TRANSPARENCY OF INTERNATIONAL AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPT PRACTICE IN NIGERIA
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Transparency international is a non-governmental organization. Transparency international has been in the forefront in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. This research will attempt to look into the causes, effects of corruption in Nigeria and how successful transparency international has been in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power private gain. This is the working definition used by transparency international (TI) applying to both the public and private sectors. The corruption practices index (CDI) of transparency international focuses on corruption in the public sector or corruption which involves public offices, civil servants or politicians. The data sources used to compile the index include questions relating to the abuse of public power and focus on bribery of public officials in public procurement embezzlement of public funds, and on questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts in the public sector. As such it covers both the administrative and political aspects of corruption. In producing the index, the scores of countries territories for the specific corruption related questions in the data sources are combined to calculate a single score for each country.
Etymologically, corruption is derived from the Latin world “corruption” which means to break way or depart from morality, ethics and civil virtues. Corruption is a break away from what is good and right. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines corruption as dishonesty (which in other in the mind, words is deceitfulness, fraudulence, untruthfulness, treachery, duplicity). The World Bank defines corruption as “the abuse of public office for private gains. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public offices can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets or the diversion of state revenue”. Microsoft Encartar Encyclopedia defines it as “wrong doing by those in a special position of trust.
Section 2 of the independent corrupt practices and other related offences commission Act 2000 defines corruption to include “bribery” fraud and other related offences”. The most common type of corruption by this definition is bribery which refers to the giving or taking of money or any kind of favour in return or exchange for undue advantage over other people. Other types include abuse of power in any form or degree, extortion, embezzlement, inflation of contracts, diversion of funds, falsification or suppression of records, perversions of justice, electoral malpractices, examination malpractices, drug trafficking, money laundering, abuse of selection, processes nepotism, sexual exploration, gratification and so on. All these exampled of corrupt practices are prevalent in Nigeria. There are many causes of corruption in Nigeria and especially during the Sani Abacha regime. Some have attributed on of the causes of corruption to flagrant and penurious graft that exists in the country. Many blame greed and ostentatious lifestyle as a potential root cause of corruption. To some societies, in love with ostentatious lifestyle may delve into corrupt practices to feed the lifestyle and also embrace a style of public stanza and lack of decorum. The customs and attitudes of ht society may also be a contributing factors. Gift giving as expressions of loyalty or tributes to traditional rulers maybe fabrics of the society. Also, a political environment that favours toward elites or wealthy citizens may also be influenced by corruption. Wealthy elites may resort to steaze in order to gain power and protect their interest. However, the bottom line surmised from the views of most Nigerians is that corruption is a problem that has to be rooted out. In Nigeria, another major cause of corruption is ethnicity called tribalism in Nigeria friends and kinsmen seeking favour from officials may impose difficulties strains on the ethical disposition of the officials. Many kinsmen may see a government official as holding necessary avenues for their personal survival or gain.
The menace called corruption is a big problem in Nigeria and its effects in the Nigeria society cannot be over emphasized according to M. Watts. In this research work, we are going to look at the devastating effects of corruption as we have enumerated above. Added to that, corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigeria society. It is a moster that all and sundry blame for the economic woes facing the country. This is because corruption is seen as one of the major impediments to the economic development of the nation. It is perhaps the only reason why nothing seems to be working.
Interestingly, successive governments pursued policies against corruption and it was the main reason why the military made incursion into politics. Despite various policies adopted by governments, corruption is ever increasing in the country. According to Kolawole Olaniyan, corruption and the struggle to combat it has been there since the history of mankind.
In this research too, solutions will be proffered to the hydra-headed corruption which has brought to the country to its knees. There are many literatures that proffered solution to corruption which was plaque the country. According to Oyinlola Ayobami in his book titled “corruption Eradication in Nigeria: An Appraisal, he outlined some solutions to corruption in Nigeria first, in order to prevent corruption from happening all, Nigerians should emphasis transparency, integrity, and accountability which we were lacking during the Sani Abacha regime. Oyinlola claims that social transformation in education of the public is a necessary factor. There is need for formation and reformation, orientation and re-orientation of the minds and heart of Nigerians, for them to see that corruption is the enemy of development.
2. Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Law – The law should enforced to its fullest and without fear and favour. Improvement of socio-political and economic life. This is another weapon against corruption in Nigeria the multiplying effects of this improvement will reduce the tendency of public servants to demand and take bribes and get involved in corrupt practices.
