Democracy in Challenging Times: The Role of African Parliaments in Safeguarding and Delivering on the Dividends of Democracy

Key information

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Russell Square: College Buildings
Khalili Lecture Theatre
Event type

About this event

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria


The Centre of African Studies and the Centre for International studies and Diplomacy are delighted to host the Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria. He will be speaking on a hot-button topic relevant not only for Nigeria but for Africa and the Global South, as they navigate an increasingly complex political landscape where domestic politics is also going to be influenced by recent developments in an emerging multipolar world.

At a time of global democratic backsliding there is a need to ensure democracy is protected in the Global South and especially in Africa. Because democracy is not just about rule enforcement and transparency but it also ensures the continent’s youth can be made part of the political process. Parliaments have an important role in ensuring our younger citizens do not think authoritarian alternatives to democracy work better. Democracy isn't perfect and it takes time to deliver, leaving many citizens dejected. Alternatives to democracy might seem to provide quicker economic dividends but the answer lies in ensuring both political and economic dividends are delivered. And parliaments are where these dissatisfactions can be mediated so that the executive implement responsive policies that meet the needs of citizens.


Femi Gbajabiamila is the Speaker of Nigeria’s 9th House of Representatives. Having served as a principal officer for twelve of his nineteen years in the House of Representatives, he remains one of the longest serving members of parliament and the first speaker in Nigeria’s parliamentary history to have served as both Minority Leader and Majority Leader, before his election as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Speaker “Gbaja” as he is popularly called, has over the years demonstrated an unwavering dedication to strengthening the role of parliament as a fundamental pillar of democracy. His experience as a lawyer, both in Nigeria and the US, has provided him with the skills and knowledge-base with which he has advocated for various causes towards improving the lives of Nigerians. This is amply demonstrated in his voting history and well-articulated in the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives, which he produced to address the challenges brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic, and aptly coined “Our Contract with Nigerians.”

A strong believer in Africa’s bounteous prospects, he founded the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) as an indigenous pan-African body dedicated to promoting coordination and collaboration between Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments across Africa to foster growth, stability, development and good governance across the continent. He recently served as President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (African Region) in the year 2021 and is committed to using ‘parliamentary diplomacy’ as a tool to promote nation-building and conflict-resolution in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.


The event is free to attend but registration essential. Click here to register.

Organiser: Centre of African Studies and Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Contact email: