The challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria, a critical study of olusegun obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007

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Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)

ABSTRACT

The title of this research work is the challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria, a critical study of olusegunobasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007, as we all know corruption is the greatest enemy to the development of any nation. Corruption has been a major issue in the African continent but is at its alarming rate in the West African sub region especially Nigeria. That Nigeria is not too developed today and has witnessed a lot of negative happenings can be majorly attributed to corruption. Transparency has been lacking in our operations as a nation and especially her leaders and this has led to severe and alarming under performance and corruption.The main aim and objective of this study is to analyze the challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria, a critical study of Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007. The specific objective are to examine the level of corrupt practices in Nigeria, to examine the challenges of transparency in Nigeria, to know how corruption can be effectively fought, what policies and strategies to eradicate bribery and corruption in Nigeria and to recommend ways of ensuring transparency in Nigeria.For the development of this work and its relevance or contribution to existing works, Articles, text books were consulted. Data which contributes to the development of this research was also gathered.

This research work will make use of historical research method. Hence, findings from secondary sources are sourced; the secondary sources include written documents such as government publications, documentaries and newspapers. Added to these are descriptive accounts of experts on the the challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria. Desk study will also be made with those considered authorities in the field of history, political science and international relations to complement the other sources. Furthermore, this research work depends largely on archival materials both online and offline. Official publications cited on the websites will also be used. Books, journal articles, conference proceedings, seminar papers and finally other related publications will be used in gathering secondary information for this research.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background of the study

It is an axiom that Nigeria is richly endowed by providence with human and material resources critical for national development and advancement. However, since gaining political independence, Nigeria has continued to meander the path befitting failed, weak and “juvenile” states. A state that had very great prospects at independence and was touted to lead Africa out of the backwoods of underdevelopment and economic dependency, Nigeria is still stuck in the league of very poor, corrupt, underdeveloped, infrastructurally decaying, crisis-riven, morally bankrupt and leadership-deficient countries of the South. Rather than become an exemplar for transformational leadership, modern bureaucracy, national development, national integration and innovation, Nigeria seems to be infamous for whatever is mediocre, corrupt, insanely violent and morally untoward.

Thus, one cannot but agree with the position that Nigeria is a victim of poor leadership and convoluted systemic corruption which has become pervasive and cancerous in the country’s national life. This view has been held strongly in literature by scholars and writers who have identified the inexorable nexus between leadership crisis and corruption in the country as the continued reason for Nigeria’s inglorious economic throes, political convolutions and national underdevelopment. Current debates rest on the conclusion that Nigerian leadership suffers from extreme moral depravity and attitudinal debauchery (Agbor, 2011; Agbor, 2012; Ezirim, 2010; Ebegbulem, 2009; Ogbunwezeh, 2007). In fact, Agbor argues that the success or failure of any society depends largely on the mannerism of its leadership. He adds that the result of poor leadership in Nigeria is embodied as poor governance manifested in consistent political crisis and insecurity, poverty of the extreme order among the citizens, debilitating miasma of corruption and rising unemployment indices. Tipping corruption as a dinosaur syndrome in Nigeria’s national life (anon, 2010), Nigeria’s nationhood has been caught in the whirlpool of a corrupt public sector that has remained a hotbed of all that is vice, sleazy and retrogressive. While not exclusive to Nigeria, a report considers corruption to be one of the most chronic macroeconomic problems confronting most African countries today (ACBF, 2007). It is seen as the root cause of the various economic and political crises that have plagued the African region, and continues to aggravate not only the problem of underdevelopment of each country, but also that of abject poverty of the citizenry. For example, political corruption is the cause of sit-tight political leaders, especially in Africa, with constitutional amendments making them eligible to contest presidential elections as long as they wish. The ability to continue to control state power enables them to allocate national resources as they wish. This promotes wanton, suboptimal allocation of national resources, and the ensuing macroeconomic mismanagement which result in persistent economic cataclysm.

Although not a Nigerian phenomenon, the specter of corruption seems to haunt the nation and has permeated the entire fabric of state. Aided by leadership crisis bedeviling the nation, corruption has become the singular most vicious albatross to national development.

