By Hilary Ogbonna
Chidi Odinkalu, Chair of the Governing Board of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission has been shortlisted for the 2014 Human Rights Tulip. I have worked with Dr Odinkalu and below are 5 reasons I recommend him for your vote. Note that you have just 2 hours to honour this human rights advocate.
5 Reasons why Chidi Odinkalu should win the 2014 Tulip
- A Life of Service to the Human Rights Movement: Dr. Chidi Odinkalu has devoted his life to the promotion, defence and protection of human rights in Nigeria and across Africa. From his works with the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Lagos to the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights in London and most recently, the Open Society Justice Initiative, Chidi Odinkalu has been a consistent human rights defender working in the diverse aspects of human rights including freedom from torture, development, public interest law, freedom of information, death penalty, electoral participation, access to justice, prison reforms amongst many others. He is well-rounded and grounded in human rights advocacy at national, regional and global level.
- A Reformer: Chidi Odinkalu is currently the Chair of the Governing Council of National Human Rights Commission. Since assumption of office, Dr. Odinkalu has transformed the Commission to becoming not only independent in line with the amendment of its enabling Act but also responsive to its mandate in promoting, protecting and enforcing human rights in Nigeria. We have been witnesses to various investigations conducted by the Commission in recent times owing to his leadership and vision. The Commission’s credibility, responsiveness and ranking have greatly improved in the last two years nationally and globally. At a time when Nigeria’s human rights ratings are low on many fronts, the work of Chidi Odinkalu and his colleagues at the National Human Rights Commission continue to give Nigerian hope and inspiration.
- A model for public service: Chidi Odinkalu has been in the forefront in the promotion of transparent and accountable governance in Nigeria. A well-known anti-corruption campaigner, Dr Odinkalu has set himself apart as a beacon of hope for Nigerians that public office holders can be true to their oath of office – service to the people and in addition, be just, humble, humane and simple. Despite his current position and schedule, he has kept in touch with the Nigerian people and the human rights and NGO community through the social media and his very large network of associates.
- A Man of integrity and courage: Chidi Odinkalu shocked the political stratosphere in 2012 when upon appointment to the office of the Chair of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, he publicly declared his assets. Yes, Chidi moved asset declaration from the realm of the utopian to reality. Thereby, raising the bar for politicians and civic leaders who are in government but have not been able to publicly perform this sacred constitutional ritual.
- An Academic: Chidi Odinkalu is an academic. With a Ph.D. in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science, he has published widely in human rights, international law, governance, anti-corruption, peace and security and the right to development. His written works have provoked government actions in Nigeria and Africa and have also inspired
intellectual discussions on national implementation and enforcement of human rights norms. Most students of the African human rights system will definitely find Dr. Odinkalu’s essays and articles very stimulating and engaging.
If you are inspired by the work of Chidi Odinkalu, you can still vote here http://www.humanrightstulip.nl/candidates…/chidi-odinkalu. Note that voting ends by midnight of Friday 10th October 2014. Remember to go to your email and verify your vote.
– Hilary Ogbonna is an Abuja based human rights advocate and campaigner.