Corruption Control and Political Stability in Nigeria: Implication for Value Re-Orientation in Politics

Sunshine Progressive Youth Alliance's picture
2013-06-10 20:13



- There is a clear indication that politics in Nigeria has

been the opposite of what it is in the developed countries.

African politicians are still backward in terms of their values

such as unfulfilled promises, political corruption, greed,

violence, tribalism and intimidation. The premise of this study

is on how corruption impacts on the development of Nigeria

and Africa in general. Corruption is said to manifest through

fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds,

inflation of contracts, sexual harassment, bribery and others.

Corruption is also seen to be caused by misplaced sense of

values, lack of accountability and transparency in government,

greed, discrimination in wealth distribution and others. There is

noticeable negative impact of corruption on the social, political

and economic life of Nigerians resulting in political instability,

erosion of cherished cultural values, economic distortion and

underdevelopment. The paper proffers ways of controlling

corruption to include, behavior modification, transparency in

governance, political will and sustainability of democracy. The

study is of the view that with diligent implementation of its

recommendations Africans can enjoy dividends of democracy

and develop.


very informed person will agree that among many

factors affecting political stability of Nigeria as well

as most African countries, corruption has been

the control factor. The crave by leaders and public

servants in Nigeria to amass wealth while in public

service, has not only affected national development but

also accentuated political instability. This is often

manifested in youth restiveness, social insecurity,

conflicts, social uprisings, civil wars and even coup de

tats, to mention a few. Consequently, corruption has

become one of the major social ills plaguing the stability

of Nigeria and even most African states. This requires

prompt and urgent attention in order to rescue Nigeria

nay, Africa from imminent political collapse.

Various definitions have been given to the

concept of corruption. The World Bank (1998) defines

corruption as ‘the use of public office for private gain.

This definition includes bribery and extortion, which

involves at least two parties, and other types of

malfeasance public features do engage in to include

fraud and embezzlement. Corruption has also been

defined as an anti-social behavior conferring improper

benefits contrary to legal and moral norms whish also

undermines the authority to improve the living conditions

of the people (Edame, 2001). Nye (1967) further defines

corruption as, behavior which deviates from the formal

duties of a public role because of private (gains)

regarding personal, close family, private clique,

pecuniary or state gain; or a behavior which violates

rules against the exercise of certain types of duties for

private gains regarding influence. This definition

includes such behaviors as bribery (use of reward to

pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust);

nepotism and misappropriation. Sorkaa (2002) view

corruption as an unethical or deviant behavior.

Corruption connotes an erosion of ethics and

accountability. According to Rashead and Olowu (1993),

ethics focus on what is considered the right and proper

behavior of public officials, politicians as well as those

in the private sector. The words ‘right’, ‘proper’ and ‘fair’

express judgment about behavior of people towards

others considered to be just. This presupposes that

there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to behavior which

constitute a society’s standard. Corruption is a social

virus which has besieged most African States. Its high

incidence involves public servants (civil servants and

politicians) on one hand and members of the public who

are seeking public services on the other. Accountability

on the other hand is synonymous with being

answerable. This indicates that governments are

accountable to the people particularly in democratic

societies. It behooves therefore that absence of

accountability creates a fertile ground for corruption and

other unethical behavior to thrive.

 Manifestations of Corruption In A Country


Achebe (1983), maintains that corruption in

Nigeria spans from budgeting abuses, political

patronage, public funds being doled out to political

allies and personal friends; collection of mobilization fee

or full payment without executing the contract, rewarding

politicians who failed elections with ministerial appointment,

re-assigning ministers, commissioners or

council members who are involved in scandals to

another ministry or department. Other forms of corruptions

found among the African Politicians include,

confidence in the instrument of power, and the process

which has fanned the growth of corruption in Africa and

Nigeria in particular. Lack of accountability and

supervision has progressively bedeviled African states.

As a result, some African elites have corrupted

themselves and the public officers have forgotten that

they are accountable to the electorates. In some

instances, those in authority have abdicated their

supervisory responsibilities and in the process laws and

regulations have been breached without censure. Where

this state of affairs has become prevalent, the public

service has lent itself to abuse by dishonest politicians.

Corruption and political instability in Africa has

been tactically influenced by the ‘Big economic powers’

like China, Russia, America and Europe who provide

haven for stolen funds by African political leaders. The

multinational corporations working in Africa assists

Africans to loot resources and expropriates them.

Construction and communication giants, oil companies,

etc. assist through contract inflation and import

invoicing. They fund corrupt and sit tight leaders and

built mansions for them with ammunition and in turn loot

resources easily thereby encouraging corruption in

Africa. Nigeria has experienced about coups d’etat and

countless rumoured, unsuccessful coups since

independence in 1960.

