Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu is a National Electoral Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s election management body. Prior to his appointment to the Commission in 2016, he was Professor of Political Science and concurrently Research Professor in Development Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He began his academic career at the University of
Nigeria in 1983 and rose to the rank of professor in 2000. He was at various times the Dean of Social Sciences, Director of the Institute for Development Studies and Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the University. Professor Ibeanu was also the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Innovations in Development (IID), an independent think-tank of scholars and activists based in Enugu.
From 2004 to 2010, Professor Ibeanu was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of toxic wastes on the enjoyment of human rights. As Special Rapporteur, he led the successful review and expansion of the toxic waste mandate of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to cover all forms of movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes, whether illicit or licit. He conducted investigative country missions to several countries including India, The Netherlands, Kyrgyzstan, Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania and produced over twenty reports for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Professor Ibeanu was also a member of Coordinating Committee of Special Procedures of the Council.
In the course of an academic career spanning over thirty years, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu has been a Fellow of the United Nations University, a visiting scholar at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, as well as visiting professor in the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London. He has been a doctoral external examiner at King’s College London and mentored several Fellows at the Africa Leadership Centre run by King’s College and the University of Nairobi. He has served in several governing boards, academic councils and scientific committees, in Nigeria and internationally, including the Governing Board of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (Lagos, Nigeria), International Governing Council of the Centre for Democracy and Development (Abuja, Nigeria), Governing Board of Stakeholder Democracy Network (London, UK) and the Scientific Committee of the Global Environmental Change and Human Security Project, a project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (Bonn, Germany).
In 2010, Professor Ibeanu was appointed as the Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In that capacity, he was an important member of the team that designed innovations that transformed the conduct of elections in Nigeria between 2010 and 2015. He led the design of a new election security framework for the Commission and production of the first comprehensive election plan for the Commission on which the 2015 general elections were conducted. His commitment to establishing INEC as a knowledge-driven and globally respected EMB led to several institution building activities at the Commission, including the production of a strategic plan, a communication policy, a gender policy, as well as creating a new mechanism for Internally Displayed Persons (IDPs) voting. As Chief Technical Adviser, Professor Ibeanu raised substantial funds for the Commission from development partners to support innovative work at INEC, including training in Basic Security in Election Duties, a web-based security-training module for election workers, Election Management System, Election Risk Management Tool, Election Violence Mitigation Tool, as well as the establishment of a Virtual Library at the Electoral Institute of the Commission.
In the past thirty-three years, Professor Ibeanu has taught and conducted research on elections, development, human rights, environment, population displacement, conflict and security at the university level. He has over 100 widely cited publications to his credit.