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Corruption and Underdevelopment

11 Osisioma B.C. Nwolise Corruption and Underdevelopment I. Introduction Background Corruption in its myriad manifestations is a global phenomenon, but the problem with Nigeria’s case is that the political leaders, many of whom are part of the problem, have bluntly refused to go on the offensive against corrupt persons and practices. Transparency International (TI) from its survey asserted in its recent report that no region of the world is free from the menace of corruption.1 This is more so given the global economic meltdown, ubiquitous conflicts, and attempts by governments to stimulate economic recovery and achieve international peace and security. The 2009 Report of the Transparency International showed that 283 private international cartels were discovered between 1990 and 1995, and their corrupt activities cost consumers around the world a whopping $300 billion in over-charge.2 Transparency International in its global ranking of most corrupt 180 nations, placed Nigeria as 130th, due to the country’s lack of electoral accountability, embezzlement of public funds, manifestations of bribery of government officials including the “toll gate fees” openly extorted from motorists by the Police along the nation’s high-ways, kickbacks on public procurement, poor implementation of anti-corruption laws, unnecessary injunctions granted by the judiciiary3 and others. The frightening level of corruption in Nigeria especially since the return of the country to democracy in 1999 led the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo to establish the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with their respective enabling laws. Several 170

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concerned organisations and institutions have also organized seminars, conferences and workshops on corruption in Nigeria. For example, the Development Policy Centre, Ibadan held a two-day National Workshop in January 2006 with the collaboration of the African Economic Research Consortium, based in Nairobi, Kenya,4 on corruption and its challenges for Nigeria. Despite the existence of these tough looking institutions, laws, as well as the organisation of several conferences, corruption has remained a serious threat to Nigeria’s national security and development. The reason is simply that government has compromised with well known corrupt persons to the point of using various tactics to protect them. The message is and has been that the government bluntly refused to go on the offensive against corrupt persons, using existing laws and institutions as effective weapons.

Objectives The objectives of this modest discourse are to examine the nexus between corruption and underdevelopment, and strategise how corruption can be effectively combated in Nigeria. The paper also explores the relevance of the views of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe on corruption to Nigeria’s contemporary situation. Rationale The rationales for undertaking this intellectual mission at this point of our national history are not farfetched: One is that corruption is disgracing Nigeria and Nigerians. The countries competing with Nigeria in the category of the most corrupt nations in the world” which Nigeria has occupied twice are war thorn or failed states such as Somalia. In the 2009 Transparency International Report, Somalia was singled out as the most corrupt nation in the world. Two, despite the clear devastating blows corruption is dealing on Nigeria and Nigerians at home and abroad, and despite all the hues and cries against the ugly phenomenon at home and abroad, Nigeria’s political leaders in the three arms of government and the ruling People’s Democratic Party have remained insensitive, careless, unconcerned, and unprepared to launch determined offensive against corrupt persons and practices. This 171

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criminal and deliberate neglect has not only encouraged corruption, but made it very sweet, comfortable, convenient, and profitable for those who engage in it especially in government, where kickbacks, embezzlement of public funds, and election rigging have been the norm. Hence, when Mr. Mike Ahamba (SAN) was asked by Tell Magazine: “How do you rate the anticorruption war under Yar’Adua?” He answered: “Whether troops have been deployed in the anti-corruption war, we are yet to see, because we now see more corruption happening in high palces”.5 This is an obvious vote of no confidence on the government. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, Chairman of ICPC also asserted in the same vein that corruption is being treated with kid gloves in Nigeria. In his words: “We must not treat corruption with kid gloves. You cannot fight an elephant with a stick. But that is what we are doing. We are fighting the elephant of corruption with a stick.”6This, again, is a vote of no confidence on government in the manner it is handling corruption matters in the country. Thus, more “noise” is needed to press the government to do what is right to combat corruption. Three, Nigerians must demand a new society in which government respects, manifests and expresses what MacIntyre calls “the moral community of citizens”.7 For now, the government is off the moral tune of the society. Four, corruption perverts truth and justice, which are two very significant values that Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe holds highly for the survival of the Nigerian nation, as every other nation in the world,. In his words: “Nigerians, to survive, must ensure that they make truth and justice the cardinal principles of this nation. To see light and call it darkness, and comfort ourselves by saying it is a political decision is nothing but worshipping the devil.”8 Five, corruption today, has reached the level where it has become a serious threat to Nigeria’s national security. Retired Justice Ayoola, the Chairman of the ICPC said as much during the inauguration of the AntiCorruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit (ACTU), of the ICPC at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti recently. He observed that the fight against corruption in public service became necessary because of the terrible danger it portends for the future of the country. Corruption, according to him is the only factor that can adversely affect the country’s efforts to attaining the 2020 vision.9 172

