Nigeria has been acclaimed as a model for the implementation of the principles established under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The goal of the principles is to promote accountability and effective management of resource revenues, which in turn would result in improvements in public welfare and better developmental outcomes, such as a more equitable distribution of wealth, improved socio-economic conditions, and poverty alleviation. However, a look at the socioeconomic condition in Nigeria raises questions regarding the impact of the achievements of NEITI on public welfare. Corruption remains endemic in the oil and gas industry, the sector on which the implementation of the EITI principles has been almost entirely focused. This article analyzes Nigeria’s experience with the implementation of NEITI with a view to theorizing about the reasons behind the lack of, or minimal, improvements in the lives of ordinary Nigerians as well as the persistence of corruption despite Nigeria’s acclaimed achievements in EITI implementation. The article argues that while EITI is an important driver of economic progress in Nigeria, it should not be viewed as enough to overcome the broader problems hindering improvements in public welfare. Other factors are necessary to translate the gains of EITI into visible public welfare improvements. The article identifies those factors and analyzes how they hold back the gains of EITI in Nigeria as well as its implications for emerging extractive countries signing or considering signing up with EITI.
©2014 Law and Development Review