A vast literature documenting the structural embeddedness, grotesque scale, and devastating consequences of political corruption in Nigeria threatens to overshadow the tenacity of the country's anti-corruption “wars,” the recent gains in controlling electoral corruption, the development of a robust national discourse about improving the effectiveness of anticorruption reform, and the crystallization of potentially viable legislative and constitutional reform agendas for promoting good governance. Especially remarkable was the 2015 election of opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who ran on an anticorruption platform. Drawing lessons from those national anticorruption struggles, this essay distills several interrelated steps by which reformist political leaders and activist civil society organizations might advance anticorruption reform in Nigeria and, potentially, elsewhere. These strategies involve depoliticizing key oversight institutions, curbing presidential and gubernatorial discretionary powers, restructuring patronage-based fiscal federalism, expanding and entrenching current transparency laws, and promoting participatory constitutionalism.

A vast literature documents how Nigeria's huge and ethnically fragmented population, overdependence on unearned oil income, relatively short and unstable history of autonomous postcolonial political development, and fraught institutional structures have spawned a “fantastically corrupt” state, to use former British Prime Minster David Cameron's apt characterization.1 But prodigious discussions about corruption's entrenched roots, grotesque scale, and devastating consequences in Africa's demographic and economic powerhouse often obscure the tenacity of Nigeria's anticorruption “wars” and their partial gains. These campaigns have resulted in a robust national discourse about improving the effectiveness of anticorruption reform, in the crystallization of concrete legislative and constitutional agendas for promoting good governance, and in occasionally bold, if checkered, governance reforms.2

Emblematic of such constructive governance reform is Nigeria's recent success in improving elections administration and mitigating a perverse legacy of chronic electoral corruption. This institutional evolution toward improved electoral governance was spurred by strident domestic and external criticisms of the farcical 2007 general elections. Constitutional and statutory reforms produced more credible electoral contests in 2011 and, in particular, 2015. The 2015 general elections were unprecedented, producing a presidential election victory for opposition candidate and former military head of state Muhammadu Buhari, who campaigned largely on an anticorruption platform.

Institutional reforms are, however, not the panacea for Nigeria's monumental sociopolitical challenges. In addition to flawed governance institutions, these challenges reflect the complex effects of predatory and unpatriotic political leadership, a patrimonial and ethnically fragmented political culture, and an extractive, oil-based political economy. Containing corruption in Nigeria, therefore, requires not only political institutional reforms, but also strong transformative leadership across political and civil society, broad-based economic diversification and liberalization, and reorientation of deeply embedded social norms, expectations, and practices.3 Nonetheless, as political sociologist Larry Diamond has claimed, judicious institutional innovations can “compensate for some of the weaknesses” in political economy and culture, “reduce the scope” for political leadership abuse, and “tilt the odds in favor of those who are committed” to transparent democratic governance.4

This essay begins with a dissection of the background, key features, achievements, and shortcomings of Buhari's anticorruption policy. I highlight the administration's failure to embed and extend the major elements of Buhari's anticorruption campaign through appropriate legislative and constitutional change and broader and more systematic governance reform. My critique of Buhari's anticorruption policy is followed by analysis of the lessons and implications for broader anticorruption reform of Nigeria's recent experience in containing electoral corruption and improving electoral competitiveness and integrity. I then suggest a scheme for advancing anticorruption reform and highlight its key components. The scheme reflects not only lessons of recent electoral reforms, but also insights from the 2014 National Constitutional Conference Report and the 2015 Constitutional Alteration Bill, which are broadly supported (but as yet unimplemented) national constitutional reform blueprints bequeathed by the departing Goodluck Jonathan presidency to the Buhari administration.5 Contemporary models of anticorruption control are based largely on the experiences of relatively small or comparatively homogeneous countries like Botswana, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. But the successful advancement of Buhari's anticorruption program could hold significant lessons for controlling malfeasance in other large, complex, multiethnic, and poor or resource-dependent countries.

Muhammadu Buhari's long-standing reputation for asceticism and personal integrity, his stern crackdown on corruption as military head of state in the 1980s, and his promotion of anticorruption reform as an overriding political campaign issue raised high hopes among Nigerians that his election victory would cauterize the country's corruption epidemic and usher in a new era of transparent governance. Indeed, Buhari's electoral manifesto incorporated thirteen anticorruption pledges, including establishing whistleblower-protection legislation; promoting exemplary ethical conduct (especially the public declarations of assets) among the president and his appointees; enforcing transparency, accountability, and efficient resource management and reductions in the cost of governance in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (mdas); strengthening the institutional autonomy of anticorruption bodies; and articulating a coherent national anticorruption strategy.6

Following his inauguration in May 2015, Buhari confirmed that $150 billion in public funds had been stolen and internationally laundered by the country's public officials during the preceding ten-year period.7 Nigeria's recent history has indeed included multiple instances of monumental mismanagement and scandalous plunder. These include the embezzlement of $15 billion from state coffers through fraudulent arms contracts connected to the flawed military campaign against Islamist Boko Haram insurgents;8 the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company's failure to remit $18.5 billion in oil revenues to the national treasury from 2012 to 2013 (of which $3.4 billion was diverted to a fictitious kerosene subsidy scheme);9 theft and misappropriation over a ten-year period (from 2005 to 2015) of $40 billion paid to the states of the Niger Delta and the federally controlled Niger Delta Development Commission as funds for the amelioration of ecological challenges and infrastructural deficits in this oil-bearing region;10 the 2009 jailing in the United Kingdom of Delta State Governor James Ibori after he pled guilty to stealing $80 million, which investigators believed represented only about one-third of the public monies he embezzled through inflated contracts, kickbacks, and direct cash transfers from government coffers;11 and the brazen self-dealing by the Nigerian National Assembly, which awarded itself several opaque allowances and “running costs,” making it one of the world's highest paid legislatures (a seat in the federal Senate attracted an estimated annual total remuneration of more than $1.5 million in 2015).12 At the mass level, a survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics found that ordinary Nigerians paid an estimated $4.6 billion in bribes to public officials between June 2015 and May 2016, concluding that “bribery is an established part of the administrative procedure in Nigeria.”13

Such epic and endemic corruption has propelled and compounded a multifaceted and existential crisis of political order, national security and intergroup coexistence in Nigeria. By 2015, Nigeria became home to two of the world's five deadliest terroristic organizations: Boko Haram and the so-called Fulani militants (rampaging armed nomadic herdsmen), both originating from Nigeria's Muslim-dominated North.14 Along with Southern-based violent or secessionist ethnic organizations like the Niger Delta Avengers and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, the terrorist organizations highlighted corruption's role in destroying opportunities for broad-based socioeconomic participation and employment. These organizations capitalized on the environment of political elite predation and extreme inequality, poverty, and discontent, fueling the rise of radical local insurgencies and hobbling the country's security institutions and counterinsurgency campaigns.

