Justice Oputa Foundation (JOF) was established in 2010 and registered as a non-profit, non-governmental association.

Mission:

JOF was established to advance and apply knowledge germane to the legal profession, commerce and industry and the public sector through the development, conduct and dissemination of both fundamental and applied research in the areas of governance, law and development. The research process of the Foundation is designed to ensure that its work is relevant, practical and contributes to development in Nigeria and the African continent. It brings researchers together with eminent persons, policy makers/public sector representatives, legal professionals, commerce and industry experts in ongoing conversations and exploration of issues, ideas and analysis of its core areas of concern.

Objectives
  • To be a globally recognized authority on issues relating to Governance, Law and Development.
  • Actively promote high standards of ethics and integrity among key stakeholders (policy makers/public sector representatives, legal professionals, commerce and industry experts and the media) involved in governance and policy implementation, legal adjudication, and conduct of business in an ethical manner via diverse institutions.
  • Promote human rights, law and order and contribute to improvements in Nigeria’s human development index.
  • To advance and apply knowledge germane to the legal professions, commerce and industry and the public sector through the development, conduct and dissemination of both fundamental and applied research in the areas of governance, law and development
  • Improve and develop JOF’s training and publishing activities.

Economy:

Nigeria is a middle-income, mixed economy and emerging market, with expanding manufacturing, financial, service, communications, technology and entertainment sectors. It is ranked as the 30th-largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, and the 23rdlargest in terms of purchasing power parity. It is the largest economy in Africa; its re-emergent manufacturing sector became the largest on the continent in 2013, and it produces a large proportion of goods and services for the West African subcontinent. In addition, the debt-to-GDP ratio is 11 percent, which is 8 percent below the 2012 ratio.

Previously hindered by years of mismanagement, economic reforms of the past decade put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full economic potential. Nigerian GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) almost tripled from $170 billion in 2000 to $451 billion in 2012, although estimates of the size of the informal sector (which is not included in official figures) put the actual numbers closer to $630 billion. Correspondingly, the GDP per capita doubled from $1400 per person in 2000 to an estimated $2,800 per person in 2012 (again, with the inclusion of the informal sector, it is estimated that GDP per capita hovers around $3,900 per person). (Population increased from 120 million in 2000 to 160 million in 2010).These figures were to be revised upwards by as much as 80% when metrics were to be recalculated subsequent to the rebasing of its economy in April 2014. In 2014, Nigeria changed its economic analysis to account for rapidly growing contributors to its GDP, such as telecommunications, banking, and its film industry. (Source: Wikipedia).

Current Situation:

According to the United States’ Institute for Peace, 2015 election saw the country’s first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition candidate. The elections raised hopes that some of Nigeria’s most pressing problems—including weak governance, corruption, the Boko Haram insurgency, and persistent inter-communal conflicts could soon be under control. Despite government’s reforms, the country’s security challenges are surging as the factors that fuel violent conflicts remain largely unaddressed”. (Source: United State’s Institute for Peace)

As a country, “Nigeria continues to face massive developmental challenges, which include reducing the dependency on oil and diversifying the economy, addressing insufficient infrastructure, and building strong and effective institutions, as well as governance issues, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population.

Inequality in terms of income and opportunities has been growing rapidly, and has adversely affected poverty reduction. The North/South divide has widened in recent years preceding the very consequential 2015 elections, due largely to the issue of political power rotation from the South to the North, insecurity intensified by Boko Haram insurgency, and a lack of economic development in the northern part of the country.

Large pockets of Nigeria’s population still live in poverty, without adequate access to basic services, but could benefit from more inclusive development policies, assuming there is any political will at all, to get it done. The lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, of regional inequality, and of social and political unrest in the country.” (Source: The World Bank).

It is time to explore new ways of defying the innumerable challenges she faces, against the background of the upcoming elections and the countless opportunities, by starting conversations that will shape its future, whilst pushing for more resilient institutions to hold the country together.