This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is a submissions editor at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Buhari wins—but new president of Nigeria faces enormous challenge

After the Nigerian presidential election, the new government must address the social and economic policy vacuum Boko Haram has filled if the threat from the Islamists is to be tackled.

A perfect storm: Boko Haram, IS and the Nigerian election

Boko Haram’s alignment with Islamic State adds to mounting insecurity in Nigeria. A fortnight ahead of the already-deferred election, what does this mean for its democratic prospects?

Fear, rumours and violence: Boko Haram’s asymmetrical warfare

While the global media were transfixed by the Islamist killings in Paris, Boko Haram was engaging in further massacres in north-east Nigeria and even over the border in Cameroon. How has its campaign escalated?

The Nigerian state: no match for Boko Haram?

The latest Boko Haram atrocity in Nigeria will not be the last. The incapacity of the state and looming elections mean more violence can be expected.

"What can a woman do?" Gender norms in a Nigerian university

Are universities necessarily transformative spaces for women students? Research at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, raises critical questions around how conservative gender norms are replicated by young students, in particular in the burgeoning culture of religious student organisations.

The power of stories: raising the profile of African women’s cultural production

"I’m concerned about the fact that we download a lot about ourselves yet upload very little into mainstream media, no matter which media we are talking about”, Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, Nigerian filmmaker and writer, speaks to Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah about her passion for all forms of creativity.

Ebola: between public health and private profit

Known to the international community since 1976, why has the world dragged its feet for decades to find a vaccine for Ebolaand where has the money gone for public health research? 

Jonathan faces the north

After two months in the global spotlight, the insurgency in northern Nigeria is fast turning into a national political crisis.

What we owe Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls

People worldwide are calling for action to bring back the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. But concern for the girls demands that we think carefully about the harmful consequences of proposed solutions – especially those calling for US military intervention.

Women's voices in northern Nigeria: hearing the broader narratives

As the world's attention focuses on northern Nigeria with the abduction of schoolgirls from Chibok, Fatimah Kelleher explores the importance of understanding the voices and agency of northern Nigerian women's own activism for change.

Boko Haram: completing the circle of liberal interventionism?

Clarion calls on social media for action in Africa have once again become an excuse to flex military muscle, as the rhetoric of 'humanitarian' interventions is increasingly outfitted with the tactics of the war on terror.

The US military's new normal in Africa

Every new African nightmare turns out to be another opening for US military involvement.

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocities in Nigeria highlight. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

Al-Qaida, Nigeria, and a long war

The strategy of the United States and its allies in face of the "al-Qaida idea" will prolong not settle the global war.

From 'Silence Would Be Treason' - the last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa

No, Shell are merely hoping that the government will succeed in “pacifying” the Ogoni and then they will move in proudly and calmly to continue to steal. They are in for a fight they will never forget.

Education and violent extremism in Nigeria

For Boko Haram, 'western civilisation is forbidden'. In a context of poor school attendance among Muslims, especially poor Muslims, is the almajiri system of schooling it favours compatible with a peacebuilding project for the country?

Nigeria’s fourteen-year sentence for gay marriage

Britain and the United States have aligned foreign aid with gay rights and have threatened to cut aid to Nigeria if the current bill is passed.

Las nuevas potencias no jugarán con las viejas reglas

Esperar que las nuevas potencias globales promuevan los derechos humanos fuera de sus países a través de las Naciones Unidas supone que jugarán con las reglas viejas y, para que esa presión sea efectiva, que los factores de derechos humanos condicionarán sus relaciones bilaterales; ninguno de esos supuestos es probable.

New powers won’t play by old rules

Expecting new global powers to promote human rights abroad via the United Nations assumes that they will play by the old rules and - if such pressure is to be effective - that human rights factors will condition their bilateral relationships; neither is likely. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human RightsEspañol.

Planning for exclusion in Abuja

Rigid planning and development controls in Abuja, Nigeria's modern capital, have served to exclude population groups deemed 'unworldy' from the city-proper.

America's turn: new wars, special forces

A shift in the United States's military strategy in the direction of "remote control" involves greater reliance not just on armed-drones but on special forces.

Nigeria, the Boko Haram risk

Abuja's response to Boko Haram's insurgency is flawed and self-defeating. Without a change of policy, Nigeria will move ever closer to becoming a centre of transational jihadist struggle. 

Al-Qaida, the next stage

The dispersal of the al-Qaida idea across many national territories takes some pressure off the "far enemy", the United States. But developments in Nigeria could represent a new danger for Washington and its allies.

Re-imagining ourselves: music, film and the representation of Nigerian women

With the increasing popularity of Nigerian pop music, and the astoundingly productive Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, Nigeria's creative industries are attracting worldwide attention. Saratu Abiola looks at the problematic representations of women in the Nigerian media

The trials of Roseline Akhalu

Why is the Home Office continuing a cruel and ludicrous campaign against a woman who they have accepted will definitely die if returned to Nigeria?

Mali, dynamic of war

The French-led military intervention in Mali both accelerates the war in the west African country and transforms its character. The prospect is of a long-term engagement that Islamist forces far beyond the region will see as an historic opportunity

Al-Qaida, idea in motion

The United States's "remote control" campaign against Islamist targets is intensifying. But behind the headlines, the transnational diffusion of al-Qaida's idea is just as potent.

Mali, preparing for war

Mali's army will be unable to dislodge the Islamist hold on the country's north, even with the help of fellow west African forces. This makes direct western military intervention more likely.

Mali, and the next war

The growing prospect of western-backed military intervention to reverse the spread of Islamism in west Africa is good news for an evolving al-Qaida movement. 

For South Asians on the “We are all Malala” bandwagon

Given such levels of violence against girls and women, it is a wonder that so many Indians can feel superior while talking about the Taliban assault in neighbouring Pakistan. It will take more to defeat the Taliban, be they of the Islamic, Hindu or any other variety.

Syria, Mali, Nigeria: war's paralysis

The conflict in Syria leaves western powers with no good choices, and their agony is intensified by Islamist advances in west Africa. The search for intelligent security responses goes on.

The SWISH Report (21)

How does al-Qaida see the tumult in the Arab world, the persistent conflict in other regions - and its own prospects? The movement commissions its longstanding management consultants to write a report, which is exclusively published on openDemocracy.

Who’s heard of the ‘African Spring’?

If the under or mis-reported uprisings, protests, revolts and changes of regime in many parts of Africa over the past few years have told us anything, it is that politics on the continent does not always, or mostly, take place at the point of a gun.

The thinning world: Mali, Nigeria, India

Many powerful states tend to view current global conflicts through the lens of Islamism, and to put military action at the heart of the response. But the deeper roots and character of these conflicts are to be found in poverty and marginalisation, not ideology.

Mali: war, Islamism, and intervention

The advance of a radical movement in northern Mali, and its destruction of cultural treasures in the ancient city of Timbuktu, are increasing calls for a foreign military response.

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