3. Employment Generation – The unemployed in the country find themselves in the state of corruption mainly because they want to make money to meet the demands of the day.
4. Proper Government Funding of Schools in Nigeria – Understanding the importance of still acquisition by the government will go a long way to propel them to develop all the schools in Nigeria. When more interest is paid in the tertiary institutions in the country the country will produce graduates who are employable. This research will also make us to know that installation of necessary machines needed in the universities in the country will help the Nigerian graduates to acquires skills to generate income.
In the period where the research covers the treating of citizens unequally was also a major cause of corruption in Nigeria. Treating any offender in the country equally will help the rate of reduction in corruption advancement in Nigeria. Nobody is above the law and any who goes contrary to the law should be given the punishment.
As we have seen above, Nigeria has been confronted with both the petty and grand corruption. It was this development that motivated the researcher of the study to examine the place of transparency international, a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicized corporate and political corruption in international development in discouraging corruption in Nigeria through its annual corruption perceptions index (CPI) especially during the regime of the late dictator General Sani Abacha. General Sani Abacha who ruled Nigeria with an iron-fist and laundered billions of dollars from Nigeria. A new wave of corruption was introduced during the Sani Abacha regime that lasted from 1993-1998.
Aims and Objectives of the Study
The following aims and objectives of the study will highlight the essence of the study.
i. To examine corrupt practices under Sani Abacha.
ii. To study the reasons for the prevalence and persistence of corruption in Nigeria.
iii. To examine the place of transparency international in discouraging corruption in Nigeria through its annual publication of corruption perception index (CPI).
Methods of gathering data towards the success of this study include primary and secondary sources. The primary sources include newspapers, interviews, correspondences, government publication, private papers, archival materials while the secondary sources include books, internet materials, journals articles and theses.
Scope of the Study
This research is divided into five chapters, this work will look at transparency international and the fight against corrupt practices in Nigeria starting from the regime of General Sani Abacha.
Significance of the Study
The significance of this study is that it will give us an insight into corrupt practices in Nigeria. Its documentation will further give us a bride-eye’s view of the menace called corruption in Nigeria and solutions will be proffered, because with corruption so prevalent in Nigeria, Nigeria cannot attain the lofty heights it has set.
The literatures that were reviewed are the ones that were relevant to the study. Some of the literatures, in this group include, Olaniyan Kolawole’s book titled “Corruption on and human rights laws in Africa1. This book highlights the fact that corruption is as old as humanity. It is relevant to the study in that it highlights the dangers of corruption to the socio-economic and political development of any society and that inspite of the concerted efforts to combat this scourge at national regional and global levels, it continues to flourish with catastrophic consequences. In this book also, Olaniyan deflates the narrow understanding of corruption and has demonstrated in corruption and human rights law in Africa that corruption has its principal victims, the ordinary citizens who are usually the most vulnerable in the society, and who because of the lack of understanding of the real effects of corruption usually end up without any effective remedy. In this book, Olaniyan propound that “as a matter of justice and fairness, the (victim should ideally be entitled to an effective remedy through the anti-corruption legals framework or human rights law. Olaniyan concluded by proffered solutions to the menace called corruption.
The book Ayobami Oyinlola titled corruption Eradication in Nigeria. An appraisal, it was also very relevant to this study because it deal on corruption its causes, effects and proffered solutions to the menace that is ravaging the country. According to Ayobami Oyinlola, corruption is systematic in nature and can effect the whole life of society. He attributed the growing rate of corruption in Nigeria to people holding power at the federal state and local government levels. He claims that corruption does not involve just people in government, but also to people in both private and public. Positions and even traditional rulers. Ayobami further gave an insight on the effects of corruption on nation building. The effects of corruption as enumerated by Ayobami Oyinlola are those that are capable of crippling any nation. They are:
1. Diversion of development resources for private
2. Misallocation of talents
3. Lost tax revenue
4. Negative impact on quality of infrastructure and public services.
5. Slowing of economic growth
In this book, Ayobami Oyinlola proffers solutions to this lingering problem. He wrote that to prevent corruption from happening at all, Nigerians should emphasis transparency, integrity and accountability in all their private and public transaction. The author writes that there should be social transformation in education of the public, there is also need for formation and reformation, orientation of the minds and heart of Nigerian, for them to see that corruption is the enemy of development. He also claims that anti-corruption law should be enforced fully and without any fear and favour.
