Chidi Oguamanam


Vigilance in Democratic Transition

Chidi Oguamanam, April 04, 2015 

The 2015 Presidential Election has been concluded. Nigeria has a President-elect and Nigeria’s political history is richer on many counts. We have witnessed, for the first time, the electoral loss of a ruling party at presidential level. We also bear witness, for the second time, to the metamorphosis of once a military dictator into a democratically elected leader. The difference this time is that this President-elect was not recruited by his fellow dictators. Necessity prodded him to consistently recruit himself on the courage of his own conviction which fertilized severally through divergence of popular and civil political forces over three attempts until this latest one, the fourth, and the successful. Read more ...

Withdraw this ministerial nomination, Mr. President
Chidi Oguamanam, March 09, 2015

Recently, Canada recorded a conviction under its extant Elections Act. In that case, which is now under appeal, Michael Sona, a Conservative Party campaign employee got a nine-month jail sentence and a year on probation as a result of his role in the so-called “robocalls” incidents. The “robocalls” refer to automated calls that targeted opposition party supporters and falsely advised them, on Election Day, of a change in their designated polling centres. The objective was to frustrate and, conceivably, disenfranchise citizens who would have voted for rival parties. The judgment text and newspaper reports of this landmark decision demonstrate the judge’s stern view of Sona’s conduct. He called the “robocalls” scheme an “ill-conceived and disturbing plan” and a “callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote”. No member of the Parliament or any other serving politician has been cited, directed or indirectly, in the “robocall” affair. In fact, before any politician could be linked to such an affair, it is the custom in the Canadian clime that they will be the first to resign, and submit themselves to the legal consequences of their misconduct. Read more ...

Poll postponement: Nigeria in the eye of storm

Chidi Oguamanam, February 13, 2015

It is really true. A day in politics can make a thousand years’ difference. The idea of postponing Nigeria’s 2015 general election originally scheduled for February 14 and 28 was easily dismissible as a dangerous rumour from a fifth columnist. But everything changed following the meeting of the National Council of State on Friday, February 6. Politicians’ inability to give uniform account of what transpired at the meeting was a first sign that all was not well. Various media reports provided some nuanced partisan spins. But the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega’s late broadcast of Saturday, February 7 helped to lay any lingering confusion to rest. That broadcast was quite commendable as it doused any haunting doubts as to the intrigues that undergirded the election postponement. Read more ...

Chidi Oguamanam, January 18, 2015

As was the case in 1993, “Nigeria is on the march again” for a-make-or-break general election. And the Independent National Electoral Commission, the institution constitutionally saddled with conducting Nigeria’s elections is at the centre of that march. Would the elections be another charade or would this time be different? Would there be stalemated or conclusive, fair and free elections? Would actual winners be the official winners? The answers are blowing in the wind, and would soon birth on the ground of reality; very soon that is. Read more ...

My Watch and Obasanjo Exceptionalism

Chidi Oguamanam, January 04, 2015

Olusegun Obasanjo is one of the most influential Nigerians alive or dead. As a soldier, a dictator, a national leader and a permanent actor in our political process, Obasanjo is an important part of Nigeria’s post-independence historical trajectory. His role through it all has been quite dramatic, often akin to a fiction more than reality. Within his constituency of sycophants, he was once touted as the “founder” of modern Nigeria, especially during the orchestrated campaign for his self-succession in 2007. But let the truth be said, irrespective where we locate the generis of “modern Nigeria”, Obasanjo has been a crucial actor in shaping Nigeria’s fortune or misfortune. Read more ...

Intellectual Property: Leveraging on Diaspora Exchange (I)

Chidi Oguamanam, December 28, 2014

Depending on where one locates its advent, contemporary globalization is now, certainly, more than half a century. It requires asking whether globalization has been beneficial to Africa. One quick and easy way of addressing this often asked question is to cursorily look at the regional dynamics of over half century of globalization. Not many disagree that East Asia, South East Asia and South American regions have taken a quantum leap. China, India and Brazil have indisputably emerged regional economic and global powers. Read more ...

