A round table discussion about current and future security threats facing Nigeria as a post-military nation Chaired by Dr Akali omeni, Lecturer at CSTPV and featuring Ambassador John Campbell, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, IGP Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of the Nigerian Police, Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-President and Vice-principal (International) Kings College London and 'Funmi Iyanda, Film and Television Producer.
In his new book, Nigeria and the Nation-State: Rethinking Diplomacy with the Postcolonial World, John Campbell argues that Nigeria deserves greater attention. Already considered the ‘Giant of Africa' with a population of around 220 million, by far the largest on the continent, Nigeria is projected to have the third-largest population in the world by the mid-century.
While the country has occasionally made international headlines for Boko Haram attacks or, more recently, the #ENDSARS protests against police brutality, Western media coverage of Nigeria remains intermittent and simplistic. More consequentially, American policymakers have long neglected and misunderstood this dynamic country.
Ambassador Campbell, the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former US Ambassador to Nigeria, argues that Nigeria is neither a fully formed nation nor state. Ethnic violence, weak governance, and endemic corruption are all products of the country's conception as an arbitrary colonial entity. To help address these challenges and build more durable ties with this strategically significant country, Ambassador Campbell urges US officials to stop projecting their own image of the nation-state onto Africa and embrace a more decentralised approach to diplomacy.
IGP Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of the Nigerian Police, served as the 18th Inspector General of the Nigerian Peace. He was appointed in 2015 and, before his appointment, Arase was head of the topmost intelligence gathering unit of the Nigerian police, the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Bureau. He attended Ahmadu Bello University for his undergraduate studies and graduated with a political science degree in 1980. He was recruited into the Nigerian Police a year after on 1 December 1981. He also obtained another bachelor's degree in Law from University of Benin as well as Masters from the University of Lagos.
While in Police service, Arase served in various capacities including Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State and Assistant Inspector General. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Defence Academy and served in Namibia during the United Nations peacekeeping operation. Arase retired from the force in June 2016. After his retirement, Arase was appointed Chair of a Task Force responsible for the implementation of a state Anti-Community Development Association Law in Edo State.
Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin is Vice-President and Vice-Principal International and Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at King's College London. She founded the African Leadership centre (ALC), which aims to build the next generation of African scholars and analysts generating cutting edge knowledge for peace, security and development in Africa. She was Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group (CSDG) at King's College London from 2003 to 2013. Prior to this, she worked in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. Professor Olonisakin has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the worlds of policy and practice.
Her most recent research has focused on ‘Reframing narratives of Peace and State Building in Africa' and on ‘Future Peace, Society and the State in Africa'. In January 2015, Professor Olonisakin was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, as one of seven members of the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. She was also appointed in 2016 as a member of the Advisory Group of Experts for the UN Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. She serves on the board of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and Chairs the Africa Regional Advisory Committee of the Open Society Foundation. The University of Pretoria appointed 'Funmi Olonisakin as an Extra-Ordinary Professor in the Department of Political Sciences in 2016. In 2018, she was appointed to the Council of the United Nations University.
'Funmi Iyanda is a multi-award winning Nigerian film and television producer, and CEO of OYA Media with offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the producer and host of Public Eye, a TV show which tackles and illuminates the issues of polity, asking the right questions of the right people and creating an accountable ecosystem from leaders to people. Her latest film, Walking with Shadows, premiered at the 2019 London Film Festival and has played at several festivals since. An innovator, she has won recognition for her pioneering work as a journalist, entrepreneur, and advocate of women, children, and sexual monitories.
Before venturing into the film industry, Ms Iyanda hosted and produced Nigeria's most popular and groundbreaking talk show New Dawn, which ran nationally for eight years with unprecedented and as yet unsurpassed ratings. Her shows have been syndicated across Africa, including the genre-bending well-received Talk with Funmi, an audacious socio-reality documentary television series. She produced and presented a string of international critically acclaimed shows including My country Nigeria, a three-part series commissioned by the BBC.
She is the founder of the Change-A-Life Foundation, a social service non-profit organisation with the mission to act as a bridge between people with human, community and leadership potential yet in great need and the individuals, agencies and organisations with the capacity and willingness to meet these needs. 'Funmi is also a member of several boards globally. She is a graduate of the University of Ibadan and holds a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria in the UK, one of the BBC's 100 women to watch, a UN women's global equality champion, and one of Forbes 20 Power Women in Africa. 'Funmi is a member of several global networks including Aspen Institute's Global Leaders Network, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and a fellow of the Desmond Tutu Leadership Programme.