Sustaining Nigeria's Democracy



Promoting National Cohesion and Building Platforms to Counter Divisive Behavior

Nigeria has experienced divisions and tensions between and among various ethnic identities since the struggle for independence. Efforts to resolve conflicts have been deployed, but latent acrimonies and mutual suspicions remain evident due to a combination of socio-economic and political factors, compounded by perceived and existent injustice.

A June 2018 three-day retreat at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta explored drivers of tension in Nigeria and identified strategies to address them. A community of stakeholders committed themselves to address challenges confronting unity in Nigeria.

Support for the retreat was provided by the Ford Foundation.

Retreat Video:

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Citizenship, Democracy and the Culture of Transactional Politics

The transactional nature of Nigerian politics is a major driver of corruption and ethno-religious tension. Clientelism – the exchange of goods and services for political support – remains the dominant culture. In Nigeria, elections represent a potential flashpoint for violence, fuelled by illicit cashflows and rampant divisive behavior. If left unchecked, these features of our political culture could drive Nigeria to the brink – with grave humanitarian consequences for the sub-region and beyond.

A November 2018 conference addressed the culture of transactional politics and its impact on participatory democracy and accountable governance in Nigeria. Strategies to reduce retail corruption, improve political participation and track divisive behavior around the 2019 elections were deployed.

Support for the conference was provided by TrustAfrica and the Ford Foundation.

Conference Video:

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Memory and National Building: Biafra 50 Years After

Despite efforts at reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation, the effects of the bitter civil war – fought over the attempted secession of Biafra in 1967 - still linger.

Memory and National Building: Biafra 50 Years After was the first national convening with participation of the federal government since the end of the war. The event revisited narratives of events and actions taken before, during and after the Civil War with a view to spurring conciliatory conversations and learning lessons that could be useful in addressing lingering grievances.

Support was provided by the Ford Foundation and OSIWA.

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Corruption is one of Nigeria’s most critical but least understood governance challenges. Successive reports released by Transparency International since 2000 have placed Nigeria in the top 40 of the world’s most corrupt countries, affecting public finances, business investment and our standard of living.

Nigeria has sought to tackle corruption by focusing on legal and institutional measures - including reform of public procurement and public finance management, enactment of anti-corruption laws and the establishment of various anti-corruption agencies tasked with investigating and punishing incidents of corruption. This focus on strengthening institutions and imposing tougher sanctions is critical. But innovative and complimentary efforts are required to shift cultural attitudes to corruption at all levels of society.

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Anti-Corruption Advocacy Campaign

The Yar’Adua Foundation seeks to reduce retail corruption through an advocacy campaign to empower and galvanize pro-accountability stakeholders to combat corruption. The Foundation deploys messaging and communication to support demand-driven accountability by amplifying the impact and effectiveness of Civil Society organisations.









Campaign flashcards and infographics were developed to combat retail corruption in basic education and the electricity sector. Social media campaigns engaged a wide audience with Little Things Matter (#LittleThingsMatter) and Full Current (#FullCurrent) that encouraged parents and the general public to combat corruption in basic education and the electricity sector.

The campaigns reached over 2 million users on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and created social incentives for action against corruption.

Public Policy Forum

The event mobilized young people as agents of change by conveying the social costs of corruption and showcasing bold citizen-led attempts to combat graft.

Sustaining and Deepening Anti-Corruption and Accountability Efforts in Nigeria

We empower our partners with knowledge and tools to deepen and sustain the fight against corruption; create and sustain synergies between non-state actors involved at national and sub-national levels; and increase demand for transparency and accountability from political actors at the state level beyond the 2019 elections.

Partners United Against Corruption

An anti-corruption portal ( was created to facilitate collaboration and ease of access to advocacy material for civil society collaborators and MacArthur Foundation grantees. Since the portal was deployed, 61 grantees have uploaded information in the form of publications, flashcards, infographics and videos.


Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative

Accountable and transparent management of our natural resources, particuarly the oil and gas sector, is critical to good governance and national development. The Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative (ORTI) provides factual and credible information on issues surrounding Nigeria’s oil resource governance and engages citizens and stakeholders to promote sustainable policy making.

Supported by The Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform in Nigeria (FOSTER), our policy advocacy campaign on savings and stabilization mechanisms in Nigeria seeks to further reform governance in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector by mobilizing citizens to demand accountability.



Despite being the largest producer and exporter of petroleum in Africa and one of the ten largest producers in the world, Nigeria has failed to transform decades of oil earnings into sustainable development. In the period spanning 1970 to 2014, Nigeria wasted five oil booms – earning a conservative estimate of a trillion dollars in oil revenue but making no significant savings. These earnings have also not translated to lasting or productive capital through human development, infrastructure and institution building. Read More...




Project Report: A Savings and Stabilization Mechanism for Nigeria 2019
Report from Enugu Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Communiqué for Enugu Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Report from Port Harcourt Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Communiqué for Port Harcourt Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Report from Lagos Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Communiqué for Lagos Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Report from Abuja Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Communiqué for Abuja Demand-side Roundtable 2018
Report from Stakeholder Supply-Side Roundtable 2018
Communiqué from Stakeholder Roundtable 2018
Policy Roundtable on Fuel Subsidy in Nigeria 2015
FOSTER Report: Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative 2014
Stop Impunity in Nigeria 2014