President Muhammadu Buhari (“Buhari” or “President Buhari”) became President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, 2015. Buhari will go on to be President for the next eight years—till May 29, 2023. While on the campaign trail between 2014 and 2015, President Buhari vowed to grind corruption in Nigeria to a halt. This campaign promise is arguably one that endeared him to Nigerians who were hungry for a change of guard from the wanton corruption that had characterised his predecessor’s regime.
This Report adopts a qualitative approach to analysing the effectiveness or otherwise of the anti-corruption campaign of the Buhari regime. In this Report, we analyse various initiatives introduced by the Buhari presidency to combat corruption. We find that although most of these initiatives were designed with the best intentions, the anti-corruption campaign in the Buhari regime was generally selective and deployed to attack political opponents.
Additionally, we find that the anti-corruption agencies seemed to have focused on internet scams and lower-level corruption but did not deal any serious blows to the grand and official corruption of the rich and powerful politicians. The combined effect of these lowered the belief of the ordinary Nigerian in the effectiveness and/or willingness of his presidency to fight corruption. Available data also suggests that the Buhari government was able to recover some of the funds looted by the late General Sani Abacha. Unfortunately, whatever points were gained by the government for the recovery of the Abacha loot were lost by the government for the lack of transparency and accountability in the management of the recovered loot.
Some of the other problems that plagued the anti-corruption campaign during this period include; underfunding of the anti-corruption agencies, lack of citizen participation in the anti-corruption campaign, executive lawlessness, judicial corruption, poor interagency relationships, and so on. Thus, almost a year after the Buhari presidency, and having had the opportunity to fight corruption for eight years, it is difficult to call the anti-corruption campaign of the 2015 to 2023 years a success.
Accordingly, we have highlighted some recommendations for subsequent governments to prioritise if they are serious about fighting corruption.
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Lead Analyst, Fiscal Policy
design - Adepoju Emmanuel
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