The book titled, recovered stolen Assets by Mark, Pieth3. It was also very helpful in this study, the book was relevant to this study is discusses the effects of corruption and looting of the public purse. According to Mark, Pieth, development efforts will remain frustrated so long as corrupt leaders continue to steal their countries wealth and dispose of these ill-gotten gains in foreign jurisdictions. Mark, Pieth claims that prevention of such looting, and the recovering of the stolen assets are this critical development issues and a cornerstone of the United Nations convention against corruption. According to the author, experience with assets recovering is limited and a number of legal and other obstacles continue to impede progress. This is the first comprehensive work on asset recovering.
Peter Lewis book “Growing Apart: Oil, politics and economy change in Nigeria and Indonesia”4. This also very helpful to this study. Based on the authors detailed study of forty-years of economic change.
Growing Apart offers insight into economic change in Nigeria and Indonesia. It is relevant to this study because it harped on why the economy of Nigeria has remained stagnated over the years. He attributed this stagnation to the way Nigeria confronted policy reform and developing institutions for economic growth.
The “web of corruption5 a book written by Peter Eigen of transparency international is also relevant to this study. According to the author, corruption is a global problem which not only wreaks economic havoc but can also bring down entire political systems. This book analyses the logic and mechanisms of bribery as well as its catastrophic effects. It describes the work of transparency international, one of the most important non-governmental organizations
Anthony Oyewole’s award – wining book, titled “Historical Dictionary of Nigeria” is one of the books that is helpful in the writing of this study6. This book is relevant to the study because it discusses in detail the history of Nigeria. According to Oyewole, the history of Nigeria has often been difficult to follow, politically country passed through several democratic phases that were interrupted by regimes controlled by the military. Internally regions and states have been sporadically created and divided to counteract ethnic or other decisions existing between the peoples of this densely populated African nation. This book, historical dictionary of Nigeria serves as a guide for knowing about the political economic ad social history of this multi-ethnic nation.
Again, Chalkin David book titled “corruption and money laundering. A symbiotic relationship was also very useful to this study7. This book shows how corruption facilitates money laundering. Furthermore, it demonstrates specifically how the responses developed to combat one type of financial crime can product rely be employed in fighting the other.
Siollun, book titled “Oil, politics and violence” Nigeria is a military coup culture8 gave a first hand knowledge of how various factors in the military were able to hold onto power and resist civil and international pressure for democratic governance by exploiting the country’s oil wealth and ethnic divisions to its advantage. The book focuses specifically on the social tensions, the motivation and the methods of the series of coups that rent Nigeria.
Onaiwu Osahon’s book titled “The Ghost of Sani Abacha is another book that was useful in this study9. It is relevant to this study because it chronicles the regimes of past Nigerian leaders and how they stole the nation dry.
This research work is divided into five chapters.
Chapter one: Introduction and background to the study
This chapter will look at and gives detail information of transparency international and corruption that has plagued the Nigerian nation.
Chapter two: Transparency International
This chapter will take and in depth study of transparency international; its origin, aims and objectives, methods, strategies used for combating the scourage of corruption in various countries and how effective it has been so far in the fight against corruption.
Chapter three: General Sani Abacha: Example of Corrupt Practices
This chapter will attempt a detail analyses of the man, General Sani Abacha; how he came to power and the corrupt practices allegations against him.
Chapter four: Transparency international Vs Sani Abacha
This chapter will compare and contrast the Nigerian former leader, General Sani Abacha and the non-governmental organization, transparency international.
1. Olaniyan, Kayode, Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa, Oxford: Hart publishing, 2014, pp. 1-7.
2. Ayobami Oyinlola, Corruption Eradication in Nigeria: An Appraisal, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2011, p.1.
3. Mark Pieth, Recovered Stolen Assets, Basel: Basel Institute Publishing, 2008, pp. 43-44.
4. Peter Lewis, Growing Apart: Oil, Politics and Economy Changes in Nigeria and Indonesia, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2007, p.178.
5. Peter Eigen, The Web of Corruption, Frankfurt: TI Publishing Press, 2003, pp. 1-301.
6. Anthony Oyewole, Historical Dictionary of Nigeria, Lanham: Scarecrow Publishing Press, 1987, p. 385.
7. Chaikin David, Corruption and Money Laundering A symbiotic Relationship, Palgrave: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp.12-13.
8. Siollun, Oil Politics and violence: Nigeria’s Military coup culture, Algora: Algora publishing, 1976, p, 97.
9. Onaiwu Osahon’ The Ghost of Sani Abacha, Lagos: Obobo Publishing Press, 2010, p.3.