Professor Jonah Isawa Elaigwu

Last Modified: 
19 Feb 2011

Professor Jonah Isawa Elaigwu was born on 10th March 1948 and attended Methodist Central School, Otukpo between 1954 and 1960. After his primary school, he proceeded to Benue Provincial Secondary School, Katsina-Ala in 1961. Upon successful completion of his O' Levels in 1965, he attended King’s College Lagos, from 1966 to 1967, where he got his A' Levels.

Between 1968 and 1971, Professor Elaigwu was in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Political Science and following his graduation from Zaria in 1971, he proceeded to Stanford University, USA. By the time Professor Elaigwu left Stanford in 1975, he had obtained an A.M. (Masters degree) and Ph.D (conferred in January 1976) in Political Sciences.

On return to Nigeria in 1975, Professor Elaigwu became a Lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and dedicated himself to sharing his knowledge with his students. During his time in Zaria, he was also a visiting Fulbright-Hays Lecturer at University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, USA from 1978 to 1979.

In 1979, Elaigwu moved to University of Jos as a Senior Lecturer and also became the Head, Department of Political Science, a position he held until 1981. In 1981, he was made an Associate Professor and became a Professor in 1983. Professor Elaigwu also had a second stint as the Head, Department of Political Science, University of Jos from 1983 to 1985 and was also a member of the University Senate from 1983 to 1998. In 1990, he was a visiting Professor at State University of New York, Binghamton, N.Y., USA. Until he left the service of University of Jos in 1998, Professor Elaigwu was renowned for his captivating and interesting style of lecture.

Professor Elaigwu was the Director-General and Chief Executive, National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, Abuja, from 1992 to 1996 and since 1996 has being the President, Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR), Jos.

Professor Elaigwu who is happily married with 6 Children has held many national & international bodies’ membership positions and has also written many books.

Some of the roles held and publications by Professor Elaigwu are listed below.


  1. Director, New Nigerian Development Company, Kaduna, 1986-89
  2. Member, Ondo State University Council, 1988-91
  3. Member, Board of Trustees, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 1986-92
  4. Chairman, Board of Trustees, UNITAR, New York, 1991-92
  5. Member, Presidential Advisory Committee, The Presidency, 1986-92
  6. Fellow, Institute of Armed Forces and Society
  7. Member, International Political Science Association
  8. Member, Association of African Political Science
  9. Member, African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM)
  10. Member, Research Committee (IPSA) on Federalism and Federations
  11. Director-General and Chief Executive, National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, The Presidency, 1992-1996
  12. Member, Board of Governors, Yakubu Gowon Centre, Abuja, 1995 – 2007
  13. Member, Board of Governors, Shehu Shagari World Institute, 1998 – 2007
  14. Consultant, African Capacity Building Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2000
  15. Consultant, Oral Documentation Project, N.I.I.A., Lagos, 1983-86
  16. Consultant to the International Bank for Development and Reconstruction (IBRD or The World Bank), for Social Development
  17. Consultant to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  18. Consultant, United States Agency for International Development
  19. Consultant, Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA-USAID)
  20. Consultant, African Capacity Building Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe
  21. Consultant, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat)
  22. Member, Steering Committee, United Nations Electoral Assistance Programme for Nigeria, October 2000 - 2002
  23. Member, Steering Committee, Democracy and Governance Programme, Federal Government of Nigeria, October 2000 – 2003
  24. Consultant, United Nations Regional Centre for Disarmament, Lome, Togo, 2002 -2003
  25. Consultant, Department for International Development (DFID), Abuja, Nigeria
  26. Member, International Advisory Board, Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Geneva, Switzerland, 2001 - date
  27. Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Global Dialogue on Federalism in the Twenty-First Century: Practices, Perspectives and Prospects, The Forum of Federations/International Association of Centres for Federal Studies (IACFS) 

PUBLICATIONS: Books & Monographs:

  1. Gowon: The Biography of a Soldier - Statesman (Ibadan: Westbooks, 1986) and (London: Adonis and Abbey, 2009)
  2. The Shadow of Religion on Nigerian Federalism : 1960-93, (NCIR, Abuja, 1993)
  3. From Might To Money: The Changing Dimensions of Global Transition To The 21st Century (Kuru: NIPSS, 1995)
  4. J. Isawa Elaigwu, P. Logams and H. Galadima, (eds), Federalism and Nation-Building: The Challenge of The 21st Century (Abuja: NCIR, 1994)
  5. J. Isawa Elaigwu & Erim O. Erim, (eds) Foundations of Nigerian Federalism: Precolonial Antecedents, Vol.1 (Abuja: NCIR, 1996)
  6. J. Isawa Elaigwu and G. Uzoigwe (eds) Foundations of Nigerian Federalism, Vol.II 1900-1960 (Abuja, NCIR, 1996)
  7. J. Isawa Elaigwu and R.A. Akindele (eds) Foundations of Nigerian Federalism, 1960-95 Vol.III (Abuja, NCIR 1996)
  8. Transition to Transition: Prospects of An Enduring Democratic Polity in Nigeria (1999)
  9. Nigeria: A Rebirth for the Twenty-first Century (2000)
  10. Gowon’s Nigeria (Jos: Aha 2004)
  11. The Challenges of Nation-Building in the Twentieth Century: The Nigerian Experience (Calabar: IPPA, University of Calabar, 2004 )
  12. Nigeria: Yesterday and Today for Tomorrow: Essays in Governance and Society (Jos: Aha, 2005)
  13. The Politics of Federalism in Nigeria (Jos: Aha, 2005) and (London: Adonis and Abbey, 2007)
  14. ed. Fiscal Federalism in Nigeria: Facing The Challenges of The Future (Jos: Aha Publishing House, 2007) and (London: Adonis and Abbey, 2008)
  15. Party Politics in Nigeria: The Dynamics of Participation and Stability in Nigeria’s Democratic Polity, 1999-2008. (Benin: Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, 2008)

