Dr Ẹniọlá Ànúolúwapọ́ Ṣóyẹmí is Senior Research Fellow in Political Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. She was previously Departmental Lecturer in Political Philosophy and Public Policy at the School. Her research focuses on questions in African and Contemporary political, moral, and legal philosophy. She is particularly interested in topics concerning the nature of freedom, authority, justice/injustice, and deliberative and participatory democracy. Her recent work centres on the conceptual development of these topics both in the philosophical canon, where she is especially interested in developing the ideas of three key African thinkers and philosophers (Kwasi Wiredu, Steve Biko, and Z’ara Yacob), and in the modern and contemporary political practice, of African societies. She is also interested in cross- and multi-disciplinary methodological approaches to normative political philosophy and theory.

Before joining the School, she worked with Professor Neta Crawford and the Costs of War Project. Before that, she was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute. Before academia, she worked at Chatham House, and at the Guardian Newspaper where she was based in the press lobby of the UK House of Commons. 

Her first book, Law's Moral Legitimacy: On Participation, Freedom, and Political Justice, is forthcoming with Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing. The book provides a novel understanding of law’s authority and its moral legitimacy that accounts as equally for non-settler post-colonial societies as it does for the case of settler societies and former colonial powers, which have traditionally occupied the attention of legal philosophers. The book develops an understanding of participation that, in explaining both law’s authority and its normative legitimacy, also provides the grounds for challenging the claimed authority of law. For numerous societies persisting under mainstream idealizations of law and legality despite the enduring dysfunction of these, the book hopes to be a corrective resource of both theoretical and practical value.

Her academic research has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Political Theory, The Philosophical Forum, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, and the Routledge Handbook of African Political Philosophy. 

Her public writing, and commentary, has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Premium Times, the Conversation, CKUT Montreal, The New York Times, the New Yorker Radio Hour, the Guardian, the Republic Journal, Weekendavisen, and Ilora Magazine, among others.

She consults on areas related to her research, most recently for the EU’s Directorate General for International Partnerships. She in on the board of Internews Europe.  

In her most introspective moments she writes poetry, some of which is published.



Law's Moral Legitimacy: On Participation, Freedom, and Political Justice (forthcoming, Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing)

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters


“Rightful Power and an Ideal of Free Community: The Political Theory of Steve Biko.” Political Theory: 1-31.

“Participation and Law’s Authority.” Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 36, no. 2: 491–524.

“Deliberation, Dependence, and Freedom.” In The Routledge Handbook of African Political Philosophy, edited by Uchenna Okeja, 179-197. London: Routledge.


“Doing African Political Philosophy from a Universalist Perspective.” The Philosophical Forum 53, no. 3: 187-194. DOI: 10.1111/phil.12319.

Select media

Even many critics of the Rwanda deportation policy are missing the point of why it’s wrongThe Conversation, Feb. 2024.

Nigeria is not a DemocracyPremium Times, July 2022.

In Favor of Specificity,” Ilora Magazine, March 2022.

Introducing Kwasi Wiredu’s Consensual Democracy,The Republic, Jan. 2022.

The Movement Against Police Brutality Explodes in Nigeria,” The New Yorker Radio Hour, 18 December 2020

Nigeria is in a State of Violence,” New York Times (International Edition), October 24-25, 2020.

In Nigeria, Colonial Thinking Affects Everyone,” The Guardian, July 20 2020.

Is There No Humanity in Africa?The Republic, March 2019

Policy papers

“Making Crisis Inevitable: The Effects of US Counterterrorism Spending and Training in Somalia,” Costs of War (2023).

Unending War, Insecurity, and Autocracy: The Long-term Costs of the post-9/11 Wars in the Horn of Africa, Costs of War (forthcoming).