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1.1   Background to the Study

Corruption is no doubt a global phenomenon that has threatened and still continues to threaten the developmental efforts in many nations; particularly the developing countries of the world (Kayode, Adagba & Anyio, 2013). This menance has led to situations like slow movement of files in offices, police exortion of toll fees, port congestion, queues at passport offices and petrol stations, ghost workers syndrome, election irregularities, among others (Aluko, 2009).

Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers quality of standards of compliance with construction, environmental or other regulations. It reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure and increases budgetary pressures on government. In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through illicit payments, high cost of negotiating with officials and the risk of breached agreements or detection (Onuigbo, 2015).

Nigeria is at a critical stage of its development, with severe crisis in its economic, social and political development that is not unconnected with the problem of endemic official corruption. The manifestations of these crises are clear, the remedies much less so. The recent arrest and on-going trial of Rtd Col. Sambo Dasuki former National Security Adviser under Goodluck Jonathan Administration for a $2.1 billion arms fraud is an obvious pointer to the mind blowing issues of corruption and abuse of public office in Nigeria (Ering, Abonor & Abul, 2015).

The need to catalyze balanced development touching the grassroot level, maximize citizen's participation, and arouse government responsive necessitates the creation of the local government. The local government serves as a form of political and administrative structure facilitating decentralization, national integration, efficiency in governance, and a sense of belonging at the grassroots (Adeyemi, 2012 & Odo, 2014).

The fundamental challenges battling grassroots development in Nigeria has been one of high level corruption and its twain demons of poverty and economic hardship which have continue in this 21st century to elude sustainable development at the grassroots (Ojo, 2014).

A review of extant literature on corruption shows that corruption is seriously embedded in the Nigerian social fabric and structure. There is no sector of the economy or system of the Nigerian society that corruption has not permeated, including economic, political, social as well as religious. This contention is strengthened by the latest ranking of Nigeria in the global Transparency International Corruptions Index for 2014. Nigeria is ranked as the 136 out of 175 countries, global assessment of the most corrupt nations in the world. It reveals that the country is considered as highly corrupt (Ering, Abonor & Abul, 2015).

In Nigeria, eradicating corruption has been a major concern of successive government in the country because of its association with sustainable development at the grassroots (Kayode et al., 2013). The government has taken various measures and strategies to address the incidence of corruption and bad governance in the country. These measures includes public service reform (monetization to reduce waste and reduction or over-bloated personnel, reform of public procurement); establishment of anti craft agencies (such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corruption and other Practices Commission (ICPC) and the on-going sanitization in the Nigeria National Petroleum Co-oporation (Adeshina, 2015). Despite the establishment of these institutions, the situation remains palatable as corruption continues to deter development at the grassroots (Onuigbo, 2015).

It is instructive to note that the Nigerian government and citizens have not totally committed themselves to the implementations and measures that can prevent or drastically reduce the extent and consequence of corruption in the country. That is not to say that laws, institutions and programmes for controlling corruption have not been introduced by successive governments (Fatile, 2013). On the contrary, every Nigerian government since 1975 introduced elaborate laws and programmes, only for officials to turn such programmes into fertile opportunity for corrupt practices and enrichment. Consequently, there has been a geometrical growth in the rate of corruption while grassroot development remains imaginary and illusive (Adeshina, 2015).

Hence, this study will examine the effect of official corruption on politico-administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Corruption has impaired hard work, diligence and efficiency. It has caused incalculable damages to the social and political development of Nigeria and the grassroots in particular. It subverts honest selection processes and distorts prices. Furthermore, it weakens institutions, hampers investment and retards sustainable economic development. Most unfortunately the resources that should be used for developmental purposes are being diverted from the society to private or personal use. This accumulation of the nation’s economic resources for personal benefits had variously contributed to the leakage of capital from Nigeria for illegal deposits abroad.

The prevalence of official corruption in various aspects of our lives has a tremendous adverse effect on the quality of life of this country, our living standards and national psyche. Corruption brings a nation no good. The resources meant for water supply, roads, education, health and other basic and social services that are captured and stolen by a handful of Nigerians through corrupt acts retard social-economic development of the grassroots communities and thus creeping poverty all over the place (Ekwueru & Daminabo, 2008).

Corruption has a crowding out effect on the growth and development of the country and particularly the grassroots. It’s contributing effects on poverty and absence of infrastructural development at the grassroots is the more worrying. Nevertheless the extents of these negative effects are yet to be measured and quantified.

Many scholars and researchers in Nigeria like Otite (1986), Onigu (1996), Nwoye (2000), Adawo (2011), Onuigbo (2015) and Ering, Abonor & Abul (2015) have at different times carried out studies on corruption with existing gap in knowledge needing to be filled. Firstly, these researches were largely theoretical studies whose findings were subjectively based on researchers’ personal opinions. Secondly, it is noted that the past studies did not give adequate attention to the impact of corruption on politico-administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria, as well as highlighting effective strategy that can be used to water-down or even eliminate corruption in the present age. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the extent and the magnitude of the effect of official corruption on politico-administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine the effect of official corruption on politico-administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria. Other specific objectives are:

1.      To explore the effect of embezzlement of public funds on service delivery in Lagos State.

2.      To find out if public financial mismanagement is a significant predictor of poverty at the grassroot in Nigeria.

3.      To find out if administrative frauds in local government constitute a barrier to revenue generation and utilization.

1.4   Research Questions

The undertaking of this research study will be guided by the following research questions;

   1.        Will official corruption affect politico-administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria?

   2.        Will embezzlement of public funds have a significant effect on service delivery in Lagos State?

   3.        To what extent will public financial mismanagement be a significant predictor of poverty at the grassroot in Nigeria?

   4.        Will administrative frauds constitute a barrier to effective revenue generation and utilization by local government?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses at 0.5 level of significance;

Hypothesis One:

Ho:      There is no significant relationship between official corruption and politico-            administrative development at the grassroot in Nigeria

Hi:       There is a significant relationship between official corruption and politico-administrative   development at the grassroot in Nigeria

Hypothesis Two:

Ho:      There is no significant relationship between embezzlement of public funds and service       delivery in Lagos State

Hi:       There is a significant relationship between embezzlement of public funds and service         delivery in Lagos State

Hypothesis Three:

Ho:      Public financial mismanagement is not a significant predictor of poverty at the grassroot    in Nigeria.

Hi:       Public financial mismanagement is a significant predictor of poverty at the grassroot in      Nigeria.

Hypothesis Four:

Ho:      Administrative frauds do not constitute a barrier to effective revenue generation and         utilization by local government

Hi:       Administrative frauds constitute a barrier to effective revenue generation and        utilization by local government

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