Corruption and Ganduje’s Psychological Projection, By Femi Awolabi

The declaration by Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, on his commitment to fight corruption has become a subject of mockery. For it wasn’t too long that Kano’s number one citizen was in the news for the wrong reasons.

In a series of secretly recorded videos, a figure believed to be Ganduje appeared to be pocketing wads of dollars allegedly taken as kickbacks from contractors working in the state. The governor has denied the videos, saying they were doctored. He blamed it on mischief makers who were bent on tarnishing his reputation.

He even went to the court all in the attempt to clear his name but despite the steps taken, Ganduje’s name immediately comes to mind when in need of a case study of the governor who was “caught red handed”. So, how dare a Ganduje talk about fighting corruption?

President Muhammadu Buhari, whose campaign and even governance mantra is “fighting against corruption”, suffered heavy criticism when months after the videos, he was in Kano to present Ganduje, his party man, for reelection. Responding to the outcry, the presidency told those who cared to listen that: “Ganduje, as a sitting governor, enjoys immunity from prosecution in his own right. Furthermore, under Nigerian laws, a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

The president, however, promised to give the videos to security agencies for vetting, and promised to take action on the matter if he is found guilty. That was a long time ago.


In Ganduje’s words, while visiting the state’s Public Complaint and Anti Corruption Commission on Saturday, “whosoever falls into the commission’s trap should face the consequence.”

The governor’s action seems to follow the psychological projection idea of Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist who explained this as thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one’s own and are attributed to someone else. The projection frequently functions as a psychological defence against painful internal states, making someone a victim of their own action.

It is a mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

In other words, Ganduje’s case appears like that of a cheating spouse who suspects his partner is being unfaithful. Instead of acknowledging his own infidelity, he transfers or projects this behaviour to his partner.

“I will have nothing to do with it. I will not interfere with any case whosoever might be involved,” Ganduje said on Saturday, adding that “with the way corruption is fighting back and the fight against corruption being an agenda of President Muhammad Buhari, the federal government cannot fight it alone. It needs domestication in the states and the local governments to succeed.”

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