The practice and discipline of public administration in Nigeria is beclouded by problems which are internal (self-inflicted) and external (environmentally induced). These problems impact negatively on public institutions and in the employees of government such that what is demanded from government by the citizens becomes a far cry from objective commitment on the part of government and on the deplorable results that comes from administrators performance. It has to be recognized that the public administration system in a country is in a causal relationship with its environment. The environment therefore determines to a great extent the structure and functioning of the administrative system and the latter in turn is capable of modifying its environment to advantage. Indeed, the capability of a people to collectively manipulate their environment to their advantage has been used by Bendix (1960) to define ‘development’. However, when the environment is topsy-turvy, the capability of the administrative system to manipulate its environment is hampered. Seriously, these factors of revulsion, renders the administrative system weak in implementing the nation’s collective decisions. What do bureaucrats do all day in those hives of activity with the alphabet names? What policies and programs will those agencies like Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, and Commerce be initiating or changing next? Every facet of our daily lives is impacted in some way by the actions of the federal, state, or local bureaucracies that manage and organize the public life of the country and its citizens. Public administration trains the policy analyst who brings analytical skills to the task of advising public servants on the merits of particular public policy issues and evaluates programs as to which would best serve the interests of the constituents in the most costeffective way, and the public manager who implements public policy programs and oversees or directs the operation of the program on a day-to-day basis. Public administration is the study of public entities and their relationships with each other and with the larger world: how public sector organizations are organized and managed; how public policy structures the design of government programs that we rely upon; how our states, cities, and towns work with the federal government to realize their


goals and plan for their futures; how our national government creates and changes public policy programs to respond to the needs and interests of our nation.

Public administration consists of the provision of services and regulation of intergroup relations in society. Maintenance of law and order, defense, welfare of society, application of science and technology and eradication of poverty in the developing countries. In a word, the security and independence of the state and social and economic welfare of a society is a function of public administration. Bhambhri in Polinaidu (2005) says “When public administration is so important in our daily life, its study is naturally worthy undertaking”. In order to properly understand the term public administration we must first be clear about what we mean by the adjective ‘public’. The word public is used in a variety of meanings but here it means ‘governmental’. Public administration, therefore, simply means governmental administration that operates in political settings. It’s focus is specifically on public bureaucracy. As Nicholas Henry says, “The study and practice of public bureaucracy is called public administration”. The public aspect of public administration lends special character to it. What is crucial in public administration is that it is an agency of the public. It concerns the management of public agencies that carry out public policies in order to fulfill state purposes in the public interest. Since government provides services for the people in the public interest the administration of governmental affairs is known as public administration. According to Simon, Smithburg and Thomson, public administration refers to the activities of groups cooperating to accomplish the common goals of government” Such common goals include defence, safeguarding the frontiers, maintenance of law and order, fire protection, communications, public health, education and many other services that we enjoy. In meaning, public affairs, public administration focuses principally on the (i) planning (ii) organizing (iii) directing (iv) coordinating and (v) controlling governmental operations. This little background forms the major emphasis of this unit as we look also at the nature and scope of public administration, particularly as it has come to be referred to and practiced today.


Public administration, in its simplest terms, is “what government does.” However, the actions and activities of government are so expansive that a simple definition is not feasible. The definition of public administration can be broken down into several different factors. First, public administration has a political definition. Under its political definition, public administration is the actions of government that affect the daily lives of the citizens living under that government. These actions can be either direct, as when public employees serve members of the populace, or indirect, as when government agencies hire private contractors to carry out some aspect of public policy. Also, public administration’s political responsibilities include making decisions about what to do or not do while implementing the public interest. Finally, public administration is a “collective doing”: it is the work of a group to meet a goal that individuals could not meet as easily or well under their own, singular power. Public administration also has a legal definition. Public administration is inseparable from legality, since its creation and its actions are defined by law—it is expressed in the action of implementing legislation, and also in regulating the behavior of individuals and groups. Other legal definitions of public administration include its “largesse” power, or the ability to bestow jobs, goods and services on the citizens, and its role in the eyes of some as theft, as regulations and taxes take the rights and money from citizens. Those who criticize public administration in this manner often see it as theft regardless of ends—for instance, government organizations still rob people through taxes, even if that tax money goes toward education, health care, or other programs to benefit those same people. Third, a managerial definition of public administration can be applied. Public administration is the executive function, carrying out legislation. Since such action needs to be managed in order to occur properly and efficiently, the process of running public organizations has become a management specialty. The vast majority of public administrators are members of middle management. Critics of public administration often apply the managerial definition to describe public administration as a “Mickey Mouse” venture: one that exerts considerable effort for very little gain. The last major definition of public administration is an occupational one. Public administration is a job, but it is a very broad job title that includes within it almost any


specialized career or skill possible. In the broadest sense, public administration includes anything and everything public employees do. Two of the common traits of all public administration jobs is that they rely very heavily on writing skills, and that the people in these jobs are often idealistic—they see themselves as working toward a better good for society. Finally, public administration has become an academic occupation as well as a public or career one: the study of management as applied to the public sector and the environments in which public administration operates have become more expansive in recent years. Public administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal... is to advance management and policies so that government can function." Some of the various definitions which have been offered for the term are: "the management of public programs"; the "translation of politics into the reality that citizens see every day"; and "the study of government decision making, the analysis of the policies themselves, the various inputs that have produced them, and the inputs necessary to produce alternative policies." Public administration is "centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programmes as well as the behavior of officials (usually non-elected) formally responsible for their conduct" Many unelected public servants can be considered to be public administrators, including police officers, municipal budget analysts, HR benefits administrators, city managers, Census analysts, and cabinet secretaries.Template:Kettl, D.F. and Fesler, J.W. (2009). One scholar claims that "public administration has no generally accepted definition", because the "scope of the subject is so great and so debatable that it is easier to explain than define". Public administration is a field of study (i.e., a discipline) and an occupation. There is much disagreement about whether the study of public administration can properly be called a discipline, largely because of the debate over whether public administration is a subfield of political science of a subfield of administrative science". Scholar Donald Kettl is among those who view public administration "as a subfield within political science".