Corruption is a universal phenomenon that cuts across nations, cultures, races, andclasses of people in both developed and developing countries (Aderonmu, 2011:81). It is a multi-dimensional concept that has moral, ethical, religious and legal connotations(Omoluabi, 2007:9). Corruption is a multifaceted phenomenon that has multiple causesand effects. Scholars, policy makers and opinion leaders tend to be confused in theprocess of analysis due to complexity of the phenomenon as it takes on various forms.

Defining activities as “corruption” is highly subjective and, as Levi and Nelken (1996:32)point out, ‘corrupt’ acts in some countries are seen as normal elsewhere. This made itpossible for scholars to define corruption in different ways. In fact, it is easy to talk aboutcorruption, but like other complex phenomena, it is difficult to define corruption inconcrete terms. It is not surprising therefore that there is often no consensus as to whatexactly constitutes this concept. There is always a danger as well that several people mayengage in a discussion about corruption while each is talking about a different thingcompletely (Obayelu, 2007:19). According to Ikotun (2004:24) the term corruption comesfrom Latin word ‘rumpere’, (to break), implying that something is broken. Thissomething might be moral or social code of conduct, more often, an administrative rule.

Onuoha (2005:45) describes it as an illegal act, which involves inducement and/or undueinfluence of people either in the public setting or the private sphere to act contrary tothe extant rules and regulations which normally guide a particular process.

These definitions bring to light the extent to which corrupt practices are indulged and perpetrated. Corruption viewed from different perspectives by scholars, share some common concern. There is a general agreement among scholars that corruption is theabuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood orhappiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority. It is a serioussocietal problem about which something has to be done to reduce its occurrence andprevalence (Fatile&Adejuwon, 2012:159).

Governance on the other hand has been defined as the use of political authority and exerciseof control over society and the management of its resources for social and economicdevelopment. It encompasses the nature of functioning of a state’s institutional andstructural arrangements, decision making processes, policy formulation, implementationcapacity, information flows, effectiveness of leadership and the nature of therelationship between rulers and the ruled (Doig, 1995:154-155). Governance can also bedescribed as the use of authority and the exercise of control over society and themanagement of its resources for social and economic development. It is the manner inwhich power is exercised by governments in the distribution of a country’s social andeconomic resources. The nature and manner of distribution is what makes governancegood or bad one. Thus, according to Ogundiya (2010:238) when resources must bedistributed to promote inequality or to achieve personal or group ambitions, theessence of governance which coincides with the essence of politics and essence of thestate is defeated. Therefore, resources must be distributed responsibly, equitably andfairly for the realization of the essence of the state.

As noted by Okeke (2010:5), governance is said to have evolved from the need to organize society towards the achievement of a common goal. An opinion worth considering is that society derives its roots from the solitary man who later got transformed into a family person to fulfil the need for socialization. Within this union, he enjoyed the love, care and company of family members and recognised their inherent and inalienable rights in order to preserve the love, harmony and cohesion within thefamily. Society later grew out of the family in response to the need to fulfil other higherneeds and the collective aspirations of the people, such as security, economic well-beingand survival, through negotiations and the formation of social contract between thegovernors and the governed. Governance, therefore, concerns not just the integrity,efficiency and economy of government but also its effectiveness in terms of the ends towhich government organization and activity are directed.

Good governance, therefore, refers to government that fulfils the terms of the social contract with the people. Good governance is a fundamental right in a democracy and itimplies transparency and accountability. Good governance entails an administrationthat is sensitive and responsive to the needs of the people and is effective in coping withemerging challenges in society by framing and implementing appropriate laws andmeasures. It includes strict rules of accountability. Good governance largely depends onthe extent to which the general citizenry perceives a government to be legitimate, i.e.,committed to improving the general public welfare − deliver public services and equitable in its conduct − favouring no special interests or groups. It is among otherthings, participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective, equitable andpromotes the rule of law. Good governance ensures that political, social and economicpriorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest andthe most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of development resources (Richardson, 2008).

Good governance however remains elusive with no limitation of scope that commands universal acceptance. The true test of good governance is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of human, civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. It ensures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken intoaccount and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decisionmaking.

It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society and the nation at large. Governance is good when it is able to achieve the desired end of the state defined in terms of justice, equity, protection of life and property, enhanced citizens’participation, preservation of rule of law and improved living standard of the populace (Ogundiya, 2010). There is no doubt that in Nigeria since the return to democratic rule in1999, good governance has been elusive which many scholars believes is largelyattributable to large scale level of corruption in different facets of the society and mostespecially the public sector.

