PREVENTION, DETECTION AND CORRECTION OF CORRUPTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
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1.1 Background to the Study
Local Government generally, has long been recognized as a veritable instrument for the development of the local communities. This is because as a tier of government nearest to the grassroots, it is in a better position to known and addresses the problems of its residents. Indeed, the objectives of the government according to the “Guidelines for local government Reform” in Nigeria is to make appropriate services and development activities responsive to local wishes and initiative by devolving or delegating them to local representatives bodies; to facilitate the exercise of democratic self-government close to the grassroots of our society, and to encourage initiative and leadership potential; and mobilization of human and material resources through the involvement of members of the Public in their development (Egberi and Madubueze, 2014).
Regrettably, the realization of these objectives has been constrained by extreme corruption in Local Government. Corruption remains a major problem which has constrained local government especially in Nigeria from contributing meaningfully to the upliftment of the standard of living of the local people. This problem is manifest in almost every local government area in Nigeria. It is rife in the area of revenue declaration by collectors, to award of contracts, and embezzlement of local government funds by Chairmen, Councilors and other officials of local governments.
Along this line Farida Waziri the former EFCC boss as reported by Adeyemi (2012) lamented that: waste of government resources at council level had reached monumental proportions. The Local government Council in the Country couldn’t explain the mismanagement of over N3.313 trillion allocated to them in the last eight years. A whopping sum of N3.313 trillion was allocated to Local government across the Country. Unfortunately, Local government officials have not left their hands unsoiled in this regard. The corruption that pervades Local government today is widespread. Local government, have become so far removed from the lives of the people to a point where some Chief Executive of Local council no longer reside in the domain they are elected to administer. They drive to the council headquarters in their jeeps from State capitals, pay salaries and share other monies and disappear until it is time to share the next subvention. Waziri went further to emphasize that the disconnect between the local government and the people at the grassroots was happening at a time huge volume of Public funds were allocated to local government council. According to her, the old argument that services cannot be delivered to the grassroots because of shortage of funds does not hold water anymore, in the face of so much subvention from the center. One of the fundamental problems of contemporary Nigeria is corruption. It has thrived, progressed, and flourished unabated. Corruption has been institutionalized to the point of accepting it as part of the system. The average Nigerian is not ordinarily corrupt, he has been attracted to engage in bribery and corruption by a society built on a lousy foundation of political, economy and, in fact, a social system that depends on corruption for survival. And for those who fail to flow with the tide of these times, they are tagged names such as “mumu”, “jew” person, etc. El-Rufai (2012), commenting on Corruption in Local government posit that, in the year 2011, the 774 Local Governments and the 6 Area Councils (LGAs) in Nigeria received almost N1trillion (about $7billion) from the Federation Account, which is equivalent to the entire annual budgets of Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Burundi and Togo combined. These transfers were to enable them carry out their functions, which include the administration of primary education and primary health care, construction of markets and boreholes, and rural development in general. Most Nigerians would agree that is little or nothing to show for this huge transfer of free cash to the LGAs. It has not always been this bad. Between 1955-1965, Local Government Areas (or Native Authorities as they were then called) were responsible for about 12 per cent of the public expenditure in the country, equivalent to almost 10 per cent of the GDP. But today, they gulp about 21 per cent of our national revenue without commensurate results for the subventions that they collect from the federation. And worst still, with few exceptions, they now entirely depend on transfers from the centre for their own expenditures. They no longer generate revenues like in the first republic and believe they are created simply to collect monthly allocations to spend on politicians, thugs and families. It would be an understatement to say that the LGAs performance of their core functions has been disappointing, nearly criminal. Old societal values are crumbling and materialistic ambitions have become dominant, acquisition of money, whatever the means have become the chief motive. The acquisitive society breeds corruption. “Corruption is in a sense a product of the way of life of an acquisitive society, where money talks, where that which works is justified, and where people are judged by what they have rather than their industry, intellect, or integrity. At local government level, corruption has been canonically accommodated, entertained and celebrated within the system. The deteriorating standard of living of majority of rural dwellers is evidence to the absence of good governance which is an antidote of corruption. The much needed development has continued to elude the local communities across the Nation. It has been rural poverty instead of rural development. The prevalence and perverseness of poverty and absence of service delivery is still associated with the high level of corruption in Local government; these is evidence in the lack of basic necessities of life like food, shelter, and clothing and low access to essential services like health, education, power, water, good