taxation. foreign affairs and international assistance. Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Scattered thoughts. public order and safety. the enactment and judicial interpretation of laws and their pursuant regulations. Therefore. huge armies organized. Public administration as an activity is as old as civilization but as an academic discipline is a little over a hundred years old. that is. however. In the history of western political thought. Functioning of the governmental machinery has attracted the attention of scholars and administrators since the earliest periods of history.. national defence. however.[14] Evolution and Growth of Public Administration. public works and monuments have been built. comprises establishments primarily engaged in activities of a governmental nature. Aristotle’s politics and Machiavelli’s The Prince are important contributions to administrative thought and practice. do not constitute a discipline though it is interesting to note that even without systematic teaching and study of the subject.. the Ramayana and the maxims and teachings of Confucius in the realm of Oriental thought contain many profound observations about the organization 23 and working of government. This. the Mahabharata. “Only when governments could be differentiated from other societal institutions 5 . taxes collected. and the administration of government programs are activities that are purely governmental in nature". and the administration of programs based on them".The North American Industry Classification System definition of the Public Administration (NAICS 91) sector states that public administration ". immigration services. Official academic status to the discipline did not come until World War I when professional chairs in public administration were established and subject textbooks published. great cities. public administration as an activity proceeded long before systematic study of the subject began in the eighteenth century. effective law and order maintained and enforced throughout history. vast empires administered. does not mean by implication that thinkers in earlier ages had never said anything significant about public administration. This includes "Legislative activities.

(Paulinadu. the field of public administration is mainly a debate over definitions. public administration lacks a significant definition that is acceptable to all students of public administration.and their activities developed to the point where professional administrators were indispensable for their effective performance. Despite more than a hundred years of development. The contemporary discipline arose out of the bureaucratization of the nation-state when the church was separated from the state and government was superimposed on all other social institutions within a definite territory. As E. which then included all knowledge considered necessary for the governance of an absolutist state. Ideologically cameralism gave way to bureaucracy. The cameralist approach continued to influence European studies in public administration well into the twentieth century. The term public administration began to creep into European languages during the seventeenth century to distinguish between the absolute monarch’s administration of public affairs and his management of his private household. 2005:4) Modern public administration was first taught as a part of the training course of public officials-on-probation in Prussia. until it was replaced by the administrative law and legal studies approach. Let us examine both the views by quoting some important definitions.N. Gladden says. the modern scholars have defined it is its wider sense. Various scholars have defined it in different ways. Every 6 . While the traditional writers have defined public administration in its narrower sense. could modern public administration emerge. Civil service recruits had to study administrative law and gradually all over Europe including Nigeria public service training schools started offering courses on administrative law and public administration. which reflect the traditional view of the disciplines. 1. Traditional Definitions The following are some of the important definitions of public administration. Public administration is detailed and systematic execution of law. The subject was largely compiled and taught in a descriptive manner by professors of cameral sciences.

though there are obviously administrative problems also in connection with the legislative and judicial branches” Luther Gulick 5.particular application of law is an act of administration”. In its narrowest sense. the means by which the purposes and goals of government are realized. and it is the executive. where the work of government is done. “… Administration consists of getting the work of government done by coordinating the efforts of people so that they can work together to accomplish their set tasks”. Pfiffner( in Polinaidu. in common usage. and thus concerns itself primarily with the executive branch.D White 3.F. To Wilson. the operative. Public Administration is that part of the science of administration which has to do with government. and local government” Herbert A.2005:4&5). state. 30 2. W. Willoughby 7. “Administration is the most obvious part of government. Simon 4. it is government in action. the activities of the executive branches of the National. Corson and Harris 6. “In its broadest sense. “Public Administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfilment or enforcement of public policy”. Woodrow Wilson. “Public administration is the action part of government. it (public administration) denotes the work involved in the actual conduct of governmental affairs. the most visible side of government”. The definitions quoted above reflect the narrow traditional point of view of 7 . L. it denotes the operations of the administrative branch only”. “By public administration is meant. regardless of the particular branch of government concerned.

Public administration is thus identified with the administrative side of government as opposed to the legislative and judicial sides. It is denied any role in both legislative (i. James Fesler and F. Therefore. In their opinion.E. Is cooperative group effort in a public setting ii. “Public Administration i. Dimock and G. Its main business is to get things done and not to decide what things to do. 1.public administration.5a Some Modern Definitions 31 Some modern textbook writers such as M. Fesler 1. It emphasizes the locus but not the focus of Public Administration. Its main business comprises all those activities that are involved in carrying out public policies as expressed in laws made by the legislature and interpreted by courts. Dimock. and legalistic picture of Public Administration. 3.A. and judicial and 8 . This view locates public administration in the executive branch of government. besides executing them. Covers all three branches – executive. formalistic.e.O. the traditional view is unduly restrictive as an explanation and does not fully capture the scope of public administration. public administration has some responsibility in formulating governmental policies. Nigro have used the term “Public Administration ‘in its wider sense.E. The definitions quoted below are illustrative of the modern broader view of public administration. legislative. “… Public administration is the area of study and practice where law and policy is recommended and carried out”.M. For all these reasons the traditional view presents too narrow. Dimock 2“public Administration is policy executive and also policy formulation’ James W. Administration is also concerned with the hearing and deciding cases and controversies not allocated to the judiciary. The reason is that administration not only carries out policy but also recommends it. policy – making) and judicial functions.

and v. Public Administration as a field of study always poses critical questions that demands for deep intellectual reflections. iv. effectiveness and goal attainment of public administration and government. public administration is best considered from the standpoint of interrelationships and that of comparison. Is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community. which often constrain the structure. trade union. economic. These are factors which though are external to public institutions. interest group. Is different in significant ways from private administration. As a field of study that examines the practice of managing the business of government and as a body of knowledge that looks into the process of management in the public sector. but impinges upon administration thereby affecting the efficiency. Has an important role in the formulation of policy and is thus a part of the political process. national and international environments. iii. pressure group. process and output of public administration. PROBLEMS OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM: The impact of the environment on public administration consist of the pressures and influences emanating from the Socio-cultural.their interrelationships. political. Public administration in modern societies is characterized by its 9 .

nomothetic and ecological’. health services. social services. uncertainty. any truly scientific study of public administration must be comparative and to be truly comparative. it must be ‘empirical. law and order etc. overlapping and ineffective differentiated structures. The social welfare state has extended far and wide and Nigeria being a country that operates the mixed economy system. He has gone further to use this idea to explain the differential problems confronting bureaucracies in the western and developing societies. 1. transportation. education. Riggs (1961) defined developing societies as ‘prismatic’ or transitional societies characterized by rapid change. These marked characteristics constitutes inherent prob-lems in Nigeria’s public administration which inevitable leads to these questions. According to Riggs (1962). Do governments and public officials really work hard for the public money delivered to them continuously and in increasing amounts? 3. How much has the myriad environmental problems in the Nigeria Nation really impinged on the performance of government viceversa 10 .performance in the various concerns of housing. her performance in the field of governance and administration has to be compared with how successfully other democratic nations have performed. welfare. How has government fulfilled their own part of the ancient contract to the citizens? 2.

