Political Corruption in Africa
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Political Corruption in Africa

Extraction and Power Preservation

Edited by Inge Amundsen

Analysing political corruption as a distinct but separate entity from bureaucratic corruption, this timely book separates these two very different social phenomena in a way that is often overlooked in contemporary studies. Chapters argue that political corruption includes two basic, critical and related processes: extractive and power-preserving corruption.
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Chapter 4: Congenitally conjoined and inseparable: politics and corruption in Nigeria

Emmanuel Oladipo Ojo, Vaclav Prusa and Inge Amundsen


This chapter analyses political corruption in Nigeria through the trajectory of a number of scandals and their background. It underscores the resilience of political corruption in the country, where the problem is inflated by the size of the economy (second-biggest economy in Africa), population size (roughly 200 million), and an open economy with vast revenues from oil and gas (Africa’s largest oil exporter). Despite some positive trends, like the relatively free media, a vibrant civil society, reasonably free elections, and so on, the justice system is twisted and gives the perpetrators impunity. Political corruption is a ‘quasi-legitimised’ tool to advance party, personal and political gains, and frequently all at the same time. In Nigeria, political corruption has not only grown in leaps and bounds – it has become systemic, diversified and variegated, and its power-preservation methods rank among the crudest and cruellest. The occupiers of political power deploy all available weapons in their political armoury – fair, foul, constitutional, extra-constitutional, judicial or extra-judicial – to perpetuate themselves and their political parties in power and thus continue to preside over the system of rents and rewards. The need for inclusion of ever-wider social groups in a system of ‘competitive clientelism’ makes Nigeria’s ‘informal redistribution’ a likely feature of the political settlement also in the future, meaning that rent capture will continue and that rent recipients ‘will be difficult to discipline’.

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