Such pervasive insecurity was symptomatic of the Nigerian government's failure to provide a broad variety of critical public goods. Nigeria's basic public infrastructure (including its schools, hospitals, roads, electricity system, and water supply) remains decrepit, despite billions of dollars budgeted for its improvement at federal and subnational levels. The country accounts, in per-capita terms, for the world's highest incidents of maternal deaths, out-of-school children, and multidimensional poverty or cumulative socioeconomic deprivations.15 Nigeria also has the worst police force in the world according to the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index, which measures indicators like the amount of resources devoted to internal security, effective use of allocated resources, and public trust in the police.16

Proclaiming its commitment to “killing corruption before it kills Nigeria,” the Buhari administration mounted multiple anticorruption initiatives.17 It appointed new dynamic heads for the country's prime anticorruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (efcc) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (icpc), and established a Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption to support the “administration in the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria's criminal justice system.”18 Along with the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, the efcc and icpc investigated and prosecuted key government officials or their associates, including Jonathan's national security adviser, former First Lady Patience Jonathan, current Senate President Bukola Saraki, two Supreme Court justices, and several senators, former governors and deputy governors, and senior military officers. Despite the government's failure to secure any high-profile convictions, the anticorruption investigations led to the recovery of “more than U.S. $10 billion in looted cash and assets,” according to Transparency International.19

The administration also implemented several measures to clean up the country's fraud-ridden public financial management. They created the Treasury Single Account, which eliminated multiple scam-infested mda accounts by consolidating government finances in a single account at the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, which purged more than fifty-three thousand ghost workers from payrolls of mdas; a new budget portal based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards, designed to protect the budget-preparation process from manipulation, unauthorized alteration, or padding; and a Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which proposed prudential and transparent conditions under which subnational governments could receive federal budgetary bailouts.

In addition to supporting anticorruption investigations and promoting multiple administrative measures to improve public financial management, the Buhari administration sought to enhance legal frameworks for combating corruption. But more than two years after the inauguration of the Buhari administration, these attempts to institutionalize anticorruption reform remain unfulfilled, a fact that stands as one of the most disappointing aspects of the administration's reform agenda. Thus far, the administration has improved Nigeria's bilateral agreements on mutual assistance in criminal matters, extending them to include the United Arab Emirates, an increasingly important destination for resources looted by Nigeria's corrupt public officials. It also proposed executive bills for the establishment of anticorruption courts and a whistleblower-protection law, which would formalize Buhari's popular whistleblower policy that, in June 2017, paid over $1 million to twenty individuals who provided information leading to the recovery of $36.8 million in stolen state funds.20 However, reflecting the absence of any coordinated or robust executive-legislative engagement on good governance, Buhari's anticorruption legislative initiatives have largely languished in parliamentary rigmarole.

Indeed, although Buhari's anticorruption policy was applauded by the administration's domestic supporters and international partners, it not only provoked a pushback from corrupt public officials, but also attracted criticisms from independent observers. According to a 2017 “Buharimeter” report by the Center for Development and Democracy, a reputable Abuja-based nongovernmental organization, the anticorruption policy produced “no significant change” and its credibility “seems to be withering.” Specifically, the Center found that only one of Buhari's thirteen anticorruption pledges had been “achieved”: namely, the September 2015 release “of a summary statement to the press of the President's and Vice President's assets and liabilities.” Yet even this pledge had only been partially executed: the assets declarations of Buhari and his deputy were incomplete, while none of the president's ministerial appointees publicly declared their assets. Although it acknowledged that the Buhari administration made “frantic” efforts to implement six other election pledges (involving general government accountability and reduction in the cost of governance), these efforts were as yet fruitless, and the Center also criticized the government for failing to take any actions on “fundamental or core issues” in the anticorruption campaign, including the agenda of the institutional autonomy of antigraft agencies.21 Indeed, Transparency International's 2017 Perceptions Index confirmed that Nigeria was among the countries that were making “little or no progress in ending corruption.”22 Nigeria's score (27 on a scale of 100) and rank (148 out of 180 countries) on the Index showed no real improvement from the final year of Jonathan's corrupt administration, and represented somewhat of a decline from the country's score (28) and rank (136 out of 176 countries) in 2016.

Essentially, Buhari's anticorruption policy, despite paying lip service to good governance, has often been self-contradictory, shallow, and selectively enforced. Several government actions and policies have contradicted its professed anticorruption policy, leading one eminent columnist in 2017 to conclude that “the presidency itself has turned out, mostly by acts of omission, to be a sort of refuge … [and] protected haven for corruption.”23 Specifically, the Buhari presidency faced credible allegations of crass nepotism, cronyism, and sectionalism (in favor of Buhari's Northern Muslim base) in making key appointments; as well as of implementing statist economic policies (including foreign-exchange controls) that created new opportunities for rent-seeking and corruption. Most important, the Buhari administration stands accused of failing to investigate, prosecute, or punish alleged acts of abuse of office among key allies, functionaries, and appointees of the presidency, including the chief of staff to the president, secretary to the federal government, inspector general of police, director general of the National Intelligence Agency, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, minister of justice and attorney general of the Federation, and the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. In an outrageous instance of its complicity in grand corruption, the Buhari administration covertly reinstated and promoted a fugitive federal bureaucrat and former chairman of the Nigerian Pension Reform Task Team who was under investigation for alleged involvement in a multimillion-dollar pension fraud.24 It would appear that Buhari's anticorruption stance has been compromised by two major factors: the unsavory political alliances that are required to conduct a nationwide presidential campaign; and Buhari's unwillingness to prevent the economically underdeveloped North from capturing “economic resources through direct access to public office and ensuing patronage networks.”25