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Six, Corruption has turned Nigeria into a laughing stock in the world. As noted again by Justice Ayoola, “corruption has not only permeated every strata of the Nigeria society, but has turned the country into a laughing and unserious state among the comity of nations.”10 Seven, to prevent the total disintegration of Nigeria, as predicted by a United States Intelligence group, corruption especially electoral corruption must be put down. If we fail, there is no miracle that can stop Nigeria from entering into historical oblivion by 2015. Eight, corruption now constitutes a deadly threat to Nigeria’s democracy, as the bribery of INEC officials, polling agents, security agents, and even some court judges on election petitions constitute acid poured on the soul of democracy. Nine, corruption sabotages the good of the people. Ten, corruption circumvents the will of the people. Eleven, corruption undermines the rule of law. Twelve, it is high time Nigerians mobilized, and rise up against the corrupt, put them through the culture of shame, by publicly questioning the source of their wealth, demanding public accountability for their corrupt practices; and holding them responsible for the sufferings of Nigerians, and retrogression of Nigeria. It is high time to publicly count the corrupt, and deny them opportunities of controlling power and influence. Thirteen, the country deserves meaningful returns on the huge resources (human, financial, and material) spent on maintaining the Police, judiciary, EFCC, ICPC, and other anti-corruption efforts. Fourteen, the speedy identification, arrest and prosecution of corrupt officials must stop being a mirage in Nigeria. Fifteen, it is time to make corruption difficult, bitter, inconvenient unprofitable, and uncomfortable business for the crooked practitioners and have a corruption free society like Cape Verde, which is also an African state, if not it will continue. As Chinua Achebe wrote: It is totally false to suggest, as we are apt to do, that Nigerians are fundamentally different from any other people in the world. Nigerians are corrupt because the system under which they live today makes corruption easy and profitable; they will cease to be corrupt when corruption is made difficult and inconvenient… The trouble with Nigeria is simply and 173

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squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate, or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmark of true leadership… Nigeria can change today if she discovers leaders who have the will, the ability and the vision.11

Sixteen, while we join Chinua Achebe in holding leadership responsible for the destructive level of corruption in the country, the followership also needs to be awoken from slumber. The quality of followership must be sharpened to do what is right. As Ishola Williams rightly observed: “A leader does not come from heaven: he comes from a group of people. If the people are good followers, they will choose the right leader.”12 We must, however, note here that Nigerians since independence have never been allowed to choose their leaders by election rigging politicians.13 Seventeen, corruption is today a key element in the developmental crisis confronting Nigeria, and it is the duty of all patriotic citizens to examine this dilemma and strategise the way forward. As noted by Olusegun Oladipo: Nigeria today is in a state of crisis, key elements of which include… corruption and visionless political elite”.14

II. Conceptual Discourse Under this sub-section, we deem it necessary to define and discuss three concepts which are fundamental to a better understanding and appreciation of this discourse. These concepts are development, underdevelopment, and corruption. Development Until the recent emergence of the United Nations inspired concept of Human Development Index (HDI), development was seen world-wide in terms of level of Gross National Product (GNP), level of Per Capita Income (PCI), nature of roads and bridges, presence or otherwise of overhead bridges and skyscrapers, and others. However, it was also seen that even in nations 174

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with the highest levels of GNP and PCI, and beautiful roads, five-star hotels, and skyscrapers, the majority of the people still suffered. This idea of development was based on economic indices which neglected social indices. This situation gave birth to the conception of development as a value centred on man. Thus social indices like good water, life expectancy, access to good health care, human security, number of children of school age that are in school, the participation of the people in decision making, human freedom and others, became components of the concept of development. 15 It became clear as espoused by scholars like Okigbo that economic growth which was the original (mis)conception of development relates to things, while development proper relates to man. 16 Julius Nyerere, former Tanzanian President, extends the discourse further in the same vein, by stating that “real development means the development of people.” 17 Walter Rodney perceives development in terms of the ability of a people to use the tools of technology to master their environment in pursuit of their needs, solve their problems, and advance their society, as well as their possession of the capacity to regulate their internal and external relationships.18 Finally, Nwolise elsewhere observed that development refers to “the act or process of bringing out the capabilities of a person, group or nation in order to achieve qualitative transformation from a lower to an advanced condition for better performance or more efficient and effective results”.19 This transformation in a nation “builds its capacity to improve the people’s quality of life in a sustained rise in their standard of living”.20 Thus, development is about educating, training and improving man, ensuring that he is healthy, and have access to affordable quality food, water, transportation, housing, communication, clothing, and education meant to enable him acquire knowledge, skills and expertise that will empower him to exercise his potentials effectively through technology, service and production for the welfare and happiness of his fellowmen, as well as the peace and progress of society. Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe has an all inclusive view about development in line as immediately highlighted here. He sees development as a product of the collective efforts of the people, and for these collective efforts to be fruitful, the individuals’ potentials must be made to blossom so that they can 175