The struggle to control the centre by ethnic 11 . one could not speak of Nigeria in the same sense as one could speak of such of its components like the Benin Kingdom. quota system etc. Said Awolowo (1947) that Nigeria was ‘a mere geographical expression’. After independence in 1960. In the realm of administration. That is. there was the unequal distribution of political power on a regional and ethnic basis. such policies as Zoning. in terms of social relationships and national identification.the value with which the citizens regard the government? POLITICAL FACTORS The Nigeria state which is a cluster of diverse ethnic Nationalities lack that cohesive force that may form for a national ideology. This resulted into inequality of socio economic development as every leader concentrated on developing his region. Leaders struggle to take control of the centre so as to dispense privileges to their kingsmen or ethnic affliations. the politics of regional affiliation has denied Nigeria of a national character and hence also of evolving concrete notions of national interest. A political leader from the western part of the country had to cry out in his famous book. there now arose in the encyclopedia of Nigeria’s administration. Egba Kingdom. Federal character. Kano Emirate etc. Therefore.

By advantage of hindsight that history provides. wealth. a life time opportunity 12 . impact negatively on the citizenry. The consequence is that there now arise a ruling class that lacks Utopia. This largely accounts for the failure of many national development progra-mmes. mainly as vote-catching contrivances. that has no vision and that dreams no great dreams. and part of an elaborate game plan to secure legitimacy and win political acceptance. The Nigerian topology appears different. This affected the drive for viable planning and policy making by both the politicians and administrators. it has almost become a rule. public policy objectives are enunciated for elected civilian politicians. such brazen venality need not be cultivated in order to ensure comfort.leaders has resulted into the inability to have a successful and acceptable population census. Appointment to public offices is conceived as God sent. the rise to fame. power of virtually all senior government officials and public officers is through the agency of the state. Amuwo (1996) contends that it does appears that after all. the nation and on adminis-tration. This debilitating arrogance exhibited by both the political and administrative leadership is copied by the civil society as they see the state as a prebend. This attribute. In Nigerian politics and administration. While in all political system of all ideological persuasions put together. certain special privileges and largesse are attached to political appointment.

criteria of performance have nothing to do with how well or badly the job is done. The political class has largely failed to keep the sovereign obligation that they owe to the once and for all break the bondage of poverty. This class-whether military or civilian has 120 AKPOMUVIRE MUKORO formed a cabal. accentuated comfort of his family and how well the appointee relates to his friends. This has further politicized the military institution itself together with the fact that 13 . there is frustration. strife and crime. Amuwo went on to state that it matters little whether or not the appointee performs. they inevitably lack vision. Performance is evaluated on the basis of material selfactualization of the appointee. That relationship that should go with leadership and followership manifest only at the negative. lack of patriotism and the tendency to want to get back at the uncaring system (state) by the civilian population. They are very few in number and they continue to rotate themselves in government. People’s temperaments becomes always on edge. Indeed. The danger here is that the state and administration will become centralized. All these evil tendencies on the part of leadership has always resorted into military coup and counter coup. anger and agitation which results into violence. Since their primary objective is to hold on to power and accumulate wealth illegally. The resultant impact of their policies generates rancour.

The impact of education and knowledge acquired from other climes changes the orientation of people. What is however left for conjecture is whether their impact is on the positive or on the negative side. The nation’s development plans which results from the consultation carried out with the different interest group in the society reflects on the economic environment of government. which all have varying impact on the public service organizations. the influence of the supper-power nations and other advanced societies. Also. natural and mineral resources. There is the room to make comparism so that checks can be drawn. The advent of the military into politics according to Jemibewon (1982) who was a one time military governor of Lagos state lamented as ‘regrettable’. technology and agriculture. From the international arena. the organized private sector. because it has done more harm than good to both the military institution and that of the civilian including the public service.military incursion into politics is an aberration. one can say that globalization and improvements on information technology constitute demands that are placed on both the political and the adminis-trative class. Although. Nigeria was largely an Agricultural 14 . impact on what is to be done in terms of policy and in terms of implementation. ECONOMIC FACTORS This is made up of the financial institutions.

because stakeholders are not involved in governance. strife. the rest o the population keeps quiet and even device more means to continue the subjugation of the minority ethnic people of the Niger Delta. there was a complete disem-phasis on agriculture and shift of concentration to oil. While the pollution and environmental degradation that results from oil exploration is suffered by the oil producing communities. with the discovery of oil. 15 . While the scramble for oil was on. policy making and implementation. The urban areas have become over urbanized and according to Mabogunje (1960). All the benefits that accrue from oil sales is appropriated by the central (federal) government. The progressive centralization of the instruments of power and administration has been responsible for this. according to Olalokun (1979) petroleum contributes to over 90% foreign exchange earnings for the nation. the leadership which always comes from the majority ethnic group never paid heed to the plight of the minority oil producing communities of the Niger Delta.economy in the 1960’s. The attitude of the Nigeria state to the discovery of oil has resulted into the neglect of Agriculture and the rural areas in the develop-ment process. lawlessness. Presently. crime. communual warfare etc. The resultant effect of this is anybody’s guess. The situation is so bad that there is now extreme poverty amongst the people. they have become parasites on the rural areas.

