The world is broken. We can fix it.
As a teenager, my parents would tell me stories about their country of origin, Nigeria. I listened to an extended BBC documentary series detailing the trials and tribulations of the continent, and I read popular books by Nigerian authors such as ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, ‘The Man Died’ and ‘A Man of the People’. These experiences taught me much about my Yoruba ancestry, the art and culture of the Benin people, the godsend of plentiful oil reserves and the ravages of colonialism. Alongside this knowledge that became central to my identity, I discovered kleptocracy.
Military generals who had seized control of the country were allowed to rehabilitate their reputations decades later as supposedly reformed presidential candidates. Public procurement exercises that saw officials appropriate funds and secure contracts for their friends. Terrible economic planning despite debt forgiveness in 2006.
What were the products of these hegemonic systems of control?
Tens of millions of starving children. Preventable public health crises.
Alongside these formative experiences, the 2000s provided much fuel for my political fire; I watched as constitutional talks begat the (temporary) end of tribal violence in Kenya. I watched with fascination as an African assumed the most powerful political office in the world. I watched a court spring up in the Hague promising to “put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crime.” These three events inspired me to dream of building a better world and gave me the motivation to work towards it.
With a glint in my eye and resolve in my heart, I swore that I would secure remedies for Nigerian citizens who had been left to suffer the consequences of corrupt governance. I also wanted to hold those tyrants to account. I saw the law and politics as a means of securing those outcomes.
Everything I’ve done since then has been part of a strategic effort to protect citizens from the excesses of their governments.