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ABSTRACT Nigeria is today regarded as one of the richest country in the world in view of its vast natural resources

and high oil revenues occurring to her. However, despite of its huge revenue earnings, the country’s national development and growth have unfortunately been slowed down due to the existence of so many factors. Corruption is indeed the most dreadful factor that crippled the nation’s national development since independence. Corruption has reached unprecedented height and has now been accepted by many Nigerians as a normal way of life, so much so that one has to bribe, his way to get the most basic necessities of life such as getting admission, securing of employment, promotion, posting, award of contracts, dispensation of justice etc. This paper examines all issues relating to corruption and its effect on national development: its concepts, it causes, forms of corruption, the concept of national development and factors affecting it. The major findings of this paper includes: Lack of political will and sincerity by the political leaders to fight corruption, absence of comprehensive legal framework to punish corrupt officials with deadly deterrent such as death sentence as in china, lack of holistic approach by all stakeholders (i.e. religious / political leaders, parents and opinion moulders etc) to deal with corrupt practices. The paper therefore recommends: A holistic approach to the fight of corruption (i.e. all stakeholders, parents, religious/traditional leaders, politicians, government officials etc) must unite with sincere mind and strong political will to stamp out corruption in every aspect of our life, review of our anti corrupt laws in such as way that all unnecessary legal technicalities are removed to ensure speedy administration of justice, as well as sterner punishment such as death penalty is introduced on those found guilty of corruption. Key concepts: corruption, national development, economic growth


INTRODUCTION Corruption is today regarded as a global phenomenon. It has co-existed with human society for a long time and remains one of the cankerworm confronting both developed and developing nations with varying degrees of consequences on their political and socio-economic developments. World Bank (2000) noted that corruption is the single, greatest obstacle to economic and social development as it distorts the rule of law, and weakens the institutional foundations on which economic growth depends. Nigeria, as a nation has been bestowed with huge resources-human and materials but yet remained backward and underdeveloped, largely because of the menace of corruption. Corruption in Nigeria has become deep rooted and institutionalized, thus weakening/ destroying entirely our value systems, norms and cultures. Corruption according to Hadi (1999) has permeated the government and oil fields, it becomes so blatant and widespread that it appears as if it has been legalized in Nigeria (Gire: 1999). STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM In Nigeria, at least in the last two decades, corruption has become endemic and systematic, and its upsurge troubling. It constitutes one of the many unresolved social problem that have greatly affected the growth and development of the country. Economic financial crime commission (EFCC) (2005), described the menace of corruption as “a canker worm that has eaten up deep into the fabrics of the country and has stunted growth of all sectors. Nigeria was ranked by the Transparency international in 1996 as the most corrupt nation in the world (Moore: 1997). Similarly based on the Transparency international corruption perception index of 176 countries, Nigeria was ranked 139 out of the 176 countries pooled (CPI: 2012). As at June 2007, Nigeria still tops the list of the most corrupt nations on earth. Abimbola (2007) stated that a nationwide corruption survey carried out in Nigeria: identified the Nigeria police as the most corrupt public parastatal in the country, closely followed by the power holding company of Nigeria (PHCN); the independent national electoral commission (INEC), joint admission and matriculation board (JAMB), the presidency and Nigeria National petroleum commission (NNPC). Another area in which corruption has manifested itself in Nigeria is in the area of project executions. For instance key national projects such as Ajaokuta steel company, National iron ore mining project Kogi State, Delta steel etc where billions of Dollars were spent over the last four decades have not been able to realize the objectives for which they were conceived and established. The last and the most current corruption cases in Nigeria includes the pension scam on police, customs, immigration pension funds running into billions of Naira and oil subsidy fraud. Even those appointed to investigate the oil subsidy scam were also compromised by the corruption; thus justifying what late Achebe (1998) said: “keeping an average Nigerian from being corrupt is like keeping a goat from eating yam”. Similarly, Gen. Muhammad Buhari in his maiden speech as head of state