Even as it overlooked or downplayed allegations of corruption within its own ranks, the Buhari administration sensationally interrogated the political opposition, especially members of the ousted Peoples Democratic Party (pdp) and factional rivals of the president. Indeed, many opposition politicians defected to Buhari's ruling All Progressives Congress (apc) party, presumably to escape scrutiny, prosecution, or persecution for corruption. Widespread perceptions of partisanship in the anticorruption policy were further reinforced by the arbitrary and abusive tactics of anticorruption agencies, including the “unlawful detention of suspects and blatant disregard of court orders,” with Jonathan's former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki emerging as a particularly conspicuous target of such lawlessness.26

However, in 2017, the most compelling criticism of Buhari's anticorruption policy was of its shallowness. Succinctly, the policy failed to live up to its promise of addressing underlying institutional and systemic impediments to good governance and anticorruption reform in Nigeria. These impediments include the overpoliticization, institutional underdevelopment, and political dependence of the anticorruption agencies; the wide discretionary powers of political chief executives at national and subnational levels; the flawed design and chronically weak enforcement of current transparency and fair procurement laws; and the perverse and powerful incentives for decentralized corruption and distributive ethnopolitical contention that are inherent in the Nigerian system of oil-rents federalism. Indeed, the very idea of Nigeria as a political community has little social legitimacy in the eyes of many Nigerians.

The continuing institutional travails of the efcc under Buhari are particularly revealing and ironic. In his January 2018 address to the African Union as the organization's designated “champion” for its theme on “Winning the Fight Against Corruption,” Buhari declared, “I cannot overemphasize the value of strong institutions…. We must adequately empower our national anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence.”27 Yet, under Buhari, the efcc has remained politically dependent, often unprofessional, and beholden to the presidency, having lost most of its well-trained investigators and prosecutors when its activist founding head, Nuhu Ribadu, was summarily removed by the executive in 2007. Its current head, Ibrahim Magu, serves in a legally dubious acting capacity: the Senate failed to confirm his appointment on account of apparent politically motivated allegations by Nigeria's Department of State Services questioning Magu's integrity; and Buhari has been unwilling to replace him with a less politically controversial person. The entire agency itself currently employs fewer than three thousand people, but receives more than one hundred petitions daily, leaving investigators and prosecutors overstretched.28 Moreover, the efcc is hobbled by recurrent conflicts with the Office of the Minster of Justice and Attorney General.

There is a fundamental tension between the broad investigative, prosecutorial, and preventive functions of Nigeria's anticorruption agencies and the constitutional authority of the justice minister/attorney general, who has the legislative authority to take over, continue, or discontinue any criminal prosecution. The efcc's political vulnerability and weak professionalism were thrown into sharp relief in July 2017, when the global Egmont Group of 156 Financial Intelligence Units (fius) voted to suspend, “by consensus,” membership of the efcc's Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (nfiu) “following repeated failures on the part of the nfiu to address concerns regarding the protection of confidential information … and the legal basis and clarity of the nfiu's independence.”29

Undoubtedly, Buhari's anticorruption initiatives have helped reduce the hemorrhaging of federal government finances, stabilize Nigeria's inherently volatile oil-centric economy, cauterize Boko Haram's Islamist terrorism, and nudge the country away from the trajectory of brazen and catastrophic corruption that it was on during the Jonathan presidency. Indeed, Afrobarometer surveys show that most Nigerians applaud Buhari's anticorruption campaign, even as they remain divided or uncertain about its actual effectiveness in curtailing malfeasance.30 Greater institutionalization is required not only to advance and consolidate Buhari's reforms, but also to prevent the policies’ modest advances from being eroded.

Such institutionalization can draw on the experience of the country's recent successes in controlling electoral corruption. Electoral fraud, which almost always involves collusion between ruling-party functionaries and ostensibly nonpartisan election officials to abrogate the popular will, often reflects and reinforces broader systemic corruption by placing in public office individuals who are demonstrably inclined to use governmental positions for personal gain rather than public good.31 A credible electoral process, on the other hand, can empower politicians committed to anticorruption reform, furnish an avenue of popular protest and retaliation against political venality, stimulate constructive political contestation over governance reform, and offer a model of formal political design and institution-building for promoting the autonomy of critical oversight agencies. To be sure, elections can also exacerbate, rather than reduce, corruption, especially under conditions of widespread poverty, poor voter coordination, and chronically underdeveloped political institutions, including weak political parties. Nonetheless, contemporary experiences in countries as diverse as Georgia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ukraine demonstrate that presidential election campaigns in particular can help not only to highlight the fight against corruption, but also to open opportunities for the promotion of critical anticorruption legislation, strategies, and institutions.32

Improvements in the quality of Nigeria's general elections in 2011 and 2015 provide an instructive template for advancing anticorruption reform. Those improvements followed reforms that were introduced after the elections in 2007, which international observers considered to be some of the most corrupt they had witnessed anywhere in the world.33 The administration of President Umaru Yar'Adua (2007– 2010) set up an Electoral Reform Committee (erc), headed by former Chief Justice Muhammadu Uwais, to ameliorate the legitimacy crisis created by criticism of the elections. Shaping the work of the erc was “a strong pro-reform platform bringing together opposition parties, civil society organizations, development partners and the diplomatic community.”34 Reflecting a consensus among these stakeholders, the erc focused primarily on making the Independent National Electoral Commission (inec), Nigeria's election management body, “truly independent, non-partisan, impartial, professional, transparent and reliable.”35

In its most radical proposal, the erc recommended that inec should cease to be a “federal executive body,” and instead become a more inclusive, representative, and politically autonomous agency.36 Under the Nigerian Constitution, federal executive bodies are largely appointed by the president, in consultation with the Council of State (a body headed by the president and comprising current heads of the federal executive, legislative, and judicial branches, all former presidents, and all governors, among others), subject to confirmation by the Senate. But the erc recommended that the inec board be constituted through a multilayered process beginning with the generation of nominees for membership of the commission from the general public and designated civil society organizations (including labor, bar, media, and women's organizations). Based on these public and civic nominations, the National Judicial Council (njc) was to prepare a shortlist of inec board members from which the Council of State would make the final appointment, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The key innovation in this recommendation is its attempt to dilute partisan presidential control of the electoral administration body by giving the general public, civil society, and an independent judiciary important roles in making appointments. Especially significant is the key role of the njc, which is headed and largely appointed by the Chief Justice of the Federation, and is vested with broad autonomous powers to oversee the funding, appointment, and discipline of the judicial branch.

