• Features
  • Updated: January 20, 2023

Chatham House: Nigeria's New National Colony

On the Chatham House official website, chathamhouse.org, the outing of Rabiu Kwankwaso, NNPP presidential candidate, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Peter Obi, LP presidential flag bearer occupied the front page while  Nigeria policy institutes are lying fallow doing next to nothing. 

Chatham House, without mincing words, is a policy institute dedicated to building a world that works for and is suitable for all.

Chatham House is symbolic to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy ISGPP or the Nigerian Institute Of International Affairs which is Africa's leading foreign policy think tank.

None of the presidential candidates prioritises visiting these places only to go for holy pilgrimage in foreign establishments to table their manifestos. 

As the scramble by Presidential candidates and electoral umpire chairman to Chatham House, London to deliver their speeches towards the coming election continue to occupy the political space for international validation, it is essential to state that the multiplier effect outweighs its benefits to the development of the country.


According to a former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, the scramble for speech delivery at Chatham House is a symbol of neo-colonialism.

The US-based politician opined that flooding the Chatham House by Nigerian politicians and electoral body means that Nigeria still survives as a product of white supremacy.

“We have a similar body like Chatham House here in Nigeria.

"The NIIA, Centre of Democratic Studies, and Nigerian Union Of Journalists (NUJ) among others.

"Were these bodies to invite Nigerian politicians to come and speak at the platform, they are not likely to show up. 

"They would give excuses. And that is why no major politician has gone there to engage the Nigerian intelligentsia. They would rather go to London,” he detailed.

The colonial mentality, in Onuesoke's view, means that the presidential election, which is supposed to be decided by the Nigerian electorates, will now be overly concentrated on the judgment in London.

Our leaders need to wake up 

If Nigerian leaders want the country to be better, they must embrace the intellects coming from the country.

Goke Odeyemi, a public affairs analyst based in Ibadan, told AllNews Nigeria that it is unpatriotic that our leaders go abroad for medical treatment, tourism, recreation, sport, education and now national interests conversations.

"A candidate is yet to engage Nigerian policymakers and journalists directly, only to jet off to Chatham House.

"How many times has the American president gone to Chatham House to campaign?

"We need to kick against this imminent political failure before it is too late” he cautioned.

“You can't solve a problem associated with the head by treating your feet.

"Intellectuals in our policy institutes at home understand the severity of our national woes.

"The most they could do abroad is to read the papers or watch video clips."

Odeyemi did opine that as far as sustainable development is concerned in Nigeria, the assessment of political promises has nothing to do with Chatham House but with the generality of Nigerian people. 

Experts are getting tired and brain drained

Via a phone conversation, our reporter engaged Faruq Umar, a top official of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau state.

He lamented the preference of Nigerians for "anything foreign" to their homemade invention.

"The truth is that it is affecting what we do, causing brain drain for researchers and intellectuals alongside killing the national interest", he suggested.

Umar urged the Nigerian government to give more priority to the "Nigerian intellects and policymakers" rather than the foreign ideals and establishment. 

"We are not saying they shouldn't present their ideas before the international community but it should be here before there in any case", he added.

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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