AN ASSESSMENT OF ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE UNDER GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND MUHAMMADU BUHARI ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
Corruption has destroyed the basic concept of the Rule of Law in Nigeria. In Nigeria the law has lost much of its operational force as people breach the law with impunity. The concept of the Rule of law is fast becoming a mantra in the Country as many people are fast losing their fear of the law. The law regulates the conduct of affairs in a nation; it spells out the rights and duties of the citizens. It also defines the way of doing things20. Appropriately, the law can be said to be the oil that ensures the smooth running of the engine of every nation. Where there is no respect for the law, there will be chaos and anarchy The effects of corruption have debilitating impact on the economy of Nigeria which in turn has a negative effect on the well-being of her citizens. The country has continued to grapple with the problem of balance of payments, weak and decaying infrastructure, bad and inconsistent political and economic policies which renders the Country unattractive to both foreign and local Investors. The return of the Country to democratic governance in 1999 ushered in hope that the economic decline of the Country would be halted but since then, many Multinational Corporations have had to close shop in Nigeria and relocate their investments to other Countries that have clement investment environment. Many other companies that remained in the Country have resorted to mass job cuts and raise in prices of their products and services to remain afloat. The result of this is high rise in unemployment which in turn promotes restiveness and rise in criminality. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 42.24 percent of Youths in Nigeria were unemployed as at the First Quarter of 2016 23. This percentage represents close to half the Youth population in the Country. This level of unemployment portends grave danger to the security of the nation as no nation can long endure and prosper which wastes the talents of so many of their citizens more especially the Youths Usman24 stated and rightly so, that no economic growth or political stability is possible in Nigeria unless this cancer of corruption is tackled and largely overcomed. On her part, Dachung lamented that corruption is Nigeria’s “prime economic malady”25 Quoting Essien, she stated: Corruption is the biggest and the fastest growing industry in Nigeria. While petroleum is the largest revenue earner (accounting for between 90-95% of National wealth), corruption is the largest consumer of revenue. Unfortunately, its consumption is into the accounts of a few individuals and corporate persons while the nation wallops (sic) in abject poverty, hunger, disease and debt…. Corruption should be attacked with the same velocity with which HIV/AIDS has been tackled26 From a historical perspective, the problem of corruption is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. Before the amalgamation of 1914, Nigeria did not exist as a country. It evolved from the different Empires, Kingdoms and Chiefdoms which existed before the advent of colonialism. Many of these Empires and Kingdoms grappled with the problem of corruption notably amongst their Rulers and Nobles. Some of these Rulers and Nobles were accused of using the public treasury to finance opulent and ostentatious lifestyles. It was not only the Rulers and Nobles that stained themselves with corruption. The rich and powerful people also used their wealth to pervert the cause of justice28. The vibrancy of the Jihad movement which Shehu Usman Dan Fodio led in 1806 had one of its anchors in the problem of corruption in the society.
In pre-independent Nigeria, at one time or the other, some of the founding fathers of the nation found themselves at the receiving end on allegation of corruption. Some of them were either indicted or convicted of misappropriation of public funds or for improper conduct resulting from their management of public funds30. Since independence in 1960, successive military interventionists in Nigeria have often sought legitimacy by claiming that the previous regime was corrupt and that their intervention was to rid the Country of the cancer of corruption. Regrettably however, all the military interventions in Nigeria failed to cure the Country of the problem of corruption. Rather, many of such interventionists leave the Country more corrupt than they met it. Lamentably also, the democratic regimes in Nigeria which symbolized the will of the people, perpetrated corruption on a large scale that brought untold hardships on the same people they represented.
