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Inside Buhari’s Corrupt Administration


Inside Buhari’s Corrupt Administration

Nigerians are by now used to the various corruption indices used in scoring the Nigerian government on corruption against other governments around the world. What we don’t seem to have are standards for scoring various Nigerian governments in comparison with one another. For instance, how can we compare, say, President Jonathan’s administration with Obasanjo’s administration or Buhari’s administration on corruption? Placed against one another, which of the various administrations is the most corrupt or the least corrupt? This is very important, as it also helps Nigerians score various political parties against others on corruption.

Muhammadu Buhari was serving as the President of Nigeria, having been in office between May 2015 and May 2023. It is important to note that the information I provide is based on publicly available knowledge.

During Buhari’s administration, there were allegations of corruption involving various government officials and entities. Buhari himself campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, promising to tackle the issue head-on. His administration initiated investigations into corruption cases, particularly those from previous administrations. Several high-profile individuals, including former government officials, were arrested and prosecuted on corruption charges.

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Despite these efforts, some critics argue that progress in combating corruption has been limited. They point to instances of perceived political interference, slow judicial processes, and the selective nature of the anti-corruption campaigns, which have mainly targeted political opponents. Some individuals accused of corruption have also alleged political motivations behind their prosecutions.

It is worth noting that corruption is a complex issue, deeply rooted in societal structures, and it takes time and concerted efforts to address it effectively. Therefore, it is essential to refer to up-to-date and verified information from credible sources to get a comprehensive understanding of the state of corruption within Buhari’s administration or any subsequent developments.

Corruption has been a factor considered by Nigerian voters during various elections. I recall particularly that one major selling point for Buhari in 2015 was his integrity, and Nigerians believed that his government would be less corrupt than the alternatives and the past.

But at the end of Buhari’s administration, it was no longer clear whether Buhari did better than his predecessors on corruption. The reason it is difficult to score the various administrations is because there are no clear standards.

While we keep searching for the best standards, there is an indication that Buhari’s administration is the worst of all Nigerian governments on corruption, with one possible exception being Abacha’s administration.

Why should Buhari be rated the worst? One key factor must be taken into consideration above all others.

The fact that the EFCC is Nigeria’s watchdog on corruption and that it turned out that two heads of the EFCC that were appointed by Buhari ended up being disgraced out of office for corruption is one critical factor.

How could the leaders of the corruption watchdog be so blatantly implicated in corruption under Buhari’s administration? It meant that Buhari had no serious and sincere anti-corruption agency. Also, it is to be noted that the Governor of the Central Bank during Buhari’s administration turned out to be one of the most corrupt Nigerians in office. And the Central Bank is at the core of the Nigerian financial system.

Former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on June 10, 2023, decried how Godwin Emefiele had a free reign over Nigeria’s treasury under the erstwhile administration of Muhammadu Buhari, using policies to steal money while sabotaging the nation’s economy.

Mr. Emefiele was ousted from office as the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 9, 2023, in a move critics said was unconstitutional since President Bola Tinubu was not allowed by existing law to remove the CBN governor. Mr. Tinubu’s move was also expected to rile up investors, who have long expected a central bank free from political interference in Nigeria.

Mr. Emefiele was arrested in Lagos on June 10, 2023 and transported to Abuja by the State Security Service, which said the former CBN chief would be answering questions about his role at the CBN since June 2014. Mr. Emefiele could not be reached for comments, and it was unclear if he had retained lawyers since being taken into custody.

“His shenanigans and the colossal damage he perpetrated at the CBN were to the utter detriment of the Nigerian people,” Mr. Akande said on Twitter. “This is not even about cashless policy, but apparent corruption, especially in the dual exchange rate policy, which never made sense. What a sigh of relief.”

Mr. Akande served as a presidential spokesperson attached to the vice-president’s office for eight years, starting in 2015. He once issued a statement for Mr. Osinbajo criticising Mr. Emefiele, who regularly courted public controversy for his handling of the nation’s exchange rate regime.

In October 2021, Mr. Akande’s statement for his principal said Mr. Emefiele was supervising unbridled corruption in the foreign exchange market in Nigeria. Mr Emefiele denied the allegations, and it was unclear whether Mr Osinbajo proposed any official measures to investigate or exert sanctions on the CBN chief to the president.

“It was about time the CBN Governor faced suspension and investigation,” Mr. Akande added, saying the former CBN boss “was given a long rope, but he failed to redeem himself” by the Buhari-Osinbajo regime.

Mr. Emefiele appeared to be the first Buhari regime official to be arrested and held on fraud charges by Mr. Tinubu’s administration, with anti-corruption experts saying many of Mr. Buhari’s aides are likely to be held on similar charges for their yearslong looting of the nation’s treasury.

That is also a factor. So, judging by the caliber of government officials implicated in corruption at the end of Buhari’s administration, even when he was succeeded by his own party, it is obvious that Buhari’s government was the most corrupt in Nigerian history. If Abacha had been succeeded by a politician he supported, Abacha would have been a saint compared to Buhari. And if Buhari had been succeeded by a party other than APC, Buhari would have been arrested for corruption.

It is now on record that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been illegally administered for three years-running by interim management in flagrant disregard of established Law. In November 2019, the Buhari administration appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) for the NDDC pleading the jejune excuse that the commission needed to be audited. In complete violation of both the statute setting up the commission – the NDDC Act and good sense, the administration persisted in this same self-serving and opportunistic track by reappointing another IMC and then a sole administrator for the NDDC.

These acts of Illegality have been roundly condemned as both illegal and corruption-laden by competent authorities and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region. In March 2022, the Federal High Court sitting in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State ruled that the abandonment of the NDDC Act in the appointment of its management and usurpation of the rights of stakeholders in the NDDC by the decision to appoint Interim committees/sole administrators for the agency are both illegal and must be redressed. The court granted a perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Government from further constituting Interim Management/Sole Administrators to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Taken as a whole, one can logically declare the government of President Buhari the most corrupt government in the history of Nigeria.

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