Obasesam Okoi

Obasesam Okoi
University of St. Thomas | st thomas · Justice and Peace Studies

Doctor of Philosophy
Asst. Professor of Justice & Peace Studies, Jill Knox Peace Fellow & Senior Fellow, War, Conflict & Migration Think Tank

About

32
Publications
5,840
Reads
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77
Citations
Citations since 2017
29 Research Items
76 Citations
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Introduction
Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies with research and teaching interests in the geopolitics of oil and territorial aggression, post-conflict peacebuilding policies and practices, the connection between engineering, social justice and peace. I study how power and inequality shapes the dynamics of conflict and the processes of peacebuilding.
Additional affiliations
August 2020 - August 2020
University of St. Thomas
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Teaching Intro to Justice and Peace Studies, Global Social Policy, and Public Policy Analysis and Advocacy, and conducting research on natural resource conflict, political violence, and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Education
September 2013 - June 2019
University of Manitoba
Field of study
  • Peace and Conflict Studies

Publications

Publications (32)
Book
“Punctuated Peace in Nigeria’s Oil Region is an important contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of political violence and to the pathways capable of leading to sustainable peace.” — Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley, USA. “A thought-provoking study exploring how disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration are possible...
Chapter
How do we measure the success of post-conflict peacebuilding processes in Nigeria’s oil region? This chapter presents a transformational model that can be useful for measuring success in post-conflict peacebuilding processes. The model is derived from the analysis of DDR strategies employed by peacebuilders to transform Nigeria’s oil insurgency. Th...
Chapter
This chapter provides a background to the peacebuilding universe in Nigeria’s oil region. Building on a powerful and persuasive narrative of the author’s experience, it lays out the conceptual foundation of this book, and provide justification for its scholarly and policy significance to establish a central argument concerning the nature of peace i...
Chapter
This chapter presents a new theoretical concept in post-conflict peacebuilding research that further explains the nature of peace in Nigeria’s oil region and provides context for this book. The emerging theoretical concept is heuristically framed as punctuated peace and is interrogated through its imbrication within the broader contours of negative...
Chapter
This chapter presents the pathways to positive peacebuilding in Nigeria’s oil region. The presumptions of positive peacebuilding derive from the shortcomings of a peace process that is trapped in the impasse of technical interventions designed to stabilize the fragile post-conflict environment by transforming the political realities of peacebuildin...
Article
This article examines the relationship between entrepreneurship and sustainable peace in Nigeria’s oil region and asks whether entrepreneurship can directly and tangibly contribute to sustainable peace. The study is based on an explanatory mixed methods design in which I administered a standardized questionnaire to former insurgents. This produced...
Article
Insurgency and miscellaneous organized violence have been rising sharply on the African continent. What is driving these attacks? Drawing on case studies in Mali and Somalia, this chapter interrogates the sociological drivers of the insurgent activities, characteristics of insurgent groups, and impact of responses by state actors vis-à-vis organize...
Conference Paper
In recent years, systemic issues associated with human rights, environmental justice, and development, have transformed the nature of conflict, requiring peacemakers to imagine creative ways to build sustainable peace in societies experiencing conflict or rebuilding in its aftermath. Emerging conceptual frameworks have emphasized the importance of...
Conference Paper
Entrepreneurship is a central pillar of Nigeria’s peacebuilding program, which has contributed to the reduction of insurgent activities in the oil region while helping former insurgents to reintegrate into civilian society. However, entrepreneurship programs that are designed to facilitate peacebuilding are implemented in communities that continue...
Chapter
This chapter examines the changing landscape of insurgency in Nigeria’s oil region. It extends the debate on oil insurgency to a new level of analysis that considers how factors such as exclusion, retribution, and perceived failures in peacebuilding design and implementation contribute to patterns of conflict escalation. At the core of this chapter...
Chapter
This chapter examines how concepts of amnesty traverse transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding practices in Nigeria’s oil region. The effectiveness of amnesty is evaluated against its ability to create a stable and secure post-conflict environment that is conducive for the implementation of DDR. More importantly, this chapter places th...
Chapter
The meaning of peace in Nigeria’s oil region is theoretically and politically contested, and the means of achieving it is inherently complex. This chapter examines the perceptions of peace in Nigeria’s oil region. Four main concepts—stability, nonviolence, development, and freedom—have become the critical features that convey people’s perceptions o...
Chapter