1.2. Statement of the Problem 

As we all know corruption is the greatest enemy to the development of any nation. Corruption has been a major issue in the African continent but is at its alarming rate in the West African sub region especially Nigeria. That Nigeria is not too developed today and has witnessed a lot of negative happenings can be majorly attributed to corruption. Transparency has been lacking in our operations as a nation and especially her leaders and this has led to severe and alarming under performance and corruption.

1.3. Aim and Objectives of the study

The main aim and objective of this study is to analyze the challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria, a critical study of Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007. The specific objective are:

1. To examine the level of corrupt practices in Nigeria.

2. To examine the challenges of transparency in Nigeria

3. To know how corruption can be effectively fought.

4. What policies and strategies to eradicate bribery and corruption in Nigeria.

5. To recommend ways of ensuring transparency in Nigeria.

1.4. Significance of the study

The outcome of this study would be immensely beneficial to the government in ensuring transparency in governance. This study would also be beneficial to scholars and researchers who are interested in the study of corrupt pratice and its challenges in Nigeria.

1.5   Scope of the study

This study on immorality in churches will cover all forms of immoral activities that exist in churches today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

1.6 Limitations of the study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.7 Literature Review

There are different viewpoints on the concepts of leadership, corruption and national development. A few of these shall be considered here. Leadership is a vital element in the social relationships of groups whether in government or at work. Groups need leaders and leaders need followers. Academic and management literature on leadership has focused almost exclusively on the individual traits, styles and behaviour that characterise leaders. Some recent research in leadership has advanced beyond these more simplistic individual level models by calling attention to such things as shared and rotational leadership style, “meaning -making” and “influence” and to the importance of understanding “followers”. As Urim (2009) observed, leadership in the past has been seen as an elitist activity related to power and to hierarchy. It was considered an essentially top-down, charismatic, and individualistic process. Leadership was seen as an inbred and congenital potential possessed by a minority. He argues that increasingly, today, whether in business, government or in not-for-profits, it is commonly agreed that leadership is needed at all levels of organisations if such organisations are to ably respond to the challenges in the society or marketplace. Therefore, leadership is akin to a dynamic process in which people come together to pursue changes and, in doing so, collectively develop a shared vision of what the world (or some part of it) should be like, making sense of their experience and shaping their decisions and actions. Thus as Cole (1997, p. 54) posits:

Leadership is a dynamic process at work in a group whereby one individual over a particular period of time, and in a particular organisational context, influences the other group members to commit themselves freely to the achievement of group tasks or goals.

In defining corruption, Amuwo (2005) and Obayelu (2007) consider it as the exploitation of public position, resources and power for private gain. Fjeldstad&Isaksen (2008, p. 3) and Ogundiya (2009, p. 5) define corruption as “the betrayal of public trust for individual or sectional gain.” Obayelu went further to identify corruption as “efforts to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private gain at public expense; or a misuse of power for private benefit.” Corruption covers a broad spectrum of activities ranging from fraud (theft through misrepresentation), embezzlement (misappropriation of corporate or public funds) to bribery (payments made in order to gain an advantage or to avoid a disadvantage). From a political point of view, Aiyede (2006, p. 5) views corruption as “the abuse or misuse of public or governmental power for illegitimate private advantages.” His view corroborates the position of Lipset and Lenz (2000) that corruption is an effort to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private benefit at public expense. Tanzi (1998) adds that such abuse of public power may not necessarily be for one’s private benefit but for the benefit of one’s party, class, tribe, or family. Although corruption is global in scope, it is more pronounced in developing societies because of their weak institutions. It is minimal in developed nations because of existing institutional control mechanisms which are more developed and effective.

According to Imhonopi&Urim (2010), national development is the ability of a country or countries to improve the social welfare of the people, namely, by providing social amenities like good education, power, housing, pipe-borne water and others. The components of national development include economic development, socio-cultural empowerment and development and how these impact on human development. Without human development, which is the development of the human capital of a nation or its citizens, national development can be thwarted or defeated. In fact, human development is one basis for judging the effectiveness of the economic development component of national development (Ogboru, 2007; Ranis, Stewart, & Ramirez, 2000). As they observed, economic development expressed in GNP can increase human development by expenditure from families, government and organizations such as NGOs. With the increase in economic growth, families and individuals will likely increase expenditures with the increase in income. This increase can lead to greater human development. Streeten (1982) put it better when he said that development must be redefined as an attack on the chief evils of the world today such as malnutrition, disease, terms of jobs created, justice dispensed and poverty alleviated.

