Samson Itodo can be described by so many adjectives; creative, project oriented, highly self-motivated, innovative and purpose -driven. A young man that has been passionate about social transformation; Itodo has over 10 years’ experience and expertise in legal research and analysis, legislative advocacy, constitution building, elections, grant seeking, volunteerism and youth development. Just like his leadership traits, recognition for his work and contribution to democracy began quite early.
Samson Itodo was born in Bauchi state, a native of Olamaboro local government area of Kogi State. Itodo has always exhibited his leadership traits from an early age; from class captain in Primary School, to school prefect in the Secondary School. He was also class representative at the Faculty of Law, University of Jos, and chairman of the Students Representative Council at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. Itodo’s interests span constitution building, elections, legislative studies, youth and international development. With a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Jos, he stated that the foundation for his interest in civic activism and democracy promotion was laid during his under-graduate days.
The preceding all sum-up to what makes Itodo a remarkable fellow. In addition to those, the fact that he is a champion for quality youth representation in national parliaments across Africa. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Young Parliamentarians Forum in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana. For example, the recent and popular ‘Not too Young to Run Movement’ in Nigeria has been an initiative of Itodo. The results of his Not Too Young to Run movement has led to the successful advocacy for the reduction of age limits for running for public office in the Nigerian constitution. The campaign was adopted by the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS as a global campaign. Consequently, this has facilitated the development of policy documents on electoral reform, international development cooperation, constitution review etc.
He currently leads efforts to establish the forum across West Africa. Samson Itodo is the Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, a community of change makers focused on building sustainable democracies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, accountability and constitutionalism. He plays a leading role in implementing the organization’s mission and objectives which entail strategic planning, policy research and analysis, grant seeking and stakeholder engagement.
The young activist is a founding member of the African Movement for Democracy (AMD), a network of activists and youth leaders dedicated to deepening democracy in Africa. In 2018, he was appointed by the Gates Foundation as a goalkeeper and honoured by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Washington DC, as a rising political leader in Africa. He is also a recipient of the prestigious True Nigerian Award. Samson Itodo is also the LEADERSHIP Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2018.
Samson heads the leading community of change makers and pro-democracy activists, YIAGA Africa, a civic organization focused on building sustainable democracies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, rule of law and constitutionalism. He led the formation of the Youth Alliance on Constitution & Electoral Reform (YACORE), the first ever youth coalition on constitution and electoral reform in Nigeria.
Itodo is constantly called upon to provide analysis on burning issues on democratic principles. He has appeared on local and international media stations such as AIT, Channels, NTA, BBC, Nigeria Info, Wazobia FM and RFI. He is also a co-founder of Amplified Online Radio, a pan-African youth talk and music radio station.
Recently, he was appointed as one of 100 most influential young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards. He was also named one of the 10 most powerful names in advocacy in Nigeria.
Featured image source: African Leadership Institute