Even at that. needs a well trained and competent civil service. Therefore the quality of personnel employed into it matters a lot. This means that huge programs of economic and social development can be aborted by the absence and in. most of the national development plans have ended up failing because of the internal contradictions arising from the plan environment. This is where government attempt to regulate the economy through national economic planning. The ideological pursuit of mixed economy where governTHE IMPACT OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON NIGERIA’S PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 121 ment gets involved in the management of certain sectors of the economy that should have been left with the private sector encourages this wasteful spending. Considering the lack of an ideological unity and presence of mutual suspection amongst 16 . These contradictions are the type of centralized federalism being practiced which excludes major stakeholders and encourage wasteful competition and conflict. Nigeria has not been able to manipulate her environment to advantage technologically. Therefore they contribute a great deal at influencing the economic system through the control and operation of governmental administrative machinery. The bureaucracy affects the lives of the citizen.With all these wealth from oil.appropriateness of technology. Administrators play a pre-eminent role in the process of policy making and implementation.

ethical/ethnic confusion etc. The fanatical religious group in almost all the religious sect creates problem and there is always conflagration over minute things that should not raise much dust. virtually all the development plans have ended up being unworkable. The ruling class often times do not have a clear agenda of what they want to pursue and estimated time of achieving such. The effect of all these on public Administration has been unsettling. there is the presence of several indigenous mother tongues. In Nigeria for example. but the English language serve as the medium of communication. Tribal and clan allegiance still holds strong in the Nigerian polity. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS Studies by Riggs (1964) argued for the fact that most developing nations exist in an environment where the traditional and the modern ways of doing things co-exist.politicians and adminis-trators. The end product is confusion in policy making and in its implementation. 1. This result into the problems of communication. Lack of Good Leadership. In 17 . This is even more made to fester by the ruling elite. political mobilisation. the substance of message being dissemi-nated is lost to reason and only the few literate population benefits. And with the high level of illite-racy. The civil service is torn by the presence of ethnic and selfish allegiance and the pursuit of positive result becomes a far cry from objective expectations.

Wars and conflict particularly the recent Niger-Delta militancy activities which have reduced Nigeria’s oil earnings by 40%. 4. Lack of Political and Economic Stability. and heavy dependence on foreign aids And foreign technical support. therefore. Corruption. Other problems include high poverty levels. high illiteracy levels. These military regimes too have not been stable as government can be changed in a short time as Six months. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups and each clamouring for a place at the federal public service. 3. Nigeria as a country has faced series of change in governance with the military ruling for a greater proportion of it’s years since independence. And because of the dependence. This trend made if difficult even for the few moments of civil rule up to the present time where elections are unstable and erratic. Such struggle for representation which is based on quota system and at times based on the fact that each group wants to belong to the service. This has eaten so deep into the public sector. This long term instability has come to affect the nature in which government activities are carried out. the entire constitution of the country is suspended and the use of decrees which has no regard for human face in administration is often introduced. it is a leadership without a vision and thus cannot elicit the support or unleash the potentials of the followers. local initiatives are killed and usually not appreciated. 5. During the military regimes.other words.This situation in the economy is brought about by incessant industrial strike action by public workers in demand of improved conditions of service. encourages the abandonment of tenets of commitments and a sense of 18 . as contract sums are inflated and bad behaviours go unpunished. This. Cultural and Social Inequalities. 6. Such situations have come to question the very need for merit and efficiency as appointments are no longer based on merit. Lack of favourable economic environment for both domestic and foreign investment . inadequate infrastructure. 2.

And the result is the production of half-baked graduates. 7. Military overthrew military in 1985. Inadequate infrastructures to facilitate productivity. By the time the military took over on December 31. The Government of the long-capped civilian President. CORRUPTION PROBLEM Corruption at high places and gross misadministration spoilt the reputation of the civilian administration and compelled the military to come back to power. Industries have learn to produce with obsolete equipments. every Nigerian was sure there were going to be drastic changes. political interference in the service has brought about the emergence of half-baked 153 bureaucrats to manage the public service at various tiers of government. This brought into power another Head of State and 19 . Isuikwuato and Okigwe which had already been enjoying some kind of autonomy as distinct Local Governments were once again amalgamated into a single Local Government Area. Consequently. The result is that. inexperienced and incompetent bureaucrats in the service. Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari was overthrown by Major General Mohammadu Buhari. the presence of ill-groomed. 8. And it happened so. a dynamic but non-tolerant young military officer from the present Katsina State of Nigeria. 1983.service to the nation becomes a mirage. while the situation in tertiary institutions are such that science students are only thought theory without practicals. The Nigerian experience in trying to bring about transformation of it’s public service appears to be muddled up between the presidential and parliamentary system of the public service.

which re-visits the discussion on corruption in Nigeria. More importantly. region. yet others have better plans in managing corrupt activities. and Greece down to the present. because ancient civilizations have traces of widespread ‘illegality and corruption. Obviously. this article. His coming into power brought drastic changes one of which was the creation of more Local Governments. through district. This. mean that the incidence and magnitude of corrupt activities are the same in every society. the discussion on the phenomenon is necessary now that the nation has sworn in the second and ‘brand new’ Chief Olusegun Obsanjo administration 20 . This does not. according to Government. has been to enhance grassroot development throughout the nation. Some countries are obviously more corrupt. Lipset and Lenz 2000 note that "corruption has been ubiquitous in complex societies from ancient Egypt. or ethnic group. Isuikwuato became a Local Government of its own. to Local Government Area which it still remains now 2010. adopts a new approach with a view to effectively managing the challenges of corruption in the society. Therefore. Nigeria is not one of those countries with a better handle on corruption." Corruption is also believed to be endemic in modern governments and it is not peculiar to any continent. from clan. General Ibrahim Badamosa Babaginda. however.President of Nigeria.’ Thus. Rome. despite its unending corruption commissions and all the noise made by every administration on the efforts to transform the nation into a corruption-free society. Isuikwuato District was one of the lucky ones affected by this new policy. Israel. The history of corruption is as old as the world. This has been the summary of the onerous journey so far. On the 29th of May 1987.