Although the administration successfully resisted the erc's radical recommendation, the erc's overall emphasis on creating an impartial, inclusive, and independent election agency inspired many changes in election management that contributed to major improvements in the quality of Nigerian elections. The most important was the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega, a member of the erc and former head of Nigeria's university teachers’ union, as chair of inec. Jega's appointment not only ended the tenure of an openly partisan chair, but also marked the first time an independent civil-society luminary–rather than a current or retired government bureaucrat– was appointed to lead the commission. Jega further guaranteed his independence by offering to serve only one term in office, despite a constitutional provision allowing the president to renew Jega's five-year tenure for an additional term.

Aside from appointing a credible and independent activist to chair inec, important changes to the constitution and the Electoral Act were introduced to advance clean-election reforms. A constitutional amendment granted financial autonomy and security to inec by making its budget a first-line charge on the federal treasury, so that financial allocations to the Commission do not pass through the federal executive but are made directly by the national legislature. In practical terms, this amendment meant that funding for inec was appropriated to “an account in the Central Bank over which inec would have full control.”37 Other changes ended the absolute discretion the president exercised over the appointment of inec's subnational residential electoral commissioners (the president's appointments were made subject to Senate confirmation); empowered inec to exercise broad regulatory, oversight, and supervisory powers over the electoral process (including the scheduling of elections and the monitoring of internal party democracy); and introduced measures to streamline and accelerate electoral adjudication and petitions processes.

These changes produced a more politically independent and institutionally transparent inec, which adheres to contemporary standards of professionalism. Thus, the commission explicitly committed itself to “creating a level playing field for all political parties and contestants and removing the perception that inec functioned at the bidding of government and powerful individuals.”38 Under Jega, inec introduced extensive improvements in Nigeria's electoral governance, including technological innovations such as a more credible biometric electoral register and smart-card readers for voter authentication. inec also began to cooperate with external stakeholders, facilitating the implementation of parallel voter tabulation by civil-society organizations and collaborating with donors, parties, civic organizations, and security agencies to make election-day logistics more transparent, efficient, and effective.

These electoral reforms did not, however, eliminate vote-buying (which was abetted by a lax political campaign finance system) or violence from Nigerian elections. Rather, they ended an entrenched tradition of partisan collusion within the highest echelons of the electoral administration to manipulate or bungle the electoral process. Over the 2011 and 2015 election cycles, these changes in electoral management produced more positive assessments of Nigerian elections by domestic and external observers. The changes also led to a reduction in the number of postelection petitions, to an erosion of the pdp's electoral hegemony, and ultimately to the presidential victory of an opposition party for the first time in the nation's fifty-five-year postindependence history. This electoral alternation, in turn, provided an opportunity for improved governance by replacing a government that openly condoned corruption with a governing coalition professing an explicit anticorruption platform.

Thus, Nigeria's recent experience with electoral reform underlines the importance of political and financial autonomy to the effective functioning of key oversight bodies. Failure to secure such autonomy or independence has been a core institutional challenge and, indeed, harms efforts to ensure constitutionalism, electoral integrity, human rights, and corruption control in Africa, Asia, and other developing-world contexts.39 Institutionally advancing anticorruption reform therefore requires, above all else, insulating anticorruption bodies from politicization.

The strategy of depoliticizing the appointment and funding of major oversight agencies has come to enjoy broad consensus in Nigeria as a means of preventing political executives from interfering with and delegitimizing these agencies. While the national legislature, judiciary, and electoral commission already enjoyed significant political or budgetary autonomy, the 2014 National Conference Report and 2015 Constitution Alteration Bill proposed additional candidates for greater insulation from the executive, including the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (rmafc), Accountant General of the Federation, and the Office of the Auditor General. To these institutions may be added the antigraft agencies (Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, efcc, and icpc), Police Council and Service Commission, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Public Procurement Council, and Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Another institution in need of political insulation is the Office of the Attorney General, which (as informed observers have widely recommended) should be decoupled from the partisan, executive-appointed position of minister of justice. Indeed, the list should ideally include any institutions that must remain above partisan conflict and control if good democratic governance is to be enhanced.40 Like inec, all of these oversight institutions should be funded as budgetary first-line charges as a way of securing their political autonomy. In addition, heads of these institutions, including inec, should be appointed using the multilayered process proposed by the erc, which involves participation by the public and civil society, njc, the Council of State, and the Senate.

In addition to making their appointments more inclusive and apolitical, members of oversight and anticorruption agencies should be allowed to serve an extended (for instance, eight-to-ten-year) nonrenewable tenure, rather than the current four-to-five-year renewable term. The use of nonrenewable terms is a globally accepted standard for reducing the risk of oversight agency leaders becoming beholden to politicians for reappointment. Significantly, the idea of single tenure for executive political officials has been widely promoted in Nigeria as a formula for reducing incumbent manipulations of elections and for facilitating the rotation and sharing of executive political offices among ethnic elites. Arguably, however, the principle of nonrenewable terms is far more appropriate for nonpartisan oversight offices than for political offices, where longer but nonrenewable single terms (as opposed to the current maximum of two four-year terms) could undermine political accountability and competition. The combination of extended terms and nonrenewable tenure for political officeholders could increase the risk of collusion between politicians and vested economic and other interests, while also liberating politicians from incentives for accountability and integrity that are inherent in reelection concerns.41

