The Effect Of Bribery And Corruption In Nigeria Society
Corruption and bribery is a worldwide phenomenon and continues to ravage states with endemic corruption activities. In view of the devastating effects of corruption, this paper examines the causes and effects on the Nigeria states and probable solutions were proffered. Many factors are adduced to have been responsible for this ugly trend; amongst which is the institutional factors. The effects are manifest in the decay infrastructure and decline in people‟s trust and this call for concerted efforts so as to checkmate and eliminate corruption in Nigeria. This research work was carried out to examine the effect of bribery and corruption in Nigerian society from 1999 to 2007. The article therefore suggests that an effective action against corruption has to evolve effective sanction and greater political transparency as a means of ensuring that the resources of the country are deployed to bring about sustainable development in the country.
1.1 Background of the Study
The truism that corruption is a surest route that hinders development in any society does not need contention. Though, in some quarters, it is argued that corruption could trigger development (Otite, 1986). However, despite this assertion, there is a widespread held opinion condemning corruption in all ramifications and hence, worldwide outcry and call for eradicating the scourge. Evidence may abound that corruption could aid development; no such evidence could be claimed to any root most especially developing state (Nigeria inclusive). Compelling evidences across the globe demonstrate that corruption is an anathema to development (khan, a). Furthermore, evidences in Nigeria have shown that corruption does more harm than good. This is evident in the fact that despite Nigeria‟s abundant natural resources the country is classified among poor countries in the world. Added to this is the fact that about 54% of the population earns less than $1 per day. It needs to be stated that the incidence of extreme paradoxes of widespread and endemic poverty and hunger in the midst of plenty is a manifestation of corruption enmeshed in deteriorating condition of living (Ali, 2008). Statistics had also shown that “Nigeria is among the four largest economies in Africa” with a real GDP of 58.4 billion dollar and a population of about 140m” (Ibid).
Similarly, the enormous revenue generation capacity from oil and non-oil sectors, woefully contrasts with the decaying public infrastructures and extent of institutional development recorded. As it was rightly asserted by Salawu (2007), the phenomenon of corruption in Nigeria has made it impossible for Nigerians to enjoy the dividends of democracy and indeed the gifts of nature with which the country is greatly and abundantly endowed. This scenario is an acknowledgement that the state of affair in the country today is a reflection of pervasive corruption which has eaten deep into every facets of Nigeria life. Without gain saying, it is a wide held belief that corruption is a way of life in Nigeria and that it is responsible for broken promises and dashed hopes which has characterized the lives of most Nigerians. It is not surprising to hear people saying that Nigerians are corrupt. Making it a fait accompli. More so, Nigeria is a country where corruption is rife and where greed for material acquisition and quest for political power had relegated to the background morals preached by various religions. This is because despite our claim to be religious, our quest for relevance had made nonsense of our self acclaimed religiousity and nothing can be left undone by our elites and non-elites for the realization their self desire.The end, it is believed, justifies the means. To this end, there is now the increasing realisation about the ill effects of corruption on the nation‟s social, political and economic fabrics. Though, it is evident that there is no country that is totally free from corruption, the incidences of corruption is on the increase especially in poor and underdeveloped states. The Anti corruption efforts of the Nigerian government have proved ineffective, hence, large scale corrupt related cases, accusations and counter-accusations. There were cases of missing funds, police pensions scam, missing oil revenue or non-remittance into the federation account, contract scam, oil theft, administrative inefficiency or dereliction of duty, illegal sale or allotment of government land and property, bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, economic and financial crimes.
There is a widespread disappointment in the path which many of the so- called democratic transitions that have taken the post – 1990’s Africa (just as the ones in post 1960 Africa). These transitions have failed to lead to constitutional rule, and have therefore not been veritable democratic transitions (Khan 2001). Many African political systems are characterized by changes from multiparty to one party rule, parliamentary government to presidential rule, federal to unitary forms of rule and the enactment of emergency powers to enable the ruling governments to disregard human rights and democracy. Many returned to centralization, concentration and personalization of power. The central characteristic of all these tendencies is that they provide for a culture of unbridled corruption and fettered democracy. It is therefore, not surprising that corruption manifests itself in virtually all spheres of life in Nigeria. (Nwankwo 2013).
The outpouring of emotions by people shows how sore Nigerians feel about the virus of corruption that has eaten deep into the nation’s fabric. The wanton abuse of public offices for self enrichment is considered the greatest threat to the nation’s present democratic setting. The principal obstacle to the county’s democratic rule is the corruption among leaders in general and among the politicians in particular.
