Wednesday 22 September 2021


It was more than a mere coincidence that Oxfam Nigeria via the Voice Project awarded grants to selected awardees on the 21st of September 2021, which is also International Peace Day (IPD). The theme for this year's IPD is 'Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world'. It is instructive  that Oxfam awarded grants in various categories to promote equity, inclusivity, sustainability, social engineering/cohesion, democratic ideals, expansion of the civic space, etc. At the event, there were representatives from the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Correctional Service, National Orientation Agency (NOA), many NGOs and Special guests. 

This was the media event for the 2020/2021 Voice Grantees inception. It was the very first time the media would be invited to witness the formal award of grants to 'Right-holders' (Oxfam's euphemism for grantees). Before now, similar events were held to commemorate the successful completion of projects by Right-holders. See for example I was a special guest at the media parley. Oxfam Nigeria has doled out more than 4 million Euros to Right-holders in the past five years.

                                  Pelemo Nyajo, the Poet from 'The Street Project'

For me, the star of the show was Pelemo Nyajo a talented Poet living with disability from the stable of 'The Street Project', who set the stage with the 'soulful' rendition of her audacious poem titled 'My People', which is social satire, highlighting injustice via Police brutality, rights abuses, extortion, unequal access to social goods and services, etc. Let's take a sneak peek into Pelemo's mind via a few lines from her poem:

My People, My People by Pelemo Nyajo

My people, my people. 

After I heard about the snake that swallowed millions of Naira, 

I didn't believe there would be any greater show of tragi-comedy in Nigeria.

Nollywood hasn't failed, neither have the producers, but they have a superior

The Nigerian government, or should I say the government of UAR?

And they are at it again, teaching us that being born into Africa's giant means war.

Our bodies were crafted as defense in the fences of our mothers' wombs.

How could we hear that people died, holding the Nigerian flag, upholding their own nation?

They went six feet under...

Indeed, we are making history with stories that may never get into history textbooks... 

                                 Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa speaking at the event

The Voice Project grants are in three major categories: *Influencer, *Sudden Opportunity (SO) & *Innovation/Learning (IL). The projects in the influencer category seek to effect positive change in social behaviour. Sudden Opportunity projects seek to take advantage of spontaneous social eruption for desirable and enduring paradigm shift in citizen engagement with the governance process. Innovation/Learning seeks to take cues from the influencer and SO categories by processing lessons learnt from processes undergone and adapting same for social cohesion, going forward.

           Mrs. Ijeoma Okwor (Coordinator of the Voice Project), making her presentation

What then are the goals, why give out these grants? Right-holders' organisations/groups are empowered to use their influencing capacity to push for their voices to be heard, respected and included. Consequently, empowered Right-holders are able to express their views and demand their rights for response and inclusive governance/society. From Ijeoma Okwor's presentation, I garnered the following:

8 grants were awarded in the Influencer category:

1) Street Project Foundation: 'Artvocacy' project for 12 months @ 140,000 Euros.

2) Public & Private Development Centre (PPDC): Inclusive governance through civic engagement for 18 months @ 99,000 Euros.

3) Centre for Citizens with Disability: Justice & political participation for PWDs for 24 months @ 81,437 Euros.

4) Network of Youths for Sustainable Initiatives: Promoting accountability and greater participation of youths in governance for 20 months.

5) Carmalite Prisoners' Interest Organisation: 'Polrite 23' to ensure that inmates vote in the 2023 elections @ 86,093 Euros.

6) Centre for Ability, Rehabilitation & Empowerment: 'Access for All' to stop discrimination against PWDs in the aviation sector @ 54,610 Euros.

7) Connected Development (CODE): 'SABI' - Men as advocates against GBV for 18 months @ 142,453 Euros.

8) YIAGA Africa Initiative: 'Run to Win' - Supporting young people with competence to run for elections for 18 months @ 140,049 Euros.

