Academic journal article International Social Science Review

Seized by Sleaze: The Siege of Corruption and a Search for Workable Options in Nigeria

Academic journal article International Social Science Review

Seized by Sleaze: The Siege of Corruption and a Search for Workable Options in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Seized by Sleaze: The Siege of Corruption and a Search for Workable Options in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country born in hope and optimism, but one that has lived with anxiety for most of its fifty-four year history. The anxiety stems from the failure of successive leaders to nation-build, and those leaders inability to mobilize the country towards economic, social, and political development. In Nigeria, the political class has reduced governance to a veritable mechanism that boosts and consolidates their economic strength and fortune to the detriment of the country's economic growth and development. The annual budgets in Nigeria are proverbial buffets for the rulers, who have turned corruption into a trademark for governance in the country. The scale of corruption occurring in the corridors of power led to the creation of anti-corruption agencies, such as the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crime Commission), and the ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission). However, these agencies have made almost no headway fighting corruption. The culture of corrupt enrichment, the kleptomaniac tendencies and orchestrated thievery among the political office holders have rendered the national economy comatose. (1) Positions of authority are a means of siphoning, sharing, and manipulating the less privileged and down-trodden. Yet, what is indisputable is the fact that "no nation is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit its economy to enrich themselves." (2) Corruption, generally defined as abuse of authority for private gain, is among the world's oldest practices and a fundamental cause of insecurity, providing a focal point for many social groups' grievances against governments. (3) In the 2013 Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published by Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked as the 36th most corrupt country in the world. Nigeria placed 143rd of the 176 countries assessed, scoring 27 percent. The least corrupt countries were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, who all scored 90 percent. (4)

In light of the above, it could be argued that the basic problem with Nigerian governance is its high level of corruption and its attendant poor governance. With a ranking of 143 in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index, Nigeria is depicted as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. The paper will serialize all the ills of corruption in Nigerian governance and the extent to which it undermines all the possibilities of national development and progress. With high level corruption, it is impossible to have good governance; without good governance, there will be no development; without development there cannot be peace; and without peace there will be no security. This paper also sets out to review the approaches to corruption prevention and to discuss some of the practical difficulties in minimizing the level of corruption in governance before making suggestions on options for tackling the menace in Nigeria. But in discussing corruption in Nigeria, some pertinent questions arise. For example, what nature does corruption assume in this country? What are the causes of corruption in governance in Nigeria? The importance of these questions lies in their analytic and normative consequences. Analytically, there is little hope of discerning how Nigeria's corruption in governance will end if its emergence and driving factors are not well understood. From a normative perspective, the task of prescribing solutions is at worst ad hoc, and at best merely palliative, without a proper diagnosis of the causes of corruption in governance. In the final analysis, this paper will examine how ending Nigeria's corruption will only promote genuine peace and stability.

Conceptual Framework of Corruption

Corruption is neither race-bound nor nation-specific. It is a universal phenomenon. However, its universality is not an excuse. Corruption is a complex socio-political phenomenon, a child of the society and social relations in which it occurs. …

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