The bureaucracy or public service, broadly defined, refers to that machinery of government designed to execute the decisions and policies of political office holders. It is the institution that is charged with the responsibility of formulating and implementing policies and programmes of the government. In other words, while it is the duty of the political executive to determine and direct the focus of policies, the state bureaucracy is the administrative machinery through which the objectives are actualised. Political leaders make policies. The public bureaucracy implements it. If the bureaucracy lacks the capacity to implement the policies of the political leadership, those policies, however well intentioned, will not be executed in an effective manner (Anise, 1984, Okafor, 2005). The bureaucracy could therefore be described as the agency through which the activities of the government are realised. According to Chukwuebuka&Chidubem (2011), the public service consists of the civil service, parastatals and agencies. This tripartite structure is systematically patterned to serve as a lasting instrument through which the government drives, regulates and manages all aspects of the society. However, the magnitude of attitudinal decay, corruption and lack of accountability in the public service in Nigeria is terribly shocking. Thus, Rasheed succinctly remarked that “lack of accountability, unethical behaviours and corrupt practices have become so pervasive and even institutionalised norms of behaviours, leading to a crisis of ethics in the Nigerian public service” (Yahaya, 2006, p. 10). He also noted that apart from outright bribery and corruption, patronage, nepotism, embezzlement, influence peddling, use of one’s position for self-enrichment, bestowing of favours on relations and friends, moonlighting, partiality, absenteeism, late coming to work, abuse of public property, leaking and/or abuse of government information are also rampant.

There are two main theoretical viewpoints on the study of the public service or bureaucracy. These are Weberian and Marxian models. The Weberian model sees public service as a large-scale, complex, hierarchical and specialisedorganisation designed to attain rational objectives in the most efficient and effective manner. The realisation of such rational goals and objectives are maximised through the bureaucratic qualities of formalism and impersonality in the application of rules and regulations in the operation and management the organisation. This model considers public service as a very superior organisation mainly because of certain qualities it has such as hierarchy, division of labour anchored on specialisation, policy of promotion and recruitment based on merit, in addition to impersonality in the conduct of official duties, security of tenure and strict observance of rules regulations, among others (Eme&Onwuka, 2010). While the public service in Nigeria is a complex, hierarchical, specialised and large-scale organisation and progressive in principal, the rot within it vitiates the positive bias that the Weberian model purports about bureaucracy.

A sharper delineation of public service in Nigeria comes from the Marxian model which sees bureaucracy as an instrument of oppression, exploitation and marginalization in the hands of the dominant class who control and manipulate the state and its apparatuses in the society to consummate their economic and political domination. In this wise, the public service is an instrument of the state reflecting the bias, interests and preferences of the ruling and dominant class. It is used by the ruling class for primitive accumulation, hegemonic control of the state and citizens and as an extension of the territory of the ruling class. This intention of the bureaucracy is usually concealed by both the dominant class and the bureaucrats, as efforts are constantly made to project the bureaucracy as a neutral and development agency working for the interest of everyone in the society. But this is only a decoy to hide its real motives and interests. The Marxian model seems closer to what obtains in the public sector in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the public service is parasitic, dependent on the wishes of its masters and is an appendage and extension of the hegemonic control the ruling class exerts on the state for the perpetuation of primitive accumulation and political domination in perpetuity.

1.8 Research Methodology

For the development of this work and its relevance or contribution to existing works, Articles, text books were consulted. Data which contributes to the development of this research was also gathered.

This research work will make use of historical research method. Hence, findings from secondary sources are sourced; the secondary sources include written documents such as government publications, documentaries and newspapers. Added to these are descriptive accounts of experts on the the challenges of corrupt practice in Nigeria. Desk study will also be made with those considered authorities in the field of history, political science and international relations to complement the other sources. Furthermore, this research work depends largely on archival materials both online and offline. Official publications cited on the websites will also be used. Books, journal articles, conference proceedings, seminar papers and finally other related publications will be used in gathering secondary information for this research.

1.8   Definition of terms

Transparency: Lack of hidden agendas and conditions, acompanied by the availability offull information required for collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making.

Corruption: Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

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