THE PERCEPTION OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ON CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
The study examined the perception of undergraduate students on corruption in Nigeria. The objectives of the study include among others, to examine how undergraduate students perceive corruption. In the course of this study, the Naïve Realism theory was employed in other to give an understanding of the problematic of the study. In the course of this research, both quantitative and qualitative sources of data collection were used. Thus, the study found out among others that undergraduate student perceived corruption in Nigeria beyond bribery and embezzlement. Based on the findings of this research, the study recommends among others that the National University Commission (NUC) should liasise with the Ministry of Education and introduce a general course on corruption into the University’s curriculum so that undergraduate student will be educated on corruption. The anti-graft agencies should be independence to fight corruption to stand still in Nigeria. And a study of this nature should e encourage in the academia to make the citizens know more about the bane of our nation today. All the materials used in this research were acknowledge in the references.
1.1 Background of the Study
One of the greatest threats to economic and political development of any nation is corruption, therefore, the challenges of corruption remain a major devastating issue facing Nigeria since the colonial period, although, this phenomena has become a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system. Nevertheless, its solution rest in our hands and cannot be put off to another day that is why many countries have put in place different mechanism to end the spate of corruption. Corruption in Nigeria has deeply entrenched in the national ethics, politics, civil society, Public and Private Sectors, and has been deeply permeated by a pervasive and debilitating culture so much that it is best regarded as been institutionalized. (Igbuzor O, 2008).
From 1st October 1960 to 2017 Nigeria had civilian and military regimes, and virtually all their inaugural speeches, addressed the fight against corruption was promised as a cardinal principle or advanced as a reasons for toppling a regime. The tough talk against corruption is followed by setting up of special committees or bodies to combat or investigate corruption charges. In 1975, Gen. Murtala regime set up an investigative panel which indicted all the twelve military governors that served under Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Akinola, 2002 cited in Danfulani, 2011).
The two military regimes of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha were seen as the most corrupt in the history of the nation, yet during their combined 14 years reign, bodies like Transparency International did not rank them the most corrupt nation in the world. (Akinola, 2002). Ironically, the regime of chief Olusegun Obasanjo that resolve on set to make war against corruption a major agenda, got the worst ranking in the history of the nation. Throughout his 8 years reign from 1999-2007, Nigeria top the chat and never left the first five most corrupt nations in the world. (Akinola, 2002). One impeccable realism and feature of Nigeria is that, the more the revenue a regime has at its disposal, the more the scale of corruption. It is on record that the revenue that accrued to the nation’s coffers between 29th May, 1999 to 29th May 2000 surpasses, what accrued to Nigeria from 1st October 1960 to the day chief Obasanjo took over. (Akinola, 2002).
As Nigerian struggle to tame the psycho-social beast know as corruption, they have particularly beamed to searchlight on the behavior of public official (civil servant military and police personnel, elected official etc) and former public officials, contractors, business associates of public official. However, one sector of society that has escaped the penetrating searchlight is education. The educational sector seems to escape critical observation regarding the conduct of educational institutions and the faculties. Therefore, the war on corruption cannot be won without making a determined effort to purge the educational sector of the psycho-social beast. The world today is face with a large number of problems that threaten our survival on this planet. Not all part of the world, however, are equally hit by problems that rank among the most serious threats to the humans race; high rate of unemployment poverty, low level of education, poor technological development, level, gender discrimination, ethnic and religious inequality and high corruption etc.
These issues are mostly related to the countries in the transition and developing parts of the world. However, in many developed countries, corruption is also endemic within educational sector. Namely, corruption entered this area and serious endangers schools, polytechnics and colleges as well as universities in Nigeria. Corruption in Nigeria’s higher institutions can be defined as “the systematic public office for private benefits, whose impact is significant on the availability and quality educational goods and services, and has impact on access, quality or equality in education” (Hallak and Poission 2002). Unfortunately, very little research has been carried out to compare the cost of corruption on education sector.
More than ever before educational institutions have become profit oriented in their struggle to survive; neglecting their basic function to train quality and adequate personnel’s capable to coping with the crisis which the modern world is facing with nowadays. Corruption is a major problem in a lot of countries, endemic in all sectors. But the one that is perhaps the most troubling is the education sector, most especial in the higher educational institutions of learning in Nigeria.
It is unfortunate the money meant for public education is delivered into the banks account of corrupt bureaucrats and lecturers are underpaid, and students end up paying high fees. Instead of lower amount as school fees, illegal charges of levied on students admission from, embezzlement of funds intended for teaching materials, school buildings, sub standard educational materials are purchased due to manufacturer’s bribe, bribe to auditors for not disclosing the misused funds which have negative effect on Nigeria socio-economy development of the nation in its entity.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Corruption has remained an endemic that has undoubtedly eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society. It continues to pose greater challenge to our prolonged quest for political and socio-economic development. One of the major challenges of identifying corruption is the problem f perception. This posses a major problem to the effort to understand the causes, consequences and pattern of corruption in Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians have their own perception on what constitutes corruption; some perceive it only in terms of embezzlement while others see it differently. Apart from the fact that corruption takes diverse forms (bribery, conflict of interest, embezzlement, fraud and extortion etc.), there is no broad consensus among undergraduate students on the meaning of corruption.
