Nigeria has been increasingly portrayed as a very corrupt nation state both internationally and locally. Although one is not implying that it is only Nigeria that suffers from this impasse. However, the disturbing issue is that the case of Nigeria is so alarming that it threatens its national development. It is therefore, the view of this paper to pry into reasons accounting for this ugly state of affairs with a view to arresting the situation. Consequently, this paper in the final analysis, proffers the solution for this ugly situation and the way forward for the country.
Key words: National development, Corruption, Development, political system and socio-economic sector.
Nigeria is a country blessed with both human and natural resources which could be harnessed for proper and positive gains of the country. The country has a land mass of 923,768sq km located at the West region of Africa, bounded by Franco-phone countries such as Niger Republic, Benin, Lake Chad Basin, Cameroun and significantly, the Atlantic ocean to the south. This makes it accessible to countries of the world by water as such it is not a landlocked country, compared to countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, and Sudan etc. the country is also endowed with a vibrant human resource, a population of above 150 million .
Interestingly, Nigeria is richly blessed with natural resources and also with an arable land for agricultural production, hence making it a food and cash crop basket of the world. In a country like Nigeria poverty and underdevelopment should not be its peculiarity given the above characteristics of a buoyant economy of high reckoning. However, far from it the situation of events that has taken place in Nigeria has hampered this position. The position of this paper aims at looking at what went wrong, with enormous human and natural resources which have not been properly articulated for national development. The endemic factor that have negated the articulation of both natural and human resources for national development is corruption, which this paper poses to address and to expose its menace to national development.
Although, corruption has been a much basic problem in Nigeria over the years, it is saddening that despite several attacks on corruption it is still endemic. This issue seems to have not been addressed squarely because of leadership factor. The various leaders we have, have not been able to tackle this problem. Hence, we often forget the fact that they are product of the society we all live in. leaders did not drop from the sky, but are born and nurtured from the society, therefore it goes to say that the root of corruption is not solely the attitude and the excesses of our leaders but a societal degradation of our cultural and moral values, which they are also a product of. However, this is not a justification for their corrupt attitudes; we all have to mutually work together (both the leaders and the followers) to cub this menace.
Nigeria is rich and blessed with distinctive cultural and moral values deposited in different ethnic groups such as the Igbo, Hausa, Berom, Idoma, Yoruba, Efik, Urhobo, Kanuri etc., which we have inherited from our fore fathers, however, today these cultures which emphasize moral values, communal relationship and existence such as integrity, discipline, honesty, patriotism, hard-`work, truthfulness etc have been eroded away by selfish interests of individuals as its breeds corrupt attitudes that has become prevalent in the society today and thus have left the country still grasping in the dark trying to survive after over 50years of independence rather than becoming stakeholders in the path of development.
It is ideal to submit here that corruption was not inherited from the pre-colonial era; it has its roots in colonial period and subsequently became systemic in post-independent Nigeria. The period of oil boom where agriculture became neglected and the surplus wealth accrued from the oil boom produced greedy and money hungry individuals, bureaucrats who salivate for a share of the national cake, this attitude have in the long run distorted not only development in Nigeria but also its image locally and internationally.
This paper will be discussed thus; Definition of concepts, corruption in the political system of Nigeria, corruption in the socio- economic sector, implication of corruption to national development, recommendation and conclusion.
DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
Development is a concept that varies in definition which is informed by various degree of perception according to nations, professions, regions etc. Walter Rodney posits that development is beyond economic definition, but it is an overall social process which is dependent upon the outcome of man’s effort to deal with his natural environment. In this light Gunnar Myrdal opines development as the upward movement of the entire social system… educational and health facilities and levels; the distribution of power in the society and more generally economic, social and political stratification. More emphatically, Gboyega posits that development is the idea that attempts to improve the conditions of human existence in all ramifications. It goes beyond to the improvement in the general well being of the people, which imply a total departure from poverty, suffering, unemployment etc. hence, breeds a closing gap between the poor and the rich, resulting almost in a classless society. The United Nations defines development as a lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, have access to the resources for a decent standard of living and are able to participate in the life of the community. This invariably connotes a stable society for growth. The stability of societies is relative, as no society can be, due to the natural phenomenon; change. However, the access to a decent standard of living with the provision of essential social and economic amenities, employments etc. are crucial to development. Thus development should be viewed as a process of change from an old order to a more appreciable and sophisticated living where all human needs; politically, economically and socially are met and harmonized with the natural environment.