This chapter underlines the ethical and practical challenges that arise from post-conflict peacebuilding design. It provides empirical evidence that shows how payments intended initially as transitional support to ex-insurgents have continued indefinitely. Consequently, the beneficiaries now see these monetary rewards as an entitlement, which if te...
Chapter
This chapter examines the role that empowerment plays in post-conflict peacebuilding processes in Nigeria’s oil region. Based on empirical evidence, the chapter addresses the understudied problem of whether and how DDR programs empower former insurgents and the modalities and forms of empowerment. It powerfully shows the means by which ex-insurgent...
Article
The failure of governance in Nigeria manifests in the declining capacity of political leaders to recognize systemic risks such as election fraud, terrorist attacks, herder-farmer conflict, armed banditry, and police brutality and put in place the necessary measures to navigate these challenges. In contrast with the current system in which leadershi...
Article
This article explores the peacebuilding programme in Nigeria's oil region. Based on non-participant observation of the peace process, along with key-informant interviews with exinsurgents, this article argues that mismanagement of funds appears to be the biggest challenge confronting the Niger Delta peacebuilding programme.
Article
The COVID-19 outbreak has infected millions of people across the world, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and collapsed national economies. Recognizing the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of COVID-19, concerns have arisen about the condition of millions of Africans who lack access to hygiene facilities and clean water servi...
Article
Full-text available
This article draws on primary sources to examine post-conflict transformations in Nigeria's oil region. The overarching goal of the article is to evaluate the impact of Nigeria's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program and its effectiveness as a vehicle for peacebuilding in the oil region, focusing specifically on the changes it has...
Conference Paper
The incidence of political violence has been identified as one of the major impediments to the sustainable development of the African continent. Political violence does not only create instability on the continent, but it also destroys the future human resource of the continent – the youth. The youths are both victims and perpetrators of political...
Conference Paper
The incidence of political violence has been identified as one of the major impediments to the sustainable development of the African continent. Political violence does not only create instability on the continent, but it also destroys the future human resource of the continent – the youth. The youths are both victims and perpetrators of political...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This article draws on primary sources to examine post-conflict transformations in Nigeria’s oil region. The overarching goal of the article is to evaluate the impact of Nigeria's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program and its effectiveness as a vehicle for peacebuilding in the oil region, focusing specifically on the changes that ha...
Conference Paper
This study examines the changing geopolitics of insurgency in the Niger Delta using The Avengers as an empirical case. The research questions that inform this paper are: What is the underlying motivation behind the recent phase of rebellion in the Niger Delta championed by The Avengers? And how does The Avengers' mode of warfare transform the geopo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We inhabit a world in which local communities are frequently vulnerable to large-scale development projects such as dams, highways, ports, railways, and natural resource extraction. In many parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and North America, natural resource extraction often exacerbates the vulnerability of minority groups. Perceptions of marg...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation probes into public perceptions of military violence against civilians in Nigeria and the implications for the Ugep massacre of 1975. The main thrust of this presentation is the way memories of the violence was represented in the public sphere politically and culturally, through commemorative events influenced by intellectuals. Arg...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the role of international law in the settlement of the Nigeria-Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula conflict. Human rights problems emerged in Nigeria following the implementation of the International Court of Justice judgment that ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon. The implementation of international law aggravated structural vio...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the conditions under which state leaders chose to make territorial issues a point of contention using the Nigeria–Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula conflict as an empirical case. Drawing on the theoretical insights of neoclassical realism, the article surveys evidence from the importance of domestic political and economic conditions...
Book
Full-text available
THE SPIRIT OF CHANGE takes us through a journey into the activist spirit that lives in each and every leader and how to awaken the redemptive potential of this spirit through compassion. The book is a brilliant reconstruction of one of the most important subjects of our time – “transformational leadership” – and presents a fascinating glimpse into...

