Corruption: A “plague” to the Nigerian economy

Why aid is bad for Africa - Cartoon Movement

Why aid is bad for Africa – Cartoon Movement

Corruption is a global phenomenon and its adverse effect on economic development has been a problem facing countries worldwide. Africa is one of the continents that are deeply implicated by corruption and one of the countries that suffer the most is Nigeria. Nigeria is rated amongst the most corrupt nations of the world, and as one of the top most failing countries in Africa. Transparency, accountability and proper political leadership are all factors that should be discussed in order to lead to good governance and less corruption.

I came across a stimulating paper on the GDNet knowledge-base by Samson A. Adesote and John O. Abimbola titled “Corruption and national development in Nigeria’s forth republic: a historical discourse,” that debates and analyzes recommendations to the above factors.

Factors influencing corruption
According to the authors, accountability in terms of government means responsible for ones actions and subject to scrutiny. It forces the government to prioritize public over personal interest. Holding a government accountable involves implementation of effective monitoring tools and the public’s involvement in questioning the government on the reported results. Transparency on the other hand, means allowing the public to have insight on activities of government officials. Adesote and Abimbola, argue that these two characteristics are absent and increase the level of corruption in Nigeria.

Other factors the paper addresses include financial corruption and lack of proper political leadership in the country. Despite these major concerns, the authors recommend that constitutional framework, commitment  of various arms of government to live up to their constitutional duties, quality political leadership and transparency and accountability can ameliorate the situation in Nigeria.

Similarly, Ettah B. Essien in his paper “Corruption and economic development in Nigeria: a materialistic observation,” argues that in order to minimize corruption in Nigeria, it is a must to have proper leadership that is selfless, disciplined, and has a vision. Leaders and the population in a corrupt country have a desire to steal money, crave power and prestige, and will do whatever it takes to obtain that. According to the author, this has characterized the Nigerian economy for some years now.

To complete his thoughts, Essien suggests that without good leadership and income equality, corruption in Nigeria will accentuate and proper economic development will not be achieved.

Not just Nigeria
Corruption and lack of good governance is endemic and not only confined to Nigeria or Africa.  From a global perspective “over US$ 1 trillion is paid in bribes around the world, enriching the corrupt and robbing generations of a future” UNODC. According to the transcript “Tackling Corruption in a Globalized World,” two extremely interesting initiatives have been established to help fight corruption worldwide; Transparency International and Publish What You Pay (PWYP), which are elaborated upon below.

Transparency International is a “global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption” and it aims to “stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.” They launch yearly the Corruption perceptions index which basically measures the level of public sector corruption, in 176 countries around the world. According to the 2012 report, “Many of the countries where citizens challenged their leaders to stop corruption–from the Middle East to Asia to Europe–have seen their positions in the index stagnate or worsen.”

The other initiative, Publish What You Pay, revolves around the idea of transparency where companies publish what they pay to governments and for governments to publish what they receive and how it is spent. According to their objectives, PWYP campaigns for “increasing transparency in the extractive sector will enable citizens to hold governments and companies to account for the ways in which natural resources are managed.”

Now what?
With initiatives like these, corruption can be diminished worldwide. With hand in hand efforts and a commitment to act against this global phenomenon, corruption can be reduced through government transparency and accountability, as well as proper political leadership. These factors will not eradicate corruption but can act as stepping stones for the fight against it.

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