What Does Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Report Card Look Like? (Hint: It’s Terrible)

February 20, 2022

When Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as the Head-Nigga-in-Charge president in 2015, he was a man on a mission.

His to-do list contained three things he promised to deliver within four years – improve the economy, eliminate insecurity and crush corruption.

Buhari's anti-corruption fight has been a major battle for his administration

Seven years later, much of what we have are audio victories we never get to see.

It was only months into his administration that he said resident terrorist group Boko Haram was technically defeated. Never mind that that same group has killed thousands of Nigerians since then.

Daredevil bandit groups have also become a huge problem in the north and had to be declared terrorists recently.

The country has suffered two historic economic recessions under Buhari, and his government’s talking point has been that we exited those recessions rather quickly. So, best to be thankful.

Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has not been as impressive as promised

In the area of Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, it has been hard to separate the big lies of the government from what is actually true.

Corruption conviction rates have been rising, including the imprisonment of two thieving former state governors who are members of the president’s own party.

Buhari's anti-corruption campaign got two former governors jailed

But despite what those conviction figures say, there are many stories of ongoing corruption that suggest the government has not done enough to fight it, and may even be enabling it.

Loot recovered from the thieves of yesterday have been reported stolen once again by a new generation of thieves.

Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has suffered many setbacks

If only there was an international organisation that could establish a rating system for the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

The result of Buhari's anti-corruption campaign is mostly determined by Transparency International's CPI

Hello, Transparency International

Transparency International is a non-profit organisation combating global corruption since 1993.

One of its most prominent projects is the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which provides a window into public sector corruption around the world.

The organisation created its first CPI in 1995, ranking 41 countries on how much corruption was perceived to exist in their public sectors and how that impacts political, economic and social development.

Over 20 years later, the CPI now regularly ranks 180 countries around the world with scores ranging from zero to 100.

A high CPI score indicates a clean system with very little corruption taking place, while a low CPI score means, well, you’re in the trenches of corruption. 

Buhari's anti-corruption efforts have not lifted Nigeria enough

How has Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign fared?

The year before Buhari became president, Nigeria was ranked 136th out of 180 countries on perceived corruption, scoring 27 out of a possible 100 marks.

How exactly has Nigeria performed under the African Union’s proclaimed Anti-Corruption Champion (which is a real title)?

What Buhari's anti-corruption report card looks like

You know you have to hide all the belts in the building before you show your parents this kind of result.

Why Nigeria’s CPI rating is poor under Buhari 

Buhari has never directly reacted to a CPI report, but his government has turned rubbishing it into an annual ritual.

In campaigns regularly led by the administration’s vuvuzela, Lai Mohammed, the company line has been that the CPI is not scientific enough to capture Buhari’s giant strides against corruption.

Buhari's anti-corruption efforts have not had enough giant strides

This is a valid criticism of the CPI that’s repeated by governments whose countries finish on the wrong end of the rankings.

Transparency International has admitted that the CPI does not pretend to measure the reality of corruption but the valid perceptions of it. 

That’s what the ‘Perceptions’ in Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) stands for.

The low ratings for Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts have long been attributed to the failure of anti-graft authorities to diligently prosecute high-profile corruption cases.

High-ranking officials like Ibrahim Magu and Abba Kyari have not had serious charges filed against them despite damaging corruption allegations. Many other cases against high-profile officials have also moved slowly in the courts for years.

President Buhari has cried numerous times about the slow pace of the justice system. He has often recalled the supposedly more efficient system of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ he adopted as a military dictator in the 1980s. 

Like that worked out well for anybody.

Perception or reality, what’s clear is that Buhari inherited a corrupt nation in 2015, has done barely anything to move the needle, and will deliver a corrupt nation to the unlucky person he hands over to in 2023.

Unless he finds a way to score above 50 by the end of this year.

Buhari's anti-corruption campaign is heading towards a disastrous end when he leaves office in 2023

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