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Chatham House, the Podium for Nigeria’s Political Tourism

Chatham House, is a UK-based think tank group that conducts research and analysis on international affairs. It is not clear how the intellectual and political discourse at Chatham House , in the past and present would specifically benefit Nigeria’s democracy and political life of the people. However, the organization’s research and analysis on governance, democracy, and economic development could potentially provide valuable insights and recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders in Nigeria working to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions and processes, but the true reality is that none of such presentations, has in many cases been used to inform or deduce the policy direction of the country to date, reasons for an insight review of such paper presentations by Nigerians of all levels and personalities

CHATHAM HOUSE AS A UK THING-THNK INSTITUTION

Chatham House, also known as the “Royal Institute of International Affairs”, is an independent policy institute based in London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1920 as a forum for experts and decision- makers to discuss and analyze international affairs.
The organization conducts research and analysis on a wide range of global issues, including security, economics, energy, and governance. It also hosts conferences, seminars, and roundtable discussions to bring together experts and policymakers to discuss pressing global issues.
Chatham House is known for its impartial and non-partisan approach to research and analysis, and its experts are often sought out by media outlets and governments for their expertise on international affairs. The organization is funded by a combination of government grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations.
Chatham House is also home to the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants in its meetings can speak freely, but what they say cannot be attributed to them or their organization without their permission. This rule allows for frank and open discussions among participants without fear of repercussions. This simply means that any presentation delivered in Chatham House can be used for policy purposes or researcher use if authorities by the institute, otherwise any use of the material without the body’s permission, would be at the publisher’s risk.

WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHATHAM HOUSE AND THE NIGERIA INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. LAGOS

The Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, was established in 1961, as a Think-Tank, to institutionalise the body of knowledge on international politics, relations and foreign affairs thinking for the greater benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians on how it can direct its foreign policy approach with the rest of the world and to draw from international practices for the enhancement of its domestic policies.

  1. Both Chatham House and Nigeria’s Institute of International Affairs are research institutions that focus on international relations and global issues.
  2. Both organizations are known for their expertise in areas such as security, economic policy, and political development.
  3. Both institutions have a reputation for providing unbiased, independent analysis and recommendations to governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders.
  4. Both organizations have a strong network of experts and practitioners in the field of international relations, including academics, policymakers, and representatives from the private sector.
  5. Both institutions organize events, conferences, and workshops to promote dialogue and exchange of ideas among experts and stakeholders.
  6. Both organizations publish research papers and reports on various international issues, providing a valuable source of information for policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders.
  7. Both organizations have a strong online presence, including websites and social media accounts, where they share their research, analysis, and events information.
  8. Both organizations have a strong commitment to promoting education and research on international relations and global issues.
  9. Both organizations have a history of working with other national and international organizations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, and other research institutions.
  10. Both organizations are independent and non-partisan and are not affiliated with any government or political party.

So, if the above similarities be the case, why are our politicians, public officials and social crusaders, rushing cap-in-hand to reserve a 45Mins slot at Chatham House, to present a paper, for international media photoshoots, and at most time dead on arrival publicity. Obviously, I’m not against great people, with great minds coming to CH to do intellectual presentation and discourse, but why not at the same time project and promote our own intellectual center of global discourse too, the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, and attract foreign speakers, even from neighboring West African countries, who would generate inward revenue to the country, through travels and hospitality cares. On an average, each of the persons that spoke at Chatham House, would have spent at least £10-15,000.00 for flights, accommodation, hospitality and shopping, I’m just being conservative here, in view of the numbers of his delegation too.

HAS ANY PRESENTATION BY A NIGERIAN POLITICIAN AT CHATHAM HOUSE MADE ANY DIIFERENCE IN THE WORLD’S VIEW OF NIGERIA?

It is difficult to determine if any specific presentation by a Nigerian politician at Chatham House has made a significant difference in the world’s view of Nigeria. However, presentations by Nigerian leaders at Chatham House and other international forums have provided an opportunity for them to showcase Nigeria’s economic and political challenges, as well as its potential for growth and development. Some of which can help to change perceptions of Nigeria and improve its image in the eyes of the international community. Additionally, it could also be seen as a way for politicians to present themselves as prospective nation builders, or an informed political leader, thereby marketing himself and the country for the international media and community recognition.

Thus, with reference to as many that have appeared at Chatham House, including the present Nigerian President Alh. Buhari, it is very difficult to say definitively whether a Nigerian politician has made meaningful contributions to governance after speaking at Chatham House, as the impact of their speech would depend on the specific content and context of the speech, as well as the actions they take following the speech. The global prescription of Nigeria socio-economic tendencies still remains very bad and disproportionately large, in terms of insecurity, health and poverty. However, it is possible that a Nigerian politician who spoke at Chatham House may have used the platform to share their vision for governance and gain institutional support for their policies direction which could potentially lead to meaningful contributions to governance in the future, if applied with a strong political-will

HAS SPEAKING AT CHATHAM HOUSE BY POLITICIANS CHANGED VOTERS VIEW OR ELECTION RESULTS?

There is no correlation between speaking at Chatham House by any politician and it’s direct impact on ordinary voter views, balloting or actual election results. Politicians from many countries have spoken at Chatham House, and their speeches may have been reported in the media and discussed among the public affairs commentators, however it is hard to quantify the specific impact these speeches may have had on voter views or election outcomes, at least evidence shows that since the Chatham House, political tourism, in 2015, its outplays has never impacted the two most recent general elections, nor any sub-national election in Nigeria rather the following key factors, such as the national political tendencies, the state of nation economy, insecurity, poverty and the ineffective performance of the individual politician in office, are likely to have a greater impact on voters perceptions, voting patterns and election outcomes

HAS CHATHAM HOUSE BECOME NIGERIA’S POLITICAL TOURISM FOR POLITICAL PUBLIC SPEAKING?
In variably with the most recent pilgrimage of Nigerian politicians and public officials to London in a space of one month, it’s possible that Chatham House has become a destination for Nigerian politicians seeking to give public speeches on an international platform, as the institution is well-known for hosting discourse on international affairs and politics, and it may be seen as a prestigious platform for Nigerian politicians to share their views and perspectives on a global stage. However, it is important to note the tourism aspect of such visits to London, as mentioned earlier here, if each politician have arrived into the UK with a delegation of five people, at an average of £10,000.00 per person, that is around £60,000.00, this includes cost of flights, accommodation, hospitality and travel allowances, so in all this rush to London, between December and January 2023, the UK business and would have made over £500,000 in revenue from as many Nigerians that flew into London to be at Chatham House or use the opportunity to meet with any of this political personalities on one-2-one. Does this not classify the whole thing as a political tourism?