Challenges Ahead For the Next Chairperson of African Union Commission:

From the Publisher’s Desk

In our editorial in the August 2012 [1] edition Africa Peace and Security Monitor we outlined the challenges before the newly elected Chair of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. As the election of the next Chair approaches, we believe it is legitimate to ask the following questions. Has the outgoing Chair of the Commission improved the ability of the AU to respond to the needs of African people across the continent?  Has the experiment of electing Chairs of the Commission from among the five major financial contributors of the African Union helped or hindered the organization? Or should there be a return to the understanding that none of the big five countries should occupy the exalted post of Chair of the Commission? If the current experiment has failed, as demonstrated by the financial straits in which the Commission has found itself, the experiment should not be repeated if the Commission is to be financially viable. The article on the AU Chairperson examines some of the accomplishments of the current Chairperson and briefly reviews some critical issues in the selection of the next AU Chairperson. We will return to this topic in more detail in our next issue of the monitor.

Also in this current issue of the Monitor, we have a thought-provoking piece by Dele Olowu originally presented to Nigerian Diaspora professionals in The Netherlands in October 2015. In it, Olowu addressed four issues: corruption, conflicts, inadequate capacity, and culture – the key governance challenges confronting Nigeria and how to clear the Augean stable. It is our position that if corruption in Nigeria can be significantly curtailed, it will be a milestone for Nigeria and for Africa. An important question that needs to be addressed is whether the institutions established to combat corruption are up to the task and if not, how they should be strengthened to discharge their responsibilities. Establishing the relevant institutions to combat corruption is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. A change in behavior is also critical, particularly in a country where some people in position of power and authority act with high degree of impunity, preferring instead to look after their own self-interest while impeding the processes advancing the democratic growth and the economic development of the country. As Plato stated in Laws, those in positions of power and authority must demonstrate a strong sense of duty to prevent corruption, lest the general public emulates their quest for self-interest. The recent revelations that 55 public officials are on trial in Nigeria for the theft of N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013 is very troubling indeed – approximately US$9.5 billion using the average exchange rate over the period. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg! A quiet and effective onslaught on corruption is preferable to the current media war, which in the end might swing sympathy to the culprits who have ruined Nigeria through their unbridled greed and insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Nigerian who is rendered helpless and destitute by their leaders in whom they had placed their trust.

Shola J. Omoregie

[1] Shola Omoregie, “From the Publisher,” Africa Peace & Security Monitor, August 2012,

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The AU Chairperson – From the Present to the Future

The emergence of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the first woman chairperson of the African Union Commission was contentious, even though it had the salutary effect of electing a woman to head the premier regional political organization, in Africa. Several reasons may account for the fierce competition between her and her predecessor, Dr. Jean Ping. Principal among them are the revival of the Anglophone-Francophone dichotomy and the subversion of the unwritten understanding that the big five AU members (Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa) should not assume the helm of the commission, perhaps following a similar understanding in the United Nations where the nationals of the five permanent members (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) do not contest for the post of the Secretary-General.  Some also opposed her candidacy for fear of expanding the “Zuma Empire”.  Continue reading

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Corruption, Conflicts, Capacity and Culture: Governance Challenges Confronting Nigeria and How to Clear the Augean Stable

By Dele Olowu


In classical Greek mythology, a Greek King Elis had a stable of 3000 oxen, which had not been cleaned for 30 years. He tasked Hercules, a Greek legendary superman, to clean the stable. Hercules accomplished the task in one day, by diverting one or two rivers through those stables. This legend perhaps best describes what is required of the new Nigerian government.

The 2015 Elections signaled that Nigeria was at the threshold of a great transformation that would lead us into greatness that we and the coming generations would be proud of. Some observers believe that Nigeria might surpass new global players in Asia and Latin America if we are able to tackle the big governance issues that confront us – a clearing of the Augean-like stable. I will highlight the positive and the negative aspects of Nigeria’s current context before discussing some of these governance issues.

In the context of modern day Nigeria, our prospect is bright but this is conditional on our engaging, as a people, the key governance issues that confront us. This article focuses on four of these issues because of their strategic significance. They are conflicts, capacity, corruption, and culture. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to reduce all of these to only one issue by both the governors and the governed, namely corruption.  What we need is a cultural change, in which all of us have a role to play in resolving these challenges, not least professionals in the diaspora. Continue reading

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