'Adopt a girl' project.
*BBOG's advocacy goes beyond Chibok girls
*BBOG is self-funded through member donations, sacrificial/silent giving and cash/kind.


*BBOG has kept the abduction story in the public domain, locally and internationally. This gives BBOG its own momentum.
*Produced, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the very first missing persons register in 2015.
*BBOG has been able to 'extract' response from government.
*Secured the release of over 100 girls.
*BBOG ensures global outcry. There are branches of BBOG internationally.


*Physical harassment.
*Inadequate finances.
*Internal disagreement about tactics.
*Accusations about being an opposition and/or Christian movement.


1) Are we seeing a movement that is getting a life of its own or a movement running out of steam?
2) Isn't there a limit to what protest alone can achieve in FCAST (fragile settings)? Should BBOG begin to think collaboratively? Could there be sympathisers to their cause in government and other un-explored areas?
3) Given the migration of some of the original voices from activism to politics, did BBOG inadvertently empowered some citizens to become politicians? Could such politicians have ridden on the BBOG platform to politics?
4) What does this teach us about the power of citizens? Could power to the people become power to the powerful?
5) Could the insistence on financial/funding purity create some kind of exclusionary atmosphere that might have prevented potential sponsors from stepping forward?
6) BBOG says government should be accountable - whose accountability?
7) BBOG has demonstrated that ordinary citizens can produce results.
8) Is fragility both a product and an obstacle to the effectiveness of new forms of social and political activism?
9) How and under what conditions does social activism contribute to empowerment and accountability FCASTs?
10) If it ever collaborates with the political class, it is done in an atmosphere of mistrust, extreme aggression, fear of hijack, disconnect, etc.
11) Do social and political action contribute to empowerment and accountability?

Going forward, it may be necessary to interrogate the following:

*Other strategies employed by BBOG.
*Why Parliamentarians in Nigeria have an adversarial relationship with BBOG while those in Western countries embrace BBOG and even campaign for them.
*BBOG as a training ground for budding activists.
*Definition, description and structure of BBOG.
*Constraints BBOG members face in their commitment to the movement.
*BBOG as a women-led movement operating at a high level of intensity.

It is obvious from the foregoing that the current research is only a tip of the iceberg as regards what we still need to find out about the BBOG Movement. Kudos to the University of Ibadan research team that presented these findings for public scrutiny.

Programme Twitter Handle: @A4EA_Research
CDD Handle:                       @CDDWestAfrica
Programme Hashtag:            #BBOGSummit

15th October, 2018

*How BBOG went from hashtag to social movement, while rejecting funding from donors - From poverty to power
*Three lessons on research dissemination in fragile settings: healing, learning and more 


On the 3rd of July, 2018, Women's Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) organised a peaceful rally in Abuja to call for a stop to the numerous killings in Nigeria on a daily basis as a result of the following:

*Attacks by armed herdsmen on farmers, otherwise known as farmer-herder clashes
*Rural banditry, etc.

The messages on the placards were clear. 'Women of Nigeria are tired of bloodshed', 'Bloodshed is not red carpet', 'These killings must stop', 'This is one death too many', 'Every life matters', 'Nigeria should not remain a killing field', etc. I am a valued member of WSRN - that was why I participated in the peaceful rally.

WSRN is made up of over 40 women organisations working at different levels. WSRN is a women civil society initiative that seeks to improve women's substantive participation in conflict prevention and peace-building processes. From the rural communities to the national level, WSRN is committed to the promotion of peace as a basic human right. It was on this premise that women, under the auspices of WSRN, gathered in solidarity with sisters and brothers across communities in Nigeria experiencing armed conflict, wanton killings and other forms of human degradation. The rally was held simultaneously in at least 20 states of Nigeria in honour of victims, survivors and families of all violent and inhuman killings across Nigeria.

Women and children are the ones bearing the brunt of the killings! WSRN urged the Nigerian government to live up to its responsibility of protecting life and property. The procession moved from Unity Fountain to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), where the Execurive Secretary, Barrister Tony Ojukwu said the NHRC was in solidarity with WSRN in its advocacy against wanton killings in Nigeria. The National Coordinator of WSRN, Joy Onyesoh said: 'According to Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, every person has the right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life...'

Joy urged our leaders, the Security and Law Enforcement Agencies to uphold and implement the extant laws by doing the needful and arresting/prosecuting the culprits. Joy also called on the Nigerian government to set up a Commission to look into the armed herders' killings, with a view to proffering lasting and fair solutions. Joy urged the Federal Government to provide holistic support for the families of the victims and the survivors. Nigerian citizens were also urged to promote peace and shun violence.

A gender activist, Dorothy Njemanze in her own contribution, urged the NHRC to keep an up to date record of all human lives lost while sustaining the pressure via advocacy for justice to be done. All the protesters stood in unison that indeed, too many lives have been lost in Nigeria and we, the mothers are crying out loud for an end to this unnecessary carnage!

Related Links

*UNSCR 1261 forbids the use of children in armed conflict. 900 child recruits released from  Nigerian militia CJTF)