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The word “corrupt” when used as an adjective literally means “utterly broken”. It was first used by Aristotle and later Cicero who added the terms bribe and abandonment of good habit. Corruption is a form of dishonest and unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. (Wikipedia; 2015). In an attempt to distinguish between ‘corrupt act’ and ‘corruption’, Amundsen (1999) summits that “corruption is when individuals misuse the public power they are bestowed with for private benefit” while corrupt act occurs “when a responsible person accepts money or some other forms of reward, and then proceed to misuse his official power by returning undue favours”. Nye defines corruption as a behaviour which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of private relationship. This includes such behaviour as bribery (which is the use of reward to pervert the judgment of the person in position of trust); nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reasons of inscriptive relationship than merit); and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private – regarding uses (Nye cited in Onuigbo & Eme, 2015).

Khan sees corruption as an act which deviates from the rules of conduct governing the action of someone in a position of public authority because of private regarding motives such as wealth, power and status (Khan cited in Amundsen, 1996). Corruption could also be conceived as pervasion of integrity or state of affairs through bribery, favour or depravity (Otite, 2000).

In a more holistic conceptualization, the International Monitory Fund (IMF) vignettes corruption as an abuse of office or trust for private benefit: and is a temptation indulged in by not only public officials but also by those in positions of trust and authority in private enterprise or non-profit organizations (IMF, 1998). Transparency International observes corruption to be the use of entrusted power for private gain; and is classified as either grand, petty and political depending on the amount of money lost and the sector where it occurs. Grand corruption – consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distorts polity or the central functioning of the state enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good; Petty corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens; Political corruption – involves manipulation of policies, institution and rules of procedures in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth (Transparency International, 2015 ).

Lawal (2012) identifies types of corruption to include: Moral corruption exhibited in sexual pervasiveness, greed especially in interpersonal relationship, loose tongue, indecent dressing, etc; Economic corruption example include manufacturing fake drugs, adulteration of drinks, piracy, plagiarism, fraud at all levels, etc; Political and bureaucratic corruption includes illegal, unethical and unauthorized exploitation of one’s political or official position for personal gain; Electoral corruption has to do with electoral frauds such as election rigging, manipulations, ballot stuffing, registration of underage, etc (Lawal, 2012).

Corruption includes bribery, smuggling, fraud, illegal payment, money laundering, drug trafficking, falsification of documents and records, window dressing, false declaration, evasion, underpayment, deceit, forgery, concealment, aiding and abetting of any kind to the detriment of another person, community, society or nation (Mathew et. al., 2013).

The arguments and definitions by the authors affirm that corruption manifests for personal gratification, self-preservation and glory at the expense of general political and economic growth of a particular state, an organization or any establishment.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

It is generally agreed that corruption is an evil wind that affect everyone and retard societal progress. While there are several theories that explain its prevalence in society, the point to emphasize is that it has become a way of life in Nigeria. This explains why it has been difficult to combat its rising profile.

In spite of the fact that the country, boast of one of the most resourceful citizenry and natural endowment in the world, these potentials have often been frittered away through corruption and mismanagement. Olugbade (1992) quoting Diamond argued that the Nigerian state “can command and expend vast resources, but it cannot get things done. Thus, the state has become the primary means for the accumulation of personal wealth”. It has been argued that the“ politics of competition over allocation of resources, or what in Nigeria is called „the national cake‟, has its most dire consequences in the transformation of offices of the state into prebends” (Joseph, 1987).However, successive governments in Nigeria have made concerted efforts to address the issue of corruption. But their antidotes, where applied, have often fallen short of the required impact to turn the state of corruption around for good (Akhakpe, 2014). It would appear that the nature of the Nigerian society makes corruption a persistent and lucrative business. For examples, during the colonial administration, stealing from the government was celebrated. Yet, years of military autocratic regimes made accountability by public officers difficult if not impossible. The effect of this development is a cynosure of all eyes; virtually all sectors of the economy are at varying degree of decay.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The study sought to understand the motive behind the fight against corruption in Nigeria.     

1.4   Research Questions

Based the objective of the study, the question that comes to mind is, “is the fight against corruption in Nigeria a true course or a reprisal?”

1.5   Research Hypotheses

Ho: The fight against corruption in Nigeria is not a true course but a reprisal.

Hi: The fight against corruption in Nigeria is a true course.

1.6   Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a bench mark or guide for other work or study.

1.7   Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study on the fight against corruption is set to know the causes of corruption in Nigeria today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Limitations of study

  1. 1.         Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. 2.         Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8   Definition of Terms

Corruption: Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries.

Fight:  To attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons.