University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: Any attempt to understand the developmental and democratic predicament of Nigeria should take into consideration the problem of endemic corruption in the country. Political and bureaucratic corruption is so widespread that it has engulfed the Nigerian political system at all levels of government. However, it will be wrong and indeed unfair to assume that successive governments have done nothing about the problem of pandemic corruption. Virtually all the regimes since independence in 1960 to date have tried one way or another to solve the problem of political corruption with little success. There is also evidence to show that almost all the Nigerian leaders who came into power promising to end corruption themselves became corrupt. What then are the factors precipitating political corruption and why has corruption become so pervasive and the problem seemingly unsolvable in Nigeria? This paper analyzes corruption in Nigeria from an institutionalized or systemic point of view as against focusing so much on the actions of individual players. It is further postulated that corruption in the formal institution has reduced Nigeria to a soft state and that the informal institution is equally as corrupt because of its strong emphasis on kinship, loyalty and reciprocity. The paper concludes by acknowledging the fact that political and bureaucratic corruption has assumed alarming proportions but rejects the stigma of ‘culture of corruption’ often used to describe Nigeria among the International community when viewed against the recent successes the country had recorded in her fight against corruption.

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