In the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in which 168 countries of the world were assessed, Nigeria was ranked 136 with a score of 26 out of a possible 100 thereby falling among the class of highly corrupt countries of the world. This unenviable position surely rubs on the country a pariah status and is a reproach to her citizens. All over the world, Nigerians are stigmatized and treated with odium and opprobrium. Thus, across the globe, even honest and hardworking Nigerians are hardly trusted. Nigeria however has a long history of legislating against corruption which predates the Country’s independence in 1960. The domestic provisions against corruption may be found in the Criminal Code, 33 Penal Code34 and some specialized or dedicated Statutes such as the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, 35 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004, 36 Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, 37 Public Procurement Act38 , Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended)39 and the1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) as amended amongst others. Soon after his inauguration as President on May 29, 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo identified corruption as a monster that must be fought to a standstill in Nigeria. He made Anti-Corruption crusade a fundamental policy of his administration. In furtherance of this objective, the administration presented the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Bill to the National Assembly which was passed into law40 . The regime also established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)41 . Soon after its establishment, the EFCC effected the arrest of known fraudsters many of whom had hitherto assumed a larger than life status. In view of the personalities arrested, a source in the EFCC was quoted to have said that the Commission does not care about the status or pedigree of suspects and that once a person is found to be culpable, such person will be treated according to the law. Also, in March, 2005, the EFCC arrested some high ranking members of the Executive Arm of Government and the National Assembly for their involvement in a 50 million Naira bribe for budget scandal. Irked by the personalities involved in the bribe for budget scandal, President Obasanjo said he would not hesitate to take on more prominent Nigerians in his war against corruption. He acknowledged that corruption was endemic in the developing countries particularly Nigeria and vowed to step on more toes.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Corrupt practices have always existed in Nigeria but became obvious in the second republic between 1979 and 1983 under the Former President Shehu Shagari's administration ( Inamete, 2001; Ogbeidi,2012). This led to the coup d'état by the Major General Mohammad Buhari government in 1983. During General Buhari's regime, the government fought corruption in all ramifications with Major General Babatunde Idiagbon at the war front. Nigerians were given re-orientation which changed their perceptions that eradicated lateness to offices in ministries, departments and agencies, reduced the level of bribery, fraud and embezzlement of public funds. The government arrested and detained many corrupt politicians. The convicted drug peddlers were publicly executed. Mobile courts were established to instantly try offenders and the convicted were either fined or sentenced to jail term where necessary. Huge success was recorded and sanity returned to the affairs of the nation. However, Nigerians were deeply dissatisfied with Buhari's restrictive governance which led General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) to oust the government in August 27, 1985 (Adediji, 2013; Ekundayo, Obasaju, Lawal, & Ise, 2013).Gen. IBB lessened the governmental control of the press and released a number of political detainees from the former government. During the IBB regime, corruption was celebrated and it grew in an unprecedented manner (Inamete, 2001).Other regimes attempted to fight corruption but without the desired result. In Nigeria between 2001 and 2016, various corruption indications were exposed ranging from outright embezzlements, election malpractices, budget padding, and money laundering cases to stealing of government properties. In Nigeria every one condemns corruption yet most public servants and key political office holders have contributed to further its course (Aiyede, 2016; Bello & Ahmad, 2017). This study is therefore undertaken to assess the anti-corruption crusade by two recent administrations, the Goodluck Jonathan-Led administration and the Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
In order to create a direction to the study’s path, the following specific objectives are raised:
a. To determine the impact of Anti-corruption crusade on corruption level in Nigeria.
b. To assess the effectiveness of Jonathan-led anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria.
c. To assess the effectiveness of Buhari-led anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The need for evaluation is steam from the understanding that for any task to fulfill its objective, then it must constantly be reviewed, assessed, controlled and redo. This is also the case which this study attempts to submit. The study serves as a weigh scale to enhance the understanding of the forgetful populace of the anti-corruption fights by governments by presenting their victories and their woes in form of a constructive assessment.
Also, the study is an addition to several literatures on corruption and furthermore, it will serve as a research reference for further studies
1.5 Research Questions
The study attempts to provide sufficient answers to the following research questions:
a. What is the impact of anti-corruption crusade on corruption level in Nigeria?
b. Was the Goodluck Jonathan-led anti-corruption crusade effective?
c. Was the Muhammadu Buhari-led Anti-corruption crusade effective?
d. What are the challenges hindering the effectiveness of Anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria?
1.6 Scope and Limitation
The study examined the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria but was restricted to two recent administrations, the Goodluck Jonathan Led Administration and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. The study was limited in literatures as there was a scare academic literature on the assessment of ant-corruption crusade for the two administration.
1.7 Organization of the Study
This study was structured and divided into five chapters. This is to enable clarity and effective consumption of the idea communicated in this research work. Also, the organization was in line with the departmental guideline for such works.
The first chapter, Introduction, gives a strong background to the study. The statement of the problem, significance, research questions and scope were highlighted in the chapter. Chapter two dealt with a review of related and relevant literatures. This is of essence as the ideas, inputs and contributions of scholars and authors were acknowledged and duly represented.
The third chapter, assesses the Goodluck Jonathan-led anti-corruption crusade. The beginnings, successes and failures were examined in this chapter. The fourth chapter assessed the Muhammadu Buhari-led anti-corruption crusade. The impact, successes and failures were constructively examined in the chapter. The fifth chapter drew a conclusion on the study, gave a summary and recommendation.