In conversation with Professor Christopher Isike, Janet Gbam and Foluso Adegalu
On February 25 2023, the Nigerian presidential elections were held. Nigerian voters came out in their numbers to cast their ballots to select the next president after outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari stepped down. This was against a political background of mounting unhappiness and widespread unrest, insecurity and economic hardship, such as the inability to access cash, high inflation, deadly attacks by gunmen against civilians. While the elections were initially marked by a high voter turnout and mainly peaceful voting, they were marred reports of vote buying, voter intimidation, attacks on polling units in certain areas, and unpunctual electoral officials along with accusations of outright fraud to compound issues with trust in the election. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also failed to upload polling unit results to the INEC result viewing portal as previously assured would happen on election day. It is light of these circumstances, along with statements critical of INEC from observers and civil society groups that have inspired this conversation. This episode analyses the developments of these elections from a human rights lens.
Professionally, Ms Janet Uosu Gbam is an international human rights lawyer and Doctoral Candidate from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Over the last ten years, she has successfully worked with teams to promote and protect human rights by initiating, managing, and executing humanitarian, and human rights programs touching on racial, ethnic, gender, and socio-economic issues for notable human rights organisations. She also has experience working with international NGOs in West Africa, Southern Africa and the United States.
We spoke to Foluso Adegalu, a Doctoral Researcher and Programme Manager for the Litigation and Implementation Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. His research interest in international human rights law focuses on improving the efficacy of international human rights standards and monitoring mechanisms. Foluso’s human rights practice includes the strategic use of the law particularly through judicial and quasi-judicial institutions to enforce human rights, prevent human rights violations, and seek redress for victims of human rights violations. He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with over ten years of experience in legal practice.
Christopher Isike, PhD, is a Professor of African Politics and International Relations in the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, and Director of the African Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Pretoria (ACSUS-UP), South Africa. He is also the current President of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and member of the Board of Directors of Global Development Network (GDN). Professor Isike conducts research from an Africanist lens, and teaches international relations theory, strategic and security studies, and security theory at the University of Pretoria. His research interests include African soft power politics, women, peace and conflict studies, women and political representation in Africa, rethinking state formation in Africa, politics in a digital era, and African immigration to South Africa. A C2 rated researcher by the National Research Foundation, Professor Isike has over 70 publications in top national and international peer-reviewed journals including chapters in books published by reputable publishing houses globally. He is Editor-in-Chief of Africa’s foremost political science journal, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (2020 to 2024), and has been Editor of Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation since 2017. He also serves on the editorial board of several reputable international journals, such as International Political Science Abstracts, Canadian Journal of African Studies, African Journal of Political Science and Strategic Review for Southern Africa. Professor Isike consults for United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government on Gender equality and women empowerment issues in South Africa. He is a Social Cohesion Advocate of South Africa appointed by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture (2020 – 2024).
Please note that, while great care and thorough efforts to provide accurate information through research and in the recording of this episode have been taken, Africa Rights Talk acknowledges that the developments of the 2023 Nigerian elections are still ongoing. We will be monitoring the situation, and produce another episode in light of the new developments that may arise.
These conversation were recorded between 3 March and 7 March 2023
Research by Ms Victoria Amaechi (she/they)
Music and news extracts: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc , https://www.dw.com/en/nigerias-youth-mobilized-to-vote-in-upcoming-elections/video-64461579, https://www.euronews.com/2023/02/26/counting-underway-but-it-could-be-days-before-official-election-result-is-announced-in-nig , Alexey Anisimov https://stock.adobe.com/za/search/audio?k=564750551 , limitless https://stock.adobe.com/za/search/audio?k=452592386