Folahanmi (Fola) Aina is a PhD student in the African Leadership Centre. Fola is a young professional and international security and development policy expert. He completed a second masters’ degree in African Studies, at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, in 2017, having previously obtained a master's degree in International Development Policy from Seoul National University, South Korea in 2013.
He holds a BSc (Hons) in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is currently a doctoral fellow in Leadership Studies, with reference to Security and Development at the African Leadership Centre.
His research interests include leadership in national security policy decision making, grand strategy, and peace and security in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions.
Fola has worked as an Independent Consultant for reputable think tanks such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London, and for the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF).
A recipient of multiple awards, including the 2021 General Cissè Lamine Young African Researcher Award, Partners West Africa, Senegal, and the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF). He is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute of Security and Defence Studies (RUSI), London.
Thesis title: 'Leadership in National Security Policy Making: Nigeria's Grand Strategy and Survival in the West African Sub-Region'
This research sets out to answer the question of whether Nigeria’s leadership role in promoting regional peace and security through the Economic Community of Werst African States (ECOWAS) is about state survival or regime survival. In doing this, the research interrogates whether Nigeria’s interventions in situational contexts in the West African sub-region reflect the mutually linked security concerns of political leaders and society.
In addition, the research examines how Nigeria’s grand strategy contributes to state survival or regime survival. This historically informed qualitative research engages with the subject of state society relations during foreign interventions by examining how Nigerian regimes prioritised regime survival, under the pretext of state survival, during the Nigerian-led ECOWAS interventions in Liberia’s civil wars, and by implicit comparison, the Sierra Leonean civil war.
Beyond this, the research draws attention to the use of the concept of grand strategy beyond a West-centric constructs, by demonstrating how the adoption of a liberal-internationalist grand strategy by Nigeria, a non-Western state, in the period of study, contributed towards the goal of the Nigerian regimes’ political survival, instead of state survival.
The research adopts process tracing as a research technique in reconstructing the events at the time, while drawing on in-depth field interviews, which are augmented by content analysis derived from secondary sources including archival data.
See Fola's research profile