There has been a significant change in the debate over democratization in Africa since the past five years. The Euphoria that followed the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1884-1885, signaling a new democratic wave in the continent has declined significantly. It is becoming clearer that no process of democratization can succeed without the supporting institutions and legal framework of a functional state. (Ibrahim 2004)
On May 29 2011, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was sworn into office as Nigeria’s fourth democratic elected President. Although his victory was widely expected, the April 2011 presidential elections were still viewed with anxiety in local and international circles as to the future direction of the reform policies started by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Many concerns were raised towards the future of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan campaign against corruption likewise the previous presidency like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Yar’Adua. Immediately after this, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gave indication that his administration intended not only to continue with the war against corruption, but that major reforms would be introduced in the anticorruption war to correct perceived lapses and changes. (Sun News July 10, 2013).
These changes included shake-up in the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s most powerful anti-corruption agency; increased emphasis on respect for the fundamental human rights of accused persons and greater respect for rule of law and due process. This paper will review the major changes that have taken place in the fight against corruption in Nigeria since the departure of President Olusegun Obasanjo and Yar’adua administration, with a view to determining what factors triggered them and how significant they have been.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Bribery and Corruption has already marred Nigeria and the surviving strenght is slim because it has eaten deep into the Nation’s fabric and national life. It is more rampant in the public sector. The political office holders both at the federal, State and local level engage in bewilding corruption. A situation where this prevails, much will not be expected from the public-office holders and this is detrimental to the survival of democracy in Nigeria. This problem has become so endemic on the Nigerian populace that it calls for perpetual research to provide answers to some pressing issues and questions arising from the menace of corruption using the anti crime corruption agencies.
The study will be pre-occuplied with the following questions:
- What has been the nature of corruption even before the democratic governance of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan?
- What are the root causes of corruption in Nigeria both at economic and political level?
- Why has corruption eaten so deep into the Nigerian political system?
- What critical role has the EFCC played in the Anti-corruption crusade?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- The study will provide account of how the war against corruption was developed under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2009 – 2015).
- Examine important changes that took place in the campaign against corruption, especially with respect to the management and operations of the major national anti-corruption agency under the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
- Assessing the performance of the Anti corruption Agency in terms of both positive and negative impacts.
- Examine the successful contribution and failure controvesies in the present administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
1.4 Scope of the Study
This study will look into how corruption has been like since the period of Independence in Nigeria especially in the Fourth Republic. It will cover what the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration has done (from 2009 – till 2015) to curb corruption practices in Nigeria. Emphasis will be made on the role of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in the bid to curb corruption in the Nigerian political system.
The methods of data collection is basically secondary data by using
- Document Analysis: Document analysis is a method of collecting data by looking at documents. Two basic types here are:
- Historical/Library/ Archival and
- Content Analysis
Generally, Document Analysis is the method by which we generate data from records and documents whether in print or electronic forms, audio or visual, published or broadcast. Historical method enables the researcher to reconstruct the past in an objective and systematic manner as he or she set out to answer research questions, meet research object or test hypothesis. Because data collected through this method have been recorded by others and not by the researcher in the first instance, such data must be tested for the following: Authenticity, Accuracy and Significance. It is as demanding and testing like any other social science method of collecting data. The measuring instruments here include research notes, tapes, magazines, journals, textbooks etc.
Content Analysis is about collecting data from documents.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
This study is a qualitative study; therefore all efforts will be generated to reading of articles, document, journals, internet news, books and all anti corruption leftlet in other to document the best informations. Also to subscribe for internet is costly in Nigeria, therefore money will be involve in the project.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The totality of this study will provide the basis for developing appropriate ways of curbing corruption in order to enhance and sustain democracy in Nigeria. Because the issue of corruption is not only found within the African continent alone, it encompasses all other continent. Corruption is endemic everywhere, the costs of addressing corruption are prohibitively high, and the few resources that exist should be spent on enforcement measures, such as high- profile government watchdog agencies.
But, in fact, there is increasing evidence that the economic costs of corruption are enormous; levels of corruption vary widely among developing countries; controlling corruption is feasible, and strategies to address corruption need to pay more attention to its root causes and thus to the roles of incentives, prevention, and specific economic and institutional reforms. For instance, the role of economic and financial crime commission (EFCC) at the national level and other related offences agency.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Corruption (theoretically), according to Khan’s definition, is an act which deviates from the rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in a position of public authority because of private motive such as wealth, power or status.” Also, Paulo Mauno (1997) has observed, bureaucratic corruption can be traced to government international in the economy, policies aimed liberalization, stabilization, deregulation, and privatization.