In the SO category, 6 NGOs were awarded grants to interrogate various aspects of the EndSARS protest. Under the Innovation/Learning category, COGNITO Studio & NINE: 'Connecting Voices in Nigeria' to facilitate, motivate and support grantees' linking & Learning (LL) activities in Nigeria @ 249,895 Euros. Africa Caribbean Heritage Alliance: 'Celebrating inclusion in Nigeria' for 24 months @ 107,937 Euros. The outstanding grants for 2021 are the Voice Empowerment & Accelerator grants. To track these projects, see

Wow! This was the first time Oxfam was inviting the media to witness the grantees' inception where the amounts doled out to each of them was announced. Speakers at the event admonished the Right-holders to be good ambassadors of their various organisations by ensuring that the principles of transparency and accountability are strictly adhered to. In my speech, I emphasised that Oxfam should be even more diligent in monitoring and evaluating the Right-holders so that the aims of the various projects are accomplished.

For the next grant season, I expect an avalanche of applications since the public now knows how much was doled out this season. I can assure the impending applicants that the selection process at Oxfam is rigorous to say the least. But with the youth bulge and high rate of unemployment and hunger in the country, many citizens, both old and young would give the submission of proposals a shot. I commend Qxfam and her partners for this laudable concept of engendering social engineering via system relevant projects for positive change in our clime... Bravo!

                             Pelemo Nyajo, The Poet, being interviewed by the media


Wednesday 1 September 2021


On the 31st of August 2021, the Adamawa Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations (AFFAHR) held its inaugural meeting at Alheri Royal Hotel, Jimeta-Yola, Adamawa state, Nigeria. I was a major stakeholder at the event, where I shared useful lessons learnt from the Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN) with participants. AFFAHR is an off-shoot of Contributing to the Mitigation of Conflict over Natural Resources between Farmer & Herder Communities in Adamawa State (COMITAS). COMITAS is funded by the European Union, while AFFAHR is jointly managed by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), International Office of Migration (IOM) & Mercy Corps.

                                                       Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the venue

Some of the participants are:

*Sher Nawaz - Country Director, SFCG

*Amos Nderi - Programme Manager, COMITAS

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Conflict Transformation Strategist/FFARN Member

*Nathaniel Awuapila - CEO CORAFID/FFARN Member

*Ms. Toyin Falade - FFARN Member

*Dr. Joseph Gimba - FFARN Member

*Prof. Ibrahim Vahyala - Modibo Adamawa University, Yola

*Chief Philemon Godi - Bachama Traditional Council/Wakili Nuruam

*Prof. Kalep Filli - Modibo Adamawa University, Yola

*Prof. Augustine Ndaghu - Modibo Adamawa University, Yola

*Ismail Modibo - Muslim Council, Adamawa state

*Prof. A. Voh - Adamawa state Livestock Transformation Office (SATO)/NLTP Yola

*DCP Vungmoh Kwaimo - Nigeria Police Force

                                          L-R: Sher Nawaz (Country Director, SFCG) & Dayo

The duration of the programme is 18 months. It is worthy of note that Adamawa state is one of the domains where the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) of the Federal Government is being piloted. The implication of this is that the NLTP and AFFAHR are being implemented simultaneously in Adamawa state! For me, that's a good thing because both projects can learn from and complement each other.

The beauty of AFFAHR  and NLTP is that they are both multi-stakeholder projects with the ultimate aim of promoting peace in communities. Both projects adopt a bottom-up approach. AFFAHR is already working with the Adamawa state Peace-Grazing Reserve & Social Integration Commission. The Gogoshi and other grazing reserves are being re-visited. Transhumance livestock routes would be assessed.

Issues of disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation & re-integration (DDRR) of armed elements in the crisis would be addressed. Compensation for aggrieved parties would also be sorted out. The presence and capacity of security agencies to manage crisis would also be addressed. Would it then be possible to break cattle rustling cartels? Time will tell. What about the re-building of infrastructure? 

There is only so much that can be achieved within an 18 month time frame that the AFFAHR project is allotted. But the beauty of the endeavour is that AFFAHR hit the ground running. With the buy-in of the state, LGAs, influential individuals, CSOs/CBOs, academics, practitioners, etc. the sky is not the limit for the AFFAHR project...