Corrupt anti-corruption camgaign?Nigerian President Buhari's PDP opponents contend that corruption is only prosecuted when it's done by PDP supporters. Can such a campaign work? Can it reduce the government's legitimacy? Can it increase the political importance of existing cleavages?
Buhari's Corruption Drive Lays Bare Nigeria's Political Tensions
When Muhammadu Buhari took over as Nigeria’s president less than a year ago, he vowed to wipe out the corruption he said threatened the very existence of Africa’s largest economy.
But as he investigates former ministers and high-ranking officials, members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party accuse him of carrying out a vendetta against them. Buhari ousted the PDP following March elections, ending the party’s monopoly on power that it held since the end of military rule in 1999.
The PDP called for Buhari to be impeached last week for “various constitutional” breaches, including the arrest this month of its national spokesman, Olisa Metuh. He was detained as part a probe into whether the previous government stole as much as $5.5 billion meant for fighting Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency in the north. Sambo Dasuki, the national security adviser under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, was also arrested as part of the same investigation…
The arrests have heightened regional and ethnic tensions in Nigeria, a country of 170 million split between a mostly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. Buhari, a 73-year-old northerner and former general, got the bulk of his votes from his home region and the religiously mixed southwest through his All Progressives Congress coalition…
Corruption has blighted Nigeria since independence from the U.K. in 1960. Africa’s largest oil producer came 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s latest global ranking, the same level as Russia. Buhari has blamed graft for keeping most Nigerians in poverty and for the dire state of the country’s roads, schools and hospitals.
While Buhari promised his government would be impartial in its investigations, he has accused the previous administration of looting billions of dollars and said that he inherited a “virtually empty treasury”.
Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said it was logical for authorities to go after those who handled Nigeria’s finances in previous years…
Rising political tensions could threaten Buhari’s ability to carry out the widespread reforms he promised. Those include boosting Nigeria’s poor electricity supply and improving its dilapidated infrastructure…
While last year’s elections dealt a blow to the PDP, it still has almost half the seats in the Senate and over a third in the House of Representatives…
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