The Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Enhancing Good Governance and Sustainable Developmental Growth in Africa: The Nigeria Paradox under Obasanjo Administration, 2003-2007

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Abstract

Nigeria's public image at international scene has been very negatively, impressed. Since 1966 when the first military coup took place on the account of corruption, the country is still searching for better atmosphere that could guarantee corrupt free society. Since the early 2000's when Transparency International ranked the country the second most corrupt nation in the world, the government has been working assiduously to make sure that the Nigeria image is being treated with respect. Nigeria and indeed Africa are so enmeshed in corruption that their leadership is either positioning for life leadership or wealth for great, great, grand children unborn. Also in these countries, hunger is so pronounced that people throw away conscience and decorum for survival. In a bid to fight these ills and join the wagon for good governance, viable democracy and developmental growth, some African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, etc. have been making efforts towards attaining such desired governance. In Nigeria many anti corruption agencies are established, both public and private, all aimed at fighting against corruption and enthronement of better governance. In this paper some of these anti-corruption agencies are critiqued and their impacts are also empirically examined.

Key words: Anti-corruption agencies; Good governance; Sustainable development

INTRODUCTION

"Who would try to nail boards together without a hammer or change a flat tyre without a jack? To deny our need for tools would be ridiculous, yet many of us have forgotten that we need tools in our lives, especially tools for living" (Rubin, 2001, p. 140).

African countries have been trying since early 1960s to fashion ways of living that could enhance good governance. Some of the countries tried to enforce better living by way of interventionist governance such as military coups (in such country like Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, etc.).

The African countries especially the independent ones became members of the world bodies that are interested in good governance like the United Nation Organizations, World Bank and its affiliations and of course the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU).

In Nigeria, since 1960, when the country was granted right to self rule, she has not only been a member of these bodies but has been searching for appropriate bodies that could evaluate her performance as an independent organized nation for self rule - hence her membership of Transparency International. The failure of First and Second Republic has been attributed to corruption. Thus, in the Fourth Republic and in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other international development partners, whose emphasis have been on good governance, corrupt free government and poverty reduction, Nigeria has joined these bodies to fight this cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our dear great nation.

Though the military tried to fight corruption in its own way but due to the nature of the military set up and its dictatorial antecedent and action, the military government lacked decorum and qualities that account for good governance, viable democracy, sustainable development and growth. However, the military governments in Nigeria which usually attribute their intervention in governance to corruption, tried to enforce discipline and transparency through decrees and edicts. For instance the Decree against heroine and cocaine of 1984 that carried death sentence as penalty, Examination Malpractices Decree 21 of 1986, War Against Indiscipline (WAI) of 1984, NDLEA (National Drug Law Enforcement Agency), Nigerian Customs and Excise, Standard Organization of Nigeria, etc.

In 1999 Nigeria decided to practice good governance and join the democratic countries in the world hence having democratically elected leaders. According to Attahiru Jega 'one of the challenges for bringing about good governance and democratic consolidation in Nigeria is that of creating viable and effective network, strengthening alliance and working in relationship amongst the democracy inclined civil society groups' (Jega, 2007, p. …