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JSPES, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Winter 2010)
pp. 474-509

The Corruption-Underdevelopment Nexus in Africa: Which Way Nigeria?

Daniel Egiegba Agbiboa

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

To state that corruption abounds in Nigeria is to restate the obvious. The guardian coup of January 1966 was given the thumbs-up by many Nigerians who saw the military putsch as a welcome relief from the prevailing conditions of pervasive corruption and deepening socioeconomic crisis. Nigerians hoped that soldiers who hailed from a more structured and regimented background, vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts, would be apt to free the nation from the stranglehold of corruption and emplace a much needed professionalism in the country’s civil service. But time and again, military leaders emphatically lacked the requisite gravitas and savoir faire to stem the tide of corruption and install good governance. Unfettered by the rule of law and goaded on by the lure of personal gain, the military became a vanguard of unbridled self-aggrandisement and frenetic looting. The ‘by-product’ was the emergence of an increasingly predatory and self-interested ruling class. This paper assays ongoing initiatives that are likely to affect the trend of corruption in Nigeria. They might also sow the seed for an appropriate holistic approach toward success in the nation’s anticorruption crusade.