October 14, 2020, Abuja – Africa Polling Institute (API) wishes to officially announce the appointment of two Social Cohesion Research Fellows for the 2020/2021 Social Cohesion Project, supported by Ford Foundation. The Fellows are Dr. Fidelis Allen and Dr. Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunola, who have been selected from a pool of applicants, and after a rigorous review process, with both academics emerging as the two top scholars. The Fellows shall be providing part-time (non-residential) scholarly support to the Institute.  


Dr. Fidelis is an Associate Professor at the department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Port Harcourt. He holds a PhD in Political Science from University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He has served as Lead Researcher on numerous projects with keen interest in resource governance and control in Nigeria. He has also served as a Director for Center for Conflict and Gender Studies and belongs to several international associations.


Dr. Okunola is a scholar in disaster risk reduction and community resilience with cross-cutting research and program experiences on climate change adaptation, social protection and inclusive education. He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He has served in numerous research capacities on projects across the country and he is an active member of United Nation Global Risks Assessment Framework.


It would be recalled that in 2019, API carried out the first Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey (NSCS2019)[1]. The survey amongst highlighted evidence of a broken social contract between the state and citizens, resulting into pockets of separatist agitations, civil unrests, heightened insecurity and violent crimes. It also highlighted the depletion of trust amongst citizens from different ethno-religious affiliations, as well as an overarching sense of social exclusion felt by many citizens. From the survey, 70% of respondents were of the opinion that the laws of the country do not apply equally to everyone, as there are certain persons above the law; 65% believe the government was not doing enough to promote a sense of inclusion for all citizens; and 45% thought Nigeria was much more divided in 2019 than it was in 2015. Hence, the need to embark on another round of survey to strengthen the research understanding and deepen the conversation on social cohesion in Nigeria.


With support from Ford Foundation, API is currently managing a grant to deepen the Nigeria Social Cohesion Project. The project consists of a 2nd round of the Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey (NSCS), and a series of strategic dissemination and advocacy activities. The appointment of the two new Social Cohesion Fellows underscore our resolve as an Institute to stimulate a robust conversation on Social Cohesion in Nigeria, driven by informed research. We are confident that the appointment of the Research Fellows would be a great addition to our team and Social Cohesion Project in Nigeria.


Africa Polling Institute (API) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan opinion research think-tank which conducts opinion polls, surveys, social research, evaluation studies at the intersection of democracy, governance, economy, markets and public life; in order to support state and non-state actors. Our main objective is to produce and disseminate credible opinion research data to support better decisions, public policy, practice and advocacy in sub-Saharan Africa. We were established on the belief that citizens’ participation in democratic governance can deepen the democratic process, strengthen public institutions and promote social inclusion and cohesion across Africa





Dr. Bell Ihua

Executive Director, Africa Polling Institute

[1] https://africapolling.org/2019/10/28/nigeria-social-cohesion-survey-2019/