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PUBLIC PERCEPTION AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
Corruption is both a major causation of and a result of poverty around the world especially in the third world countries. It occurs at all levels of societies, judiciary functions, civil service commission, large and small business, military and other services. Corruption affects the poorest the most, whether in rich or poor nations (Anup, 2010).
In Nigeria, the issue of corruption is seriously troubling and damaging. It has dome damage not only to the Nigeria civil service, but also to the general socio-political and economic existence of the society. Recently, Nigeria was ranked as the 35th most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International (TI), published in Leadership newspaper on 6/12/2012 no. 1858. Thus corruption in Nigeria civil service leads to slow movement of file in offices, taking bribe by top civil servants, ghost workers syndrome and lots of other pitfalls. Victor (2002) argues “even the mad people on the streets recognized the havoc caused by corruption, the funds allocated for their welfare disappears into thin air”. If this is the case, what is more of civil servant?
Corruption poses a serious development challenge in the entire body politics simply because of its menace on the culture of good governance by subverting formal process.
However, civil service is a body of permanent official appointment to assist the executive in formulating and implementing government policies Oyeley (1979). It is on the basis of the above argument that the Nigerian government establishes the civil service commission with the responsibility for policy design and implementation in support of defined social, economic, and political life of the state. The public attitude and behavior towards corruption can be judged as social phenomena. Corruption therefore, can be viewed as a general term formed for the misuse of public of position of trust for private gains (Adewuyi, 2008: 286). Corruption will likely appear on everyone’s list of factors obstructing Nigeria towards sustainable development. Corruption has proliferated (increased) to all segments of Nigeria economy (Adewuyi, 2008: 286).
It is very glaring that Nigeria is in urgent need for rebirth. The World Bank (1996) stated that Nigeria presents a paradox. The country is rich but majority are poor, Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and sixth largest oil producer in the world. It is also the largest producer of Columbite and has substantial deposits of some strategic minerals such as uranium, manganese, tin, lead, iron ore, zinc, natural gas and this is to mention but a few (Adewuyi, 2008: 287).
(Emenyonu 2007: 33) notes that with hundreds of billions of dollars from oil, still Nigeria has one of the lowest per capita incomes. The infrastructural base of Nigeria is still primitive and worse than what it was at independence. According to him, between 1990-2005, the
life expectancy of the average Nigerian declined a full three years from 47 years to about the same time with Malaysia which has a life expectancy of 74 years, meaning that a Malaysian citizen is expected to live 30 years longer than his Nigerian counterpart. In Nigeria, 194 out of every 1000 children are expected to die before they reach the age of five years compared with Malaysian mortality rate of only 12 (Adewuyi, 2008: 288).
Corruption has been responsible for those predicaments. No society can achieve anything near its potential if it allows corruption to become full blown cancer, which is what it became in Nigeria. With corruption, there can be no sustainable development or political stability (Adewuyi, 2008: 287).
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Corruption is a cankerworm in Nigeria. It is one of the major social problems that are obstructing the development of the country. According to International Encyclopedia (2000: 23), the conceptualization of corruption has become a way of life that it is considered one of the most widely spread and serious problems on a new brightened contexts. Moreover, corruption is often spoken as a previous illness affecting societies. Corruption is an endemic rice in all bureaucratic organizations both government and private. Although in most developing countries where corruption has hitherto obtained a base e.g Nigeria, it is becoming minimized by establishing agencies that directly fight it. It is in this view, I decided to write on this long time social problem (corruption)
assessing its general public perception. It is obvious that we have probably underestimated the extent of the problem of corruption. This is because of the nature and amount of many devious acts and so on. Another area of its substantial claim is on our financial and economic encroachment, and standards of living of our country. The problem of corruption is found at almost every level of society. The poorly paid civil servant has very little or no disposable income to solve some of his problems, which eventually make him to get involved in corruption.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions are as follows;
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are as follows;
1 To explain the nature and magnitude of corruption in Zamfara state civil service
2 To investigate the factors responsible for corruption in Zamfara state civil service
3 To find out the categories of servants that engage in corrupt practice in Zamfara state civil service
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is of great importance because the topic is significant to re-orient Nigeria to a new value system which is vital for our welfare and development. More so, it will be earlier for the problem to be tackled properly if the uncover the possible causes of corruption, the nature of the corrupt practices and so on for lasting situation to the problems. Also at the end of the research, it is hoped that people will try to change their attitude towards corruption. The study is also to promote sustainable development and good governance and facilitate the fight against corruption. The study will also see how public accountability and transparency can bring about a sustainable reduction of corruption.
1.5 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW
There have been several attempts at defining corruption across the different layers of human existence such as political, social, moral, and cultural layers etc. However, a simple definition for the purpose of this project is then one given by Prof Salihu (2004: 153) “as the abuse of public power or trust for personal gain or for the benefit of a group to which one holds allegiance”.
Ademuyi A.P. (2008), Social Studies for National Building, Hemo and Co. Venture Kaduna, cited in the book for “nation building” view corruption as “acts as used of one office for pecuniary advantage, gratification, influence pedding”.