which takes place at the highest levels of political authority. etc. before one could effectively manage the effect 21 . encounters with the police. It is ’ petty’ -‘corruption of need’ . which occurs ‘in the public administration" or ‘the implementation end of politics. who is to blame for the prevalence of corrupt activities in the society? Is it the common person or those in power? No matter who the culprits are. However. promises of office or special favors. local licensing offices. Political corruption. electoral corruption. taxing offices. it does not look that the new administration would be anything different than the previous one. administrative. coercion. And corruption in the offices involves sales of legislative votes. the forms of corrupt activities prevalent in Nigeria include political corruption.(and new a Congress) at Abuja. with the on-going political somersaulting in the society. Other forms of corruption include embezzlement (theft of public resources by public officials) and bribery (persuade to act improperly by a gift of money.’ It affects the manner in which decisions are made. or judicial decision. or governmental appointment. embezzlement and bribery. Nevertheless. convention dictates that to effectively tackle a problem one should first and foremost determine and understand the cause (s) –why it happens.’ is the ‘low level’ and ‘street level’ corruption. This is the type of corruption the citizens encounter daily at places like the hospitals. bureaucratic corruption. electoral corruption includes purchase of votes. because the magnitude of corruption the society witnessed in his first civilian administration was alarming. schools. etc). If one may ask. intimidation and interference with freedom of election. manipulates and distorts political institutions and rules of procedure. to say the least. However. Bureaucratic corruption.that occurs when one obtains a business from the public sector through inappropriate procedure. is a ‘corruption of greed.

Thus. to effectively control corruption in Nigeria it is pertinent to understand the cause (s) before looking for ways to mange it. becoming corrupt is almost unavoidable. According to one who has lived in Nigeria.(s) -what happens as a result. which are more in Less Developed Countries. greed and the ‘brazen display of wealth by public officials. and pressure to meet family obligations. Until the society devices effective sanctions to deal appropriately with the ‘big’ corrupt politicians. are some of the causes of corruption.’ which they are unable to account for. The influence or pressure of ‘polygamous household’ and extended family system. From the foreground. because morality is relaxed in the society. all efforts toward tackling the menace are in vain. But the situation in the society is complicated because the system does not have the apparatus to trace and prosecute the ‘big politicians’ that engage in grand thefts. points to the fact that those in power are to blame more for corruption than the common people who are often pushed into corrupt behavior in their struggle for survival. And Banfield (1958) shows a relationship between 22 . it is ‘luminously evident’ that corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria. include the culture and weird value systems of the society. Similarly. Thus. The causes of corruption. which are myriad. but it is a viable enterprise in the society. Merton (1968) acknowledges the relationship between culture and corruption. and many people struggle for survival without assistance from the state.

" And these are detrimental to the sociopolitical and economic development of the nation because many studies. Lipset and Lenze (2000) note that the cultures of societies "that stress economic success as an important goal but nevertheless strongly restricts access to opportunities will have higher levels of corruption.’ What is currently happening in the trial of Chief Omisore and others implicated in the murder of Chief Bola Ige (the Ige’s family has been frustrated out of the 23 . Therefore. The lukewarm attitude of the officers charged with enforcing the laws (judges. Therefore. Poor reward system is another serious factor. but have relatively low access to economic opportunities. to check bureaucratic corruption workers should be paid. It is no longer news that workers in the society are not paid regularly. because Nigeria’s is probably the poorest in the world. The study. including Mauro 1995 and 1997and Lipset and Lenz 2000. lack of economic opportunity is a serious problem in a society whose citizens are achievement oriented. because without getting paid they would devise ways to meet their family obligations even if it involves breaking the law. which helped to explain high levels of corruption in southern Italy and Sicily. police and other public officials) lead to corrupt behavior. and when due. 2002) who noted that bad rules breed corruption. shows that "Corruption is linked to the strong family values involving intense feelings of obligation. acknowledged that ‘ineffective taxing system’ makes it difficult for societies to track down people’s financial activities. Thus. Lotterman (April 25.corruption and strong family orientation. This alone could explain the reason for the upsurge of corrupt behavior in the society. Thus. and Sen 2000 have documented the negative impacts of corruption on societies." Lack of effective control and taxing systems are other problems. They often let the culprits off hook when they are ‘settled.

and Mr. 24 . Having briefly reviewed some of the causes of corruption in societies (because of limited space we cannot catalog all the causes) let’s browse through its effects. Corruption has taught the society a wrong lesson. However. Mauro 1997 and 1995 note that corruption negatively impacts economic growth and reduces public spending on education The effect of corruption on education is well stated in a statement made by Costello (Nov/Dec 2001) at a European Commission (EC) meeting in support of Nigeria’s anti-poverty efforts. and they often display the ill-gotten wealth without the society blinking. health services and water supply. hardworking and law-abiding. Therefore. Through corrupt means many political office holders have acquired wealth and properties in and outside Nigeria. He said. because one criminal behavior leads to another. "Nigeria has enough money to tackle its poverty challenges. Because money exchanged hand witnesses were allowed to modify their initial testimonies. any person who has witnessed the devastating effects of ubiquitous corruption in Nigeria would find it difficult to accept its apparent and the recent Senator Wabara episode are cases in point. thus laying the foundation to eradicate poverty" (Dike. In particular. In spite of the apparent benefits of corruption. Imo (in the case of Wabara) has been bought over. If these cases are not resolved (killers of Bola Ige to be found and prosecuted) it may lead to another criminal behavior. If the government can win this [its] battle against corruption and mismanagement. March 1965) have argued that corruption could be beneficial to a nation’s political development. Some scholars (including Pye. the money will start to turn into functioning schools. that it does not pay to be honest. Gluckman (1955) noted that scandals associated with corruption sometimes have the effect of strengthening a value system of a society.