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contribute to the development process. Where this is not possible, then the ability of the people to produce and contribute to the development process is periled. In his words: “Where the ability to produce and contribute to the development process by majority of the composing individuals is constrained by the impairment of their apposite mindsets, the comparative yield of society falls short of the expected sum total, thereby, engendering and increasing poverty in the social system.”21

Underdevelopment Underdevelopment in the view of Bagci has to do with the situation in which a place, something or person “has not reached its maturity state.”21 An underdeveloped nation manifests “low levels of living and productivity in conjunction with absolute poverty, low Income Per Capita, and low rates.”22 Bagci goes further to add that underdevelopment is the: “denial of development to a region, often through a process of active disinvestment from the region, or through exploration activities.”23 While we agree with Bagci that disinvestment and exploration can lead to underdevelopment, there are other equally serious factors to be considered. These include bad leadership or lack of leadership, corruption, and war. Gansler Jaques perceives an underdeveloped area as a place facing “a condition of inadequate or low standard of hi-tech capability and sophistication … within the contemporary range of possibilities”24 In this context, development or underdevelopment is measured in terms of the level of technological advancement and sophistication. In the same vein, Fedeyi asserts that an underdeveloped society or environment is that which “is unable to support the acquisition, maintenance, and adaptability of hi-tech equipment, machines, or skills for effective and efficient deployment.”25 From the above discourse, one can safely highlight the indices of underdevelopment as including: low Per Capital Income; low level of living; low level of national productivity and wealth; poverty; manifestations of disinvestment that deny the place of development; general insecurity; poor technology (low standard of hi-tech capacity); poor state of infrastructure; prevalence of thirst, hunger, disease, and housing congestion; high level of corruption; low level of people’s participation in decision making; etc. 176

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Corruption The common understanding of corruption is that it is a dishonest, illegal or immoral act which has the potentials for perverting social values and proceedings. Moving away from the street understanding, corruption may be viewed in three main ways: as a process, a behavioural act and a condition. As a process, corruption may be seen as the process of imparting negative values, perverting (social) moral values, breaking the laws of the land, or inculcating dishonest, fraudulent and debased culture in others. As an act, corruption is “dishonest, illegal or immoral behaviour, especially from someone with power.26” As a condition; corruption is a state of being corrupt. As conceptualized by Hope and Chikulo on a higher intellectual plane, corruption is the use of official position or title to achieve personal gains, either on an individual or collective basis, at the expense of the public good, and in violation of established rules and ethical principles.27 The N20 collected by the Police man on the road, or the N500 collected by the civil servant to provide job placement form is corruption. But this is petty corruption. The real devastating corruption in society is the stealing of millions or billions by chief executives in public and corporate offices (major corruption), and more especially, the millions or billions stolen by political office holders. David Bayley defines political corruption as “a general term covering all illegal or unethical use of government authority as a result of considerations of personal or political gains.” 28 Joseph Nye notes that “a political act is corrupt when it deviates from the formal duties of a public role… because of private wealth or status gains, or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private regarding influences”.29 James Scott puts it more succinctly by asserting that political corruption relates to the “abuses of public power for private ends”.30 To Anyiam-Osigwe, “corruption refers to the deterioration of moral values. A person is corrupt when practices such as bribery or fraud are used instead of honest and morally acceptable practices to achieve certain goals.”31 Within this context, and in his view, a condition of corruption exists: “when a person uses morally unacceptable and unethical practices, usually for personal advantage or enrichment, or to the unfair advantage of a specific person or community.”32 177

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Theories on Corruption There are several theories that seek to explain corruption in Nigeria: Idealism school which blames Western materialistic and individualistic values and attitudes; the Functional school which points to too high standards which people tend to circumvent; the Human Psychology school which looks at man’s innate tendencies towards indiscipline; the Role Incompatibility theory that focuses on the conflict between the traditional reward system based on patronage, and the modern reward system based on merit and achievement; the Bureaucracy and Patrimony theory which holds that corruption opportunities arise when modern parliamentary government interacts with traditional ones; the Exchange theory which explains corruption from the perception of mutual reciprocity of gifts in contract transactions or (funding) winning party elections. Finally, there is the Capitalist/Marxist School which argues that capitalism is responsible for corruption in Nigeria. While no single theory gives a comprehensive understanding of corruption, a combination of some or all of these theories enables us to fully understand corruption in Nigeria. Manifestations of Corruption in Nigeria • N20 collections by the Police on the country’s highways. • Bribe collected by Customs and Immigration men at the country’s borders. • Bribe collected by public/corporate officials during contracts awards (kickbacks). • Money paid or sexual gratification by students to teachers to obtain undeserved examination marks. • Election rigging which denies citizens the right to choose their leaders and impose candidates that illegally, immorally, and dishonestly appropriate the peoples power and resources. • Imposition of candidates during party primaries. • Desecration of the constitution including the lengthy refusal /failure of Mr. President to transmit letter to the National Assembly announcing his medical trip to Saudi Arabia, and handing over power to his Vice President. 178

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• • • • •

Embezzlement of public funds e.g. three trillion naira discovered missing from Federal accounts in January 2010.33 Forgery. 419 and other forms of fraud. Extortion by security personnel. Sexual relations between bosses and workers under them.