Aminu Tambuwal: Whose Presidential Race?
Chidi OguamanamNovember 20, 2014

If the faint signals of the present forebode anything about the 2015 presidential election, it is that we should be worried about INEC’s preparedness to deliver credible polls nationwide. The crisis over permanent voters card is my first exhibit for this contention.

In addition, the security situation in parts of the country continues to deteriorate and presents increased cause for worry as well. Under these not-so-cheerful scenarios, the prospects of an electoral crisis in Nigeria may further push our politicians to unprecedented levels of desperation, including undue exposure of the judiciary. Read more ... 

Africa's renewal: Burkina Faso and youth power

Chidi OguamanamNovember 10, 2014

A recently published foresight study on Africa focuses on the potential role of knowledge and innovation as key to Africa’s future.The study conducted by a global network of predominantly African researchers under the aegis of the Open African Innovation Research (Open A.I.R.) makes a link between the continent’s economic prosperity and its political stability. The research points emphatically at one of the defining features of Africa -its burst of untapped youthful energy as the world’s youngest continent. The authors highlight the double-edged nature of Africa’s youthful credential and note that the youths, as active actors in the digital technology sphere, are potentially instrumental to the continent’s economic renaissance as well as its political explosion and extreme radicalisations. Read more ...

Mayor Ford: Good Bye from Toronto Mayoralty
Chidi Oguamanam, October 30, 2014

On October 21, I was a guest of a Parliamentary Committee within the precincts of the Canadian Federal Parliament in Ottawa. I testified on Bill C-18 (Agriculture Growth Act). The next day, hell was let loose on Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, no thanks to a gun man that kept University of Ottawa, the entire federal bureaucracy and historic symbols of Canadian democracy on the edge for well over 10 hours after killing a young soldier on duty. The 24-year unarmed soldier was at the National War Memorial keeping a ceremonial guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The events of October 22 placed Canada on a spotlight in the new wave of terrorism across the globe. Read more ...

Can Jonathan Reverse Legacy of impunity?

Chidi OguamanamSeptember 24, 2014

In the past few weeks, Nigeria’s litany of scandals require a loud and unceasing responsorial ora pro nobis. First, many people of good conscience are still wondering who among President Goodluck Jonathan’s courtiers decided that #BringBackJonathan2015 should be the reward for the failure of his government to #BringBackOurGirls. Read more ...

For the Falconets, this Victory is Personal
Chidi Oguamanam, August 27, 2014

He pressed his head to my bosom. I looked down. I observed some tears rolling down his little cheek as we sat on the sofa watching Nigeria engage Germany in a game of skills and wits. Then, he said (as if I did not notice), “Daddy, Germany has scored”. And I replied, “Son, it is ok; there is still some time. It is not over yet”. With a pack of Nigerian and Canadian friends gathered and routing for the Falconets, we kept hope alive. Eventually, after an eventful 120 minutes, the Germans took the gold, and left Nigerians with the silver. Read more ... 

Of stray Dogs, Humans and Social Responsibility

Chidi OguamanamAugust 19, 2014

The three mega cities of New Delhi (India), Cairo (Egypt) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) have something in common: An intimidating presence of stray dogs! Many animal rights activists and municipal bureaucrats in these three cities remain ever restive to the nightmares stray dogs constitute in their midst. It is not unusual for the serenity of night sleep in the city centres to be truncated not by wayward crows of rogue roosters – those that crow out of time on occasions – but by often ceaseless barking or, more appropriately, howling of destitute dogs. Read more ... 

An Encounter at Lagos International Airport  

June 18, 2014
Chidi Oguamanam, The Punch

International airports are critical gateways to a country. It is there that visitors make the very first and lasting impressions of their hosts and destinations. Before and more so in a post 9-11 world, airports bring out the best in a country’s security culture and emergency preparedness. Yet, the operational framework of an airport is one that requires delicate balancing. There is a need to demonstrate a strong sense of hospitality and a responsible commitment to security. The two are not necessarily in conflict. Read more ...

