Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Save Paul Wolfowitz

I would have thought this was almost heretical according to the New York Times, but yesterday they published a plea to save Wolfowitz from Nigerian Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Ribadu credits the World Bank and Wolfowitz's leadership for helping him and his commission root out corruption in Nigeria and other African states.
Over the last three years, Nigeria, once the emblem of outlandish corruption, has become a leading reformer, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which I head, has been at the cutting edge of these efforts. The enormous challenges we face would have proved almost insurmountable without external help, especially from the World Bank under Mr. Wolfowitz.

When disgruntled lawmakers here tried to cut off our financing and shut down critical aspects of our operation, a World Bank grant of $5 million allowed us to bring to closure important cases of political corruption involving key members of Nigeria’s ruling elite, including members of the executive branch and Parliament.

… On my recent visit to the World Bank in Washington, I was greatly impressed with the remarkable changes in policy and direction that Mr. Wolfowitz had undertaken, as well as by the diversity of talents he had convened to execute his vision of a fairer world. The bank’s secretary and two vice presidents are Africans — one was my colleague in the Nigerian cabinet. Another vice president is Salvadoran.
I think I read yesterday that it's not a matter of "if", but "when" Wolfowitz goes. It hardly matters to me, but maybe it will matter to Africans?