as precious time is wasted to set committees to fight corruption.’ and ‘a high level of corruption can make public policies ineffective. 2003). the Europe Union and the Organization of American States are reportedly taking some tough measures against international corruption. Corruption leads to ‘aid abuse’ or aid foregone (Hope. corruption leads to ‘information distortion’ as it ‘cooks the books. have tied poverty and income inequalities to corruption. because some of the officers are themselves corrupt.’ Because of corruption and despite its abundance material and human resources. But none of them has the will to fight corruption. etc. Corruption wastes skills. such as Lipset & Lenz 2000 and Cooksey 1999. It leads to social revolution and military takeovers. Nigeria is the 26th poorest nation in the entire globe.May 27. as some of these in Less Developed Countries point to corruption. Central Bank and the Court of Justice. 2002) noted on the WorldCom scandal. the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Similarly. Bribery and corruption create the culture of late payment. Cooksey (1999) in particular notes that corruption ‘reduces the size’ of a nation’s ‘economic cake’ thereby exposing some ‘segments of the population to poverty. et. the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are introducing tougher anti-corruption standards into their lending policies’ to tackle corruption. The unending chains of corruption-fighting commissions in the society includes.. and delays and refusal to pay for services already executed in Nigeria. Corruption is politically destabilizing. 2000). However.’ 25 . Also some studies. al. and monitor public projects that are often abandoned by unscrupulous politicians and contractors. As was reported in Sen 1999 and as Hall (Reuters June 27. the Police.

and makes governance ineffective. corruption leads to slow traffic. 2003). the image of Nigeria slipped further south. the 1996 Study of Corruption by the Transparency International and Goettingen University ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt nation among the 54 nations on the study. For instance. potholed and trash-filled roads and streets. It may alienate modern-oriented civil servants and cause them reduce (or withdraw) their service and to leave a country (the ‘brain-drain’ episode is tied to corruption). 1993 elections rebuff is one of the many cases dotting Nigeria's political landscape. 26 . However. 2001 ranked Nigeria 90 out of the 91 countries studied (second most corrupt nation in the world) with Bangladesh coming first. In the 1998 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) survey of 85 countries. and political killings (and other election irregularities) that was rampant during the 2003 elections (Shekarau. The social brawl following the Chief Moshood Abiola's June 12. and the heat created by this continues to raise the temperature of the polity. Corruption is destructive of governmental structures and capacity. Nigeria was ranked 81 (Lipset and Lenz 2000). with Pakistan as the second highest (Moore 1997). March 6. Worse still. perhaps. Corruption could upset ethnic balance and exacerbates problems of national integration. Nigeria suffers more than most societies from an appalling international image created by its inability to deal with bribery and corruption. in the 2001 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) survey of 85 countries.Corruption tarnishes the image of a nation. destroys the legitimacy of a government. as The Transparency International Corruption Index.

In its apparent effort to tackle corruption in the society. the society is still searching for effective ways to control the menace beyond the mere rhetoric. which is currently a high-profile issue. Thus. However. tried the Judicial Commissions. is it possible for Nigeria to ameliorate the effects of corruption? Currently.Nevertheless. which seems to have power only over the corrupt poor. any society faced with the challenges of corruption would continue to find ways and means to solve the problem. To win the war on corruption. the INEC for elections-related corruption. Therefore. This author has argued elsewhere that Nigeria cannot effectively control corruption by merely instituting probe panels (Dike. has created a dangerous mixture of celebrity and corruption in the society. Thus. the remedies for corruption in the society are not working. Nigeria’s corruption laws are like a cob web that it is too weak for the ‘big’ politicians committing grand thefts. and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). 27 . The Oputa Panel and Akanbi Commission could not (and would not) solve the corruption puzzle in the society. or otherwise. and the inability of the leaders to report on the effectiveness. Oct 6. 1999). the Code of Conduct Bureau. And the current civilian administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has constituted the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to fight money laundering. because they contribute to making the nation’s laws inoperable. corruption. of the nation’s anticorruption strategies make apparent the war on corruption a joke. the nation has. and Public Complaints Commission without success. Obasanjo’s slogan of ‘no sacred cows’ should be put into practice by prosecuting all the known corrupt political ‘heavy weights’ in the society. in addition to the above panels. but strong enough to catch the poor and powerless involved in petty thefts. given all this baggage.

2003 and Feb 26. 2003 reported that Halliburton.’ This writer recommends that Nigeria should borrow ideas from the US and other advanced countries that are waging effective war against corruption. In addition. But he fired Mr. 2003 and Ugwuanyi.One would re-call that Chief Obasanjo made a ‘financial deal’ with the family of Late General Sani Abacha who looted the nation. Martha Steward who was implicated in the ImClone scandal has been 28 . Therefore. Recently. 2003. but it does not let its corrupt ‘big wings’ off hook whenever they are caught violating the laws of the land. To ameliorate the scourge of corruption. Vincent Azie (the acting Auditor-General) whose audit report indicted the executive. who was found guilty of insider trading. and have effective judiciary and law enforcement to monitor the financial statements of foreign and local corporations.’ See the Daily Independent of Jan 13.4 million to Nigerian tax officials through a Nigerian company (KBP Engineering Construction Company) to avoid paying taxes of $5 million. Although the US is equally corrupt. The Associated Press (and other news organizations) reported recently that the ImClone Systems founder. the society must restructure and fortify the institutional ‘checks and balances among the country’s major social forces and the separation of powers within the government. Nigeria must hold politician accountable for their actions.3 million in fines and back taxes. legislative and judiciary branch (among other agencies) for ‘improper accounting practices. May 27. The Abacha deal and the Azie’s case show that Chief Obasanjo does not have the will to fight corruption in Nigeria. Vanguard. in Vanguard of Feb 21. was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison and ordered to pay $4. a US Oilfield Service firm admitted that it gave a bribe of $2. Sam Waksal (a drugcompany entrepreneur).