Questions

Questions (8)
Question
There are variations in how individuals and societies experience conflict and war. Our understanding of peace also vary across cultures. What is your understanding of peace? Please add your voice to the conversation.
Question
Call for Contributors
Natural Resource Governance, Rule of Law, and Instability in Africa
Editors:
Dr Obasesam Okoi, PhD, Department of Justice and Society Studies, University of St Thomas, Minnesota, USA, okoio@myumanitoba.ca
Dr Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, PhD, Department of Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, Scotland, imoy1@st-andrews.ac.uk
Context and Background
The African continent is endowed with vast deposits of terrestrial and marine resources. However, the exploitation of these resources, particularly oil, gas, minerals, fisheries, and timber, among others, has often been cited as a critical factor in triggering, escalating and/or sustaining violent conflicts on the continent. Studies of interstate territorial conflict have shown that territorial claims have long been associated with natural resources (Okumu, 2010; Macaulay & Hensel, 2014). A recent study of the Nigeria-Cameroon conflict over the sovereignty of the Bakassi peninsula gives causal explanation to the connection between power, space, and aggression, what Okoi (2016) describes as the territorial logic of aggression. Underlying this logic is the argument that aggression occurs when natural resources intersect with a contentious territory. Because of the strategic importance of natural resources in providing a base for interstate conflicts, competition over territorial claims are based primarily on the tangible contents of a territory (Hensel, 2000; Hensel & McLaughlin, 2005; Okumu, 2010; Baye, 2010). Conflicts over natural resources, therefore, arise over disagreements about ownership, management, allocation, use, distribution and conservation. These disagreements escalate and become violent when governance institutions at the domestic or regional levels are dysfunctional and, in most cases, ineffective.
Existing case studies of conflicts over industrial mining show that tensions often arise from loss of settlement and land use for cultivation and grazing, the health effects of mining activities, and lack of compensation or community participation in the process of awarding mining concessions. Other factors include human rights problems linked to forced displacement, the distribution of mining rents, and demand for employment opportunities for the population living in the mining region (Arellano-Yanguas, 2012; Wilson, 2013; Woertz, 2014). In post-conflict societies such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, conflict developed not only from the lucrative enterprise around diamond trade, but also from the undertakings of corrupt government elite and mining companies (Alao, 2007; Beevers, 2019).
While these repertoires of contention highlight complex institutional challenges in Africa, concerns about the importance of the rule of law in natural resource governance and in ensuring long term stability within African countries have received limited attention in the vast literature on natural resource conflict and conflict resolution processes. Effective natural resource governance requires institutional structures that are capable of developing, implementing and enforcing policy. Where these structures are undermined by corruption, their capacity to forestall instability is weakened. The rule of law stimulates economic growth and socio-economic justice; prevents and deters violent conflict and crime; and strengthens accountability and checks on power, allowing for more equitable distribution of resources and better environmental protection. While some states possess the necessary institutions to ensure the sustainable use of their natural resource, these institutions remain ineffective due to legal limitations. Besides, corruption of local officials is corrosive, which undermines efforts to improve governance and prevent growing distrust of, and hatred for, the government (Okafor-Yarwood et al., 2020). The rule of law remains crucial for translating natural resource governance standards into realistic conflict resolution measures in Africa.
Moreover, the growing scarcity of renewable resources, such as land and water, the depletion of marine resources, such as fisheries, and the increasing competition over control and production of onshore and offshore hydrocarbon and other minerals, reinforce existing stress factors and motivate actors to resort to violence. These tensions are compounded by proximate factors such as population growth, lack of social wellbeing, environmental degradation, and climate change which threatens to increase the risk of conflicts over natural resources. The human security dimension of these problems has inspired innovation in sustainable development. Addressing these multivariate problems has been a critical challenge facing Africa today, and will be vital in propelling the continent to achieve its vision of sustainable development by 2063.
