CORRUPTION AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (2007-2015)
1.1 Background to the Study
Corruption is the misuse of public power (by elected politician or appointed civil servant) for private gain. Corruption is an improbity or decay in the decision-making process in which a decision-maker consents to deviate or demands deviation from the criterion which should rule his or her decision-making in exchange for a reward or for the promise or expectation of a reward, while these motives influencing his or her decision-making cannot be part of the justification of the decision (Obialar & Ozuzu, 2015).
Corruption is one of the most dangerous social ills of any society. This is because corruption like any deadly virus, attacks the vital structure that make for society’s progressive functioning. This is particularly true for developing countries where limited but valuable funds and resources that are initially earmarked for industries, hospitals, schools, and other infrastructures are either out rightly embezzled, misappropriated or otherwise severely depleted through kickbacks and over invoicing by agents of governments. At the individual level, allocation of job or potentials but rather on who has the resources and willingness to grease the palms of those in charge.
Thus, there is a growing worldwide concern over corruption at the present time; several factors are responsible for this. First a consensus has now been reached that corruption is universal. It exists in all countries both developed and developing, in the public and private sectors, as well as in non-profit and charitable organizations. Secondly, allegations and charges of corruption now play a more central role in politics than at any other time. Governments have fallen careers of world renowned public figures rained, and reputations of well renowned organizations and business firms badly tarnished on account of it. Thirdly and most importantly, corruption can be a major obstacle in the process of development and in moderning a country. Many now feel that it should receive priority attention in a country’s development agenda. In a survey of 150 high level officials from 60 third world countries, the respondents ranked public sector corruption as the most severe obstacle confronting their development process Gray & Kaufmann, 1998) cited in (Obialor & Ozuzu, 2015).
Corruption was not invented by, nor is it peculiar to Nigerians: on the contrary, it is a global phenomenon with deep historical roots, although it manifest itself with significant similarities and differences with different societies, depending on the peculiar systems of power distribution and the local and moral norms operating therein corruption, like all social phenomena, is intelligible only in total social context: its peculiar form, dynamics and degree of social and cultural acceptability or tolerance being critically related to the dominant mode of capital accumulation, income, wealth and poverty distribution, power configuration, and the underpinning moral and ethical values operating in a given society. Corruption in Nigeria is a kind of social virus which is a hybrid of triats of fraudulent anti-social behavior derived from British colonial rule and those derived from and nurtured in the indigenous Nigerian context.
Corruption has assumed the status of a hydra-headed monster gnawing on the vitals of the Nigerian state. It tentacles have permeated every fascet of the state. It is interesting to note however, that corruption is not limited to Nigeria. It is indeed evident in all climes, though some countries are more corrupt than others.
It has been observed that corruption is not a recent development, its existence has long history (Wilson, 1999: Usman 2001). Little wonder that Mbeki (1999), Akanbi (2004), and Ogbonna (2004) among others, averred that corruption is a product of social, political, economic and historical circumstances.
The festering tumor of corruption has taken toll on the quality of governance and accountability (Ogbonna 2004). Corruption is antithetical to socio-economic development as it breeds inefficiency, incompetence, mediocrity, unethical value and other base instincts in man such as greed, avarice and rapacity, (Atoyebi and Mobolaji 2004).
Nigeria is endowed with immense human and natural resources, but socio-economic development has been a mirage (Akinamu 2008), due to sharp practices prevalent in the country. However, if there is any institution of government that should take the challenge of nipping corruption in the bud or be in the forefront of anti-corruption crusade, it should be the representatives of the people charged with the duty of law making for socio-economic development.
This study sets out to examine the impact of this monster on the three core values of socio-economic development as life sustenance, self-esteem and freedom. For this purpose, this study has been structured thus; chapter one is on Introduction, chapter two is on Literature Review, while chapter three dwell on Research Methodology. Also chapter four centers on Presentation and Analysis of data and lastly, chapter five focuses on Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Corruption exists in the public and private sectors, profit and non-profit as well as charitable organizations. It subsists both in the developing and also developed nations but predominant in the developing countries hence, it remains a symptom of a poorly functioning nation. In Nigeria it is evidenced from the ongoing probes on oil petroleum subsidy fraud in Nigeria, fraudulent misappropriation of pension funds, recycling of items in the 2012 budget among others. Therefore, there is a growing worldwide concern over its spread due to so many factors.
