Evaluation of political corruption and strategies for Its reduction in Nigeria

  • Jude Dandison

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon with debilitating effects on any society and its economy. Corrupt practices have led to the breakdown of law and order, insecurity, and failed states. Corruption in Nigeria is endemic, systemic and structural in nature. It occurs in every sector of the economy, and at different levels of society. This phenomenon began in pre-colonial times and has subsisted through different regimes, military and civilian, until the present. Politically exposed persons (PEPs) engage in grand and political corruption, which impacts heavily upon the country. The corollary to this is electoral corruption, through which PEPs hold on to power to enable them access to the commonwealth at the expense of the citizenry. Successive governments have enacted bills such as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA) and established anti-corruption agencies such as the Code of Conduct Bureau 1979 (CCB), Economic and Financial Crime Commission 2003 (EFCC) and Independent and Corrupt Practice Commission 2000 (ICPC), including presidential panels, to fight the menace of corruption in the country. This study evaluates political corruption and the effectiveness of strategies devised by different Nigerian governments to reduce it in the nation.
The thesis is underpinned by four theories of corruption in the state, which were considered relevant for the work. These are the Agent–Principal, Collective–Action, Institutional and Game theories, which were used to explain the phenomenon of corruption in Nigeria. The phenomenological approach was chosen for this work, whereby the qualitative method was adopted to source data. A triangulation method that comprises semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and documentary evidence (case studies) was used to harvest relevant primary and secondary data. A total of 68 respondents, which consist of professional lawyers, judges and political office holders, participated in the FGDs and interviews held. While the interviews were held in Abuja, the federal capital city of Nigeria, the FGDs took place in four clusters in different parts of the country. Validated interview and FGD guides were used on the respondents. Data gathered were coded thematically and analysed according to research questions asked. Interviews were used to seek perceptions of respondents on causes of corruption and suggestions on strategies that have been used to fight it. Discussants in the FGDs examined the effects of electoral corruption, which is a trajectory to political corruption. Case studies were conducted on government corruption, involvement of politically exposed persons in international bribery scandals, corrupt acts, and forms of electoral corruption from Independence in 1960 to the present time.
Several ideas were adduced to combat political and electoral corruption, which include the use of E-voting technologies, the proper education of members of the electorate, the setting up of electoral tribunals, electing credible candidates with good records, restructuring the electoral processes, sanctions for political offenders, and a reduction of the influence of culture in political processes. Others include the application of the anti-money-laundering compliance regulation and the appointment of compliance officers in ministries, agencies and departments; the imposition of sanctions on corrupt PEPs; and making anti-corruption agencies independent to enable them to execute their duties without undue political influence.
The study concluded that corruption can be wiped out from the country when patriotic leaders are in government, and when political offices are made less attractive. Further autonomy should be granted to anti-corruption agencies to enable them function properly, while stringent punishment should be meted out for corrupt practices. Also, states should institute good criminal justice systems and introduce technological developments that should be used to spot fraudulent acts and other forms of corruption. It was recommended that credible leaders should be appointed to oversee anti-corruption bodies, and sound policies should be enacted to effectively run these anti-corruption agencies. Finally, it is recommended that diplomatic criminal disclosure services be put in place between the country and other countries’ embassies that will stop corrupt PEPs from travelling out of Nigeria to hide the proceeds of crime.
Date of AwardSept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorBranislav Hock (Supervisor) & David Shepherd (Supervisor)

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