Factors that Engender Corruption in Nigeria • Lack of Political will on the part of government to really fight corruption using even the already existing structures and laws of the land; Advance Fee Fraud Decree 13 (1995), Failed Contracts Decree, Economic and Financial Crimes Act (2004), Anti/Corruption Commission Act (2003), Money Laundry Act (2004), etc. • The fact that politically corrupt persons operate as King Makers or funders of the election of leaders. • Lack of transparency in governance. • Lack of public accountability in governance. • Political repression which instill terror in people. • Police terror. • Lawlessness pervading the country. • Bad leadership (timocracy and plutocracy rather than democracy). • Frustration of the prosecutory efforts of the EFCC and ICPC by courts manned by compromised judges.


Nexus between Corruption and Underdevelopment There is ample evidence that there exists direct relationship between corruption and underdevelopment as highlighted below. (i) Loss of Resources Needed for Development: Corruption leads to the loss of resources that would have gone into developmental efforts in its various dimensions. For example, money budgeted for educational or electricity services and facilities when diverted into private pockets through stealing, embezzlement, kickbacks, overcharge and other corrupt methods lead to stagnation 179

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or retrogression instead of progress in the sector concerned. The same goes for resources allocated for industrialisation, health, housing, roads construction, job creation, defense, security and others. The Federal Government promised to provide Nigerians with 6000 MW of electricity at the end of 2009. This was not achieved. It did not end there, by the end of January, 2010, the 3000 MW they managed to maintain, fell to 2700 MW. Yet, the House of Representatives’ probe of the public funds allocated for electricity sector development under the Obasanjo government revealed that over $16 billion was disbursed to private companies for electricity generation! Many of the companies that collected the money had not even cleared the sites where they proposed to locate the power plants when the probe commenced after several years. As a result of corruption, therefore, the electricity sector of the nation remains underdeveloped, and since no nation develops without adequate and steady electricity supply for its industrial, office, transport sector, and domestic uses, Nigeria remains underdeveloped as a result of corruption. (ii) Blockage of Good Governance and Accountability: Corruption blocks good governance and accountability even in democracies. This, necessitates the great efforts of patriotic citizens as individuals and groups to combat it. As rightly noted by Huguette Labelle, Chairman of Transparency International, the world’s anticorruption watchdog: “At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds, and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability in order to break its corrosive cycle”.34 Without good governance and accountability, no nation can develop. (iii) Weakening of Competitive Capacity Corruption weakens a nation’s capacity to compete with other nations of the world in productive and service delivery ventures. For 180

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example, as long as corruption caponises Nigeria’s electricity sector, there can be no participation for Nigeria in global competition in productive ventures, serious service deliveries, such as medical services, despite the fact that hundreds of Nigerian doctors and nurses are performing feats in Europe, Asia and Latin America. This is why Huguette Labelle asserted that the strangle hold of corruption must be broken because cartels, corrupt persons, and corrupt activities weaken competition, within and between nations, thereby denying affected nations the extra resources needed to develop their economies.35 (iv) Corruption Enthrones Mediocrity and Incompetence Just as religious, ethnic, and other nepotic considerations lead to selection or placement of mediocre and incompetent persons in jobs, panels and committees with disastrous national consequences, so are several mediocre and incompetent companies awarded contracts due to corrupt processes. Several companies without the capacity to construct good roads, bridges, and public buildings, etc, have been awarded contracts for such assignments due to corruption. (v) Corruption Generally Retards Development, And Begets Underdevelopment The overall conclusion from a serious consideration of the nexus between corruption and underdevelopment is that corruption retards development, begets and reinforces underdevelopment.

(IV). Why Corruption is Condemnable It is true that some corrupt persons invested part of their stolen money in the economy in productive or service sectors, thereby creating employment and adding to national wealth. For example many retired Generals, ExMinisters, ex-Governors, and Senators some of whom participated in the looting of the commonwealth of Nigerians have invested in farms, transport business, hotels, educational institutions, and others. These investments constitute economic stimulants and have multiplier effects on the economy. 181

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This does not, however, make corruption have positive recommendations in society, despite the efforts of some persons to justify corruption on the grounds of its potentials to contribute to economic growth in society. Corruption is condemned and condemnable because it is immoral. It is condemned by God, man, and the laws of the land. Corruption destroys the social fabric of society. In Nigeria, corruption has been gradually ruining the country and its people, and destroying our social values. Due to grinding poverty and socio-economic hardship, non creation of jobs in Nigeria in the past 30 years or more, and the embezzlement of funds meant for the good of the people, thousands of Nigerian youths have become catamites and prostitutes in foreign lands. Also, millions of Nigerians overseas are afraid to return home due to the insecurity situation in the country occasioned by assassinations, armed robbery, kidnapping, extra-judicial killings by security agents, and others. These are all symptoms of underdevelopment. (V)

