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Published 28th August 2009

Vol 50 No 17


Nigeria

After the boom, a purge

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A Central Bank audit has uncovered evidence of fraud and mismanagement which implicates some leading politicians and their business partners

Like a family of latter day Medicis, Nigeria's top bankers have been prospering thanks to their acute political instincts and abilities to exploit their dominance in a tightly controlled market; now it seems that some, again like the Medicis, have overreached themselves. The unruly political system they tried to influence has at last turned on them. The consequences for Nigeria's economy and politics will extend far beyond the careers of the half-dozen bankers helping police with their inquiries and the multi-billion dollar institutions they helped create.


A new economic team emerges

Facing a downturn and needing an oil strategy, President Mills picks his own experts

For his Council of Economic Advisors, President John Atta Mills has picked a team with wide experience of Western financial and academic institutions. They are academics, more used...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Presidential holidays in Africa now involve political calculation beyond the customary trip to the village to fire up the political base. Older leaders – such as Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade – prefer to leave the continent; Wade holidayed in Switzerland, famed for its discreet physicians and private bankers. Fellow octogenarian Robert Mugabe took a break in Dubai, but his loyal retainers had to quickly dismiss reports of a presidential health crisis there as the work of ‘evil minds’. Cameroon’s Paul...
Presidential holidays in Africa now involve political calculation beyond the customary trip to the village to fire up the political base. Older leaders – such as Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade – prefer to leave the continent; Wade holidayed in Switzerland, famed for its discreet physicians and private bankers. Fellow octogenarian Robert Mugabe took a break in Dubai, but his loyal retainers had to quickly dismiss reports of a presidential health crisis there as the work of ‘evil minds’. Cameroon’s Paul Biya, a mere septuagenarian, met French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris before a side trip to Bordeaux to see former Premier Alain Juppé, now trying to rebuild his career after a corruption conviction. Congo-Brazzaville’s Dénis Sassou Nguesso enjoyed a Spanish post-election sojourn. Nigeria’s Umaru Yar’Adua flew to Saudi Arabia for a check on his troubled kidneys. His Ghanaian neighbour John Atta Mills regularly flies to Lagos to see his inspirational Pastor TB Joseph at the Synagogue Church of All Nations at Okota. From neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo had a longish stay in Mohammed VI’s Moroccan kingdom where he may have come across his northern neighbour, Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré, also seen holidaying in Morocco. But those leaders planning to fight contentious elections and unsure of the military’s support – such as Guinea’s Captain Moussa Dadis Camara and Niger’s Mamadou Tandja – extol the patriotic virtues of a domestic break.
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