9th Wole Soyinka Lecture: Darfur as Metaphor: Conscience, Accountability and Political (in) Stability in Africa. by Professsor Chidi Odinkalu

The 9th Wole Soyinka Lecture:

  • Theme: Darfur as Metaphor: Conscience, Accountability and Political (in) Stability in Africa.
  • Lecturer: Prof. Anselm Chidi Odinkalu (is currently Chairman, National Human Rights Commission)
  • NAS Capn: Obinna Andrew Onyearu, Esq.
  • Date: Friday, 14th July 2007
  • City: Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Nigeria
  • Venue: Cultural Centre Auditorium, Calabar


hidi Anselem Odinkalu is a professor and currently the chairman, Governing Council of National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria. He is a lecturer in laws at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Odinkalu is also a lawyer and advocate from Nigeria.

Prior to joining the staff of Open Society Justice Initiative, Odinkalu was senior legal officer responsible for Africa and Middle East at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights in London, Human Rights Advisor to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone, and Brandeis International Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, Justice and Public Life of the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Odinkalu is widely published on diverse subjects of international law, international economic and human rights law, public policy, and political economy affecting African countries. He is frequently called upon to advise multilateral and bilateral institutions on Africa-related policy, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the World Economic Forum.

Odinkalu has extensive networks across Africa built up over several years of working for human rights and social justice on the continent. He is associated with several non-governmental and academic institutions within and outside Africa. He is a Trustee of the International African Institute University of London, a member of the Human Rights Advisory Council of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and of the Board of Fund for Global Human Rights. (taken from open society foundations webpage)

Culled from https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-the-work-of-Dr-Chidi-Odinkalu/276026615817403


arrister Chidi Anselm Odinkalu of the Open Society Justice Initiative addresses a theme that has become one of the most pertinent projects taken up by the Pyrates Confraternity in recent times: Darfur as Metaphor: Conscience, Accountability and Political (In) Stability in Africa. He identifies a global premise for the possibility of good and accountable government. This premise consists of a tripod of three values: credibility, accountability, and capacity. Using this as a trajectory, he observes that these three essential properties of humane governance have been substantially lacking in most Africa countries. And in a few instances where they could be said to have been temporarily present, the perpetuation of these salient values started being wilfully terminated by a major pathology – patrimonicide or mass homicide – at the outset of the 1980s.

The African political elite have appropriated mass warfare and conflict as an instrument of accessing power, especially in post-colonial Africa. The embers of civil strife of genocidal proportions had engulfed places like DRC, Burundi and Rwanda, with Darfur being the latest example. Patrimonicide is metaphorically descriptive of the attitude of a ruling “elite that would rather preside over a national cemetery, than subject itself to the proprieties of accountable government”. Ascribing the cause of the current Darfur genocide to impunity borne of socio-racial neglect, Odinkalu recommends the same values as had been harped upon by previous lecturers as a way of turning around the entire humanity of Darfur. The framework for accountability must follow the same global pattern of democratization, institutionalization of the values of justice, de-racialization of the Sudanese nation, and the assurance of human rights for the right human beings.

Images from Inaugural Wole Soyinka Lecture

Photographs from the Inaugural Wole Soyinka Lecture.

* click images to see fullsize.