Nigeria’s CPI ranking in terms of fight against corruption continues to be a controversy in recent times. Following the release of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report for countries across the world for 2019; where Nigeria ranked 146th in the world out of 180, the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami reportedly declared that there is no evidence to back the report.
Similar response greeted the 2020 CPI ranking, which saw Nigeria slip further to 149th in the world with the same score of 25%. According to daily post, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed declared following the report, that it does not reflect the great strides by the country in its fight against corruption. Has the country ever had any better ranking on the CPI global report since return to democracy in 1999? With the state of corruption in the country, does the nation deserve a better index? in spite of the current administration’s claim of fight against corruption, Nigeria CPI has remain the same as previous administrations.
CPI report, 2020 By Transparency International
However, since 1999 which administration has posted the highest Corruption Perception Index? See the details below;
1. Chief Olusengun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007)
Following the 1999 general elections that retuned the country to civilian rule, Chief Olusengun Obasanjo emerged as Nigeria’s president. In a bid to stamp out corruption which had become endemic in the nation, EFCC, ICPC and other institutions were deployed. However, till date, Nigeria under Obasanjo’s administration recorded the worst ranking in terms of Transparency International CPI since 1999. With 1.6/10 or 16% CPI in 1999, Nigeria’s index further deteriorated to a low of 1.2/10 or 12% in 2000 and as at the time, was the worst out of the 90 countries surveyed. Obasanjo however, improved the country’s CPI in 2006 to 2.2/10 or 22% before leaving office.
See the CPI of Nigeria under Obasanjo’s administration below;
After winning the controversial 2007 presidential election, Yar’ Adua pledged to carryout reforms and strengthen the rule of law. Inheriting a Nigeria with CPI of 2.2 or 22%, Yar’ Adua improved the country’s ranking to 2.7/10 or 27% and a position of 121 out of 180 countries in the world in 2008. Till date, this ranking remains the best among all the administrations since 1999. Although Nigeria dropped in the CPI rankings in his last 2years in office, this could have been due to his failing health and eventual death in 2010.
See Nigeria corruption ranking under Yar’ Adua below;
Source: Data adapted from Transparency International CPI report (2007 – 2010)
3. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010 – 2015)
After Yar’ Adua’s death in 2010, Jonathan inherited a Nigeria with CPI of 2.4 or 24%. Nigeria made little improvement, as the country’s rating increased to 25% in 2012 – 2015 before he left office.
See the country’s CPI under Jonathan below;
Source: Data adapted from Transparency International CPI report (2010 – 2015)
4. Muhammadu Buhari (2015 – date)
Buhari defeated Jonathan in an upset victory in 2015 and continued his agenda to rid the country of corruption. However, according to the Transparency International CPI reports since 2016 till date, Nigeria has not made any positive change. Currently, Nigeria ranks 149 out of 180 countries with 25% CPI. In order words, the country has been stagnant in terms of corruption fight.
Source: Data adapted from Transparency International CPI report (2015 – 2020)
While Yar’ Adua achieved the best improvement on the country’s CPI ranking since 1999, Obasanjo and Jonathan made some improvements also. However, if the CPI reports is anything to go by, Buhari’s administration is yet to make any positive impact on the country’s fight against corruption. What can the president do differently?