said “while corruption and indiscipline have been associated with our state of underdevelopment, these twin evils in our body politics have attainted unprecedented height levels (Turi: 2000). This statement was made in 1984 (29years ago), but today’s corruption in Nigeria has become so bad that people are stealing billions and not hundreds of thousands that was stolen by corrupt politicians during the Shagari era. Since independence, successive Nigeria governments had adopted various measures to fight corruption, but with very little success. Such measures includes the enactment of relevant anti-corruption laws and policies, establishment of anti-corruption institutions such as the code of conduct bureau, which requires all elected and appointed public officers to declare their assets when taken office and after leaving office; independent corrupt practices commission (ICPC), Economic financial crime commission (EFFC) etc. Unfortunately, as noted by Afolayan (2011) “corruption is still a menace, thereby bringing untold hardship, misery, distortion and strangulation of growth and development”. The aim of the paper is to critically review the various concepts of corruption, its nature and forms, factors responsible for the existence of corruption, its effects on national developments as well as the various measures adopted by governments since independence to tackle the menace of corruption in the country. Appropriate recommendations would also be suggested on how corruption and corrupt practices would be reduced if not completely eliminated in Nigeria. CONCEPTS OF CORRUPTION Corruption is a social problem that has been studied by various scholars and writers using different perspectives. This creates the problem of definition .In other words there is no single definition of corruption. Khan (1966) defines corruption as an act which deviates from the formal rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in a position of public authority because of his private motive. Similarly, corruption has been defined as an effort to secure wealth or power through illegal means, private gains at public expense or misuse of public power for private benefit (Lipset and Lenz :2000). In the same vain World Bank (1997) defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gains. The economic financial crime commission (EFFC, 2005), defined corruption as one of the many unresolved social problems that have greatly affected the growth and development of the country. Similarly section 2, of the independent corrupt practices and other related offences Act (2000), saw corruption as a multifaceted phenomenon that ranges from the giving and accepting of bribe to other kinds of fraudulent practices. Sociologists however, view corruption as a form of deviant behavior. Using control theory, Arnold and Brungardit (1983), stated that human nature is on the bad side of a neutral position, that human are naturally egocentric and seek to satisfy their wants and needs by the easiest means that decreases the paralegal controls( internal and external), allow delinquent behavior. Corruption was also seen as any act that includes:

skill drudgery, cheating, unfairness, crime, sneakiness, sins, betrayal, graft, corruption, wickedness and sins (Cohen: 1966). On the other hand Sagrain (1975) defines corruption as a collection of conditions or acts that society disvalues. Functionalist theory saw corruption as emanating from the social structures of the society which exerts a definite pressure upon certain individuals in the society to engage in non-conforming conduct. Merton (1957) asserted that a society with exceptionally strong emphasis on specific goal without corresponding institutional procedures would lead to normlessness or deviation. Although the above definitions of corruption differs on their perspectives, but all the definitions emphasis the following: that corruption is evil because it is not legitimize by the law and polices of the country, it is a deviation from standard norms and values of the society; and the motive is always selfish and detrimental to the growth and development of the society. NATURE AND FORMS OF CORRUPTION. We have seen the different perspective on the concept of corruption, our next concern is to analyze the various nature and forms corruption manifest itself in our society. Sagarin (1995), in his analysis of deviant behavior which includes corruption, categorized deviant behavior into five: Sexual deviance (i.e. violation of norms concerning sexual behavior) ,crime (i.e. violations of established legislations and polices of government and its agencies), suicide (i.e. violation of norms regarding human life), and mental order (i.e violations of norms concerning behavior and thoughts). Under this categorization, corruption falls under crime. Taylor (2010), on the other hand took a holistic view (i.e. broader approach) to the concept of corruption. He identified three major forms of corruption: political corruption: or high level corruption. This takes place at the highest levels of political authority i.e. at policy making level; Bureaucratic corruption which occurs in public offices where government policies are implemented. This is also called low level corruption in government offices such as tax offices, police, phcn, schools etc. Electoral corruption is widely practiced in developing nations like Nigeria. It involves buying of votes with money, promises of office or special favors, coercion/ intimidation and interference of election. This type of corruption produces leaders that are not actually elected, but rigged into office. Corruption also manifest itself in form of: bribery (i.e. kickbacks, greasing of palms etc) fraud (i.e. trickery, swindle and deceit, counterfeiting, smuggling etc.), extortion (i.e. money extracted by the use of coercion, violence or threat act) and embezzlement (that is theft of public resources by public officials) and nepotism, a sort of favoritism based on religion, kinfolk, tribe etc. (Amundsen: 1997)


