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Authority Stealing: Anti-corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-military Nigeria

In This Review

Authority Stealing: Anti-Corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-military Nigeria
By Wale Adebanwi
Carolina Academic Press, 2012
482 pp. $55.00

Although Adebanwi’s book ranges broadly across recent Nigerian history, its central purpose is to assess postcolonial Nigeria’s most serious campaign to eradicate large-scale corruption. In 2003, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Nuhu Ribadu as chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a position he would retain until 2008, when Obasanjo’s successor, Umaru Yar’Adua, removed him. During his tenure, Ribadu became a hero to many Nigerians for transforming the commission into a relatively effective anticorruption vehicle, indicting hundreds of prominent Nigerians for various economic crimes. In 2009, following several attempts on his life amid fierce counterattacks by many of the powerful people he had taken on, Ribadu left the country. Although the book meanders a bit and could have been improved by some aggressive editing, it tells an engaging story, full of striking details about the numerous cases that marked Ribadu’s tenure. Readers will be rewarded with a thorough education in the personalities, practices, and political culture that allow billions of dollars of Nigerian state revenues to disappear every year.

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