Strategies for Combating Corruption in Nigeria

Problems Confronting the Combat of Corruption in Nigeria Before delving into the strategies for combating corruption in Nigeria, it is essential to first examine the problems that confront the successful combat of corruption in the country. Six fundamental problems readily make themselves clearly visible: (a) The lack of Political Will on the part of Political leaders (Government): The Nigeria state has remained a soft state for several years. Laws are made but not enforced especially on the rich and powerful. Government and political leaders protect even known corrupt persons in the country. (b) Weak Followers: Nigerian citizens have not been very vehement and organized in their demand for full war against corruption, and holding government accountable for its acts of omission or commission. Instead, several Nigerians hail corrupt persons, out of poverty and in attempt to get their own share of the “national cake�. 182

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(c) Lack of Security and Reward for Whistle Blowers: People who report corrupt cases are not protected and rewarded. As a result, citizens are afraid to “blow the whistle” against corrupt people and activities. (d) Pervasive Poverty: People are facing grinding poverty. This has rendered many vulnerable. (e) Corrupt Law Enforcement Agents: Several law enforcement agents are neck deep in corruption, and therefore, are incapable of effectively participating in the war against corruption. (f) Compromised Judiciary: Because some court judges have compromised, even the few corrupt persons arrested and arraigned for prosecution use the courts to block their prosecution.

Strategies to Effectively Combat Corruption in Nigeria For the effective combat of corruption in Nigeria, the recommendations of these strategies have become inevitable. (i) Civil Society and Citizens Pressure Action, and Whistle Blowing. The individual Nigerian citizen and civil society must be fully involved in the war against corruption. Two ways of involvement are crucial here. The first is pressure on government and political leaders to do what is right, legitimate and proper against corruption, corrupt persons and corrupt practices. The second is whistle blowing against same. The ICPC and EFCC should set up joint whistle blowing units for effectiveness. (ii) Government’s Cultivation of the Political Will to Act. With civil society and individual citizen pressure action, government is expected to cultivate the political will to take right, legitimate and proper actions against corruption, corrupt persons, and corrupt practices. These include prosecution of corrupt persons, delivery of good governance, transformation of social norms, funding and 183

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protection of an effective citizen whistle blowing system, making new relevant anti-corruption laws and enforcing all such laws without fear or favour; and establishment of special anti-corruption courts for easier and faster trial of corruption cases according to the laws of the land. Until and unless government begins to execute the war against corruption effectively, the monster will never be conquered. Our government should borrow a leaf from the experience of the United States. When the country was being overwhelmed by general insecurity occasioned by international terrorism, the US government took stringent measures which included the establishment of a new Department (Ministry) of Homeland Security (that turned out to be the largest Department in the USA today), and the establishment of effective Biometric Identification System (BIS) at 129 points of entry in the country. The BIS involves finger printing and photographing of migrant visitors to the USA that require visa. The USA also went on physical (military) offensive against terrorists, and initiated political, economic and diplomatic actions against nations perceived as supporting or engendering terrorism. There were also security reforms. Nigeria has laws and institutions against corruption. The problem is that the government has refused to go on the offensive against corruption, corrupt persons and corrupt practices. Sacred cows have not only been allowed to go scot-free, but are being protected by government. (iii) Rediscovery of the Culture of Shame. The civil society, citizens and government, along with all its institutions need to rediscover and use the culture of shame which used to be very powerful in pre-colonial Africa. (iv) Constitutional Amendment on Immunity Clause. The immunity clause in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution must be amended to remove the area protecting public officers who steal the people’s money from prosecution. Civil immunity can be granted 184

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the President, Governors and other necessary political office holders, but not criminal immunity. Stealing from the people’s commonwealth is a criminal action, and the constitution of the country must not in any way protect criminal action even if committed by the President. (v) Good Governance. The Executive must lead the way (showing good example) in the anti-corruption war. Governance involves two dimensions of human action: one is leadership and two is administration. The leadership role of the Executive requires every body in government especially the Executive members to show good example in the anti-corruption crusade. The administrative role requires a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, and the determined prosecution of all identified corrupt persons and corporate entities. (vii) Pursuit of Economic Wellbeing of Citizens. Since poverty has been identified as one of the factors engendering corruption, and weakening the war against it, it is critical that government must eradicate poverty, as a strategy in the pursuit of the economic wellbeing of citizens. Michael Osigwe in this direction asserts as follows drawing from the philosophy of Emmanuel Anyiam Osigwe: “An important dimension of Anyiam-Osigwe’s perspective on the eradication of corruption and the promotion of an ordered society is his assertion that economic enhancement is a pre-requisite in any effective strategy for the eradication of corruption or instituting order in society.”36 In other words, government must provide for the welfare of citizens as a strategy on winning the war against corruption. (viii) Pursuit of Spiritual and Moral Development. Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe is of the view that the state should pursue the spiritual development of citizens as a way of promoting a value-guided conduct and society. This is based on his belief that the spiritual guides the physical, and his knowledge of