CAUSES OF CORRUPTION Corruption is endemic and it is a universal social problem. In other words is not peculiar to any continent, region, ethnicity or religion. It cuts across religious and political system. It affects both young and old people, male and females alike. The history of corruption is as old as the world, because ancient civilization had traces of wide spread corruption. However due to some factors such as levels of development, type of political system in place etc. some countries/ continents are regarded as more corrupt than others. What then are the specific factor that causes corruption in developing nations, particularly Nigeria. Lipset and Lenz (2000), stated that there are some evidence to link corruption to factors such as social diversity, ethno-linguistic, fractionalization and the proportion of country’s population adhering to different religious practice. While not disagreeing with them entirely, I would however wish to note that corruption in Nigeria cuts across all socio-cultural factors such as tribe, religion, stat, age, color or even sex. All kinds of high and low ranking government officials, men and women, young and old, Muslims/Christians etc had unfortunately been involved/ found wanting and their image tarnished by accusation of corruption in their places of employment. There are many factors that have been cited by different scholars and writers as causes of corruption in Nigeria and other countries. Some writers tend to believe that developed countries are less corrupt than developing nations (Norad 2000). Some of the factors responsible for corruption in Nigeria, and indeed in most developed nations of Africa and Asia include: Bruce (1921), noted the absence of a strong sense of national community. In Nigeria, lack of strong patriotism and nationalism has contributed in no small measure to the plundering of the nation resources; through corruption and outright stealing. The recent pardon by the government of public officers convicted over corrupt practices running into billions of naira is a clear case of lack of patriotism. Winning elections and getting appointed to public office, is today regarded as means of getting rich. This explains the rationale behind the massive electoral riggings that has characterized our elections from the second republic to the present democratic dispensationGreat inequality in distribution of wealth. This is especially more pronounced when we analyze the earnings of elected politicians and top government political office holders vis-à-vis the low remunerations paid career civil servants. Weak institutions of government. Government has made efforts towards fighting corruption through the establishments of Anti-corruption agencies like EFCC, ICPC and code of conduct Bureau. But these institutions have been rendered weak through various means such inadequate budgetary provisions, ultimately release of funds, and executive control and interference; thus rendering them inefficient deliberately. Conflict between changing moral codes. “glorification and approbation of ill-gotten wealth by the general public are among the reasons for the persistence of corruption in







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Nigeria” (Nduihor 1999) corrupt Nigerians are now honored with traditional titles and national awards Lacks of ethical standards and transparency in both public and private organizations. In Nigeria, becoming corrupt is almost unavoidable, because morality is relaxed and moral codes and ethics discarded no one cares about the source of wealth of a man “just be rich, the ways and means are irrelevant (Ubeku:1991). Wide spread poverty, is also a source of corruption in Nigeria. Bad rules and ineffective taxation; also contribute to corrupt practices in our society. They make it “difficult to track down people’s financial activities, breed corruption (Pioneer, Press: 2002). Factors such as poor remuneration greed and the burden of extended family also contribute to corruption and corrupt practices. Onaleja (1997), noted that “peer community and extended family pressures and polygamous are often reasons that contribute to corruption”. Closely related is the issue of strong family orientation. Edward (1959), noted a relationship between corruption and strong family orientation; insisting that “corruption is linked to strong family values and intense feelings of obligation.” He cited the case the of Italian mafia where people have the attitude of “anything goes that advances the interests of one’s self and family. EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION ON NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Before we analyze the effect of corruption and corrupt practices on our national development, it would not be out of context if we review briefly the concept of development. CONCEPT OF DEVELOPMENT Development is broadly defined as a multi dimensional process of change in the social structure, attitude, institution as well as the general acceleration of economic growth through reduction of inequality and poverty. (Tadaro: 1977). Development, therefore is primarily concerned with : increasing the availability and widening the distribution of basic life sustenance (such as food, shelter and protection, raising the level in addition to higher income), provision of jobs, better education and greater attention to cultural and humanitarian values, all of which not only serve to enhance material well-being but also to generate greater individual and national self esteem, and expanding the range of economic and social choice to individuals and nations by freeing them from the servitude and dependence. (Musa : 2002) Development is therefore the process of harnessing the human resources in order to conquer the environment for the betterment of the people in line with its values, customs and traditions. Development should cover all aspects of human life- political, economic, social, education, health, infrastructure etc.

INDICES OF MEASURING DEVELOPMENT    Improvement of gross domestic product (GDP). The total output produced in the economy over a long period of time Improved standard of living- availability and accessibility to essential requirements of life- housing, food, health care, education, infrastructure (power, roads etc.) Improved life span- life expectancy differs from one country to another ranging from 40 years in most developing nations and 75 years in developed nations (Marscial :1994). It is widely influenced by the standard of living, availability of health services, literacy level and income of people. Reduction in poverty. This is a state of lack of resources; which leads to absolute poverty (i.e. lack of resources for basic subsistence) and relative poverty (i.e. lack of resources in comparison to other members of the society). Employment opportunities. Unemployment is today quite high in Nigeria, due to government policies which encourage rationalization and retrenchment of workers. Increased illiteracy level and education. Large populations of Nigeria are not literate at all. The small percentage that are literate and educated, received very poor quality of education. This really affects sustainable development.