Highly corrupt nations are always perpetuated with vicious circle of poverty; low rate of saving which leads to low incomes and which in turn leads to low investment and productivity. Others may include high capital flight; the negative consequences of the prevalent corruption continue to hamper the growth and development of the economy, causes insecurity of lives and property of the citizenry as evident from several Boko Haram attacks, heightened level of poverty and unemployment. Decaying infrastructure are notable and common feature which are largely attributable to the high incidence of corruption which has reached a prevalent level. The persistency of corruption erodes the social and economic value of a nation.
In government it thrives in the areas of projects costing; ghost workers syndrome, contract awards and their subsequent abandonment; payment of huge sum of money to political godfathers; embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds; among others. It has been widely speculated that corruption as giving rise to – poor service delivery, inadequate infrastructure, bad governance, pervasive dehumanizing poverty, and general underdevelopment. Corruption accounts for the inefficiency and unimpressive growth and development including the cyclical failure of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. In an apparent expression of anger and frustration over the high level of corruption in Nigeria, Abukakar (2014) noted; “we have spent more money to provide less electricity; and have created more poverty alleviation and job creation agencies with less to show for them than any other nation on earth”.
Corruption has subdued the rule of law, facilitated wanton looting of public treasury, decapitated public institutions and free speech and instituted a secret and opaque culture in the running of government business. The result has been total insecurity, poor economic management, abuse of human rights, ethnic conflict, capital flight etc. Poverty and the economic enormous wealth inequality in Nigeria are deeply rooted in the country’s pervasive corruption. Corruption remains a major challenge against Nigeria’s lack of appreciable socio-economic development given its rich endowment in both human and material resources. These forms the main thrust of this study.
Therefore this study seeks to answer to the question: to what extend is corrupt influences socio-economic development in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study is divided into two namely: main objective and subsidiary objectives.
To identify the consequences of corruption on socio-economic development of Nigeria.
(i) To find out the level of exploitation and infrastructural decay in the country as a result of embezzlement of public funds in Nigeria.
(ii) To ascertain the level of poverty among the people, caused by corrupt practices of public office-holders in Nigeria.
(iii) To identify the causes of corruption and to suggest ways in combating corruption in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions has been adopted for this study;
- What is the level of exploitation and infrastructural decay in the country as a result of embezzlement of public funds in Nigeria?
- What is the level of poverty among the people causes by corrupt practices of public office holders in Nigeria?
- What are the causes of corruption in Nigeria?
- In what ways can corruption be combated in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses has been adopted;
- Embezzlement of public funds tends to impede the socio-economic development in Nigeria.
- High level of fraud perpetuated by public office-holders tends to increase the level of corruption in Nigeria.
- Non-adherence to due process in respect to financial regulation by public office-holders is likely to bring about poverty in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Corruption has permeated the entire facts of our economy hence the untold hardship faced by the people. This study therefore will serve as a useful framework for dealing with the problems or challenges of corruption as it affects the socio-economic development of the country. Consequently, government officials will find it a useful document that will serve as a guide while handling issues that borders on corrupt practices. It will also present itself useful in the study of public administration in tertiary institutions.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this study was on corruption and socio-economic development in Nigeria from 2007 to 2015. That is, it will examine the consequences of corruption to the socio-economic development in Nigeria from 2007 – 2015.
Limitations of the Study:
In a bid to carry out this study, the researcher was faced with several constraints. Firstly, because of the daisy nature of the major variable in the study (corruption) many respondents refused to release the needed information to the researcher. In most cases, the researcher had to put in an extra effort to convince them otherwise.
Secondly, the researcher did not find on corruption easy to come by, hence the need to make frequent visits to the library as hell as visit the internet for materials.
1.8 Definition of the Key Concepts