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82 CHAPTER 6 Corruption and Poverty in Africa InterrogatingtheProblematicofReformWithoutDevelopmentinNigeria Adelaja Odukoya INTRODUCTION It is no exaggeration that Nigeria in many respects has not fulfilled its manifest mandate. Nigeria has become a dream betrayed. Rather than provide continental and global leadership as a pace-setter exemplifying the unlimited possibilities for development of Africa and the African Diaspora, Nigeria’s claim to ‘giant of Africa’ finds symptomatic expression as a tragic Lilliputian. Despite Nigeria’s natural endowments, oil, gas, and human capital, the country has been savagely mismanaged and violated under the watch of its own nationals. With over US$400 billion in oil revenue since 1970, about two thirds of the country’s population are living under US$1 a day.1 As Watts2 succinctly notes, ‘85% of oil revenue accrue to 1% of the population; perhaps $100 billion of the $400 billion in revenues since 1970 have simply gone missing’. Thus Nigeria epitomises a sad case of apocalypse monumental fraud, and the paradox of abundance typified by the ‘Dutch disease’. For Adejugbe3 , ‘specifically, the Dutch disease describes the co-existence within the traded goods sector of progressing and declining, or booming and lagging sub-sector’. With respect to Nigeria therefore, the Dutch disease undermines productivity in the real sector and leads to currency depreciation through the incidence of oil rent. Some other consequences of the Dutch disease are capital flight, booming markets for cheaper foreign products, underdevelopment of productive forces, impossibility of productive accumulation, arrested development and mal-development. Nigeria’s embarrassing economic impoverishment, political bastardisation and mal-governance continuously resonate in global development indexes. While the UNDP’s African Human Development Index (HDI) for 2011 is 0.463, Nigeria falls below the continent’s average at 0.459, placing it at 156 out of 187 countries assessed.4 Less endowed African nations are 83 CORRUPTION AND POVERTY IN AFRICA higher on the HDI than Nigeria. For instance, Gabon, Ghana, Angola and Cameroun have HDI of 0.674, 0.541, 0.486 and 0.482; placing 106, 135, 148 and 150 out of 187 countries with comparable data respectively5 . Similarly, on the 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance with 41% Nigeria is placed 41st out of 53 nations, and is on the 45th position on the Ibrahim Human Development scale.6 At the core of Nigeria’s development crisis is the problem of capital accumulation . The crisis of accumulation has both domestic and international complements, with both mutually reinforcing and interpenetrating. At the domestic level was the non-emergence from colonial rule of a patriotic national political elite committed to national development. As Ake7 perceptively argues, ‘power is everything, and those who control the coercive resources use it freely to promote their interests, including the appropriation of surplus’. At independence, the political struggles for hegemonic control over the levers of the state dove-tailed into and destroyed post-independence consensus imperative for accumulation. These divisive struggles ensure the over-politicisation of the state. This led to the neglect and mismanagement of the economy especially in the context of the institutionalisation of patronage politics and prebendal exchanges as a basis for state. The advance to predation has also been recognised.8 The appropriation of state power by and for individuals and groups in the context of neo-patrimonialism erode the basis of an inclusive economic development orientation which can facilitate capital accumulation. The pattern of accumulation that plays itself out and preferred by the Nigerian elite is deeply ingrained in the nation’s colonial history and exploitation, which ensured a deliberate underdevelopment of domestic entrepreneurship8 . This condition produced material poverty and desperation to use state power to redeem this condition which constitutes a threat to elite political power. Internationally, colonial capitalism secured a dependent role for Nigeria in the world system, wherein she was made to specialise in commodity export which was concomitant with her underdevelopment and peripherialisation . This arrangement with the complimentary unequal exchange ensured massive pillage, plunder and mal-governance. The architecture of colonial rule by its very logic promoted and instituted corruption9 . These conditions were aggravated by the crisis of global capitalism starting from the early 1970s in the context of a neo-colonial political economy. The crisis manifested in balance of payment crises, de-industrialisation, unemployment , under-employment, poverty, diseases, debt over-hang and authoritarian political regimes. Given its oil wealth, Nigeria’s economic crisis distinguished it as a wasteful and rudderless nation, thus laying credence to the belief that the nation is an...


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