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the role of gods, ancestors and spirits in traditional African societies. Osigwe wants each citizen “to construct nobility of character in imitation of Divinity.”37 In his view: Spiritual development should be concomitant with legitimate economic progress and wellbeing, just as legitimate economic progress and wellbeing is a fundamental requirement for sustaining a value-guided conduct as a way of life.38 Spiritual and moral development here is not to be seen as religious matter. Instead, it relates to the development of fundamental human qualities and values such as love for our fellow men, honesty, welfare of others, being good in line with Divine order, and the behaviour of man in the light of his final destiny as a mortal.39 ,

(ix) Development Efforts Should be Imbued with Balanced Individual – Community Interests. In pursuit of developmental efforts vis-à-vis corruption, Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe in line with his Group Mind principle advises as follows: “In the quest for holistic and sustainable human development, it is essential to engender and sustain symmetry or correspondence between the individual and community such that the interest and identity of the individual is absolutely integrated into the collective interest and identity of the community”.40

(x) Sanitisation of the Courts. The court has been a cog in the wheel of fighting corrupt persons in Nigeria, as they use the courts and few compromised judges to frustrate the efforts at prosecuting them through: “stay of action injunctions”, “do not arrest orders”, and lengthy and frequent adjournments. The situation has been so frustrating for the EFCC that its Chairperson, Mrs. Farida Waziri, cried out recently that the courts constitute a cog in the process of prosecuting corrupt persons.


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Mike Ahamba (SAN) in the same vein insists that the court must be cleaned up; otherwise corruption will ruin the judiciary.41 (xi) Higher Funding and Greater Power for Anti-Corruption Agencies. The anti-corruption agencies especially the ICPC and EFCC need higher funding, and greater powers. Higher funding is necessary for them to recruit and keep more (qualified and patriotic) staff, pursue the numerous prosecution cases, mobilize (educate, protect, and reward) effective whistle blowers, etc. They also need greater powers to stop the present stratagem of culprits using the courts to frustrate prosecuting them. (xii) Ban Corrupt Persons from Public Office. Government should institute a Commission of Inquiry to collate and establish data base on all corrupt persons since 1960, and ban them from public office for life. New names on the corruption list should have the same fate as they emerge. This is essential for both deterrence and punitive purposes. To Emmanuel Osigwe AnyiamOsigwe, corrupt persons should not be in public office or leadership position because such persons are soulless and spineless people who lack integrity and can no longer stand up to defend their names or the people, having lost the moral grounds to do so. They have lost their political rights to hold political office. (xiii) Research Into and Development of Strategic Spiritual Intelligence (SSI). Africa before the coming of the slave driver and colonial master had effective and efficient technology for spiritual intelligence service delivery in all spheres of life. Through this, thieves, murderers, adulterers, wicked persons who poisoned their neighbours, etc, were found out and handled according to the laws of the land, along with an effective oath system. Through it also, truth was established in crime detection and conflict resolution. This technology was jettisoned by the white invaders, and our leaders have not found it necessary to re-establish and develop it. 187

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(xiv) Conduct of Democratic Elections. There is no doubt that the hoisting of unelected persons on the nation by godfathers, INEC, and ruling party or incumbent chief executives through violence and election rigging not only perpetrate, preserve and promote corruption, but also introduce, on an increasing scale, corrupt people into the system. Thus, one of the strategies of combating corruption is to terminate election rigging and violence; and ensure the enthronement of democratically elected citizens. Unelected leaders, as President Shimon Peres warned Nigerians, constitute the road to corruption. In his words: You cannot survive with unelected leaders. Unelected leaders are the roads to corruption and killing. So, if you have democratic elections, you are sure that you will have accountability, high level of transparency, and the principle of choice. But if you have unelected leaders, they live in fears, suspicion, oppression, and violence.42

(xv) Rediscovery and Inculcation of African Metaphysics. Colonialism and its twin tool -foreign religions– destroyed the social and behavioural controlling effects of the wide-spread and in-depth knowledge of African metaphysics which made it possible for Africans to live their lives without the type of ready disposition to corruption ruining the continent and people today. As Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe rightly noted: The pristine African society was largely without the disposition to corruption. Crime was rare and devotion to community was total. The African had a metaphysics, a metaphysics that strengthened the basis for religion and morals. A metaphysics that provided the community with the ideal of an unblemished existence and proffered the unseen hand of a Supreme God, albeit, through a pantheon of deities, by which members willingly surrendered themselves to the sovereignty of the community.43 188