An Educational System fit for Africa's Largest Economy

June 6, 2014

Chidi Oguamanam, The Punch

Beyond a bragging right, what are the implications of Nigeria’s recent claim to being Africa’s largest economy through the so-called re-based GDP? This question is not posed as an attempt to rehearse the criticisms and scepticisms that have since trailed that claim. Rather, it is a kind of exercise in hair-scratching over how we could possibly rise to the challenges of Africa’s largest economy. First, let me start on a positive note that shines a ray of light on Nigeria’s ever darkling socio-economic plain: Nollywood. Read more ...

Lessons in Public Service and Academic Freedom

May 27, 2014

Chidi Oguamanam , The Punch

The suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, did not hold his office as an academic. But, always cerebral, he sounded and talked like one. Strictly, though, he was a public servant. While the courts are presently determining his grievances against his former employer, I am interested in the lessons interred in his ongoing run with the authorities and its ramifications for other actors in the public service, who often do not fully grapple with the implications their activist inclinations. The present reflection is motivated by a recent controversy at the University of Saskatchewan in Western Canada. There are a few lessons from Saskatchewan for Nigeria’s public servants and institutions. Read more ...

OPED: Bring Back our Girls, our Country!

MAY 9, 2014

Chidi Oguamanam, Punch

Nigeria has forced a shift in the attention of the global media from the disappeared Malaysian Airways flight MH370. Events in Nigeria in the past several weeks are unprecedented but not unpredictable. Boko Haram has progressively capitalised on the ineptitude of the Nigerian government, emboldened to “success” by the failure of the state apparatus on several fronts. Recently, through successive car bombs on soft targets that have yielded monumental casualties and the successive kidnap of more than 200 schoolgirls from both their hostels and families, the sect has aroused international anger. It has called international attention to Nigeria, a country of contradictions and complexities, wherein the more you look, the less you see. Read more ...

Professor Oguamanam will be speaking at the Technology, Law and the Public Interest  Ottawa-HKU Conference 

Professor Oguamanam will be speaking at the Technology, Law and the Public Interest  Ottawa-HKU Conference  to be held in April 10-11, 2014. Among others, the Conference will address the following questions;

  • Can we entrust robots to make health decisions on our behalf?
  • Can privacy protect the technological use of data in the public domain?
  • What lessons can we learn from recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada on the interplay between technology and users’ rights?
  • What are the issues involved in regulating online parody in Hong Kong?
  • How to bridge the Valley of Death between scientific policy and real world diseases?
  • Are orthodox science, technology, and innovation systems metrics adequate to account for the impacts of intellectual property in developing countries?

AFRICA: Charting the Course for Intellectual Property  
Chidi Oguamanam 
University World News No:313, 28 March 2014

Africa’s experience with intellectual property rights or IPRs is dismal and in urgent need for re-evaluation. Not many dispute the observation that “for more than a century, African states have participated in IPR regimes with little or nothing to show for it in terms of economic development and transfer of technology”. 

IPR is that branch of law that deals with the governance of knowledge, information and innovation, including the allocation of benefits or rights arising from their production and exploitation.  Many industrialised nations of the West and erstwhile African colonial powers in Europe promote, as a matter of received wisdom, the idea that IP is a tool for economic progress, a stepping stone in the transition of less developed countries to industrial economies. Read more ...


Professor Oguamanam will be speaking at the International Conference on Food Security, Sustainability and the Law. The conference explores the legal governance of food systems, at a national and international level. To be held on 24 May 2014 in Beijing, China, this conference is hosted jointly by Beijing Foreign Studies University School of Law, and the University of New England School of Law.

Prof. Oguamanam sits in a Panel discussion on the right to food:

Prof. Oguamanam is in the panel of speakers for a book launch at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society:

Prof. Oguamanam on IPOsgoode

Talking “Open Innovation” in Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

February 21, 2014

The contemporary global order for the promotion of innovation exaggerates the role of intellectual property (IP) as a closed proprietary model of knowledge production and protection. Read more ...