Imobigh (1996: 27) also cited in the book “for nation building” stated that lack of national consciousness is manifested in preventing the attitude of most Nigerians that the country exists to the exploited to aggrandize self and close associate rather than an entity to be developed. He concluded that a nation’s consciousness and patriotism is a nation that lost its hegemony given it show that corruption has to do with the common man’s conception which covers all instance of bribery, kickback, favoritism, nepotism, and the use of value influence in running of public affairs.
The most widely used definition of corruption is the World Bank’s which defined corruption as the “abuse of public power for private benefits”. Mike (2001) in a paper presented titled as “causes of and effects of political corruption” has broadly been defined as the
pervasion of change from good to bad. He further reasoned that corruption is an anti-social behavior conferring improper benefits contrary to legal and moral norms, which undermines the authority to improve the living condition of the people.
Nye (1967: 419) corruption means dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power typically involving bribery in other words; the action of making someone or something morally deprived or being so.
Corruption is a general term covering the misuse of authority as a result of considering personal gains which need not be monetary.
Jega (2002); there is little doubt that Nigerians have reaped more deficits than dividends of democracy since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999. Nigeria like never before remains grossly politically unstable and economically underdeveloped. Political instability in this case is conceived as the endemic, persistent, and seemingly insoluble socio-economic crises embedded in the political system. Political assassination, extreme poverty, high indicators of underdevelopment remained the core features of Nigeria political life (Sarafa, 2009: 149). The euphoria hopes and expectations whish accompanied the re-democratization of the country in 1999 have been frustrated by bad governance characterized by lack of performance, policy failures, and above all, pandemic systemic corruption.
Unarguably, one of the single most important reasons for the class instability and development tragedy in Nigeria is widespread bureaucratic and political corruption. Ogundiya (2009: 149) based on the above discussion, it is important to note that despite an abundance of research on corruption, there is no real consensus on what corruption is. This is because corruption is a multifaceted and multidimensional socio-economic and political problem. Put differently; corruption is a broad term subsuming a wide variety of illegal, illicit, dishonest, irregular and or unprincipled activities and behaviors. For instance, Nye (1976: 419) conceived corruption to mean an act which deviate from the formal duties of a public rule because of private gains regarding to personal, close-friendly, private elique, pecuniary or status gains, or violate rule against the exercise of certain types of private rule regarding influence. Similarly Debel (1978: 958) defined corruption as the betrayal of public trust for individual or group gain. In the same vein, Amuwo (2005: 127) sees corruption as actual and unauthorized diversion of government largest to private hand. It is worth noting that corruption can also take place among private sector parties. Hence an alternative definition of corruption used by Transparency International (TI) is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. The problem of bureaucratic and political corruption have been a long drawn issue in Nigeria politics as the hidden disease of democracy and bright of development in the country.
Effects of corruption on Nigeria are politically damaging. In Nigeria, corruption has been responsible for gross and political
instability which has bedeviled the country since her independence in 1960s. Indeed corruption is no longer the hidden, open disease of democracy in Nigeria. In fact, anti-corruption crusades have been used to justify military coups that undermined weak and toppled democratic government in the country.
Gross poverty, seemingly unsolvable politically motivated ethno-religious crises are both symptoms and political corruption. The sudden turn round or transformation of economic well-being and enhanced social status of the “insider elite” has made politics a do-or die affair. In Nigeria, politics money and money politics. The “outsider elites” are always determined to force the insider elites out of the corridor of power while the latter are also obstinate in retaining power by force (Sarafa, 2009: 150). For this reason, contract killings or political assassination has become part and parcel of Nigeria’s political culture.
(Jimoh, 2009: 150) above all, all corruption has been used by many scholars as a potent explanation for Nigeria’s underdevelopment tragedy, infrastructure delay, widespread poverty, prevalent water borne and air borne epidemic diseases, slums, rural and urban violence, acute low standard of living are consequences of corruption.
(Jaga, 2010: 140) says that corruption is dysfunction all and anti-development, it has a debilitating impact on the economic, socio-cultural and moral aspects of the society. It is on this basis that corruption constitutes fog in the wheel of progress and
consequently slows down the rate of development. It further weakens accountability and bends the wheel of administration in favor of those who grease the wheel of administrative structure. It makes policy makers to look timed in taking bold steps to curb excesses to citizens. In Nigeria, corruption has not only weaken the moral fabric of the country, it has it also weakness havoc in its body policies. It has subverted the rule of law, eroded confidence in the judiciary, undermined Nigeria for self development, discouraged the habit of judiciary, discipline, honest, dedication, and hard work and further mode of nonsense of public accountability. Worst of all, it has made patriotism nearly impossible in Nigeria.
1.6.1 CAUSES OF CORRUPTION
There is no doubt that the cancer of corruption has permeated every facet of Nigeria’s national life, and the degree and extent of corruption in the current civilian dispensation is monumental. Therefore a number of studies have considerable attention to the causes of corruption. Although the literature is quite diverse, some scholars like Aluko (2000) have explained that corruption is partly accounted for by the poverty evident in the society. Other like Ayo (1998) are of the view that traditional practices such as gift giving, low wages, probendal nature of politics and the socio-economic formation of the state are largely accountable for the cause corruption. For instance, Nanda (2000) sees corruption as the legacy of the colonial state which was built on the philosophy of paternalism; where by the relationship of the state to the society
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