Samson Itodo is an experienced community organizer and development practitioner with over a decade experience in constitution building, governance reform, electoral governance, civic engagement, and political organizing.
He is highly skilled in legislative advocacy, political party development, NGO management, social movements, and youth development. He has facilitated policy documents on electoral reform, international development cooperation, constitution review, public governance, and political inclusion.
He provides strategic policy advice to parliamentary committees, electoral commissions, political parties, civil society organizations, and academic institutions. Samson is invested in building strong democratic institutions, promoting people-centered legislation and policies, and building communities of active citizens to drive social change. Samson Itodo serves as the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa and Convener, Not Too Young To Run. He is a member of the Board of Advisers of International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization that supports and promotes democracy around the world. He is a founding member of the African Movement for Democracy (AMD), a network of activists and youth leaders dedicated to deepening democracy in Africa.
Currently, he is a Standard Bank and Derek Scooper Scholar pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He is currently exploring the impact of social movements in qualifying and refining public policy in Africa.
He is also focused on building public policy frameworks that put citizens at the center of politics and governance beyond elections.
Under his leadership, Yiaga Africa has emerged as a leading civic organization promoting political inclusion, electoral integrity, and public accountability in Africa through citizens’ engagement, data, technology, and policy advocacy. He has initiated numerous democracy and citizens’ engagement projects in Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia. Samson previously served as lead consultant for International IDEA to develop a strategy for mitigating electoral and political violence in Cameroun, Guinea, Ghana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.
He also served as Research Facilitator for United States Institute for Peace (USIP) on Transparency and Accountability movements in Nigeria. Samson also served on the National Assembly’s institutional reforms committee to design a strategic framework to strengthen the National Assembly. He is currently engaged as a member of the steering committee to prepare Nigeria’s Medium-Term Development Plan (2021 – 2025) and Nigeria Agenda 2050 and he was the co-chair of the Focal Group for the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, a fund established by the government of Nigeria to fund youth enterprise and innovation.
He is a recipient of several local and international awards and his work has been featured by local and international media stations such as Aljazeera, CNN, BBC, RFI, CCTV, SABC, etc. In 2018, he was appointed by the Gates Foundation as a Goalkeeper and honored by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Washington DC as 2018 Rising Democracy leader in Africa.
He is the winner of the Future Africa Award Young Person of the Year 2018 award and the Leadership Newspaper 2018 Outstanding Young Person of the Year award. He was also inducted into 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the African Youth Awards in 2017. He is a recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, International Visitors Leadership Program of the US Department of State, Swedish Visitors Leadership Program, European Union Visitors Program (EUVP) and the UK International Leaders Program. Recently, he was recognized by the United Embassy in Nigeria as a Nigerian Star for his achievement and service to Nigeria and Nigerians.