Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Corruption and Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Discourse of Core Issues

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Corruption and Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Discourse of Core Issues

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nigeria is rich in natural and human resources, with a population of over 150 million people; the most populous country in Africa. At the time of her political independence, on 1st October 1960, Nigeria excelled in production of agricultural produce such as groundnut, palm oil, cocoa, cotton, beans, timber and hides and skins

Then, during the oil boom period of the seventies Nigeria made headlines with her oil wealth, as a country richly endowed with oil and natural gas resources capable of financing a number of important projects to meet basic consumption and development needs (Salisu, 200:2). With per capital income of around $1,100 during the late 1970's Nigeria was regarded as the fastest growing country in Sub- Sahara Africa (Salisu, Ibid). Yet it remains predominantly underdeveloped due to the scourge of corruption that has corroded it.

Corruption denies the ordinary citizen the basic means of livelihood, it worsen unemployment and erodes our image as a nation and as individual (Danjuma Goje 2010:1). It has undermined Nigeria's economic growth and development potential, with a per capital income of $340, Nigeria now ranks amongst the least developed countries in the World Bank League table (Salusi, op.cit). Nigeria's higher education system once regarded as the best in Sub-Sahara Africa is in deep crisis. Health services are woefully inadequate, graduate unemployment is rising and so too is crime rate (Salisu, Ibid).

This culture of corruption which is rampant at national level constitutes a threatening force to development at grassroots level. It has been a significant factor leading to the general failure of local government as well as an excuse for suspending representative institution (Humes and Ola, N.D:104).

Corrupt practices have been deleterious not only because they divert funds from public purposes to private purses but also they undermine the vitality of local government (Ibid).

This paper therefore, examines the crisis of corruption in Nigerian local government administration. It is divided into five parts viz: the introduction, concept of corruption, concept of local government, corruption in Nigerian local government system: the causes, effects and manifestation and finally the conclusion, which is the way forward.

Conceptualization of Terms

Within the disciplinary parameters of social science, the issue of definition of concepts has not been problem free. This has been largely due to the eclectic nature and paradigmatic dispositions of respective disciplines within the field (Akindele et al, 1997:1). Given this, there is a need for caution on the part of any analyst in giving precise meaning to concepts in the social sciences, particularly when such meanings could not have been unconnected with the perspective, ideological persuasion or the unit of analysis of such analyst (Akindele et al, Ibid). Therefore, for more classification and their usage in this work it is appropriate to start the conceptual framework with the term corruption.

Concept of Corruption

As a result of the complexity of corruption, its effects on the systemic existence of its victims as does its prevalence through the efforts of its perpetuators, its definition has continued to be shrouded by value preference and differences (Akindele and Adeyemi, 2011:8). This has to some extent complicated the attainment of a definitional uniformity on the concept within the academia and practicing world of administration.

Given this, the elusiveness of the definition of corruption (depending on the definer and perspective) within the parameter of intellectual discourse on Nigerian State and beyond, was eloquently evoked by Gboyega quoted in Olasupo (2009:188) as thus:

Corruption involves the giving and taking of bribe, or illegal acquisition of wealth using the resources, of a public office, including the exercise of discretion. In this regard, it is those who have business to do with government who are compelled somehow to provide inducement to public officials to make them do what they had to do or grant undeserved favour. …

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