Decaying Institutions: How Corruption Undermines Democracy in Nigeria

January 30, 2018
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

About the event

In 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was elected by citizens inspired by his assurances to fight corruption, and his government has since taken steps to keep this promise. Initiatives include strengthening anti-corruption institutions, implementing fiscal reforms, and joining the Open Government Partnership. However, the initial excitement is turning into disenchantment as Nigerian voters realize that, despite Buhari’s good intentions, corruption remains deeply entrenched in their country. Recent state and parliamentary elections have witnessed low voter turnout, while public trust in politicians and the state continues to decline. In his presentation, Oludotun Babayemi examined how the structure of Nigeria’s political institutions perpetuate corrupt practices. He also offered recommendations on how both domestic organizations and international funders can tackle corruption, including the use of citizen-led initiatives such as Follow the Money. Debra LaPrevotte offered comments.


  • Mr. Oludotun BabayemiReagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

With comments from: 

  • Ms. Debra LaPrevotte, Senior Investigator, The Sentry

Moderated by: 

  • Christopher O’Conner, Program Officer for West Africa, National Endowment for Democracy

About the Speakers

Mr. Oludotun Babayemi is co-founder of Connected Development (CODE), an Abuja-based organization that uses online and offline tools to promote accountability and transparency in Nigeria. Through CODE’s Follow the Money project, he and his team advocate for and track the disbursement of funds for local communities. Mr. Babayemi is also lead development consultant with Cloneshouse Nigeria, an organization that offers training and consultancy services on monitoring and evaluation to state and non-state actors. As a Data Fellow with the Open Knowledge Foundation School (2014–present), he has trained over 600 journalists and nonprofit leaders on how to use available data to ensure transparency and accountability. From 2009 to 2014, he served as country director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour Project in Nigeria.

Ms. Debra LaPrevotte is the Senior Investigator for The Sentry, which seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the network of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. Prior to joining The Sentry, Ms. LaPrevotte retired after 20 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She served as a Supervisory Special Agent on the International Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters. Ms. LaPrevotte was instrumental in initiating the FBI’s Kleptocracy program and seized more than $1 billion dollars from foreign corrupt officials. She has spent the past 16 years working international corruption investigations. She is also a Forensic Scientist and spent several years on the FBI’s Evidence Response Team Unit at the FBI Lab.

Christopher O’Connor is a Program Officer for West Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Mr. O’Connor oversees the Endowment’s civil society support program for Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana, which is aimed at strengthening democracy, improving human rights, and consolidating peace. Prior to joining NED, Christopher served as an International Development Fellow with Catholic Relief Services in Abuja, Nigeria, where he worked on peacebuilding and good governance projects. He received his MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and his BA in History from Washington and Lee University.

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