This book will compile research by academics and practitioners to show the new drivers of natural resource conflicts in Africa. It will highlight the role that institutions play in natural resource governance or lack thereof. It will demonstrate empirically how actors at the local, subnational, national, and regional sites of power, including women and youths, formulate mechanisms for resolving natural resource conflicts. The book will also address the importance of the rule of law in ensuring long term stability within African countries whose economies are resource-dependent. An interdisciplinary volume that aggregates the research of scholars and practitioners from across the African continent and beyond to examine the complexities and interlinkages between natural resource governance, rule of law, and instability on the continent would be a valuable contribution to the literature on natural resource conflict and conflict resolution.
We solicit contributions that will deepen, broaden, extend, and critically engage with the interdisciplinary contours and dynamics of natural resource governance, rule of law and instability in Africa. Proposals may consider issues at the international, regional, sub-regional, national, institutional, sub-institutional and community level and are not limited to any of the following themes:
1. Theorizing the linkages between natural resource governance, rule of law, and instability in Africa
2. Natural resource governance and human security in Africa
3. The role of regional institutions such as the AU, ECOWAS, SADC, EAC, in furthering better legal and governance regimes for natural resource conflict resolution
4. The geopolitics of instability in Africa’s extractive economies
5. Indigenous strategy for natural resource management and conflict resolution
6. Conflict between pastoralists and Indigenous communities over grazing
7. Conflict between local communities and mining companies
8. Integrating gender sensitivity in natural resource governance after armed conflicts
9. Strategies for preventing conflicts over resources
10. Civil society engagement in natural resource conflict resolution processes
11. Rule of law reform and improvements in natural resource governance
12. Institutions that can be used to improve socioeconomic conditions in resource - rich countries in Africa.
13. The role of extractive corporations in natural resource conflict resolution
14. Africa’s terrestrial and marine resources and Agenda 2063
15. Early warning, risks assessments and scenario analysis of natural resource conflict
16. How natural resource exploitation produces instability in Africa
17. The exploitation of Africa’s marine resources and the potential for conflict
18. Conflict over transboundary marine or terrestrial resource, dynamics and pressures
19. Offshore hydrocarbon and disputed maritime boundaries
20. The impacts of conflicts on transboundary water resources governance
21. Continental/regional/international efforts to reduce intrastate and interstate conflicts over terrestrial and marine resources
22. Mitigating the struggle over water resources at the local, national and regional levels
23. Conflict prevention through the fair allocation of resources
24. The importance of rule of law in post-conflict stability
25. Institutions and agreements for managing transboundary natural resource conflicts
26. Integrating conflict sensitivity in natural resource governance
Target Audience
This book will be useful to scholars in peace and conflict studies, development studies, conflict analysis and resolution, environmental policy and governance, political science, sociology, anthropology, international relations, sustainable development, and African studies. Practitioners and policymakers who are interested in the connection between natural resource governance, rule of law, and instability in Africa will also find this book valuable.
Submission Guidelines
We invite contributions from scholars of different disciplinary and methodological orientations, including practitioners and policymakers. Interested contributors should send a 300-500 word abstract of their proposed chapters and their short bios before February 28, 2021, to okoio@myumanitoba.ca and imoy1@st-andrews.ac.uk using the subject line: Abstract for Natural Resources, Rule of Law, and Instability in Africa. Proposals should have a sound analytical and conceptual base and preferably supported by empirical evidence. We encourage submissions from early-career scholars, women, and Africans living in Africa. We will notify contributors of the acceptance or rejection of their proposals by March 31, 2021.
Question
The Africa Portal, a digital scholarly platform of the Center for International Governance Innovations/The South Africa Institute of International Affairs just published my opinion piece. See the link below:
Question
I am interesting in understanding the indicators for theorizing militancy. 
Question
I am essentially trying to understand whether hunger has a direct causal relationship with aggressive behaviour. 

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Projects

Projects (8)
Project
This interdisciplinary research project examines the connection between global pandemics, international security and peace.
Project
To explore the scientific relationship between peace and health and thereby to develop innovative models for building healthy and peaceful societies.