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EFFECT OF CORRUPTION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Nigeria is endowed with both human and natural resources. Its population is over 140 million (2006 census). It has a total land area of 923,768sq km, a total water surface of 13000sq km, a coastline extending 835km (Society for family health: 2010). It is blessed with arable land area which contributes 33% of its total land area. The country is blessed with natural resources: iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, natural gas, oil. It produces agricultural products and livestock (SFH: 2010, Amucheazi: 1985). Yet despite its richness, the country is still under developed, partly due to “petty ambitions and often inhuman greed of Nigerian’s leaders, which have deprived the country of enormous potentials that could make for accelerated developments, fulfill its leadership aspirations and achieve its developmental potential. (Adebanjo: 2010). Obviously there is a yawning gap between the country’s enormous potential and its seeming infinitesimal progress, between where it is and where it ought to be (Umukoro: 2010). Similarly Ezukanma (2010) noted that “Nigeria has all it takes to emerge as black super power and an effective check on Neo-imperialism in Africa continent”. Five decades of corruption has made it practically difficult if not impossible for the nation to make a meaningful progress along the development continuum. Corruption has been endemic and intractable in Nigeria, which according to (Mohammed 2010), may not allow it to achieve the millennium development goal (MDGs) by 2015. Akinyemy

(2009), also noted “that there is a correlation between level of corruption and Nigeria’s underdevelopment, given the lower ranks of human indices in Nigeria. We have seen the general effects of corruption on the Nigeria’s sustainable development. Other impacts of corruption on the country’s development include:  Precious time and skills were wasted through the setting up of committees and tribunals to fight corruption  Loss of foreign investment and foreign aids. International monetary fund and the world bank had either withdrawn support from corrupt nations or had introduced tougher anti corruption standards in its lending policies against corrupt nations (OECD: 1997).  Political instability. Corruption has been cited in all the military takeover of powers throughout the history if Nigeria  Corruption causes a reduction in quality of goods and services available to the public. Today we are seeing low quality textile materials, shoes, drugs etc. all because standards have been compromised  Corruption affects investment, economic growth and government expenditure choices; it also reduces private investments (Mauro: 1997). It also leads to divestment from corrupt societies/ nations. Serious investors are always wary of offering bribery before being allowed investment rights or operational licenses; due to fear that greased government officials may not keep their side of the agreement (Eppele:2006).  It has been a stumbling block to people enjoying the social fruits of good governance (Ibrahim:2003).  Corruption discourages investment and limits economic growth. It also alters the composition of government spending. It also unconsciously hinders future economic growth and sustainable development (Sallotman:2004).  Corruption contributes to the problem of mass poverty and rendered millions of Nigerian citizen unemployed and uneducated. It is also true that mass poverty has served in many countries as a breeding ground for all forms of extremism and ethnoreligious violence (Obadan:2001).  According to Salu and Aremu (2004), “in Nigeria, corruption led to decaying infrastructure, inadequate medical services, falling education standards, mismanagement of foreign loans, bloated imported bills and public expenditures, reduces production capacity, distortion of the economy through waste and misapplication of resources.  Corruption tarnishes the image of a nation, Nigeria perhaps suffers more than most societies from an appalling international image created by its inability to deal with bribery and corruption  Corruption discourages hard work, honest effort and valuable economic activities; it breeds inefficiency and nepotism. Similarly, corruption leads to possible information