Development in Africa

The issue of corruption in Africa has resulted in

very devastating situations on developing African

economies. Some of these debilitating effects resulting

from corruption are as follows:

Corruption has affected political development

negatively. Political parties and electoral process in

most African States have been plagued with corrupt

practices and electoral irregularities such as violence,

stuffing of ballot boxes, thuggery, intimidation and

elimination of recalcitrant opposition candidates.

, Rigging, bribing of electoral officials, security men

and party agents in order to have a free hand to change

results at polling boots or else where. Other practices

include denying voting cards to supporters of opposition

parties, gerrymandering of constituencies so as to

create an uneven playing ground for the oppositions as

well as deliberate omissions of names from the voters’

register, making of fictitious returns where elections did

not take place, under age as well as multiple voting

among others.

The utter inability of African ruling elites to play

electoral politics according to the rules of the game and

corruption free has partly been responsible for military

intervention in African politics as it used to be in Nigeria,

Ghana, Guinea, among others. This has often resulted

in political instability, crises, uneasiness, killing of

political opponents and general loss of lives and

properties; increased cost in conduction of elections,

vandalization, thuggery, arson and intimidation. These

evils, no doubt do not create a healthy atmosphere for

development. Since the main aim of political power

seekers in Africa is to enrich their pockets with public

funds, political and electoral corruption culminates into

misuse and embezzlement of public resources.



Political stability could be established in Africa

through good governance, fairness, honesty, justice,

transparency, accountability and a careful nurture of

democracy through good education. Corruption has

been one of the most internal constraints to

development in Nigeria. It has led to political instability in

Nigeria and has affected economic growth of most

African states. Corruption has resulted in erosion of

cherished cultural values such as dignity of labour,

fairness, honesty, faithfulness, integrity, etc. It has also

affected the practice of democracy in Africa and

hindered transparency and accountability, leading to

bad governance.

Corruption must not be allowed to prevail if

Nigeria and any other nation must develop. In view of

this, political leaders, civil servants and the citizenry

must have the political will to fight corruption. The

masses should be educated on the evils of corruption

and be mobilized to eliminate the social malaise.

Political leadership in Africa must be seen to be doing

government business in transparent and accountable

manner. The subordinates being led should be in the

know of what is going on. Their needs should be

provided for through prudent management of public

funds while the entire African states should be fully

democratized. Above all, it is hoped that if this call for

re-orientation of Nigerian politicians in respects of their

values is answered in good fate, sanity and uprightness

will be restored to our political scene. There will be

positive change in the value system of politicians and

Nigerian will enjoy fully the dividends of democracy.


To sustain political stability and control

corruption in the country consequently fostering

development in African, the following recommendations

are hereby suggested:

1) Political education should feature in the school

curriculum and introduced as a course in social

studies at the primary and secondary and in the

general studies at the tertiary institutions;

2) Government should organize adult education

classes where adult education will focus on

democracy, accountability etc, and be taught along

with other subjects;

3) A strong political will by all to fight corruption be

evolved in all states;

4) There should be effective use of approved law

without discrimination nor laxity;

5) Efforts be geared toward mobilization of African

societies through creation of awareness of the evils

of corruption and how to fight it and control it;

6) Transparency and accountability be enforced in

government functions, particularly in financial


7) The above recommendations could be further

encouraged through constant radio and television

talks, jingles and research work on corrupt free

society, democracy and political stability.

R eferences Références Referencias

1. Achebe, C. (1983). The trouble with Nigeria. En ugu:

Fourth Dimension Publishers.

2. Ake, C. (1996). Democracy and development in

Africa. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited.

3. Ake, C. (2000). The feasibility of de mocracy in


Council for the Development

of Social

Science in Africa.

4. Ayatse, F. (2003) . Counselling for corruption control

and political stability in Nigeria.

5. Iyewere, G. (1999). Acco untability, politics and

development in colonial and post colonial Africa: A

case for democracy and federalism in sub Saharan

Africa. Lagos: Impact Press.


6. Rasheed, S., & Olowu, D. (1993). Ethics and

accountability in African public services (eds.)

African Association for Public Administration and

Management (AAPAM). Ibadan! Caltop Publications


7 Sorkaa, A. (2002). Development as ethics and

accountability in government: the way forward for

Nigeria. An inaugural lecture delivered at Benue

State University on Saturday 10th


8.. World Bank (1998). Special report on c orruption in


Washington D.C.



Joel Samuel Feyisola

Sunshine Progressive Youth Alliance, Ondo State.


14 Owobamigbe street, off Adekunle Ajasin lane, Nepa nil
Akure, Ondo
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