A potential criticism of the proposed formula for depoliticizing oversight agencies is the key role envisaged for the njc, which is often critiqued for its perceived complicity in the judicial obstruction and corruption that have repeatedly stymied Nigeria's antigraft campaigns. Indeed, there is considerable evidence of collusion between corrupt officials, senior lawyers, and judges to obstruct the effective and timely prosecution of corruption cases, thereby undermining the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015, which was instituted to protect Nigerian society from crimes through “speedy dispensation of justice.”42 But Nigeria's paucity of high-profile anticorruption convictions has resulted from the relatively poor funding, staffing, professionalization, and motivation of the anticorruption agencies. Contending with better prepared and paid lawyers hired by the wealthy accused, these agencies’ sheer prosecutorial mediocrity and negligence are compounded by weak interagency coordination and lack of collaboration with the federal ministry of justice and security services.43

The njc, on the other hand, has emerged as a relatively successful model of judicial self-regulation. Undoubtedly, the njc's capacity to police and punish corruption among its own members is constrained by the fact that it is headed and dominated by the sitting chief justice and serving judges, rather than by respected retired judges and other institutionally independent persons. Nonetheless, for all its challenges with malfeasance, the judiciary and njc have “devised inbuilt mechanisms for removing corrupt and indolent judges” and, thus, have “fared better than the executive and legislature in the sanitization of the political system,” according to human rights attorney Femi Falana.44 Not surprisingly, surveys show that more Nigerians (43 percent) trust the judiciary than the presidency (36 percent), the majority political party (29 percent), the national legislature (27 percent), local governments (25 percent), opposition political parties (24 percent), internal revenue service (23 percent), or police (16 percent).45 Sixty-seven percent of Nigerians accept that the courts have the right to make decisions that people must abide by, and the country performs better on indices of judicial independence and legitimacy than on most other indicators of public integrity.46 In essence, among all major governing institutions, the njc remains the most viable and credible instrument for depoliticizing the appointments of key anticorruption and oversight agencies.

Giving the judiciary an important role in constituting oversight agencies will reduce the discretionary, quasimonarchical powers of political chief executives. Despite the constitutional entrenchment of independent judicial and legislative branches, the Nigerian presidency remains a sort of superpresidency, with direct control over administrative and patronage political appointments, security institutions, and the distribution of oil and other economic rents. Diminishing this corruptive dominance will require not only the extrication and insulation of key oversight agencies from direct presidential control, but also direct curtailment of the vast patronage powers of the presidency. A 2011 federal government committee, for instance, recommended either scrapping or dissolving via merger more than one hundred of the 541 federal agencies, owing to their redundant and overlapping mandates and functions. Ultimately, this decision aimed to streamline the governance structure in order to make it more cost-effective and accountable. It also proposed the appointment of moderate-sized, rather than bloated, governing boards for the remaining agencies.47

Reducing the spoils of the Nigerian superpresidency will additionally involve removing loopholes in current laws and administrative regulations that give the federal chief executive powers to dispense unilaterally economic opportunities through practices such as the discretionary allocation of crude oil–lifting contracts outside of competitive bidding rounds, the granting of presidential import duty waivers to businesses, and control of opaque extrabudgetary votes. Particularly in need of reassessment is the Public Procurement Act of 2007, which, according to legal scholar Sope Williams-Elegbe, gives procurement officials “much discretion in making procurement decisions,” but does not “insulate” these officials “from interference by high-ranking politicians.” This perpetuates a public procurement system that is “still riddled with corruption, fraud, and irregularities.”48

Discretionary executive powers are most expansive at the subnational level, where gubernatorial privileges effectively overwhelm all potential sources of countervailing powers, including legislative assemblies, the judiciary, the offices of the accountant general and auditor general, local governments, and traditional chieftaincy institutions. In addition, along with the president and vice president, the governors and their deputies constitute an elite club of seventy-four public officers who enjoy constitutional immunity from all criminal prosecution while holding their offices. Proposals to curb these powers have been widely publicized and promoted and include rescinding constitutional immunity for political chief executives while constitutionally entrenching the financial, political, and operational autonomy of subnational legislatures and key oversight offices such as those of the state auditor general, accountant general, and attorney general. In addition, gubernatorial manipulation and emasculation of local authorities, including the replacement of democratically elected councils with administrators or caretaker committees appointed by the governor, can be curbed by transferring responsibility for conducting local elections from weak subnational election commissions to the more robust inec, and by prohibiting or suspending federal transfers of revenues to unelected local governments.

Uniquely among African countries, Nigeria transfers about half of all centrally collected public revenues (mainly from oil) automatically and unconditionally to subnational units of state and local governments, which have the primary responsibility for basic social services in education, health, sanitation, and maintenance of local roads. Most of these revenues are simply distributed using the dual principles of relative population and equal interunit shares, rather than using a distribution system tied to social investments, development projects, or fiscal responsibility. Under current revenue-sharing laws, the federally collected oil and other revenues that are legally designated for allocation to subnational state governments and their respective local governments are to be shared using the following principles and weights: 40 percent is allocated equally to all the states or localities, and 30 percent is allocated according to relative population, while social development needs, land mass/terrain, and internally generated revenues are given weights of 10 percent each. In reality, however, the principle of interunit equality plays an outsized role, “extending to a large portion of the 20% designated for social development and igr.”49 This distorts and politicizes the revenue-sharing system, fueling relentless pressures for the proliferation of new subnational administrations in order to access an equal share of the federal largesse.

Despite the fact that they derive an average of 80 percent of their budgets from constitutionally mandated federal transfers, Nigeria's subnational governments are not subject to external scrutiny by the central government and have very little incentive to generate revenues from–or be responsible to–local populations. Indeed, attempts by the federal government to implement conditional grants programs for universal basic education, primary health care, and millennium development goals have largely been unsuccessful because subnational units already receive massive unconditional transfers from the center and therefore do not want to be accountable to the federal government for how central funds are used.

