Dr Usman Bugaje is an Islamic scholar, political activist and civil society leader and thinker from Nigeria. Initially trained as a pharmacist, his postgraduate studies have included an MA in the inter-disciplinary Social Science programme of African Studies at the Institute of African and Asian Studies, University of Khartoum. and a doctorate in intellectual History of West Africa, focusing on the tradition of Tajdid in Western bilad al-Sudan, from the same institution.
He has served as Special Adviser on Political Affairs to the Nigerian Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the presidency for 1999-2003. In 2003, he was elected to represent the Kaita/Jibaya Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, where he chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs until 2007. Dr. Bugaje was appointed National Secretary of the Action Congress where he worked to institutionalize democratic reforms and greater participation of women. He contested for the governorship of Katsina State under the Action Congress. In 2016 he declined an offer from President Buhari to consider an ambassadorial appointment.
He is a long-standing Distinguished Visitor in African Politics Program of African Studies, Johns Hopkins-SAIS. His contributions to civil society include convenorship of the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), a public policy group that is promoting policies to restore stable governance and stimulate economic renewal in the northern states of Nigeria. He has also been a member of the governing board of IRCICA, Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture. He is also the Founding Chairman of Network for Justice, an advocacy group concerned civil education, consumer and human rights. He was also been prominent in the work of the ‘Islam in Africa’ organisation and later the Transition Monitoring Group TMG, the first indigenous election monitoring group which monitored the 1999 elections.
Dr. Bugaje is author of numerous book reviews – published in the Muslim World Book Review – and a range of conference papers and academic articles. Some examples from his corpus are provided below.