Nigeria became an independent nation on the 1st of October 1960. A country richly endowed with monumental geographical and diverse natural resources ranging from crude oil to gas (natural), coal al, et. Nigeria possesses potential market ability for rapid economic development.
However, inspite of these obvious resources and its advantage, Nigeria remains a poor and underdeveloped country.
Scholars have achieved and advanced several reasons to explain this parlous and depleting state. One of the major and prominent factors advanced is corruption Corruption has been a major problem in Nigeria since independence. Perhaps, it may be that we even inherited ‘the problem’ from our colonial masters. Numerous state institutions have become dysfunctional because of large-scale corrupt practices.
Projects are routinely abandoned, and no one is brought to book, public goods and resources are diverted to private ends. Corruption endangers the good governance and the democracy we see today. Corruption was cited as one of the more prominent reasons for Nigeria’s first military coup by the coupists of January 15, 1966 military putsch. Massive corruption and resource brigandage also were sited as reasons for the military takes over by the regime of Buha ril Tunde Idiagbon on December 31st 1983.
This is in-spite of the fact that even the military elite cannot be called saints on the one side. Due to the pervasive nature of corruption in Nigeria, Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his inaugural speech on May 29 1999 affirmed that corruption, the single greatest bane of our society today would be tackled head- on, at all levels.
No society can achieve its full potentials if it allows corruption to become a full blown cancer as its has become in our nation.
According to the World Bank (1997:5), “corruption thrives when economic policies are poorly designed, education levels or standards are low, civil society participation is weak, public sector management is poor, and accountability of public institutions are weak”.
Corruption has become the order of the day in our public institution, and because Government business is nobody’s business, the country continues to suffer (Nzemeke and Erhagbe: 2002:131).
Corruption has been cited as the major reason why developmental prescription, aids and policies imposed on Nigeria by international financial organizations have inexplicably failed.
Thus, corruption is indeed, to the society and the polity what HW/AIDS is to the human body While manifestation of the “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” caused by a bio-virus, corruption is an expression of the “Deficiency of integrity syndrome” caused by a socio-virus (corruption).
‘As HW/AIDS breaks down our immune system thereby making it susceptible to ills and sicknesses, so also corruption breaks down the law and order, structure of the economy, thereby making it easy for the nation to be infested with all sorts of deficiencies and crimes.
Sam Adesua (1987: 8-9) noted that “in Nigeria, …corruption is a well – organized and well entrenched social malady bestriding the nation, but which tends to have the tacit approval of almost every Nigerian in the social ladders”.