Instead of advancing local accountability and transparency, Nigeria's subnational governments are mired in the extreme personalization of official powers and resource allocation. Nigerian state governors are implicated in financial mismanagement and profligacy, and political patronage appointments proliferate. Governors inflate or fabricate public procurement contracts and pay outrageous severance packages and pension allowances to themselves and other political officeholders. Due to their fiscal indiscipline and mismanagement, the governors have failed to insulate their states from exposure to international oil-price swings via the federal oil revenue transfer system. Nigeria's subnational governments therefore suffer from considerable financial indebtedness and vulnerability due to the volatile swings in their incomes. In 2015, as international oil prices collapsed and federal revenue transfers declined precipitously, subnational governments became insolvent, with thirty-three of the thirty-six states unable to pay the salaries and allowances of their employees.

Capitalizing on the states’ insolvency, the Buhari government articulated a fiscal sustainability plan that could nudge subnational governments toward more accountable and sustainable financial behavior. In order to continue to receive federal financial bailouts, the fiscal plan encouraged states to commit to observing the following principles of sound fiscal governance: timely publication of reports of audited finances and budget implementation performance, compliance with international public sector accounting standards, improvement of independently generated revenues, implementation of single treasury accounts, limitations on personnel expenditure as a share of total budgeted revenue, privatization or concession of inefficient state-owned enterprises, domestication of the national Fiscal Responsibility Act, and the development and maintenance of positive credit ratings.

However, the fiscal plan did not extend to general federal transfers, which continued to be disbursed unconditionally. Furthermore, the plan was designed as a set of action points rather than as preconditions for federal bailouts. Consequently, the fiscal plan was not seriously implemented by the states, which have continued to display “brazen” and “abysmal” disregard for transparency and accountability, according to a policy report by Lagos-based civic organization budgit. States considered themselves automatically and unconditionally entitled to sustenance and subsidization through the federal oil revenue devolution system.50

The decentralization of financial resources and political governance to a multiplicity of subnational states under Nigeria's unique form of federalism has functioned as a veritable instrument of ethnopolitical accommodation, enabling the country to avoid a repeat of its 1967–1970 civil war and preventing the kind of extended and violent disintegrative ethnopolitical contention that has afflicted other large, multiethnic African countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan. But the current Nigerian system of fiscal federalism is economically dysfunctional and unsustainable. It has encouraged irresponsible subunit financial behavior, which has in turn undermined the delivery of basic social services at the grassroots level and reinforced social discontent. These flaws have spawned intensive agitation for a restructuring of the Federation, or for a return to some version of Nigeria's pre–civil war system of three-unit, centrifugal, ethnoregional federalism. A judicious and practical response to these demands would be to enforce, extend, and institutionalize the current fiscal sustainability plan through appropriate amendments to federal revenue allocation laws, thereby transforming the current federal revenue distribution system into a conditional grants scheme that rewards efficient service delivery and good economic governance at the subnational level.

An impetus for such fundamental federal fiscal reform lies in the violent ethnic and regional insurgencies, widespread political agitation for constitutional restructuring, and diverse reform proposals that are directed against the current system of corrupt intergovernmental relations. These stirrings reflect a “broad consensus amongst Nigerians … that our federation has been dysfunctional, more unitary than federal, and not delivering public goods to the generality of our people,” as Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State and chairman of the ruling apc's Committee on True Federalism, has claimed.51 Nonetheless, visionary civic and political leadership is required to transform diffuse discontent and protests over the failures and flaws of the current federalism into a coherent and viable legislative and constitutional reform strategy. Although such bold, institutionally reformist political leadership has been largely lacking in the Buhari administration, as political economist Kingsley Moghalu has asserted, “there is no avoiding the imperative of a rational constitutional design of Nigeria's federal system for stability and prosperity.”52

Because the constitution already endows the national assembly with broad powers to frame the “terms and manner” of the federal revenue distribution system (subject to the observation of certain basic “allocation principles”), incorporating the fiscal sustainability plan into the federal revenue sharing system should not require elaborate constitutional amendment.53 Furthermore, insulating the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the rmafc from presidential control would endow these institutions with the independence, legitimacy, and capacity to develop, fine-tune, and administer a reformed revenue-sharing system. This would prevent the conditional revenue-sharing system from degenerating into a scheme for federal executive meddling in subnational affairs or for undermining the constitutional autonomy of the states. Promoting subnational fiscal responsibility, efficiency, and transparency should advance rather than subvert subnational autonomy.

Transparency remains elusive in Nigeria despite the government's underwriting of schemes like the Freedom of Information Act, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Open Government Partnership. The Freedom of Information (foi) Act of 2011, for instance, has been met with resistance from federal mdas and subnational governments, in which an official culture of secrecy, stonewalling, and deception thrives. The Act has been hobbled by poor funding of foi units, low institutional capacities of mdas for digital record keeping and dissemination, weak sanctions against noncompliance, and the assignment of oversight for foi implementation to the political Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. While it has bemoaned the Nigerian public's underutilization of the foi Act, the Office has not addressed the failure of government agencies proactively to make information publicly available, or their systematic and brazen denials of foi requests from civic organizations, which discourage citizens’ use of the Act. Civil society activists who fought determinedly against all odds for the establishment of the foi Act believe that transferring oversight for the Act to the proposed independent apolitical Office of the Attorney General would advance implementation of the law.

Governmental transparency would also be advanced by a constitutional amendment or the enactment of a law–which the National Assembly is constitutionally required to formulate–making the assets declarations of public officials readily “available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria.”54 Even without such a law, popular expectations regarding political leaders’ transparency and integrity have encouraged several politicians to make their assets declarations public. The most famous of such politicians was President Yar'Adua, who publicized his assets declarations, first as Katsina State governor (1999–2007) and subsequently as president. President Jonathan's blunt refusal to follow Yar'Adua's example, among other acts of ethical dereliction, contributed to Jonathan's growing unpopularity and eventual defeat in the 2015 election. President Buhari's seemingly halfhearted commitment to the public declaration of his own assets and of those of his appointees, and his inability or unwillingness to sponsor an executive bill on public access to assets declarations, is a disappointing aspect of his anticorruption policy.

Even so, public agitation regarding asset declarations should focus less on compelling individual acts of presidential transparency and more on getting the National Assembly to fulfill its constitutional obligation to implement legislation mandating public access to assets declarations. A law providing for the publication of public officials’ assets declarations will be a powerful tool of anticorruption reform, complementing the foi Act while reinforcing government's current whistleblower policy. The law will support and facilitate the work of the anticorruption commissions, engage and empower citizens to check the primitive accumulation of public functionaries, enhance a sense of participation in governance, and build a stronger sense of citizenship.

