THE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION ON DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA (A Case Study of Kaduna State Government, 1999 – 2015)
This study examined “The Impact of Corruption on Democratic Governance in Nigeria: A Case Study of Kaduna State Government, 1999 -2015”. Purposefully, the study assessed the challenges the Nigerian government are facing in tackling corruption between 1999 & 2015; the effects of corruption in Nigeria between 1999 & 2015; and the causes of corruption between 1999 & 2015. The researcher used descriptive and survey designs to carry out the study. The sample size of the population was 400. So 400 questionnaires of nineteen (15) items each were administered to 400 respondents. But, three hundred and eighty (380) usable questionnaires provided the database (given an 95% response rate) in this study The data obtained was analysed using SPSS statistical program version 17. Based on the findings from the analysis, corruption is predominant in Nigeria. However, based these findings, conclusion was drawn and recommendations such as: For democratic governance to thrive in Nigeria, the people must be vigilant and demand accountability from the leaders. It has been proven that, the strength of a democracy is only as great as the will of the people to uphold it.” for all these to be possible the citizens must be politically educated and mature. This would enable the future leaders to make ethical decisions and for the people to begin to make political office holders accountable while within and outside office.
1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria’s return to democracy on May 29, 1999 was seen as an end to the torture, suffering of the military era. It was seen as the requirement for the country to develop following the triumph of democracy as system of government at the end of the cold war where democracy became new world political order. The process of democratization in Nigeria can be traced to the Ibrahim Babangida’s political Bureau in 1986 (Omotola,1997).This was a failure because of the annulment of the June 12,1993 presidential election which was rated as the freest and fairest in the annals of electoral history in Nigeria (Izah, 2003). The regime was unable to cope with the crisis that followed this annulment hence the institution of an Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan (Ojo, 1998). This was greeted with mass protest that it will not put things under control. This allowed for the military takeover of power by General Sani Abacha in November, 1993. However, he was not interested in any transition process. There were resistance, resentment, protests from various groups. General Sani Abacha resorted to arrest, detention, extermination and harassment of his opponents. At the demise of late Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998, this brought in General Abdulsalam Abubakar as the Head of State whose regime successfully completed a transition to civilian administration, which ended by handing over power to a democratically elected government with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the president on May 29, 1999.
Democracy is defined as “rule by the people”. After the prolonged military rule in Nigeria and the subsequent return to democratic rule in 1999, the Nigerian people hoped for a life much better than during the military rule.
According to Chaj (2008), democratic governments and legitimate systems all over the world concerns center around providing welfare and basic necessities that will make life easier and prepare its citizens for the challenge of nation building. Some countries even though not endowed with natural resources, have used their initiatives to guarantee that lives of their citizens are at least comfortable and satisfactory.
From the onset of the fourth republic in Nigeria, there have been repetitions via media, government officials, and populace of the slogan “dividends of democracy”. The high expectations of African leaders Nigeria inclusive to connote the slogan “dividends of democracy”. The dividend of democracy means the benefits and the advantages of democracy. These include rule of law (supremacy of the law, equality before the law and fundamental human rights), legitimacy of the state, improved standard of living for the majority of the populace, improved atmosphere of peace and stability etc. All these supposed to be prerequisite for nation’s development (Igba, 2012).
The inability of Nigeria’s past and present leadership to consolidate on the gains of democracy has been attributed to corruption. In general terms, corruption has eaten very deep and hence, found its way into the body polity of the Nigerian state so much so that virtually all spheres of the nation’s life stinks with the sores of corruption. The effects of corruption on the socioeconomic, cultural and political landscape of Nigeria government can be so devastating that nothing meaningful works in the midst of this malaise. Corruption therefore becomes a clog in the wheel of progress of any nation state if the menace is not controlled.
Over the years, the Nigerian Mass Media have uncovered and revealed to the nation cases of corruption on a massive scale, a situation that is not only highly abhorred but reprehensible to well-meaning Nigerians. However, the ugly practice persisted and has steadily made very deep in-roads in every spheres of our national life (Okonkwo, 2011). Virtually all private, public and political spheres have been permeated and contaminated by corruption. This kind of development as pointed above compelled Preye and Weleayam (2011) to argue that Nigerians no longer believe that honesty and integrity are not worthy principles since one can do very little or even do nothing at all to gain so much. The school of thought of Preye and Weleayam on the high degree of ineptitude and indolence in the attitude of Nigerians further confirms the fact that corruption is not a thing of the leadership alone. The followership is also guilty as it is culpable for this misdemeanor. Thus, one finds corruption showing its face in the affairs of the family circle, schools (primary, secondary and universities and other higher structures of learning); worship places, the bureaucracy, security outfits, market places, main stream politics, village meetings, women organizations, electoral activities, appointment of persons into public offices; the manner and character in which funds are disbursed from the centre to states and local councils, rigging of elections, and many more. All of these stages and categories of corruption have over the years constituted themselves into a huge albatross bedeviling the Nigerian state. Corruption whether political, economic, judicial, familial, institutional or bureaucratic could by and large impede the progress of any society where such attitudes are widely tolerated and accommodated in the scheme of things.
In the midst of all these strands of corruption, it can be said that political corruption predominates. This is because those at the helm of affairs of government, the political elite accounts for the sharing and/or allocation of values in the society. The misallocation of these values and resources seem to be at heart of Nigeria’s socio-economic problems upon which a multidimensional social vices the country passes through today rests.
Therefore, this research seeks to appraise the impact of corruption on democratic governance in Nigeria with reference to Kaduna State (1999-2015) as a case study.
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