PERCEPTION OF UNDERGRADUATES ON CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF MADONNA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, OKIJA)
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to Transparency International (2014), Nigeria is ranked 136th out of 182 countries surveyed in its corruption perception index indicating the level of corruption in the country as compared to other countries. Although this came as an improvement from the previous years, it did not result from an improved system of governance; rather it was due to an increase in the number of countries that participated in the survey.
Between 2010 and 2011, Nigeria’s rank actually decreased by 9 spots, showing an increase in corruption despite the efforts of the government to rid the nation of corruption. This survey shows a lack of accountability from public officials and a lax system of governance in the country. As a result corruptible acts are not harshly penalized and easier to get away with, within the country’s public sector.
Irrespective of the sophistication of the methods adopted by criminals, the common characteristics of the crime include cheating, lying and stealing. Corruption is a menace in the public sector, although is a global malaise, the extent of its reach in the public sector was tragically stupendous. All indicators showed that the spread of this cancer had become frightening.
Speaking of corruption there is a common misperception that corruptive activities are strictly seen at pour countries, strictly seen at just certain vocations, strictly seen at certain times, but, if we analyze the synonyms for corruption: dishonesty, immorality, harm, fraud and so on, soon we are going to realize that corruption is so wide and undefined as a concept and because of that it can be seen in different layers, different intensities all around the world. There is no such place without corruption, but there is an environment where this kind of miss behavior is on its margins.
Speaking on the first one, because the corruption is almost common on everyday basics there is a whole group of generations (students & administration) that from the start of their academic carrier are getting used to see corruptive activities, and are getting used to see that nobody is trying to stop it, then they (the students & administration) join the whirlpool of corruption. Today, these people cannot make the difference between right and wrong, good or bad, corruptive or transparent. This is the field where we personally believe that we can and we are acting. The project awareness raising activities are a perfect tool to show the benefits of non-corruptive education to the community. We should act to crush the ambiance of apathy and start the reforms.
We are convinced that almost every student knows or remembers only the blunt form of corruption illustrated in the form of paying for an exam. The good thing about the awareness raising activities is that they can be used as a media which will help the students to find out more about the different types of corruption and the ways to fight against them. (Aigbokhaevbolo, 2002) .
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
According to Transparency International (2014), Nigeria is rated the 136th most corrupt nation in the world. This assertion is due to government insincerity in fighting corruption and economic crimes in the public sector, civil servants in the ministry of finance take advantage of looting the treasury. The civil servants perpetrate these act because they are connected to the top government functionary and thereby they were spared from been punished.
The biggest problem about the perception of corruption is the unwillingness of the institutions to admit the existence of it. The civil sector and the Medias must fight against this blindfolded policy. We should try to change the educational system to a better and transparent one and hopefully corruption free. Universities sooner or later must face with the fact of corruption and start reforms in this field. There is a certain denial or not readiness to solve the problem. We believe that in this time the academic life and spirit are in great danger (Okolie, 2006).
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In-order to guide the study and achieve the research objectives of the study, the following research questions was formulated:
What constitutes corruption from the students’ perspective?
How do students perceive corruption in Nigeria?
What factors influence students’ perception about corruption in Nigeria?
How does corruption perception affect the moral status of students?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of the study is to examine the perception of Madonna students on corruption in Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are:
To find out what constitutes corruption from the students’ perspective.
To examine students’ perception on corruption in Nigeria.
To find out factors that influence students’ perception about corruption in Nigeria.
To examine the effect of students’ perception on corruption on moral status of the student.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Nigeria has a rich political background from colonization to post independence democratic governance. The country gained its independence in 1960 and had democracy only for less than a decade before a military takeover; nonetheless, this takeover was very chaotic because it was followed by a series of a coup d’états of one military regime after another.
Although the nation finally gained full democracy in 1999, it still suffers from the remnants of the military regimes because some top officials in the present government once held leadership positions in the military.
It is important to highlight the public sector in Nigeria because it is an essential part of the government and it plays a key role in the implementation of services that are vital to the economic growth of the country. It coordinates the federal ministries, advises political officials, formulates and implements government’s policies, gathers and supplies data for policy makers, ensures continuity of services and public relations services. These roles are important in running an efficient administration, because the public sector can either make or mar any administration.
In analyzing the public sector, it is necessary to look at its genesis and the significant reforms that were adopted. This will provide a better understanding of the struggles being encountered and possible recommendations to overcome them. Moreover, there is a need to examine the perception on corruption and whether it can stall the sector’s ability to be efficient in the delivery of services to the citizens. Furthermore, it is critical to look at the origins of corruption in the public sector, to analyze these issues and shed some light on why some government officials engage in corrupt practices against the basic objectives of their jobs.
By examining all these factors, the study provides a better understanding of the Nigerian public sector, its level of corruption and calls for the implementation of policies that will reduce corruption.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
PERCEPTION: Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment
CORRUPTION: Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement. Government, or ‘political’, corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain
PUBLIC SECTOR: This include all organization set up by the government to satisfy human want to take care of specific want, specific needs of the public without profile purpose.
DUE PROCESS: This refers to the mechanism, procedure and set of standards applied to public sector procurement of goods and services to ensure budget discipline.
FRAUD: This is defined as an irregularity of impropriety involving the use of deception to obtain an unjust or illegal financial advantage (Okolie 2006).
CRIMES: This can be defined as a dishonest, violent, or immoral action that can be punished by law.
ECONOMIC: According to Longman dictionary of contemporary English, defined economic as the system by which a country’s money and goods are produced and used.
FINANCIAL: The management of money especially money controlled by a government, company or large organization.
TRANSPARENCY: As used in the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness in every area of business or globally.
MISAPPROPRIATION: This is the misuse of public fund especially by public office holder in the ministries.
ETHICAL VALUE: These are those qualities, which ensure that a member behaves with integrity in all professional, business and financial relationships and that he or she should strive for objectivity in all professional and business judgments.
ACCOUNTABILITY: This is the true openness or giving account of what has been expended by the public officer holder.
FAVORITISM: This is a mechanism of power abuse implying a highly biased distribution of state resources.
PROCUREMENT: This is the acquisition of goods and/or services at the best possible total cost of ownership, in the right quantity and quality.
TREASURY: This is the keeping of accounts of government funds and investment.
BUDGET DISCIPLINE: This involves strict compliance with all the variables about the budget.
CONTRACT: This is a project executed by persons or person normally evidenced by an agreement between two or more parties.
Aigbokhaevbolo, O.M. and Ofanson, E.J. (2002): Project Work, Ejodamen Publishers.
Okolie, A.O (2006): Techniques of financial investigations (A practical guide) Progress Printing Associates.
Transparency International (2014). Transparency international corruption perceptions index 2014.