And the press (including electronic media) has an important role to play by exposing those involved in corruption. And Nigeria may not win the war on corruption without increasing it’s "economic pie" through good economic policies and increase in productivity. adherence to ‘ethical standards’ in decision-making must be the foundation of the nation’s policy on corruption (Bowman 1991). Therefore. shows a relationship between values and corruption (World Values Study Group. which is now less a matter of issues. Therefore. As well-stated in 1887 by Lord Acton. 1994). the nation should reduce personal gains from corrupt behavior by instituting "effective sanctions" for corrupt behavior (de Sardan 1999). If this were in Nigeria the officials in charge of the case could become millionaires’ overnight. should be issues-based. "Power tends to corrupt. lack of adequate rewards for good skills and honest efforts are among the reasons for the upsurge of corruption in the society. Nigeria needs all necessary weapons to combat corruption. 29 . The World Values Surveys of 1990-1993. as money would change hands. However. the society should not grant too much powers to officers. which has good information on attitudes and values. For that. absolute power corrupts absolutely. such as customs and immigration and the poorly paid police officers that issue business licenses. the society should demand that politics. goods clearance documents and international passports. adequately rewarding workers for their services could go along way to controlling corruption in the society. armed with ethics and virtue.indicted on conspiracy charges. The nation’s public officials are not worried about the ethical implications of their corrupt behaviors." Nevertheless. to effectively control corruption in Nigeria. preaching the gospel of virtue alone (as is often the case with the leaders of Nigeria) is not enough to fight corruption. To control administrative corruption.

inspectors general. A true P. while the true position of things in the locality remains undiscussed.O has always aimed at pleasing the Chairman who has appointed him." But can this method work in Nigerian situation? Government activities must be transparent. transparency and accountability. This is not prevalent in Isuikwuato Local Government Area. because corrupt leaders cannot wage effective war against corruption. and ombudsmen =government official appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials. Klitgaard 1988 and Sen 2000 noted that some bureaucrats were paid "corruption-preventing allowance" (yang lien) as "incentive to remain clean and law-abiding.R. And it should introduce into its agencies watchdog outfits (anti-corruption bureaus. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY Public Accountability and Control 30 . Alatas 1980. that would identify corruption practices and bring them to public attention. effective leadership and governance.However. LACK OF CONTINUITY This lack of continuity has created a situation where each P.R. Finally. auditors general). the keys to effectively managing corruption in any society are honesty and integrity.0 should be immune to political gymicks and should give impartial advice to the Chief Executive of the Local Government Area. etc. to tackle corruption in ancient China.

statutory. A successful system of administrative control should strike a balance between 31 .One of the norms of democratic administration is that power should be commensurate with responsibility and the holders of public office should be accountable to the people for the exercise of authority. This is considered an effective safeguard against the misuse of power and abuse of public authority. In the authoritarian administrative culture. public accountability refers to the liability of government servants to give a satisfactory account of the use of official power or discretionary authority to the people. Public accountability consists of the “sum total of the constitutional. No clear norms and precedents exist and in many situations bureaucrats are largely left to themselves to take decisions. In Nigeria. Various formal and objective methods and procedures (legislative. According L D White. which pervades many of the Third World countries. Various forms and measures of public accountability of administration have been devised in all democratic states. an effective system of public control over administration is a growing imperative to curb all kinds of authoritarian tendencies. administrative and judicial rules and precedents and the established practices by means of which public officials may be held accountable for their official action. With the ever-increasing functions and importance of public administration in modern welfare states the issue of public accountability has assumed great importance. This is considered a check against arbitrary use of authority. SERVICOM was instituted by the then Obasanjo’s administration along site the Ombudsman to ensure accountability and transparency in the sector. they have to be given a wide range of discretionary authority to perform their functions. executive and judicial) have been gradually evolving to ensure the public servant’s accountability and responsiveness to the public will in democracies.” In other words. The civil servants not only implement policy but in a large measure are actively responsible for their initiation and formulation. In the Third World countries where the bureaucracy becomes the chief agent of social and economic change and progress.

Public participation neither existed nor was solicited by the government. executive and the judiciary. The administrative apparatus and functions 107 were then to a great extent. which exert control over administration. In the authoritarian and unegalitarian political and administration culture in which colonial administration functioned. are the legislature. LACK OF PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION The degree and extent of people’s participation in the administration of developing countries like India is greatly conditioned by the basic nature and operational peculiarities of administration during the colonial period. the control of the people over administration is far more direct and effective than in indirect democracies. In indirect democracies. The extent and range of public accountability varies according to the constitutional framework of the country. After independence with the adoption of the goals of a social welfare state. We will be looking at the example of India because Nigeria’s public administration has borrowed a lot from it. formal and procedural. when maintenance of law and order and revenue raising were the prime considerations of administration. the key responsibility for rapid socioeconomic progress and modernization was undertaken by the state. in effect. public accountability. autonomous and accountable to the public. which sought to implement them with the help of public bureaucracy. In terms of methods of operation administration was essentially coercive. In direct democracies like Switzerland. In communist countries like the Soviet Union and China. as in England and India. legislative control is more effective than in the presidential form. the benefits of administration accrued mostly to the upper and the privileged classes of society.the effective use of public authority and the democratic rights of the people. With the beginning of the process of planted development 32 . the major agencies. means accountability of the administration to the communist party. In the cabinet form of government.

the essence of the concept of rural development is the all round development of the village community with the efforts of the people themselves. capable of participating in socioeconomic development and nation-building by proper utilization of the scare resources. adoption of modern agricultural methods and practices. Community development programmes were introduced mainly to solicit popular participation in the development administration of the government. in order to achieve uniformity and avoid undue India the planners and administrators have repeatedly stressed the need to involve the masses and solicit their cooperation in the tremendous challenge of development administration. responsible citizens. Slowness in taking decisions: Civil servants delay action on matters referred to them. This means overdevotion to precedents and official routines. They cannot act promptly on cases before them because their actions have to be strictly guided by existing rules and regulations. extending the principle of cooperation to make the rural families credit-worthy. The community development programme was a method of soliciting community participation to assist the government authorities in improving the economic. Utilizing the free time of the villagers in useful community work. because of bureaucracy or red tape. ignorance and idleness and upgrading the social status of the village teachers and associating them in development programme. squalor. disease. Such participatory system was introduced to operationalise the concept of democratic decentralization and devolution of their areas. They include encouraging the village people to become self-reliant. launching a multi-pronged attack on hunger. To shake free the inertia of the masses that had hitherto been only used to being passive recipients of government aid the government sought to create an institutional infrastructure to promote popular participation. 2-Lack of Initiative and Imagination: Civil servants seldom take decisions 33 . social and cultural life of the people in the rural areas. In short.

