President Muhammadu Buhari announced in an op-ed on Monday morning that he will not finish filling the posts in his Cabinet until some time in September. His remarks were published in the Washington Post just hours before a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House kicked off his official visit to the US.
The Nigerian leader also said he would pursue the Obama administration’s assistance with securing the $150 billion pillaged from Nigeria’s coffers over the past decade that are now held in foreign bank accounts. His plan is to instill the "new rules of conduct and good governance" before actually placing new officials, and only after both of these steps can “funds stolen under previous regimes” be recovered.
It is not clear that the funds Buhari seeks to recover are limited to bank accounts. As Sonala Olumhense published in an op-ed for SaharaReporters on Saturday, the stolen wealth of former, corrupt officials has taken other forms in the past.
Take, for example, the case of Dipreye Alamieyeseigha. A former boss and friend of Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Alamieyeseigha purchased a $700,000 Maryland estate with money from corrupt dealings, for which he was later convicted. (Mr. Jonathan, of course, turned down the US’s offer to return the mansion, and granted Mr. Alamieyeseigha a pardon.)
President Buhari’s opinion piece mentioned additional points to be covered during his visit, such as increased investment from the US and other forms of partnership.
President Buhari concluded by saying that his plan for correcting the legacy of Nigeria’s corrupt governance is "simple, even if it is not easy."