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Thus, the rediscovery and inculcation of African metaphysics becomes an inevitable strategy in the war against corruption. (xvi) Tapping from Introspection: Self-reliance. On developmental strategies, Anyiam-Osigwe suggests that man should tap from introspection for his economic, spiritual and sociopolitical well-being. The principle and methodology of introspection border on gaining access to man’s innate endowments and applying them for his holistic well-being. The larger society and nation can also benefit from and apply this principle of introspection for development. Osigwe asserts that man as manifestation of Divine intelligence shares in the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of Divinity, and thus is naturally endowed with a limitless resource he should tap from to meet the challenges of life.44 Anyiam Osigwe posits that man possesses an intrinsic inventiveness by which, through the ages, he has been able to “go forth and subdue the earth”. This “validly situates and underscores the role of introspection as the key to the course of knowledge: the power that propels development”.45 Thus, to Anyiam-Osigwe, (human) development is knowledge driven and should be self-reliant. His main thesis is as follows on (national) development: If development is indeed, the development of the individual as a societal being, it must of necessity, stem from the inner core of each society. A nation’s development must make full use of its people’s strengths, creativity, and wisdom, and of its own resources which include its cultural and natural heritage. A nation’s development must also be premised on the sanctity of fundamental human rights, democracy, rule of law, justice, fairness, and equity for all. Self-reliant development comes with many advantages. It enables nations to assume fuller responsibility for their own development within a framework of enlarged political and economic independence. It builds development 189

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around individuals and groups rather than people around development, and it attempts to achieve this through the deployment of local resources and indigenous efforts… Self-reliant development, with its reliance on local rather than imported institutions, technologies, and expertise, is a means whereby a nation can reduce its vulnerability to decisions and events which fall outside its control.46

Osigwe warns that self-reliant developmental strategy does not imply “self seclusion” or isolationism from the rest of the world. Based on this developmental thesis, Anyiam-Osigwe is of the view that the ingredients of development based on the cultural and natural heritage of the nation have the potentials to check-mate the viruses of corruption that negate development.

(VI) Conclusion This discourse focused on examining the nexus between corruption and underdevelopment with reference to Nigeria. It established a strong linkage between corruption and underdevelopment as the latter deny the country resources meant for its development in its various dimensions. The discourse also examined the problems confronting the successful combat of corruption in Nigeria, and offered feasible suggestions on strategies in this direction. What remains here is to evaluate the relevance of the ideas of Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe on corruption and its combat to contemporary Nigeria’s situation. The verdict that is transparently perceivable is that his ideas are very relevant to the understanding and combat of corruption in contemporary Nigeria. For example, his idea to the effect that economic enhancement is a prerequisite in any effective strategy for the eradication of corruption is very instructive, in a society of people being swallowed up by poverty. Also, his view that spiritual development should be pursued along with economic progress and wellbeing as a fundamental requirement for sustaining a value guided conduct in society is relevant in the war against corruption.


Osisioma B.C. Nwolise

It is hoped, therefore, that government, and the Nigerian society, and wider human community outside Nigeria will benefit from the ideas of this patriot and philosopher, dipping into his bag of ideas, philosophy and strategies in planning, and executing where necessary actions geared towards the enthronement of a corruption free society where the Group Mind principle47 rather than selfish individual interest is the order of a humane, egalitarian, and developed society in which the security, peace, development, welfare, and happiness of the citizen is the priority value of leaders and followers.

Notes and References 1.

For details, see Tell, November 30, 2009, p. 29.




See Towobola Damilola, “Nigeria Still Very Corrupt”, Insider Weekly, No. 47, December 7, 2009, p. 30.


This Conference led to the publication of 11 (eleven) chapters in May 2006 titled: Fighting Corruption in Nigeria: Challenges for The Future, edited by Bimpe Aboyade and “Sesan Ayodele.


Mike Ahamba, quoted in Tell, November 16, 2009, p. 21.


Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, Chairman, ICPC, in interview with Tell Magazine, November 30, 2009, p. 32.


MacIntyre, quoted in Adesina Afolayan, “Patriotism, as a Core National Value in Anyiam-Osigwe’s Political Philosophy”, in Olusegun Oladipo and Adebola Ekanola (eds.), The Development Philosophy of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, Vol. 1, Ibadan, Hope Publications Ltd, 2009, p. 67.


Extract from Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe’s Notes.


Justice Emmanuel Ayooloa, cited in This Day, February 3, 2010, Vol. 14, No. 400, pp. 5. and 10.