PUBLICATIONS: Articles in many national and international journals among which are:

  1. "The Military and State-Building: Federal-State Relations in Nigeria’s Military Federalism 1960-76" in Akinyemi, P. Cole and W. Ofonagoro, (eds) Reading on Federalism (Lagos: NIIA, 1979).pp. 155-181
  2. "Military Intervention in Politics: An African Perspective" Geneva-Afrique: Swiss Journal of African Studies, vol.xix, No.1, 1981, pp.19-38
  3. "Subnational States and The Future of Federalism in Nigeria", The Nigerian Journal of Political Economy, Vol.1, No.2 (October 1983), pp.1-28
  4. "Federal-Type Solution to Problems of Integration: Nigeria’s Federal Experience" Federalism (Belgium) 1990, No.2, pp.19-41
  5. "Nation-Building and Changing Political Structures", in Ali Mazrui, (ed.) UNESCO General History of Africa (California: Heinneman, 1993)
  6. "Local Government and Political Development: The Challenges of Participation and Control in Grassroot Government in Nigeria" in A.Y. Aliyu, The Role of Local Government in Social, Political and Economic Development in Nigeria 1976-79 (Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University, 1977)
  7. "Federalism and National Leadership in Nigeria" Publius: The Journal of Federalism (Vol.1, No.4 July 1991), pp.125-144
  8. J. Isawa Elaigwu and V. Olorunsola, "Federalism and Politics of Compromise" in D. Rothchild and Victor A. Olorunsola (eds) State Versus Ethnic Claims: African Policy Dilemmas (Westview, Colorado 1983)
  9. "The Nigerian Federation: Its Foundation and Future Prospects" in Omafume F. Onoge (ed) Nigeria: The Way Forward (Spectrum, Nigeria 1993)
  10. "Composition of Regional Institutions - The Nigerian Experience" in Bertus de Villers and Jabu Sindane Regionalism: Problems and Prospects (HSRC, Pretoria 1993)
  11. "Religion and Nation-Building: The Paradox and Dual Identities in Nigeria", Journal of Nigerian Affairs, Vol.5, No.1, (March) 1996, pp. 4-22
  12. "Africa - Crises and Challenges: Towards Causal Analysis" Governance, Vol.1, No.1 (March) 1998, pp.31-47
  13. "The Management of Nigeria’s External Image", Journal of Nigerian Affairs, Vol.7, No.1 (Sept. 1998), pp. 39-51
  14. "Federalism, Institutionalization and Political Stability in The Context of Vision 2010," African Journal of Federal Studies, Vol.1, No.1 (April 2000)
  15. "Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria", Indian Journal of Federal Studies, vol. 2, No. 2, 2001, pp. 65–75
  16. "Federalism in Nigeria’s New Democratic Polity", Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 32.2 (Spring) 2002
  17. J. Isawa Elaigwu and Galadima, "The Shadow of Sharia Law on the Nigerian Federalism", Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 33:3 (summer 2003) pp. 123-144
  18. "The Nigerian Constitution and The Challenges of Federalism", Nigerian Journal of Policy and Strategy, vol. 14, No. 1 (June 2004) pp. 130–170

Over 30 chapters in Books, including:

  1. "The Nigerian Civil War and The Angolan Civil War: Linkages between Domestic Tensions and International Alignments", in Ali Mazrui (ed.) The Warrior Tradition In Modern Africa (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977) pp. 215 – 235
  2. "Towards Continental Integration: Supranationalism and The Future of Africa", in Timothy Shaw (ed.) The Future of Africa: Alternative Projections, Prophesies and Prescriptions (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1981), pp.131–151
  3. "Managing constitutional Change" in Bertus de Villiers and Jabu Sindane (eds.) Managing Constitutional Change (Pretoria: HSRC, 1995) pp. 189–239
  4. "African Security In a Changing International Environment" in Margaret Vogt and Aminu (eds.) Peace–Keeping as a Security Strategy in Africa: Chad and Liberia as Case Studies (Lagos: N11A, 1996) pp. 3–22
  5. "Decentralization in Nigeria: A Critical Examination" in Federal Ministry of Works. (eds), The Launching of Global Campaign for Good Governance in Nigeria (FMW and H: Ibadan, 2001), pp. 103–119
  6. "Crisis and Conflict Management In Nigeria Since 1980" in A.M. Yakubu, R.T. Adegboye, C.N. Uba and B. Dogo (eds.) Crisis and Conflict Management in Nigeria Since 1980: Causes of Conflicts, vol. 1 (Kaduna: Nigeria Defence Academy, 2005) pp. 28–82