African Union Expert Group Consultation on Nagoya Protocol

Prof. Oguamanam attends African Union Expert Consultation on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) at the African Union Secretariat, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 5-7, 2014.

New Publications on IP and Open Development

Prof. Oguamanam has co-edited and co-authored two books. The first, Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa is an edited volume of real-world case studies that examines the ways that innovators in diverse African settings share a common appreciation for collaboration and openness. Prof. Oguamanam co-authored Chapter Four in this volume. 

The second,  Knowledge & Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future, grapples with the complex and dynamic forces shaping innovation systems over the next two decades.


Interview with IP Watch

Intellectual Property Watch's William New sat down with Prof. Oguamanam to talk about his recent book, Intellectual Property in Global Governance: A Development Question. The book, published by Routledge, covers issues of the knowledge economy, structures and regime dynamics, human rights, agriculture, traditional/indigenous knowledge, traditional cultural expressions/folklore, and management of intellectual property in global governance. Read more ...

How Can IP Advance Public Interest?

By Chidi Oguamanam

The Punch January 24, 2014

I want to think aloud with the reader about our lifetime interrogation of Intellectual Property and its contested, contradictory and controversial role in the stewardship of knowledge dissemination and the frustrations over the impact of that stewardship in the advancement of public interest. Before I proceed, here are some of my basic assumptions; if you like, call them hypotheses: Read more ...

Collaborative Capacity Building In Intellectual Property: Leveraging On African Diaspora Exchange

Depending on where one locates its advent, contemporary globalization is now, certainly, more than half a century. It requires asking whether globalization has been beneficial to Africa. One quick and easy way of addressing this often asked question is to cursorily look at the regional dynamics of over half century of globalization. Read more...

Prof Oguamanam will be speaking at the Environmental Law and the Centre for Law, Technology and Society Joint Speakers Series.


Conference on IP and Human Rights

Professor Oguamanam will be speaking in a Conference  on IP and Human Rights at the American University Washington College of Law on February 21. The conference brings together scholars who are working to map the doctrinal and strategic intersections of intellectual property and human rights. Professor Oguamanam's talk focuses on IP & the Right to Take Part in Cultural Life and Enjoy the Benefits of Science. Read more...  

Intellectual Property Rights and Development

Prof. Oguamanam is part of invited expert panel to the Hague Institute of Global Studies on Harnessing IPRs for Development Objectives: Identifying Features of A Development-Oriented IPR System in Developing Countries. The expert panel will brainstorm on identifying the features of a development oriented IPRs system in developing and least developed countries. The panel, which convenes on Oct 8-9, explores diverse issues such as socially responsible licensing, the agricultural sector in least developed countries, etc.

Investigating Ghanaian Cocoa and Ethiopian Coffee
Open  AIR research field trip to Ghana and Ethiopia  previewing research report
Kenya Hosts OPEN AIR mid-Project Workshop

Diverse stakeholders and OPEN AIR community of practice gather in Nairobi (March 26-29) for fascinating mid-project workshop focusing on 19 case studies in 17 African countries. See more 


Book Launch: Knowledge Governance and Global Development
Publication in Focus

"Toward a Constructive Engagement: Agricultural Biotechnology a Public Health Incentive in Less-developed Countries" (2011) 7 Journal of Food Law and Policy 257-296 

Just Released

 Intellectual Property in Global Governance: A Development Question (Routledge, 2011) <<<detail>>>


New Publication

Intellectual Property in Global Goverance: A Venture in Critical Reflection (2011) 2:2 WIPO Journal 196-216 (find text

Genetic Resources, Access and Benefits Sharing: Politics, Prospects and Opportunities for Canada After Nagoya (2011) 22:2 Journal of Environmental Law and Practice  87-201. (Full text)

Recent Publication

Intellectual Property Training and Education: A Development Perspective  (detail ...)

Intellectual Property in Global Governance

International Law and Indigenous Knowledge: Intellectual Property, Plant Biodiversity and Traditional Medicine



I am an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and affiliated with the Centre for Technology, Law and Society. More details...

Recent Blog Entries

Newest Members