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This study focuses on study of political corruption in Nigeria from 1999 to 2011. A proper research was carried out to examine what corruption is and its genesis in Nigeria, Interrogate the causes of Political corruption among political leaders in Nigeria, analyze the effect of Political corruption on Nigeria’s economic development, and examine the impact of political corruption on the standard of living of Nigerians. In carrying out the research, one of the traditional methods of gathering information, i.e. both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources used is descriptive analysis (archival materials). A sizeable percentage of secondary sources that is used came from published and unpublished works which include materials extracted from: Archives, Newspapers on general elections, discussions, Conference papers, Magazines, Internets, Books, and Articles in journals. One of the conclusions derived from this study is that Poor youth empowerment, greed, poverty and Weak government institution are the causes of Political corruption among political leaders in Nigeria. 



1.1       Background to the Study

The term ‘first republic’ in Nigeria was the period when Nigeria became a republic after independence from Great Britain in 1960. The era lasted from 1963 to 1966 because of the military intervention in the governance of the country which brought the first republic to an abrupt end (Akanade and Akanade, 2011). The first republic was characterized by ethnicity, nepotism and an unprecedented level of corruption. According to Ogbeide (2012) “the First Republic under the leadership of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, and Nnamdi Azikwe, the President, was marked by widespread corruption. Government officials looted public funds with impunity. Federal Representatives and Ministers flaunted their wealth with reckless abandon. In fact, it appeared there were no men of good character in the political leadership of the First Republic. Politically, the thinking of the First Republic, Nigeria’s leadership class was based on politics for material gain; making money and living well. Due to the level of corruption and other reasons best known to the military, it then toppled the government of Sir Abubarka Balewa. The installation of a civilian government in 1979 by the military paved way for the second republic in Nigeria. The second republic lasted for only four years because the military accused the politicians of a high level of corruption. Many prominent politicians were jailed for financial corruption by the military junta. The third republic in Nigeria did not last because it was derailed and truncated by the General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration.

The fourth republic commenced with the handover of power by the military administration to a democratically elected civilian government on May 29, 1999. The return of democratic governance was greeted with widespread jubilation. However, even after years of uninterrupted democracy, the country still witness a resurgence of corruption which has undermined national development in Nigeria. The worrisome trend in the magnitude of financial corruption by politicians prompted the Obasanjo’s government to introduce two anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Taking into cognizance of the history of corruption in Nigeria since independence, the Obasanjo led-federal government introduced two special anti-corruption agencies to checkmate the devastating effect of corruption in the Nigerian economy (Ogbeide 2012). Ogundiya (2012) asserts that corruption is so rampant in the fourth republic that in every newspaper front page cover always carry news about financial corruption by politicians. It is argued that corruption is the bane to Nigerian development and it retards economic growth. It remains an insurmountable problem (Ayobulu, 2006). It is an impediment to Nigeria economic and political progress (Sachs, G. 2005). “It is a cankerworm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the country and had stunted growth in all sectors” (Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), 2005). It has been the primary reason behind the country’s underdevelopment (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), 2006). Smith, Daniel Jordan (2007) posits that in all the challenges Nigeria is passing through, corruption remains the main obstacle to Nigeria’s development that has increased poverty and inequality. Subscribing to this notion, a renowned novelist, Chinua Achebe in his epic book, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’ emphasized that the trouble with the country called Nigeria is that political leaders use the instrument of power to commit and maintain corruption (Achebe 1983, cited by Awojobi 2014).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Certainly, corruption is neither culture-specific nor system bound. It is ubiquitous. However, the severity and its devastating impact vary from one system to the other. The impact is undoubtedly more severe and devastating in the developing world with a weak economic base, fragile political institutions and inadequate control mechanisms. Nigeria today is at a critical stage since independence. The country faces a severe crisis in its economic, social and political development that is not unconnected to the problem of pandemic corruption. The manifestations of the crises are clear, the remedies much less so. Therefore, for a country awakening to democracy after long years of military authoritarianism, endemic corruption and stupendous wastage pose greater challenges. Since 1999 when the country returned to civil rule, there is no doubt that corruption has been the bane of democratic stability and survival. News about corruption is no longer stunning. This vindicates consistent rating of Nigeria by Transparency International (TI), the global watchdog on corruption, as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. All anti-corruption strategies by the various successive governments have had trifling impacts. The pathological effects of corruption are democratic instability, low level of governmental legitimacy, voracious poverty, infrastructural decay, electoral crisis, contract killing, political assassination, insecurity and generally, developmental problems- have been very devastating. Regrettably, those who claim to be the right physicians, as the previous and current revelations have shown, have come out as patients.

1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this research is to study political corruption in Nigeria from 1999 to 2011 i.e. since the beginning of the fourth republic, however, specifically the study intends to:

1.      Examine what corruption is and its genesis in Nigeria

2.      Interrogate the causes of Political corruption among political leaders in Nigeria

3.      Analyze the effect of Political corruption on Nigeria’s economic development

4.      Examine the impact of political corruption on the standard of living of Nigerians

1.4       Relevant Research Questions

The following research questions guide the objectives of this research.

1.      What is corruption and its genesis in Nigeria?

2.      What are the causes of Political corruption among political leaders in Nigeria?

3.      What are the likely effects of Political corruption on Nigeria economic development?

4.       What are the likely impacts of political corruption on the standard of living of Nigerians?

1.5       Relevant Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant effect of Political corruption on Nigeria economic development

Hi: There is a significant effect of Political corruption on Nigeria economic development

Ho: There is no significant impact of political corruption on the standard of living of Nigerians

Hi: There is a significant impact of political corruption on the standard of living of Nigerians

1.6       Scope of the Study

This research work will vividly study corruption in its in-depth in Nigeria, the concept, causes, effects of political corruption will be vividly reviewed. Also, this research work will be conducted in Ikeja LGA, the capital of Lagos state.

1.7       Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to students, researchers, Policymakers, Academics, Economists, Civil Societies, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Government.

To the Policymakers, Academics, Economists, civil societies, NGOs, this study would provide valuable information that could be used to make sure that the rate of political corruption in Nigeria is reduced to the barest minimum and usher in vibrant development in the area of provision of social amenities that would bring about a high standard of living.

This study will expose the government at different levels to the implication of political corruption on the development of Nigerians and the standard of living of the people so as to formulate policies that will help tackle corruption in Nigeria.

Finally, this study will serve as a guide and reference for students and other researchers that will embark on the same research.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Corruption: corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit

Development: Economic development is the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people.

Political Corruption: Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain

Republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

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