Strategic Global Intervention

Definition

Strategic Global Intervention (SGI) is a method used by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) in the implementation of its Democracy and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) Project. SGI can be thought of as a necessary component to the Good Governance project but, required alongside it, are two other approaches: Pragmatic Local Intervention (PLI) and People’s Parley (town halls). SGI focusses on networking with other development organizations and securing the resources and support needed for its project. In essence, SGI creates a fertile environment from which PLI and the People’s Parley can be effectively deployed. Where SGI works from the outside, PLI and the People’s Parley work from the inside; supplying the educational forums and participatory channels necessary for the direct engagement of representatives by the citizens.

Problems and Purpose

The Democratic and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) Project was initiated by the JDPC after the 2011 Ogun state elections. During the campaign period, evidence of widespread government inattentiveness to citizen concerns was brought forward as were charges of harassment, intimidation and exclusionary politics. In response, the JDPC began implementing its Good Governance Project using three interrelated methods: Pragmatic Local Intervention, Strategic Global Intervention, and People’s Parley. All together, these strategies aimed at increasing the amount of civic engagement through grassroots participatory channels as well as providing citizens with the education necessary to hold their official accountable through election monitoring and regular questioning.

History

SGI as a method of networking for a specific purpose – namely, Good Governance – began with the initiation of the Democratic and Election Monitoring Project in 2011. Networking as an activity is not new to the JDPC who has long sought to work in collaboration with other groups and organizations regardless of religious denomination, social status, political affiliation or ethnic designation.[1] According to Akachi Odoemene, this inclusive strategy of networking has increased the ability for the JDPC to strengthen peace and increase its geographic sphere of influence. As well, in relation to the promotion of Good Governance, inclusive networking “has created a more conducive environment between the different groups and has encouraged friendlier dispositions and the desire for further cooperation.”[2] While SGI is, for any organization or entity, an ambitious undertaking, the JDPC’s efforts were surely aided due to this history of local and international collaboration.

Participant Selection

While there is little information on how the JDPC chooses which organizations to actively seek collaboration and support, Odoemene’s historical overview of the Commission suggests that they are largely ‘partnerships of convenience’, chosen for their strategic placement rather than their religious, political or social affiliations. For example, during the run-up to the 2010 elections, the JDPC carried out a campaign to increase voter mobilization. To this end, the Commission worked with Nasrul-Lahi-Il-Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), an Islamic community based organization; the Chief Imam of Ijebu-Ode; and several different churches including that of the Pentecostal faith.[3]

Bonny Ibhawoh notes that, as an organization dedicated to peace and development, the “JDPC networked with local and international humanitarian and development agencies such as the Catholic Relief Service, Caritas Internationalis, the United Nations Development Programme, the Mennonite Central Committee, Trocaire, etc.”[4] According to Ibhawoh, many of these ties are not new; for example, Misereor has supported the JDPC since 1993.

Also aiding the selection of participants for SGI was the fact that the JDPC is a well-known actor in national and international aid circles. Support for their Good Governance Project would not have seemed out-of-step with their past activities such as civic education – on which they have teamed up with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees – and election monitoring – for which they have been part of Nigeria’s Transition Monitoring Group since 2003.[5]

Finally, support from government officials – while not always forthcoming – was at least eased by the JDPC’s history of political organizing. Odoemene notes that the Commission has organized town hall meetings since 2007 and are therefore known among public officials.[6]

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

The primary strategies of the Good Governance initiative are Pragmatic Local Intervention and the People’s Parley which seek to provide citizens with “the required knowledge, perspectives and skills and to help them organize themselves into watch-dogs; to hasten their rise to the point where they are themselves able to take on and lead their own struggle for justice, development and peace with the JDPC marching beside them.”[7] Resources and cooperation from local and international organizations as well as local and state-level government officials are clearly necessary for such an ambitious undertaking. To this end, Strategic Global Intervention really occurs on different scales. Adebisi Alade observes that, locally, SGI involves the organization and visual engagement of “relevant stakeholders in thematic discourse on the issues of Social Contract, Sovereignty, downward accountability etc.”[8] This, in turn, provides the JDPC with key national and international connections (individuals, organizations, and institutions) which are sometimes called on to “lobby for policy change to further make PLI more relevant and effective.”[9]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

While there are no reports on the effectiveness of Strategic Global Intervention specifically, the positive outcomes of the Good Governance Project as a whole suggests it was a successful method of engagement. For example, People’s Parleys were held in all nine local government areas under the JDPC’s jurisdiction in Ijebu-Ode. These events were likely resource intensive and dependent on the cooperation of government officials and the participation of local citizens. Without the work accomplished through SGI, it is unlikely the JDPC would have had the resources, the organizational capacity, or the clout necessary to hold the Parleys.

Pragmatic Local Intervention was also a success with hundreds of people attending JDPC-organized educational dialogues on civic rights and obligations.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

While it was necessary for the JDPC to seek resources for its ambitious Democratic and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) Project, relying on the support of others often leaves the door open for unwanted intervention or the demand for reciprocal action. While there does not appear to have been any negative influences, it is important to note that some of the JDPC’s actions were shaped by their financiers. For example, the selection of participants for election monitoring was more stringent and exclusionary that for civic education. According to Ibhawoh, many international aid agencies take a Universalists view of participation, considering the “faith-centred selection approach negative [which, consequently] influenced the Commission’s orientation to select directly from the local government councils, where it is believed that poor and marginalised people could be reached easily.”[10]

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that, despite the numerous connections that resulted from Strategic Global Intervention, State Officials ultimately had the power to refuse the invitation to participate. Regardless of how much clout these aid agencies wield, the success of their projects ultimately hinges on government acquiescence.

On a more positive note, it can be concluded that, ultimately, the connections built through SGI were invaluable to the JDPC’s Good Governance project. Financial independence from governing authorities allowed the JDPC to “refuse, completely and consistently, all manner of political patronage from the state and its agents.”[11] This ability was crucial to the project since it allowed the JDPC to maintain its status as a consistently pro-poor advocate and civil rights proponent.

 

Secondary Sources

Alade, Adebisi. "JDPC Methods." Last modified October 29, 2016. Microsoft Word.

Ibhawoh, Bonny. "Democracy and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) Project of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (Ijebu-Ode Chapter), Ogun State, Nigeria." Participedia. Last modified October 12, 2016. http://participedia.net/en/cases/democracy-and-election-monitoring-good-....

Odoemene, Akachi. "Oiling the Frictions in Sociopolitical Conflicts: Faith-based Institutional Leadership of the JDPC in Grassroots Peacemaking in Nigeria." African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 2, no. 2 (2011): 51-76.

External Links

Ijebu-Ode Justice Development and Peace Commission Website

Democracy and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) on Participedia

People's Parley 

Pragmatic Local Intervention

Notes

[1] Akachi Odoemene, "Oiling the Frictions in Sociopolitical Conflicts: Faith-based Institutional Leadership of the JDPC in Grassroots Peacemaking in Nigeria," African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 2, no. 2 (2011): 71.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Bonny Ibhawoh, "Democracy and Election Monitoring (Good Governance) Project of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (Ijebu-Ode Chapter), Ogun State, Nigeria," Participedia, last modified October 12, 2016, http://participedia.net/en/cases/democracy-and-election-monitoring-good-....

[5] Odoemene, "Oiling the Frictions," 67.

[6] Ibid., 68.

[7] Adebisi Alade, "JDPC Methods," last modified October 29, 2016, Microsoft Word.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibhawoh, "Democracy and Election," Participedia.

[11] Ibid.

 

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