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“The most immediate source of the disconnect between Nigeria’s wealth and its poverty is a failure of governance at the local, state, and federal level, and some of that is due, as you know so well, to corruption, others of it to a lack of capacity or mismanagement.”“We think its good business to eliminate corrupt practices. It is better for competition, it’s better for the trade and investment environment, it’s better for Nigeria’s reputation as a place to do business without heavy transaction costs that corruption call on a company to make. So we will do what we can to prosecute those who cross the line who have any American connection, and we want to see reinstatement of a vigorous corruption commission”.1


Some years ago in Nigeria, I was watching the local news on television and there was the President of Nigeria at that time in the midst of elementary school children celebrating children’s day which is celebrated on May 27th of every year. The President asked a few of the elementary school children what they wanted their career paths to be when they grow up and to my chagrin, one child said “I want to be the President of Nigeria” another child said “I want to be appointed a minister of government” another said “I want to be a politician so I can make plenty and plenty of money”. I sat there asking myself what has happened to occupations like being a doctor, lawyer, teacher, nurse, engineer e.t.c. Even the young already have this mindset that one has to be a public office holder to be successful or to be rich

Corruption is so widespread that each country has developed its own terminology to describe these practices; egunje in Nigeria, mordida in Mexico2, arreglo in Philippines3, baksheesh in Egypt4, dash in Kenya5, pot-de-vin in France6 steekpenning in The Netherlands7, tangente in Italy8. All these phrases or slangs as it were, are used to refer to bribe such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct. Corruption is not a novel concern in the world today. Volumes of literature have already been written about this intriguing topic globally and tons of conferences have been and are still been organized to address this menace. It is an everyday occurrence in countries throughout the world, whether developed or under developed.

Corruption has become a global phenomenon and no country is completely corrupt free. However, corruption is apparent in some countries than others because those countries with less corruption have learnt to manage corruption than others by putting the necessary checks and balances in place and curbing the opportunities of corruption while others have either not figured corruption out or lack the political will to do same. The use of public power and resources in a manner that advances individual, factional, ethnic, religious or other limited interests at the expense of more broad based social, national or global needs is corruption because power and public resources are appropriated towards private purposes and gains. Theft, bribery, extortion, patronage, nepotism, and other practices grouped together as corruption.

In Nigeria, corruption has become a part and parcel of the society, which (corruption) appears to be out of control.9 The present chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, recently voiced out her concerns at the level of corruption in Nigeria by stating that the “endemic corruption cases in the country has overwhelmed the commission‘s workforce”. She said with a population of one hundred and forty million, the commission‘s one thousand five hundred operatives finds the task of prosecuting corruption cases daunting.10 From my experience, research and interviews, I can attest to the fact that corruption in Nigeria is indeed out of control and one of the greatest challenges of our generation, which will not be very easy to tackle.11


Public corruption has long been a fact of life in Nigeria as shall be discussed in later chapters, elections are often fraught with fraud, intimidation, and violence, politicians embezzle money from infrastructural services and programmes. Corruption can be found in almost every facet of the society but it is most imbedded in the public sector of the country which will be my area of focus. Throughout the existence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation, it has experienced corruption which has been traced to traditional and colonial power structures. The military overthrew the government of the first republic in 1965 claiming that it wanted to rid the country of corruption but the military regimes also proved to be corrupt. The story still remains the same today; endemic, entrenched, systemic corruption is the order of the day in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In depth discussion is contained in chapter one of this dissertation.

Countries suffering from corruption cannot make the best use of their human and natural resources and are likely to remain vulnerable to and dependent upon outside interests and markets.12 Evidently, corruption is a cost to Nigeria in many ways like the subversion of development plans, the diversion of human and natural resources that may have been invested in a productive way, as well as upsetting the normal operation of markets. Nigeria has an impressive array of structures, institutions and laws aimed at combating corruption, The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are anti corruption commissions in Nigeria. However, these institutions fall short of the standards and requirements of an effective anti-corruption regime as demanded by the anti-corruption conventions,13 such as the lack of independence and non partisanship of the officers, lack of access to information, enforcement capabilities, funding and a proactive community. These lapses I shall discuss further in later chapters of my research.


My dissertation focuses on the public and government sphere, my focus on public sector corruption is justified by the statistical evidence which demonstrates a correlation between the extent of the government involvement in the economy and corruption. Having said that, it is important to note that public authority is not the only reason for corruption in Nigeria. I shall be examining the anti corruption commissions and relevant anticorruption laws we have in Nigeria.

I shall also examine other aspects of the society that contribute to widespread corruption. My dissertation will be a combination of detailed explication and analysis of jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa India and the United States.

The number of indices focused on corruption measurement has grown over the years of which Nigeria constantly ranges amongst the most corrupt countries in the world. They range from some of the most established and widely used indicators like Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)14 and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI)15, to a newer generation of measurement and assessment tools like the Mo Ibrahim’s Index of African Governance16 and the Global Integrity Report.17 An immediate problem for any comparative empirical work is that governance quality and particularly corruption cannot be directly measured and so alternative indicators have to be constructed using subjective judgments. These indicators have been accused of been biased and subjective as pointed out by individuals I have spoken to. However, just as it is difficult to define corruption across different cultures and political environments, it is also not easy to measure its extent.

Instead, the most common measures work indirectly, based not on registering specific corrupt acts but people’s perceptions of the extent of corruption.

As already stated, one of the most widely cited examples is the ‘Corruption Perception Index’ (CPI) produced by Transparency International (TI) an international organization and Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the Corruption Perceptions Index ranking. The annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) first released in 1995, is the best known of Transparency International’s tools for measuring the level of corruption in countries. It ranks one hundred and eighty countries by their perceived levels of corruption as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.18 TI gathers data from sources that span the last two years and the CPI is calculated using data from thirteen sources originated from eleven independent institutions. All sources measure the overall extent of corruption (frequency and/or size of bribes) in the public and political sectors and all sources provide a ranking of countries which include an assessment of multiple countries.19

Evaluation of the extent of corruption in countries is done by country experts, nonresident and residents consisting of the following sources; Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight and Merchant International Group. Additional sources are resident business leaders evaluating their own country consisting of the following sources.20 Institute for Management Development (IMD), Political and Economic Risk Consultancy and The World Economic Forum.

To determine the mean value for a country, standardization is carried out via a matching percentiles technique and this uses the ranks of countries reported by each individual source.

This method is useful for combining sources that have a different distribution. While there is some information loss in this technique, it allows all reported scores to remain within the bounds of the CPI, that is to say, to remain between zero and ten. A beta-transformation is then performed on scores. This increases the standard deviation among all countries included in the CPI and avoids the process by which the matching percentiles technique results in a smaller standard deviation from year to year. All of the standardized values for a country are then averaged, to determine a country's score. The CPI score and rank are accompanied by the number of sources, high-low range, standard deviation and confidence range for each country.21

For the purpose of my dissertation, I shall be using the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The mainstream of this line of thought is due to the fact that this metric of measuring corruption is a perception based indicator, they rely on the subjective opinions as well as perceptions of levels of corruption in a given country among experts and citizens. The use of this indicator has been largely embraced by Nigerians in watching the corruption scale in Nigeria. In addition, based on my first hand experience of systematic corruption in Nigeria, it is my believe that the ranking of Nigeria by Transparency International and other corruption indexes is not far from what is actually obtainable in Nigeria....