10. Ibid. 11. Chinua Achebe, The Trouble With Nigeria, Oxford, Heinemann, 1983, p. 1. 12. Major General Ishola Williams (rtd), quoted in Karl Maier, This House Has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis, London, Penguin Books, 2000, p. xxvii. 13. Karl Maier, Ibid, p. xxvii. 191

Corruption and Underdevelopment 14. Olusegun Oladipo, “A Critique of the Entrepreneurial Spirit In Governance”, in Olusegun Oladipo and Adebola Ekanola (eds.), The Development Philosophy of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, Ibadan, Hope Publications Ltd, 2009, p. 215. 15. Pius Okigbo, Essays In The Public Philosophy of Development, London, Millimolt Company, 1987, p. 34. 16. Ibid. 17. ‘President Julius Nyerere, quoted in Denis Ugwuegbu, “The Shifting Tides of Value Orientation: A Case For National Development”, A Valedictory Lecture, Faculty of The Social Sciences, University of Ibadan, 2004, p.11. 18. For details, See Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, New York, University of Washington D.C., 1982. 19 OBC Nwolise, “Socio-Economic Impact of Market Driven Research And Development In National Security And Development”, Nigerian Management Review, Volume 17, No. 1, January – June 2006, p. 1565. 20 Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe, quoted in Isaac Ukpokolo, “Personal Values, Self Mastery And Development in the Light of Osigwe’s Sagacity”, Olusegun Oladipo and Adebola Ekanola (eds.), op. cit., p. 89. 21. A.K. Bagci, The Political Economy of Underdeveloped Environment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982, Cited in O.V. Fadeyi , “ Naval Operations in a Technologically Underdeveloped Environment: A Case Study of The Nigerian Navy”, Project Submitted to the National Defence College, August 2009, pp 15-17. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Gansler Jaques, cited in O.A. Ihejirika, “Military Industrial Complex In National Defence”, Project Submitted to the National Defence College, July 2003. 25. O.V. Fadeyi, op.cit., pp. 16-17. 26. Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1995. Cited in Bimpe Aboyade and Sesan Ayodele, (eds.) op. cit., p. vi. 27. See K. Hope and B. Chikulo, Corruption and Development in Africa, London, Macmillan Press, 2000. 28. David Bayley, “The Effects of Political Corruption on Developing Nations”, Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 9, 1966, p. 77. 29. Joseph Nye, “Corruption And Political Development: A Cost-Benefit Analysis”, American Political Science Review, Vol. 61, 1967, p. 416. 192

Osisioma B.C. Nwolise 30. James Scott, Comparative Political Corruption, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1972, p. 3. 31. Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, “Corruption”, Book of Reference on Concepts and Definitions”, Sinoville Greep7 Orukkers, 2002, p. 34. 32. Ibid. 33. See Daily Champion, February 5, 2010. 34. Huguette Labelle, quoted in Juliana Ezeoke, “Why Corruption Rules Nigeria”, Tell Magazine, November 30, 2009, p. 27. 35. For details, see Juliana Ezeoke, Ibid. 36. Michael Anyiam Osigwe, “Foreword”, The Development Philosophy of Emmanuel Onyechere Anyiam Osigwe, Vol. 2, Ibadan, Hope Publication Ltd., 2009, p. xiii. 37. Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe, quoted in Ibid. 38. Emmanuel Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe, Excerpts and Quotes of Emmanuel Onyechere Anyiam Osigwe’s Philosophical Fragments, Lagos, Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe Foundation, 2008. 39. Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam – Osigwe, “Mission Statement”, Man, the State and a Better World Order, (Proceedings of The 5th Session Of The Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, Foundation), 2003, p. xi. 40. Emmanuel Anyiam Osigwe, in Excerpts and Quotes of Emmanuel Onyechere Anyiam Osigwe’s Philosophical Fragments, Lagos, Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe Foundation, 2008, p. 2. 41. Mike Ahamba (SAN), in an interview with Anayochukwu Agbo, “The Judiciary Needs Internal Clean Up”, Tell Magazine, November 16, 2009, p. 21. 42. President Shimon Peres, (former Israeli leader), Keynote Address to the Fifth Session, of the Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, 2003. 43. Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe in Excerpts And Quotes of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Philosophical Fragments, Lagos, Osigwe AnyiamOsigwe Foundation, 2008. 44. Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, paraphrased in Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, “Exploring The Energy of Integrated Consciousness: A Recourse To the Pristine Essence: An Inward-Looking Approach to Holistic Development”, in Introspection And Integration As Effective Strategies For Development, Lagos, The Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, 2005, p.4-5. 45. Ibid., p.5. 46. Ibid., pp 7-8. 193

Corruption and Underdevelopment 47 . In Osigwe’s philosophy: “The Group mind refers to an expansive resource, a wellspring of ideas and thought processes that is created when people of a particular group or society intermingle their respective ideas… in relation to specific goals or issues…” In this process, people willingly pool their attributes together through a synergy in which every member is guided by the vision and interest of the group convinced that the collective effort will yield higher satisfaction than his individual effort. (See Anyiam Osigwe, Excerpts And Quotes.).


Osigwe Development Philosophy Volume 3 Chapter 11  

Osigwe Development Philosophy Volume 3 Chapter 11