Ray Esebagbon is NDI’s Resident Country Director in The Gambia. He is an international development and democracy expert with over 24 years of experience in legislative strengthening, public expenditure management, civic participation and election management. He joined NDI Nigeria in 2006 as Program Officer and has risen to several leadership positions in NDI’s Nigeria office including Project Director, Deputy Country Director, and Acting Country Director.
Raymond has led delegations of Nigerian, Ugandan and Kenyan legislators and other senior government officials on study missions to the United States which participants were exposed to poverty reduction strategies, public budgeting, and global EITI practices. These efforts contributed to the establishment of the Nigerian National Assembly Budget Research Office (NABRO) in 2014. Between 2006 and 2007, Ray had supported the Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) towards the passage of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Act in 2007. Drawing from NDI’s global EITI programming, he subsequently collaborated with the Solidarity Centre in Abuja to engage Nigerian oil trade unions for implementation. Ray had also contributed to the review of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Local Content Development bill at the NASS before its passage in 2010.
In 2009, Ray provided technical support to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly to ensure the passage of the state Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws, and between 2013 – 2014 he managed NDI’s first sub - national office in Nigeria which supported the Bayelsa State government under the Strengthening Transparency, Research, Independence and Development (STRIDE) project - a partnership between the Bayelsa State government, USAID and DFID that aimed to strengthen the state’s public procurement, fiscal responsibility and public budget making processes.
As a governance expert, Ray has supported efforts in Nigeria and Cape Verde which focused on developing executive transition frameworks for both countries in 2015 and 2016 and helped streamline the political transfer of powers. Raymond has also managed NDI’s International Election Observer Missions for Nigeria’s general elections (2015 and 2019) as well as in Ghana for the 2016 national elections.
Prior to joining NDI, Raymond worked as a senior legislative advisor in the Nigerian National Assembly (2003 – 2006) providing technical support to legislators and several committees of the Nigerian Senate. He has authored several publications including “The Nigerian Legislative Process (2005),” and the “Legislative Law Reports of Nigeria (2010).