road network etc. In view of the above, this study will broadly examine the incidence of corruption in Local Governments System in Nigeria. Specifically, the paper will x-ray the prevention, detection and correction of corruption of Local Government in Anambra State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The essence of local government area and local government council is for accelerated development of the inhabitants and the environment (Okara 2012). Agba, Akwara and Idu (2013) observed that it is a general agreement of most scholars and professionals that local governments in Nigeria have not justified the reasons for their creation through the delivery of cutting edge services to the rural people. According to Zakari (2010) as quoted by Agba et al (2013), the founding fathers of Nigeria local government’s system had good intentions. Their major aim was for this third tier of government to positively affect the lives of the people at the grassroots. But the system, unfortunately, has been ‘hijacked’ by politicians and senior bureaucrats for personal enrichment. Thus local government in Nigeria can be sarcastically described as a place where the chairman and other key officials meet to share money monthly. Reasoning along this description, Agba et al (2013) opined that, the provision of basic social services such as education, health, maintenance of roads, and other public utilities within the jurisdiction of most local government in the country is both a myth and mirage; as the tenure of local government chairmen are primitively conceived as a period of wealth accumulation and not about service delivery to the people. The effect of this is that in spite of the fact that 70% of Nigeria population are found in the rural areas as Agba et al (2013) acknowledge, that average residents at the grassroots level are still suffering from lack of potable water, inadequate health facilities, poor hygiene condition and unemployment. El-Rufai (2013) lamenting on poor service delivery stated that; the primary responsibility of local governments as enshrined in the constitution is rural, urban and community development. However, rather than working to reduce poverty by providing these services to their people, they end up just paying salaries of primary school teachers, and not much more. While our LGAs contribute a negligible percent of our GDP and employ less than 2 per cent of the employed population. The key factor responsible for this is corruption in the local government areas which takes various shapes and forms. This is why a study on prevention, detection and correction of corruption of Local Government in Anambra State becomes imperative.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is ascertain how to prevent and correct corruption of Local Government in Anambra State. Specifically the study intends to ascertain
- Trace the causes of corruption in government offices in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State
- Examining the significant relationship between corruption and transparency in Oyi LGA of Anambra state.
- Examining the impact of internal auditing in promoting accountability in Oyi local government council.
- Providing possible measures on how corruption can be minimize government offices in Oyi LGA of Anambra State
1. 4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be beneficial to the following group of people include local government, the society and future researchers. Practically, the study will reveal the strategies for preventing and correction of corruption in local government. Theoretically, the study will add to the already existing literature on corruption and will serve as a guide in carrying out researches on related studies
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study intends to cover the prevention and correction of corruption of Local Government in Anambra State. Its content coverage include how to prevent and correct corrupt practices in local government in Anambra. The study is limited to local government in Anambra state.
1.6 Research Questions
The following research question will guide the study
- What are the causes of corruption in government offices in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State?
- What is the significant relationship between corruption and transparency in Oyi LGA of Anambra state?
- What are the roles of internal audit in promoting accountability in Oyi local government council?
- How can the incidences of corruption in government offices in Oyi LGA of Anambra State be reduced?
1.7 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypothesis will be tested on 0.05 level of significance
H01: There is no significant relationship between corruption and transparency in Oyi LGA of Anambra state
H02: Internal audit has no significant impact in promoting accountability in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra state
1.8 Definitions of Terms
Correction: the action or an instance of amendment of corrupt practices in local government area
Corruption: Corruption is a behavior, which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of private relationship. This includes such behaviour as bribery (use of reward to pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust); nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reason of inscriptive relationship rather than merit); and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private-regarding uses.
Offices: The actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group
Government: A body with power to make or enforce laws to control a country, land area, people or organization.
Local Government Area: Local government areas constitute the geographical entity headed by a local government.
Local: From or in a nearby location
Prevention: this calls for process of hindering corruption or other related practices from happening in local government area.
Government Worker: any employee of the State, a county, city, town, village, or any other political subdivision or civil division of the State, or a county, city, town, village
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