Can be traced to government international in the economy, policies aimed liberalization, stabilization, deregulation, and privatization. Corruption (operationally), hinders the rule of law, discourages foreign investors and affects economic development etc.
Is designed to eradicate or prevent dishonest or fraudulent conduct especially in a political context.
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria is institutional problems, and to address the problem an institutional approach is needed. To curb and eventually eradicate corruption among children, youth and adults, who must be given the power to distinguish right from wrong? All institutional sectors (education, civil servant, government parastrastal) should return to the teaching of moral education to empower children with the spirit of stewardship, while adults live exemplary lives, reflecting truth, kindness, dignity of labour, and integrity. In order to prevent corruption from happening at all, Nigerian should emphasis transparency, integrity, and accountability in all their private and public transaction. There Achanism Model is named for Achan who appears in the Old Testament of the Bible. Achan in the scripture was avaricious (Joshua 7). He was caught and his entire family was severely dealt with. His children, who might have expected to inherit the proceeds of his illegal act, were not allowed to do so. The solution is as follows: Social Transformation. Rransformation in education of the public is a necessary factor in social transformation. There is need for formation and reformation, orientation and re-orientation of the minds and heart of Nigerians, for them to see that corruption is the enemy of development.
Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Law: – The law should be enforced to its fullest and without fear and favour.
Improvement of Socio-political and Economic Life: – This is another weapon against corruption in Nigeria. The multiplying effects of this improvement will reduce the tendency of public servants to demand and take bribes and get involved in other corrupt practices.
Democracy provides the foundation upon which a prosperous society can be built. If the foundation is crisis-ridden, the entire superstructure is bound to collapse and this will undermine growth. Studies have shown that developed economic institutions, including the rule of law, cordial co¬existence among tiers of government, protection of property, checks against corruption, democratic accountability and peaceful political transition positively enhance improved economic performance and prosperity and where this is not present, the reverse is the case. In spite of attempts to check rampant corruption in public office, efforts are surreptitiously being made by some vested interests to thwart such efforts. In essence, what should be the best way of eradicating the menace of corruption so as to have a sustainable democracy in Nigeria?
When corruption becomes systematically institutional, fighting it must go beyond implementing liberal economic policies, enacting better laws, reducing the number and complexity of regulations and providing more training, helpful though these steps may be. Fighting systematic corruption require administering a shock to disturb a corrupt equilibrium. It might include such steps as the following: formation of a national coordinating body thai is responsible for devising and following up on a strategy against corruption, along with a citizen’s oversight board; identification of a few key agencies or areas on which the anti-corruption effort might focus its efforts, in the hope of achieving some momentum-building successes. A capacity building strategy within key ministries that takes the problems of incentives (including incentive reforms and information seriously; and identification of a few major offenders whose cases will be prosecuted).
Combating corruption should focus on the reform of systems. It requires an economic approach, coupled with great political sensitivity. Corruption is a symptom of fundamental economic, political and institutional causes. Addressing corruption effectively means tackling these underlying causes. The major emphasis must be put on prevention-thai is, on reforming economic policies, institutions and incentives. Efforts to improve enforcement of anti-corruption legislation using the police, ethnic offices, or special watch dog agencies within government will not bear fruit otherwise.
Also corruption is a human behaviour which stands opposed to what is right or what ought to be. We have looked at its nature and characteristics, considered it from both Biblical and ethical perspectives where we reached the following resolutions: that the Old Testament did not fully uphold its stand against corruption; that the New Testament fully stands against corrupt practices; and that corruption is opposed to uprightness, virtue and steadfastness and is therefore ethically condemnable. However, in doing all this, an ample room was allowed for a proper philosophical assessment of each position we came across, as a way of reaching a balanced resolution
Thus, the following are only some of the major economic policy changes that will unambiguously reduce opportunities for corruption: lowering tariffs and other barriers to international trade:- unifying market- determined exchange rates and interest rates; eliminating enterprise subsidies; minimizing regulations, licensing requirements, and other barriers to entry for new firms and investors; demonopolizing and privatizing government assets; and transparently enforcing prudential banking regulations and auditing and accounting standards. The reform of government institutions may include civil service reform; improved budgeting, financial management and tax administration and strengthened legal and judicial systems. Such reforms should involve changing government structures and procedures; placing greater focus on internal and external checks and balances. As a complement to these broader reforms, the careful and transparent implementation of enforcement measures, such as prosecuting some prominent corrupt figures, can also have an impact.
