Nigeria’s foremost think tank on the healing of fissures in the society, the Federal Government-owned Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has a brand new Director-General, Intervention reports. He is Joseph Peter Ochogwu who, until the appointment, was Director of Research and Policy Analysis in the Institute.
The new DG has equally worked as Special Assistant in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President from 2011 – 2016. That is in addition to serving as Conflict Adviser to the erstwhile British Department for International Development (DfID) for one year (2017 – 2018) before returning to the Institute.
Dr. Ochogwu is not only a visiting Professor at a number of Nigerian universities, he has also served or consulted for several international development partners in Nigeria, amongst them the British Council, British Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, United States Institute for Peace, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Search for Common Ground, Institute of Development Studies, BASIC Research programme.
The highly published new DG is a laureate of several fellowships, including the British Government Chevening Fellow – 2004/2005, UN University of Peace/IDRC Africa Programme Doctoral Fellow from 2008/2011, and IPCR Director General’s award for independent research. Intervention equally learnt these are besides a Commendation from the Chief of Staff to the President.
Peace and conflict watchers in Nigeria and outside the country are, therefore, expecting the fireworks to return to the IPCR which like many of the Federal Government think tanks have been quiet and behaving as if they are part of the civil service. Think tanks are expected to shout through quality research works which helps the work of the FG in terms of critical policy moves. Only recently did the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) begin to wangle its way back to the arena.
The IPCR took off in the mid-1990s with a high profile DG in the person of Prof Sunday Ochoche, a philosopher and Peace and Conflict academic. Then somehow, darkness descended on it. At a point, it sacked three top ranking Directors, some of them award winners within and outside the country.
It would look like, in apparent awareness of this background, the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which supervises the Institute put its feet down in terms of getting the best for the Institute as far as a DG is concerned, said a conflict scholar.
Intervention understands that the position was intensely competed for by over half a dozen others. Ochogwu, it is understood, has resumed following official presentation of his letter of appointment as the new Director General by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adam Ibrahim Lamuwa on May, 31st, 2023.