distortion as it ‘cooks the books’; and ‘a high level of corruption can make public policies inefficient (Sen:1999). MEASURES ADOPTED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA Although it can be argued that the generality of Nigeria’s leadership since the first republic have been corrupt and visionless (i.e. have failed to diversify the economy and huge dependence on petroleum), some efforts have been made to fight corruption in the country. The measures adopted in fighting corruption include: In the first republic, corruption was not manifest, “probably because politics then was short, nasty and brutish, centered around ethnically-based parties dominated by regional polities (Adebanjo: 2010). However, the discovery of oil in the 1970s, and the reconstruction policies of General Gowon’s government after the civil war, laid the foundation of corruption in Nigeria; as the huge amounts of money coming into government coffers, was said to have wet the appetite of the ruling class and eventually fuelled their acquisitive tendencies. The first sincere efforts to fight the menace corruption in Nigeria were during Gen. Murtala Mohammed regime (1975-1976). It was the first leadership to openly and courageously address the national monster of corruption; it was the first anti-corruption radical and activist regime (Adebanjo:2010), Murtala’s regime began by instilling discipline. According to Turi(2000), the biggest shake-up in a single sweep came in Nov.1975, when nearly 8000 civil servants were either dismissed or retired. Murtala also probed the military governors of Gen.Gowon. He announced this “was necessary because investigations into their assets had revealed that all but two of the governors were guilty of grossly abusing their office… more than 10 million Naira worth of assets has been confiscated from them” (Turi :2000 p.195). The second serious attempts to fight corruption was during the regime of General Muhammed Buhari; when he sacked the government of Shehu Shagari (Stock:2007). Buhari in his maiden speech, said “the change became necessary in order to put an end to the serious economic predicament and the crisis of confidence now afflicting our nation….. He said “the politicians had circumvented most of the checks and balances in the constitution and brought the nation to a state of general insecurity” (Turi: 2000 p.302). On corruption, Buhari said “the premiums of politics became so high that political contestants regarded victory at elections as a matter of life or death and were determined to capture power or retain it by all means; there is ample evidence that rigging and thuggery were relative to the resources available to the parties…”(Turi:2000 p.302-303s). Buhari described the Shagari regime as “corrupt, inept and insensitive, and which increasingly became the source of immorality and impropriety (Turi:2000 p.305). Buhari, instituted probe of politicians which led to the arrests, detention, trial and conviction of the culprits; commercial banks were directed to freeze the accounts of all those under detention and those already declared wanted; a special campaign against indiscipline and


other vices tagged war against indiscipline-WAI was also launched and pursued vigorously(Turi:2000). To make the pursuance of a disciplined state realizable, the government promulgated a number of decrees making some illegal acts punishable with long jail terms and death sentence (Turi:2000). Other efforts made by successive governments to fight corruption include:  The establishment of code of conduct bureau and the code of conduct tribunal. The bureau forbids public officers from simultaneously receiving remuneration of two public office, engaging in private practice, it prohibits public officers from maintaining or operating foreign bank accounts, and public officers are required to declare their assets and those of their families immediately after taking oath of office and after leaving office. In 2000, the independent corrupt practices and other related offices act was promulgated which eventually gave birth to the establishment of ICPC and EFCC charged with the responsibility of investigating, arresting and charging any offender (obayelu:2007). The EFCC has sensitized Nigerians about corruption and has achieved some limited success. For instance there have been a number of high profile convictions since its inception: two judges have been sacked and two others been suspended; several legislatures (including a past senate president) have lost their legislative posts; three ministers have been dismissed, a former inspector general of police have been convicted and jailed (okonkjo iweala and osafo-kwaako:2007).

CONCLUSION: Corruption is the single monster that has affected the progress and development of Nigeria since independence despite of its vast human and natural resources. It has destroyed our culture, infrastructures and is today threatening to dismember the country through civil strife and armed insurgency. Efforts made by successive governments to tackle corruption have not produced the desired results. Renewed efforts backed with strong political will is therefore, needed urgently to rescue the nation from the menace of corruption. RECOMMENDATIONS: Despite all the efforts made to fight corruption in Nigeria, the menace of corruption is still prevalent and increasing. In my opinion the following recommendations would go along way if implemented towards minimizing corruption in our society to the barest level: a. Holistic approach by all concerned stakeholders- parents, teachers, religious institutions, the three tiers of government) should be adopted. Our present orientations and value






systems of acquiring illegal wealth and condoned by the society should be replaced with morality and fear of God. Existing anti corruption laws should be reviewed to ensure that: the onus of proof should be placed on the suspected offender. A speedy trial of accused persons in such a way that no bail request would be entertained. Death sentence should be introduced for all corruption cases exceeding one million naira, while long jail terms for any amount less than one million Naira. Immunity clause which gave president and governors protection from prosecution while in office should be amended to allow prosecution when they are accused of crimes and corruption. Existing anti corruption institution such as ICPC, EFCC etc. should be strengthened by reviewing the legislation establishing them, to make them completely independent of the supervision of the executive. Financial and operational independence should also be granted to them. Our traditional and religious leaders should preach against corruption and show good example in their conducts and actions. Rewarding of corrupt public office looters with traditional titles must stop and past titles withdrawn.


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