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Project topic for Political Science department



1.1 Background to the Study

Since Nigeria got her independence in the year 1960, the country is still battling with the problem of good democratic system of government. The leadership in the country has been characterised by lack of vision, political bickering and above all, the leaders have been enmeshed in gross corruption, which has become a great threat to the nation’s survival (Kuffuor, 2009). According to Ogundiya (2009), corruption is a huge challenge in the Nigerian public administration. Corruption has eaten deep into every segment of the Nigerian Society is to affirm the obvious. This can be confirmed from the revelations of many probe panels that have been set up at different times by different regimes in the country.

No doubt about this,  corruption is at the centre of the crisis in issues like legitimacy, the establishment of a sustainable democratic order, rule of law, national development and the welfare of the citizens in Nigeria. Corruption, simply put, is the major cause for these unending problems of poverty, diseases, hunger and general standard of living in Nigeria (Ogundiya, 2009). Corruption has seriously impeded the growth and effective utilization of resources in the country. With enormous wealth from oil resources, economic, social, and political strength, Nigeria is supposed to be called the giant of Africa. However, Kew (2006) observed that 20 years of brutal and corrupt military rule, which left a legacy of political corruption in the hands of Nigeria’s powerful political elites, who are sitting atop vast patronage networks the nation was subdued to a non-giant status. These elites view governance primarily through the lens of their own personal enrichment and survival rather than national development.

The political and economic structures in Nigeria, seems to be making those who control major government posts stinkingly rich, while 70% of Nigerians fall into a state of abject poverty (Sklar et al, 2006). What these leaders have in common is the brazen disregard for the rule of law, lack of an independent judiciary and legislature. What this has caused is socio-economic stagnation and alienation of the citizenry from the political system (Mayer, 1996). According to Kew (2006), the Nigerian government has not being serving the interest of its people. Politics at the federal, state, and local levels of the Nigerian federation are dominated by powerful elites, who had built many patronage networks during the military days but now use public offices to expand their networks and fortunes. Moreover, many of them have also cultivated personal militias to secure their present positions, which are not serving the national goal of development of Nigeria (Kew, 2006).

In addition, the CLEEN Foundation (2010) revealed other impacts of corruption as lack of mediocrity in leadership and infrastructural development. Other visible signs are; fuel scarcity in an oil-producing nation, then fallen standards of education and work output, high rates of unemployment and the ever-widening gaps between the rich and poor among other factors. Corruption is obviously tarnishing the image of this country at the international level and makes foreign nationals to thread with caution when transacting business with Nigerians, thereby weakening the economic sector. Indeed, the socio-economic and political development of a country depends on its ability entrench and sustain good governance which is expressed in a committed, patriotic and disciplined leadership with a vision to advance in the quest for national development. Sadly, Nigeria has existed for over fifty years with little or no record of such socio-economic and political development. This ugly development can be traced to corruption noted in the country (Lawal and Tobi, 2006). Although there has been various administrative reforms carried out to ensure sustainable good governance, the gains have not been actualised due to corruption among other factors.

At the onset of the fourth republic, in a broadcast to the nation, the President declared that no society could achieve its potentials if corruption is not eradicated. He saw corruption as an enemy to be fought until it retreats. He then assured the citizens that his would be unequivocally committed to transparency and accountability with none to be regarded as sacred cow (Tribune, 1999). However, in spite of the efforts of that regime aimed at establishing Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs), the scourge of corruption is still persistence in the country till today, with many Nigerians suffering from its devastating effects on democratisation in the nation. Mohammed (2013) hypothesized that the government of Nigeria took countless measures to address the challenges of corruption and bad governance in the country. These included public service reforms such as the monetization policy, the public procurement standard (Due Process), Anti-Corruption Enforcement Agencies and the sanitization of the financial services sector by the Central Bank, which revealed some mind bulging levels of barefaced theft by the management of several banks in Nigeria. Despite the few successes attributable to these measures, the situation remains unacceptable, as corruption has continued to permeate and pervade every facet of the national life in Nigeria (CLEEN Foundation, 2010).

Corruption has so made the Nigerian society that CLEEN Foundation (2010) declared that anyone who says that corruption in Nigeria has no jaw dropping  effect on economy of Nigeria is either a fool; a crook or is in diaspora. To buttress this fact, Transparency International put Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world in its corruption perception index for 1995 – 1997. In 1999, Nigeria was scored as the second most corrupt nation in the world (Ojaide, 2000). Indeed, corruption has been responsible for Nigeria’s socio- economic and political under-development and there is an urgent need to curb the menace, if the nation must advance in its quest for good governance.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Several events that have been witnessed in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999 have shown that the waves of reversal have been wrestling power with Nigeria’s democratic development till date. Consequently, democracy has remained grossly unstable and the future seems to be very bleak because of rampant systemic bureaucratic and political corruption. Corruption has reached its highest peak in Nigeria in a way that an average Nigerian now possibly associates democracy with corruption. The implications of political corruption are manifest: cyclical crisis of legitimacy, fragile party structure, institutional decay, chronic economic problem and underdevelopment and, above all, general democratic volatility. Then, what are the effects of corruption on democratisation in Nigeria? This shall be discussed paying attention to the effects of corruption on Nigeria’s development from 1999-2016.

1.3 Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria (1999-2016). The specific objectives are:

i) To investigate the relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria from 1999-2016

ii) To understand the factors that affect the process of consolidation of democracy from 1999-2016

iii) To show the implications of corruption on democracy in Nigeria from 1999-2016

1.4 Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i) What is the relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria from 1999-2016?

ii) What are the factors that affect the process of consolidation of democracy from 1999-2016?

iii) What are the implications of corruption on democracy in Nigeria from 1999-2016?

Research Hypothesis

Ho: There is no significant relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria

Hi: There is a significant relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will contribute to understanding the challenges faced with democratization and corruption in Nigeria. The study also contributes to theory by providing information on various theories on political development through the good governance as well as the democracy as a whole which adds more value. The information contained in this report will also be of use in providing empirical evidence on the the relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria. It will be of use to other studies within the political arena.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This research is on the relationship between democratization and corruption in Nigeria (1999-2016). This study will be therefore carried out among politicians, policymakers, political scientists in Nigeria.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

This study entailed investigation into a variety of issues to be able to achieve a comprehensive study of the problems; a lot of constraint were encountered in form of data collection, lack of adequate information from the respondents. The main limitation of this survey was the difficulty in getting accurate information from respondents as most of them were busy with their work schedules.

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