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Corruption in Times of Crisis in Nigeria

Published July 16-22, 2012    

Written by Dr. Mannixs Paul, PhD

Original Transcript


The leadership is constantly blamed for the practice of bribery and corruption that goes on with impunity in Nigeria. Corruption is virtually had become a way of life and leadership of the nation tend to be vulnerable in time of crises. Today, the problem of insecurity and economic meltdown has become a key distraction to the nation progressive agendas. Nigeria is not exclusive from such challenges that are experienced worldwide, but Nigerians must understand that it is better to deal with such factors that promote a drawback than those problems without resolutions. The assumption holds that transformational leaders in times of crises resort to their ingenuity of leadership to break the barriers of tribal and political differences. History unveils that time of crises in countries is an opportunity to confront long-standing challenges and to establish a united front to redirect the nation affairs for the benefit of the citizens. Over the years, Nigeria has experienced countless bribery and corruption scandals, which reveal that appointed agent (s) of government, exploit crises for their selfish interest. Because of the high level of the synchronize system of corruption that continues in Nigeria.The anti-corruption community believes that no nation is exempted from corruption but a ruled-based culture oriented countries incline to put into effect anti-corruption laws to check abuse of authority to decrease the level that corruption. On the other hand, Nigeria that is community-based-oriented culture practices corruption with impunity because lack of enforcement of laws and the protected of interest groups. The pragmatic view shows that regardless of the anti-corrupt agencies in Nigeria, it is sad to understand that graft cases are not speeding investigated, and most probable prosecuted. The problem of bribery and corruption in Nigeria is like an uncontrollable fire, especially people that are invested with public trust. The reason is that existing culture in government agencies, and the flaws in the system advanced the get-rich-quickly syndrome.

Nevertheless, the long years of war against corruption have failed to achieve transparency in government. This has made it much difficult for leaders and appointed agents of government to achieve a notable change, and to accomplish their objective responsibility. It is terrifying for any government to underestimate the unhelpful forces of bribery and corruption, including political favoritism in times of crisis. Nigerian must be aware that a synchronize system of corruption does not have an end, and the endless scandal of corruption is an indication that an opportunist exploited crises and considered it as a means to an end.

Presumably, the fight against corruption has a long way back to the corrupt political process. It is generally held that if a premise is wrong, the conclusion will also be wrong. For the government of Nigeria to succeed for the fight against corruption, the political process must be reviewed to avoid undue external pressure from political godfathers, “sponsors,” or contributors or interest groups at the expenses of the citizens. Thus, the root of corruption is complicated and that for a government's inability to regulate individual donations or contributions and sponsorship to an aspiring electoral candidate in election, the experience of scandals of a corruption saga will never stop even in the face of crises in Nigeria.


Recent publication indicates that President of Nigeria, Dr. Jonathan is seeking for a new strategy for the fight against corruption with a combine effort of the three arms of government, “legislature, executive, and judiciary.” For the war against corruption cannot be the sole responsibility of the presidency. Nevertheless, the anti-corruption community and various leaders of the world look forward to Nigerian President to set the tone of leadership that ascribes a political readiness to fight against corruption to salvage the Nations reputation and provide hope for the people of Nigeria.  


The anti-corruption specialist suggests that opposition and betrayer to leadership is a standard practice for the fight against corruption. Therefore, it is expedient for the three arms of government to sanitize members and inculcate the understanding that the world is watching and accountability is required. In addition, the indigenes of Nigeria must also understand that the problem of Nigeria relating to bribery, and corruption can only be resolved by Nigerians and expecting foreign involvement without the willingness to changes will not salvage the nation from the social disorder of corruption. It is clear some appointed agents of government seek for a change. For example, the Inspector General of Nigerian Police Force in news publication states that the public should “Stop corrupting the police; don't give them money because we will soon start arresting those who give bribe to police.” It is good to understand that a social responsibility is required for government and citizens in a civil society.

For instance, another publication, there is a move for a key change that would empower the EFCC and ICPC to investigate individuals with unjustified wealth without a petition from a third party. This proposed legislation would tend to address the mystery of the movement of public fund, and would be better to oblige financial institutions for transparency of all financial transactions and implement oversights and penalty. The assumptions are based on previous publications and wonders if these anti-corruption agencies genuinely maintained an enabling environment, professional discipline among the enforcement agent, workforce, training, and resources. The objective of this legislation cannot be undermined, and it is deemed promising for a group of people that really want change in society. On the other hand, the public is also aware of the bribery and corruption scandal that erupted in those agencies. The big question people might wonder is that “if these agencies are not immune from the synchronizing corruption,” how can the public trust these agencies, and appointed agents with such an enormity of power to question citizens, investigation, and prosecution without third party indiscriminately because of the amount of wealth? Can this proposed legislation lead to violation of individual rights? The legislative body must provide options to protect citizens’ rights and to avoid buffeted reaction that can lead to reverse corruption, through abuse of authority. This implies that the fight against corruption will only be mere transference of wealth from one's sector to another without achieving the mission of the legislation. Overall, the development of such legislation is promising but advised to ensure that the rights of citizens are not violated because not all Nigeria citizens are fraudulent even though corruption has become a way of life in Nigeria.


Finally, the writer suggests that several factors affect the fight against corruption in Nigeria. These include the following: the inability of government to implement and update laws that address the causes of corruption, insensitivity, and lack of sense of accountability among appointed agents, lacks of self-discipline and training. These moral dissolutions resulted: people living beyond their means, the lack of ethical cultural orientation programs, lack of compliance rules, corrupt governmental system, and peer pressure, deficiency in oversight by existing regulatory agencies, negative political influence, nepotism, and tribalism.

In addition, the fear of retaliation after leaving office is a serious problem, including  lacking technology/infrastructure, corruptly appointed agents, loss of confidence in the justice system, internal conflict among competing agencies, communities, and inadequacy in the information delivery system among agencies. Other social shortcomings include ineffective coordination among agencies, the inability of government in providing enabling environment for the agencies to function at a level of expectation, and others. Leadership in time of crisis should be sensitive to the causes of corruption apart from the complex issue of poverty, must strive to create public awareness, strengthen the internal control system of each agency, and implement policies and programs that promote accountability, professionalism, and pride.

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