Building a stronger sense of citizenship is critical to anticorruption reform in Nigeria. Analysts agree that the monumental scale of political corruption is emblematic of weak civic attachment to the very idea of Nigeria as a cohesive political community.55 This fragility reflects the scale and strength of Nigeria's sometimes-clashing ethnic identities, official entrenchment of discriminatory ethnic indigeneity practices, and the absence of a fiscal social contract based on public taxation (rather than extractive oil revenues), with the country generating an abysmally low 6 percent of its gdp from taxation. Indeed, as Bill Gates emphasized in his forthright address to Nigeria's national and subnational leaders in March 2018, in the absence of “effective and transparent investments” in education, health, and broad-based economic opportunities, the country's governments are now trapped in the world's most extreme instance of a “low equilibrium fiscal situation” in which in “return for low levels of service people pay low levels of tax.”56 But compounding the fragility of Nigerian civic engagement and national identity is the absence of a broadly legitimate national compact–such as a popularly ratified constitution–that could bind the various Nigerian peoples together. Rather, successive Nigerian constitutions have been imposed by unelected colonial or military elites, with civilian representatives playing a largely advisory (rather than sovereign) role, and with no direct participation by the citizenry at large. Consequently, no credible formal national contract exists to rival informal, corrupt, and exploitative social contracts between patrons and clients in ethnically defined constituencies.

Several proposals have been advanced for addressing the challenge of constitutional illegitimacy, including one to convene a sovereign national conference of Nigerian ethnic and social groups, similar to the conferences that were held with mixed outcomes in several francophone African countries in the 1990s. A less controversial suggestion, supported by the Citizens’ Forum for Constitutional Reform, a broad coalition of Nigerian civil society groups, would subject future constitutional reforms or amendments to robust public vetting, including extensive public hearings or consultations and referenda. In response to civil-society demand for participatory constitutionalism, the House of Representatives convened public sessions on constitutional review in each of the country's three hundred and sixty legislative constituencies in 2012, while the Senate in 2013 approved a proposal to incorporate referenda into future constitutional amendments.

Key aspects of anticorruption reform should be assimilated into a broader process of constitutional review involving extensive public participation. Such participatory constitutionalism could advance anticorruption reform by enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of state institutions, counteracting the perception that multiethnic Nigeria is a fraudulent British colonial contraption, deepening a commitment to constitutionalism and the rule of law, and providing an opportunity for the collective action and civic cooperation required to combat entrenched corruption.

Civic organizations have indeed been central to Nigeria's modest anticorruption achievements. The country's civil society has played invaluable roles in investigating and publicizing political scandals, advocating for new anticorruption laws and institutions, promoting compliance to those anticorruption instruments, mobilizing domestic public awareness regarding the deleterious effects of corruption, and harnessing international resources for the fight against corruption. Organizations like the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, and budgit, as well as online media platforms like Premium Times and Sahara Reporters, are at the forefront of current advocacy for transparency and accountability in Nigeria. Civic coalitions like the Transition Monitoring Group and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room have been prominent in elections monitoring and reform, contributing to the development of the Nigerian electoral process as a potential mechanism for promoting competitive electoral alternations that can sanction grand political corruption and generate reformist political coalitions and leaderships. These civic struggles against corruption have informed the anticorruption institutional reforms enunciated in this essay and can help them continue to advance. To summarize and to conclude, the reforms would entail:

  1. Creating genuinely apolitical anticorruption and oversight agencies by entrenching the financial and operational autonomy of these institutions from national and subnational political executives. Appointees to these agencies would be selected through a multilayered process involving not only the executive and the legislative branches, but also the general public, civil-society organizations, and the judiciary.

  2. Instituting further curbs on discretionary powers of political executives by reforming current procurement practices, reducing the array of public agencies offering opportunities for patronage political appointments, rescinding the immunity from criminal prosecution enjoyed by incumbent executives, and promoting autonomous, democratically elected local governance bodies.

  3. Restructuring the Nigerian system of unconditional federal revenue distribution into a conditional grants scheme in order to make subnational governments accountable, transparent, responsible, and efficient in their use of revenue transfers.

  4. Strengthening current transparency laws by transferring responsibility for oversight of the foi Act to a depoliticized and autonomous Office of the Attorney General, and by enacting a law to grant public access to officials’ assets declarations.

  5. Mobilizing extensive public participation in future constitutional change, including through the use of constitutional referendums, as a way of building social legitimacy for Nigeria's constitutional institutions and repairing the fragile sense of national political community.


Robert I. Rotberg, The Corruption Cure: How Citizens and Leaders Can Combat Graft (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2017), 136; Stephen Ellis, This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organized Crime (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); and Daniel Jordan Smith, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria (Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2007).


See Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria (Cambridge, Mass.: The mit Press 2012).


See Rotberg, The Corruption Cure, 290–309.


Larry Diamond, “Issues in the Constitutional Design of a Third Nigerian Republic,” African Affairs 86 (343) (1987): 226.


See Rotimi Suberu, “Managing Constitutional Change in the Nigerian Federation,” Publius: Journal of Federalism 45 (4) (2015): 552–579.


Center for Democracy and Development, Buharimeter: PMB Performance Report (Abuja: Center for Democracy and Development, 2017), 3.


Muhammadu Buhari, “Nigeria Committed to Good Governance and Fighting Terror,” The Washington Post, July 20, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/nigeria-committed-to-good-governance-and-fighting-terror/2015/07/20/8c1acd00-2e21-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html?utm_term=.826756e78e68.


“Nigeria's Vice President Says $15 bln Stolen in Arms Procurement Fraud,” Reuters, May 2, 2016, https://af.reuters.com/article/africaTech/idAFKCN0XU0CY.


Sanusi Lamido, “Unanswered Questions on Nigeria's Missing Oil Revenue Billions,” Financial Times, May 13, 2015; and William Wallis, “Nigeria: The Big Oil Fix,” Financial Times, May 26, 2015.


