Nigeria is the 136th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Nigeria averaged 117.37 from 1996 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 152 in 2005 and a record low of 52 in 1997. 

Nigeria's CPI has been relatively poor over several decades in relation to other countries and so it is perceived by some as unfair to heap all the blame on the last administration for the current financial crisis facing the country.

The financial problems Nigeria is experiencing today is due in part to the security challenges in the North East of the country, failure to 'truly diversify' the economy by successive Nigerian governments and most significantly, the recent rapid fall in oil prices; it is imperative to note that Nigeria derives 70 per cent of its revenue and 90 per cent of its foreign exchange from crude oil.

Nigeria's rapidly depleting foreign reserves From mid-June 2014 to mid-March 2015 Brent oil declined from $114 to $52, a reduction of more than 50%; today the price of oil hovers between $36 and $38/barrel (a drop of about 67% since June 2014, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts oil prices could fall even further to between $20 and $30 this year.

In addressing the issue of corruption in the country, the Nigerian government lead by Muhammadu Buhari must also review high profile corruption cases that pre-date the last administration instead of limiting the anti-corruption campaign scope to the previous government alone (in the eyes of many this action taken by the government may be seen as a witch hunt even though I must admit there appears to be evidence to support the government's current anti-corruption drive).

It is imperative for the Nigerian government to take into account how its policies and actions are likely to be perceived locally and globally before final decisions are made, the issue of perception should not be underestimated as it plays a significant role in establishing how people react to change. 

The $2.1 billion arm deal scandal is a good example of a corruption case that has generated public interest but so also has the Halliburton case, the POWER sector 'cash cow' projects from 1999 - 2014 that has so far yielded a mere 4,500 Mega Watt of electricity which is currently being rationed among 150 million people according to an article in Nigeria Vanguard newspaper titled "Power Sector : Senate probes OBJ, Yar’Adua, Jonathan" and other high profile corruption cases of public interest that pre-date the last administration.

The graph below shows Nigeria's Corruption Perceptions Index rankings from 1996 to 2014

Nigeria's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranking between 1996 and 2014

Written by Ken Uwotu, Political Analyst on Nigerian Affairs, London (LinkedIn) ; Group Leader, AllAboutNigeria - ONE Nigeria 

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