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I recently published an article on my organization’s blog about the political happenings in Nigeria. I have included it below for your reading pleasure. https://www.democracyspeaks.org/blog/defections-decamping-and-cross-carpeting-challenges-facing-nigerian-political-parties-ahead Posted by Sentell Barnes, Resident Program Director, Nigeria @sentellbarnes It has been an interesting few weeks in Nigeria. For those of us that have been watching Nigerian politics for the past four or five years, it feels very much like Déjà vu. When I arrived in Nigeria in 2014, the… Read More

…The current situation in Nigeria is no laughing matter. The economy seems to be heading towards a recession and the cost of food has escalated since Fall 2015. When I arrived in May 2014, the Naira, the local currency in Nigeria was 167 to one dollar. Later that year, it rose to 199 to one dollar. Today, the Naira is around 313 to one dollar. The currency has continued to deteriorate because… Read More

One of the things I have enjoyed most about being in Nigeria is the ancestral connection that I have with this country and West Africa. Despite the disorganization and chaos, the daily power outrageous and the lack of adherence to the rule of law, as a black American, there is an deep familiarity to this wild and crazy country. This week, my parents and I ventured down to Badagry, Nigeria, a former… Read More

Now this was a first! I am often assumed to be Nigerian and on one occasion Ghanaian but never Angolan! Maybe it was because he couldn’t quite place my name – which didn’t seem like a typical Nigerian name or from the Francophone countries of Africa. To him, I must be from the former Portuguese colony of Angola. It was a funny exchange and I thanked him for thinking I was from… Read More

It’s been hard waking up since getting back to Nigeria. Maybe I am still trying to shake jet lag or maybe I just miss being in the United States (mixture of both). For two weeks, Sheila and I crisscrossed Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland visiting family and catching up with friends. It was a whirlwind tour for Sheila as it was her first trip to the US and… Read More

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck. –  Frederick Douglass Once again, I am celebrating America’s independence by working to enhance democracy in Nigeria.  This past week, I traveled to Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria for work. Calabar is said to be the number one tourist destination in Nigeria (for Nigerians). The city host carnival… Read More

“What Should I Be Afraid Of?…Choosing My Leader Is In My Hand.” Bizun Aduwah, Kaduna State On Saturday, Nigerians went to the polls to select the next leader of the most populous country on the African continent. It was a chaotic day as the new smart card readers used to verify voters failed in some polling units and delayed arrival of election materials forced the accreditation process to start late. Because of… Read More

In this photo, Nigerian women present their voter’s card in the 2015 Presidential Election. They waited in the heat (and some in the rain) to cast their vote for the next leader of Nigeria. They are passionate about moving Nigeria forward and taking the next step towards a democratic Nigeria! Despite the delays, disorganization and heated tempers, these women waited until they were accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to… Read More

My post on the IRI Blog – Democracy Speaks – http://www.democracyspeaks.org/2014/05/laying-ground-work-in-south-sudan.html Buried deep within the news cycle this weekend was the surprising news that the leaders of South Sudan had agreed to end the five-month conflict that began on the night of December 15.  In the first face to face meeting between South Sudan President Saliva Kiir and former vice president and rebel opposition leader Riek Machar, on May 9 the two… Read More