John Ofikhenua, “Kachikwu: $40 b Down the Drain in Niger Delta,” The Nation (Lagos), August 26, 2016.


Jim Boulden, “How Corrupt Nigerian Politician Was Brought to Justice in the uk,” http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/world/africa/ibori-mpa/index.html.


Paul Adams, “State(s) of Crisis: Subnational Government in Nigeria,” Africa Research Briefing Note No. 1602 (London: Africa Research Institute, 2016), 2.


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Corruption in Nigeria: Bribery, Public Experience and Response (Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2017), 5–6.


Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Terrorism Index 2015 (Sydney; New York; and Mexico City: Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015), 4.


Oxfam International, Inequality in Nigeria: Exploring the Drivers (Oxford: Oxfam International 2017), 15.


Institute for Economics and Peace, World Internal Security and Police Index 2016 (Sydney; New York; and Mexico City: Institute for Economics and Peace, 2017), 5.


Muhammadu Buhari, “Special Guest of Honor's Remarks,” in Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, International Workshop on the Role of Judges in the Fight Against Corruption: A Compendium of Papers (Abuja: Office of the President, 2016), 40.


Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Report: August 2015–July 2016 (Abuja: Office of the President, 2016), 10.


Transparency International Secretariat, “Nigeria Must Strengthen Anti-Corruption Bodies and Increase Transparency on Asset Recovery,” June 16, 2016, https://www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/nigerian_must_strenghthen_anti_corruption_bodies_and_increase_transparency.


Ismail Akwei, “20 Nigerians to Get Over $1m Whistleblower Reward for Recovered $36.8m,” Africa News, August 6, 2017, http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/08/20-nigerians-to-get-over-1m-whistleblowing-money-from-recovered-368m//.


Center for Democracy and Development, Buharimeter, 4–8.


Biodun Jeyifo, “Why Are the People Not Clapping their Hands? Because Predatoriness Has Not Stopped!” The Nation (Lagos), October 15, 2017.


“The Unending Maina Scandal,” This Day, January 26, 2018; and Yusuf Alli, “Maina Scandal: Ex-efcc Chair, Ex-igp, Two Heads of Service, Implicated,” Sahara Reporters, October 29, 2017.


Zainab Usman, The Successes and Failures of Economic Reform in Nigeria's Post-Military Political Settlement, University of Oxford Global Economic Governance Program Working Paper No. 115 (Oxford: University of Oxford Global Economic Governance Program, 2016), 46.


Center for Democracy and Development, Buharimeter, 8.


African Union, “President Buhari of Nigeria Launches the au Theme of the Year 2018 on Fighting Corruption in the Continent,” Press Release, Directorate of Information and Communication, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 29, 2018.


Femi Falana, “Why Government Loses Corruption Cases,” Sahara Reporters, April 12, 2017.


“Co-Chairs’ Statement–24th Plenary of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units,” Egmont Group, Macao, South Africa, July 7, 2012, https://egmontgroup.org/en/content/co-chairs%E2%80%99-statement-24th-plenary-egmont-group-financial-intelligence-units.


Oluwole Ojewale and Josephine Appiah-Nyamekye, “In Nigeria, Perceived Corruption Remains High Despite Praise for President's Anti-Graft Fight,” Afrobarometer Dispatch No. 187, February 8, 2018.


Ray Fisman and Miriam Golden, Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 53.


United States Agency for International Development, Practitioner's Guide for Anti-Corruption Programming (Washington, D.C.: United States Agency for International Development, 2015), 29.


Rotimi Suberu, “Nigeria's Muddled Elections,” Journal of Democracy 18 (4) (2007): 95–110.


Peter Lewis and Michael Watts, The Politics of Policy Reform in Nigeria (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2015), 1.


Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Electoral Reform Committee (Abuja: Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2008), 25.


Ibid., 28.


Attahiru Jega, “Enhancing Electoral Integrity,” AfricaPlus, May 18, 2017, https://africaplus.wordpress.com/




Michael Davis, “Strengthening Constitutionalism in Asia,” Journal of Democracy 28 (4) (2017): 155.


Diamond, “Issues in the Constitutional Design of a Third Nigerian Republic,” 217.


Fisman and Golden, Corruption, 197–198.


Federal Republic of Nigeria, National Assembly, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 2015).


Falana, “Why Government Loses Corruption Cases.”


Femi Falana, “Allegations of Corruption in the Justice Delivery Sector: Implications for the Rule of Law and Democracy,” Sahara Reporters, December 6, 2016.


Rick Stapenhurst, Kerry Jacobs, and Oladeji Olaore, “Legislative Oversight in Nigeria: An Empirical Review and Assessment,” Journal of Legislative Studies 22 (1) (2016): 1–29.


Carolyn Logan, Ambitious SDG Goal Confronts Challenging Realities: Access to Justice Is Still Elusive for Many Africans, Afrobarometer Policy Paper No. 39, March 2017, 13; and Index of Public Integrity, “Nigeria,” http://integrity-index.org/country-profile/?id=NGA&yr=2017.


Federal Republic of Nigeria, White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies (Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 2014).


Sope Williams-Elegbe, “A Comparative Analysis of the Nigerian Public Procurement Act Against International Best Practice,” Journal of African Law 59 (1) (2015): 85–98.


World Bank, Nigeria Economic Report No. 1 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2013), 24.


budgit, State of the States Policy Brief April 2017 (Lagos: budgit, 2017), 13–15.


Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, “Next Generation Nigeria: What is Restructuring and Does Nigeria Need It?” Africa Program Meeting Transcript, Chatham House, London, September 21, 2017, 3.


Kingsley Moghalu, “Osinbajo and the National Question,” This Day, July 3, 2017.


Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 1999), sec. 162.


Ibid., 3rd Schedule, pt. I.


See, for example, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, “As Buhari Fights Corruption Without a Strategy,” Premium Times, December 20, 2016; Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), 225; Richard Joseph, Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Rise and Fall of the Second Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); and Peter P. Ekeh, “Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 17 (1) (1975): 91–112.


“For the Records: Bill Gates’ Speech that Rattled Nigerian Government,” Premium Times, March 27, 2018.

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