When people talk about corruption, usually they refers to public fund siphoned or misappropriated by civil servant, contractor, politician etc. hardly do they think of the type of corruption that destroys the minds of our people and siphons the moral value of our society. This type of corruption is more dangerous and more serious threatening the feature of Nigeria. It is because of these ugly scenario that the researcher want to discuss the effect of corruption on Nigeria’s educational sector especially on the higher institution of learning in Nigeria. There is no doubt that educational institutions in any country are the industry in which future leaders, thinkers, politicians, teachers, workers and what have you are produce. In Nigeria, this industry has deteriorated to the extent that in place of being an agent of purifying the minds of our students to become usefully members of the society, the industry is now diverting the mind of the students from what education is all about.
It has long been observed that our graduates are no longer more measure up to the standards of both internal and external evaluators.
Corruption in Nigeria’s higher educational institutions of learning is very alarming and worrisome. This impediment has crumbled the country potentials. The quality education is the bedrock or channels through which every country producers her future leaders. In Nigeria, the sector has deteriorated to be an agent of purifying and sharpening the minds of the next generation to become useful members of our society has now turned to training ground for corrupt individuals.
Corruption in Nigeria education sector (higher institutions) is the most dangerous aspect of corruption in the country. The degree of corruption that is taking place in the Nigeria’s higher institution of learning is worrisome and may collapse the country. Therefore, if urgent care is not taken the future of the country is bleak as far as any meaningful development is concern.
In most of the Nigeria’s higher institutions corruption has taken the lead in the process of admission exercises, the applicants are force to pay money before they could be offered admissions. The institution imposed all manner of illegal fees; most students do not attend lectures but bribed their ways to passed with good grade than their colleagues that attends lectures regularly. Most students in various higher institutions of learning resort to all kind of activities to ensure they make good grade in the institution. The female students brings themselves as low as going after some lecturers for marks, a good number of others engaging in their way sorting out by giving money to lecturers to pass them. Even the politicians send names of their candidates to some of the lecturers to pass them in their respective course. Some lecturers threatening the students that whoever did not buy his or her textbook, handout etc will not pass his or her examination. Some students hardly come to school yet when result is published, you will see them smiling while the few ones that study lament often get poor result or grade.
Obtainable in other sector in the country, that Nigeria’s education sector has continue to suffer from unending scourge of severe corruption and incompetence over the years is not a difficult things to notice in Nigeria’s higher educational institution of learning, funds meant for educational projects are been mismanage without control, corrupt politicians are appointed on universities, polytechnics and colleges of education boards, who politicize the system, learning environment remains unconducive, academicians struggles to get their entitlements among other pressing issue confronting Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning.
Adude (2014) opined that the effects of corruption on the education sector were extensive and damaging because it endangers a country’s social, economic and political future. Corruption in the education affects more people than corruption in other sector, both in rural and urban areas basically schools are breeding grounds for future generations. Corruption threatens equal access quantity and quality of education.
Mohammed (2017); said that broadly, the spectrum of corruption in academic can examined in fourfold, the act of corruption as emanating and supported by the academics themselves (lecturers), the role students plays and contribution of the larger society. The synergy of these four constitutes the formidable phenomenon called corruption in Nigeria higher institution of learning. From whatever point of view one may think about the issue under study, the situation in Nigeria higher institution of learning is alarming and endemic in Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic in which almost every academic process there appear incidences of corrupt practices in it.
1.3 Research Questions
In order to guide the study and achieve the research objectives of the study, the following research questions were formulated:
- How do undergraduates perceived corruption?
- Do undergraduates perceived corruption beyond bribery and embezzlement?
- How does authors and scholars perceived corruption?
- Can corruption be eradicated in Nigeria?
- Are anti-corruption agencies playing there role to curb corruption in Nigeria?
1.4 Purpose the Study
The main aim of the study is to under the perception of undergraduate student on corruption in Nigeria. However other objectives include;
- To look at the way undergraduates students perceived corruption.
- To examine what constitutes corruption from the perspective of undergraduates students
- To examine the perceptions of authors and scholars on corruption
- To determine the possible ways of eradicating corruption.
- The understand the role of anti-corruption agencies in fighting corruption in Nigeria.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study cannot be over emphasis. The study will serve as reference material for further research in similar area of study. It will also add value to the bodies of existing knowledge on the subject matter under investigation. The research will also serve as a guide to the educational stake holders as well as the general public on how to prevent and resist corruption tendency in the educational sector in Nigeria. Consequently, the findings and recommendations of the study will also help in reducing the image of the educational sector in Nigeria. In the eye of international community’s which sees Nigeria as the most corrupt nation in Africa.
1.6 Scope and Delimitations of the Study
The research limits its scope to the perception of undergraduate students on corruption in Nigeria (2017- 2018) with specific focus on Kaduna State University. However, conducting a research of this nature certainly there must be some constraints such as time factor, insufficient funds, lack of free access to relevant literatures and poor cooperation from the respondents at process of conducting interviews and questionnaires administration to the targeted population of the study.
1.7 Definition of Key Terms
- Corruption: Advance learning dictionary define corruption as an act of dishonest or illegal behavior especially of people in authority.
- Educational corruption: Is define as the systematic use of public office for private gain whose impact is significant on the availability and quality of educational goods and services (Hallak and Poission 2002).
- Effect: Means impact or changes that something or somebody causes on other things or persons.
- Perception: Means the act of understanding a phenomenon or concept.
- Undergraduate: Refer to student in the higher college of learning in University first degree students.
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