The anti-corruption war in Nigeria and particularly EFCC as an institution responsible for fighting the war, have to be align with the current realities, because public morals may loosen, and the battle against corruption may well be lost if Nigeria’s anti-corruption war is continue to be affected by controversies which are political in nature and EFCC continue to stick to its current style of prosecuting it mission- The situation where EFCC slammed 120 count charges on a person accused of being corrupt while in public office, and none of the charges can be established, should be replace with an approach that is multifaceted, multidisciplinary and knowledge-driven; an approach that would assist all institutions of government in re-establishing norms and standards of governance, assists the public, NGOs and even the legislature in monitoring of compliance with the standards; help in restoring social order especially in politics; and promotes advocacies and capacity building among genuine whistleblowers, in short, Nigeria’s anti-corruption war should not only be limited to arrests, arraignment of accused in courts of law and unnecessary controversies. EFCC should explore the inter-nations technical co-operation on corruption, to develop mechanism that would help Nigeria have a system that discourages outright stealing of public fund, and develop an anti-corruption war that relied on forensic evidence, well-trained personnel and free of unnecessary controversies. EFFC should, this time-around, effectively utilize the provisions in the National Assembly Act 2004, establishing it. For instance, Part III, section 12, subsection 1(c) and subsection (2), which provided for establishment of Research Unit; and any committee to assist the commission, are good avenues for the commission to explore to bring itself at par with Nigerians expectations.
However, the best weapon the new helmsman of EFFC have, is, adherence to rule of law, because with the current uncompromising stand on adherence to Rule of Law, by President Yar’Adua, any disregard of Rule of Law will not only send one to kuru, it may send one to Kirikiri.
Hope is very essential, in life we will surely continue to live in hope, even when we die in despair. Barrack Obama talks of the audacity of hope so it will not be out of place to say that there is hope of finding a way out of corruption for Nigeria; the rebranding project therefore, becomes critical. Here we want to acknowledge that corruption is a vice and to purge a vice, virtue is needed. Since moral depravity is what engenders corrupt practices, it follows therefore, that an elevated moral life will quell participation in corruption. A morally sanitized individual will be less vulnerable to the courtship of corrupt companies. Also, a man of virtue as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle believe is a man of the mean (Aristotle, 410). This means that extreme qualities as greed, covetousness and avarice will not be part of his nature. In this manner he is less likely to be troubled or worried by his lack of abundance. He is most likely to be content with what ever he has.
The virtues of hard work, dignity, integrity and honour should also be taught both at school and at religious gatherings. And the nation should ban all forms of recognition, award, and titles for men with questionable integrity. When all these are implemented and a veritable way of honouring people with outstanding achievements that are ethically sound put in place; this orientation and culture of corruption will die a natural death, as no one will want to be a social outcast. So there is hope and there will continue to be hope. It was Napoleon Hill in his forerunning book Think and Grow Rich who opined that people tend to shrink from crime on their first contact with it. But that through the passage of time, as it sticks with them, they end up embracing it and living by it (169).
Similarly, Nigeria has acquired many negative values which have come to replace the good ones effectively overtime.
To this day, most socio-cultural, political and economic evil originating from Africa bear Nigeria Trade Mark.
Some of these negative values include ritual killing. Many now engage in all sorts of rituals, with human body parts, blood etc., to acquire wealth. Others engage in all sorts of shoddy, obscene and occult practices for the same reason.
Ochulor declares that “To many Nigerians, the only thing that matter is money or wealth; any how you get it is no body’s business” (320). Also, many have taken vocation in dirty and inhumane activities like prostitution, armed robbery, hired assassination and justice perversion. Many prostitutes and judges have been known to defend what they do on the ground that it was where they make their living. And many of them indeed end up acquiring enormous wealth and big connections. These need to be portrayed in a negative light so as to deter culprits.
Furthermore, the values of adulteration, faking goods, substandard products and even piracy are currently, giving means of livelihood to no fewer than 30 million Nigerians. This results on daily basis to many Nigerians developing deadly diseases as cancer, liver and kidney problems from the consumption of these products and fake drugs. We may not have a source for our claim here but when we calculate the billions of naira worth of fake, substandard, pirated and adulterated products which NAFDAC and the copyright commission destroy every now and then in many markets, locations and sites across the nation and add it up to over ten times the number of those that are either not discovered or offered bribes to officials, then we know that 30 million might be a low figure after all.
