In light of the recent money laundering scandal in Malawi and South Africa, the correlation between corruption and African politics find itself in the spot light yet again. More recently BBC reported that Lambido Sanusi, head of Nigeria’s Central Bank, has been suspended over allegations of financial recklessness and misconduct. Sanusi, known globally as a well-respected banker and critic of the Nigerian government, stated in 2009 that corrupt interests will continue to keep Nigeria impoverished, vulnerable to growing grievances and continued extremist attacks from the northeast.
On the surface this story might seem like a snapshot into yet another story on corruption and misappropriation of resources. However, upon further research the story appears to be more about whistle-blowing against the state run oil company, its misuse of oil revenues and its inability to account for $20 billion. This incident is telling for the country and the continent, it indicates that those who are attempting to fight for transparency and accountability are suffering immense backlash from the state. Although the central bank is supposed to be a semi-autonomous entity within Nigeria’s weak institutional capacity the appropriate checks and balances that should exist to protect the bank’s autonomous status seems to be non-existent.
The upcoming election in the country might shed some light into why President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration decided to oust Sanusi. In 2015, incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is attempting to position himself for victory. However with growing tensions between the Islamic militant group Boko Haram and the government his chances for a second term seem to be in jeopardy.
Corruption continues to be a grave issue in African politics. In 2013 Afrobaramoter conducted a 34 country study in Africa and determined that 56% of the population find their governments to have done a ‘fair’ or ‘very bad’ job of fighting corruption. The question then becomes how corruption can, when it comes from the highest position in the state, be overcome? And will the media’s naming and shaming of the Nigerian government for Sanusi’s ousting serve as a new method in the fight against corruption?