caused by poor conditions of service and insecurity of jobs. Offices and duties are often duplicated in the various ministries. 2.They are. while healthy and well trained youths remain jobless. The result is a waste of manpower and scarce economic resources. wastefulness and misuse of man power: Records are often not well kept.independltly. They are often unwilling to take responsibility or introduce new measures. The officials treat members of the public impersonally and are sometimes impatient with or rude to them. leading to poor morale. while documents such as file and important letters can usually not be found when they are most needed. 4-Ineffective organisation. leading to overall inefficiency. therefore. many civil servants with declining productivity due to old age and poor health are retained in the 230) is the modern democratic state of increasing the efficiency of governmental performance without sacrificing the basic democratic principles of government and making its officers and employees to remain responsible to the sovereign people.1. 6-Oppurtunity for Tyranny. They have little or no opportunity to exercise individual judgement and cannot bend existing rules to adapt to changing circumstances. this is associated with the delegation of additional powers to civil servants over legislative and administrative matters. Added to this. 5-Remoteness from the rest of the service: Civil servants are often inaccessible to the public. 3-Poor attitude to work: Civil servants are often accused of lack of dedication and devotion to duty. The constitution confers immunity upon the president (and Governors) for 34 .2005:116&117).One central problem of public administration according to Rodee et al(1983. with no effective coordination among them. often criticised for being conservative and lacking initiative. Other problems of public administration worthy of mentioned include. The exercise of these powers by the civil servants may be abused. (Oyediran et-al.

be impeached by parliament.any act done in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office. as provided for in the constitution. however. Civil proceedings can be initiated against him after two months notice in writing. This provision provides a wide protective umbrella to public officials. thus: “Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is or who by reason of a mistake of fact and 151 not by a mistake of law in good faith believes himself to be bound by law to do it. provided that he at the time. the criminal liabilities of any official as an ordinary citizen are defined by the India Penal code. This means that no judge. 3. No criminal proceedings can be started against him. justice of peace. it 35 . whether or not without the limits of his jurisdiction. be instituted against him during his term of office in respect of any act done in his personal capacity after a two months notice in writing. The judicial officers are immune from liability. Civil proceedings can. Suggested ways of solving the public service problems. Serving governors and senators in Nigeria also enjoy such immunities alike. believed himself to have jurisdiction to do or order the act complained of. A public official incurs liability for torts and illegal acts unless he has acted in good faith in the exercise of some statutory power. He can. This means they cannot be treated like ordinary citizens because of the office they occupy. Though history has shown that there is no system that works satisfactorily. collector or other person acting judicially shall be liable to be sued in any civil court for any act done or ordered to be done by him in the discharge of his official duty. nor can he be arrested or imprisoned. As regards the non-judicial officials the position is that they are not personally liable in respect of any contract or assurance made or executed for the purposes of this constitution or for the purposes of enactment relating to the Government of Nigeria. in good faith. For example. however. magistrate.

The public service must be reformed in order to attain the public service of our dream that can rival it’s counter-parts in other countries of the world. 5. A public Service that attracts and retains some of the best brains and core competent holders that would render efficient and timely service. A Public Service that is proactive. 3.5 a Other ways of Improving the Administrative Problems The various administrative reforms commissions have suggested various 36 . This has often led to instability and in some countries the system had proved nearly fatal. and committed to finding lasting solutions to the Niger Delta and other ethnic important to mention before we proceed that it is not good to have a public service that is under the control of the executive and for the appointments to change according to the turn of political wheel. 7. 6. growth. 4. A public service in which corruption is at Zero tolerance level. A public service that pursues unity by keeping the country together.e where corruption is near absent or insignificant to affect the goals of the service. 2. efficient managerial succession 154 and fulfilment of the needs of the employees and not based on sectional interest or tribal affiliations. A public service that is strictly driven by the observance of efficient and dynamic Rules and Regulations. A public service that provides structures and working conditions that creates space for motivation. 3. anticipates problems and provides well considered indigenous solutions and competent to evaluate foreign based solutions usually packaged through experts/consultants or by whatever other designation known.i. This can be achieved if the following ideals are upheld.1. A public service that is confident in it’s people and institutions that can withstand changes in our democratic process. A public service that is appropriately enumerated. and 8.

Simplification of rules. needs some flexibility from a strict observation of rigid rules and regulations. Therefore. the following are some of the important recommendations made by the expert committees and commissions for restructuring the administrative system of a developing society like India which can be applicable to Nigeria and other developing countries: (a) De-emphasising hierarchy in the administrative structure (b) Collegiate decision – making 155 (c) Giving precedence to the achievement of goals over strict adherence to rules and regulations (d) Decentralization of authority 37 . regulations. To be more precise. Thus.measures for improving the administrative systems. Creating right values and attitudes in the administrators. what is required is change in the behavioural orientation of public administrators. The civil service must be made fully professional. 3. The bureaucrats have to be positive. 4. dynamic. persuasive and innovative. the cutting edge level of public administration. which is most often situational. 2. the rigid rule bound bureaucracies should be changed into flexible action-oriented and more responsive instruments of social change. The civil servants should combine administrative shills with modern management techniques for greater effectiveness and responsiveness in administration. They broadly indicated reforms in the following lines: 1. The development work. This is also necessary for the convenience of the public. and equal to the task through appropriate methods of recruitment and training. They are required to be less oligarchic and closer to the ordinary people. procedures and reduction of red tape in the implementation of developmental policies and programmes.

and the use of such technological devices as fax. The effect of this and other constellating factors earlier mentioned render public administration ineffective. impartial and efficient administration. adminis-trators. honest. and encouraging creativity (g) Elimination of archaic office procedures. ineffectual and corrupt. (i) Elimination of corruption so as to secure clean. and (n) Facilitating expeditious dispatch of government work. and the 38 .(e) Democratization of administration (f) Creation of new work culture. Administrators support whatever government is in power and end up becoming part of the rot. The environmental implication of these drawbacks in the relationship between government. CONCLUSION The experience of Nigeria is such that the administrative state allows a clique of public officials. and public cooperation (m)Specifying tasks and responsibilities for better implementation of plans and programmes. (j) Effecting the needed attitudinal and behavioural changes in the bureaucracy through proper recruitment system and orientation training (k) Securing integrity of administrators (l) Promoting efficiency. personal computer and the electronic mail in administration. the military and politicians to accumulate wealth. economy. (h) Adoption of modern management techniques such as management by objectives. get away with it and leave the entire system to suffer for it.

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