Nigerian President Takes Progressive Turn

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African_arguments_logoLong term Nigeria watcher and DiA friend Jeremy Weate has written an excellent article on the recent decision of Goodluck Jonathan to appoint Nuhu Ribadou – the former corruption official who came to St Antony’s College in Oxford when he was forced to flee Nigeria –  to Chair the Task Force on Petroleum Revenue.  

Jeremy argues that the ‘return of Nuhu Ribadu to the political theatre in Abuja as Chair of the newly constituted Task Force on Petroleum Revenue perhaps does just enough to finally tip the balance of forces in favour of the progressive, for the first time in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.  At the height of his powers at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ribadu struck fear into many a state governor or briefcase contractor.  With no legal mandate and reporting directly to the Minister of Petroleum, it will be interesting to see what impact the new body has.  The move does however put the quest to quell corruption closer to centre stage in Nigeria.  Together with his former colleague Ibrahim Lamorde, who was formally appointed Chair of the EFCC in January, we may see more pressure for the state-owned colossus, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to change its modus operandi, ahead of the long-anticipated Petroleum Industry Bill (which is currently being rewritten, apparently from scratch).’

He argues that the Task Force on Petroleum Revenue is particularly significant given the central role that oil plays in Nigeria’s political economy, and ends on a positive note, concluding ‘The conditions for more accountable governance are gathering. The ultimate achievement of his administration now emerges on the horizon: a deep-seated constitutional reform that delivers a genuine federal structure to Nigeria, and for the first time empowers accountability at the local level of government.  If he achieved this, Jonathan would truly have broken the mould of Nigeria’s post-independence politics.  And the country’s Nuhu Ribadus and Ibrahim Lamordes would have an easier task ahead of them.’

This makes Jeremy’s one of the more optimistic of recent times – and good news is always welcome.  But do you agree with his assessment?  Or do you think that this might be a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same?

For the whole article, click here

For our previous blog posts of Nigeria, click here{jcomments on}

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