Again, we cannot forget that practices such as favouritism, nepotism, blackmail, bribery, contract scams, fraud, looting, rigging, embezzlement, forgery, impersonation etc., are also some other vices which have taken root of acceptance in Nigeria. In order therefore that we may get rid of corruption which is the mother of them all we must have to purge them away by finding ways of replacing them with positive values.
In the last section, we have established that corruption is a vice and that to stop a vice, virtue is needed. From this premise, we want to find out those moral virtues that are currently lacking within the Nigerian system and discover a way of injecting them back into the system with a view to purging the country of corrupt practices.
In the first place Ochulor advocates some values which this chapter believes will be very helpful especially in changing the intrinsic qualities and behavioural patterns of Nigerians so as to enable them give up the Machiavellian philosophy of wealth acquisition. He defends this thesis by saying; “… in the face of the corrupt nature of the Nigerian society, there is still the possibility of acquiring morally upright wealth in Nigeria (326). He went ahead to name the formula as follows; self knowledge: here one undergoes a critical examination of his life in order to give it focus and direction. Developing the mind here, one seeks to develop the positive powers of his mind which is the engine room of human development. Others include specialization and education which give one an edge and qualification. Also, being at alert to notice opportunities when they come; being diligent and persistence, knowing of course that nothing good comes easy; and finally, imbibing to the full, the noble qualities of self discipline, positive attitude and good communication skill.
Also, we know of course that Nigerians currently do not see morality as having any space within the socio-political and economic life-wire of the nation. Ochulor testifies to this when he said this about corruption, “it has affected many Nigerians so adversely that they now think of morality as a concept that cannot be found in business, politics, religion and socio-cultural relationships (318). Therefore, we want to maintain that morality should be restored to its rightful place within the nation’s life system, through campaigns, speeches and programmes. The government should encourage non-governmental organizations to spring up and re-culture Nigerians in this area. Also, we know that Nigerians currently see politics as a way of making quick money from the government treasury. Iwara and Effiong in their Essay, “Corruption and National Development in Nigeria: the Way Forward”, gave an almost endless list of political office holders involved in different lootings, embezzlements and scam (165). Thus, we have to make politics less glamorous in order to curtail this.
Secondly, programmes should be developed aimed at making Nigerians patriotic at all level – this will make Nigerians put the nation first in everything they do. Thirdly, Nigerians should be taught the virtue of altruism from childhood. This will drastically reduce self-centeredness that encourages individual participation in corrupt acts. Fourthly, a broad-based re-orientation should be carried out to sensitize Nigerians on the danger, the short term and the long term negative impacts of corruption both in the life of the country, the individual and the posterity at large. Fifthly, there is a need for a public motivated revolution aimed at dismantling the stronghold and every citadel of corruption in Nigeria such that took place in China, France, Cuba to mention just a few. Sixthly, radical changes or what Kuhn calls paradigm shift (Kuhn, 13 – 22) should be encouraged and enforced in all the sectors of the nation’s life. This will demolish all the ugly cultures and practices wherever they thrive and introduce a breath of fresh air in all our systems. The seventh and the eightieth virtues to be considered here are reform-based. Serious reforms are to be made in the education, judicial and the economic sectors. This will target at bringing an end to favouritism, nepotism, bribery, sell of sub-standard and fake goods, indiscriminate escalation of prices of goods, etc., in doing this, stringent legislative measures should be put in place with appropriate ways of implementation to check any arbitrariness and Lopsidedness. Finally and most importantly, there should be renewed interest and emphases for culture re-call. The lost African values which got eroded in the wake of western modernization should be brought back and instilled in Nigerians so that in their dealings and interactions they will never get wind of the idea of morality. This will be a strong back-bone for the nation as it seeks recovery from the dearth of corruption.
Therefore, in injecting these virtues into the Nigeria system, it is hoped that this vice, corruption, will be stamped out of the nation or at least ameliorated. For where there is no corruption, there, justice thrives. Justice in the society as Plato advocates may yet return to Nigeria when the individual, the family and different strata of the Nigerian society play their parts in cultural re-orientation and rebranding programmes as promoted by the ministry of information and public orientation in Nigeria.
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