SOME of the things that cause poverty in Nigeria are being generated by the Nigerian ruling and business elite. The ruling and business elite lack the kind of philosophical and ideological vision and orientation that is committed to developing “a dream society.” They have no dream beyond the satisfaction of self desires.
Corruption is a social problem that has interested many scholars, corruption in Africa is a problem of routine deviation from established standards and norms by public officials and parties with whom they interact. Some of the types of corruption in Africa are bribery, private gain, and other benefits to non-existent workers and pensioners (called ghost workers). The dishonest and illegal behaviour exhibited especially by people in authority for their personal gain is corruption. According to the ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission) Act (Section 2), corruption includes vices like bribery, fraud and other related offences. Corruption is the abuse or misuse of power or position or trust for personal or group benefit (monetary or otherwise).
Corruption is a symptom of numerous difficulties within contemporary societies. It usually involve’s more than one party. It takes a form of an organized crime. At times, an organization can be established on corruption. According to the perception index of transparency international, Nigeria was ranked 144th out of the 146 countries, beating Bangladesh and Haiti to last position. An analysis of the anti-gaft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the laws because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences. It is now dawning on the Nigeria public that the so-called private enterprise and legislators are free from scrutiny and governors claim to immune. Promotion of staff, dispensation of justice and misuse of public offices, positions and privileges, embezzlement of public funds, public books, publications, documents, valuable security and accounts. Corruption can be systematic in nature and affect the whole life of an organization or society.
Corruption does not only involve people in government, but also people in both private and public positions and even traditional rulers as well as some decentralized centers of power and authority. Within the educational sector in Nigeria, especially from secondary to university levels, corruption is very pervasive, and most of which is not in the public eye. Some forms of corruptions include:
Parents are known to have used unorthodox means to influence their children’s or wards admission to federal government secondary schools, commonly referred to as unity schools. A high jamb score is critical for admission into the university in Nigeria, and this has led to cheating by some students and parents. There are expensive coaching centers that charge exorbitant fees to guarantee a minimum score of 300 in the jamb score, which is being orchestrated by coaching centers through aiding and abetting in the jamb examination with the connivance of jamb officials.
It has been alleged that some unscrupulous officers rent firearms to criminals who use them to harass the public and engage in highway robberies. The police are also alleged to be collecting an unauthorized fee before granting bail to anyone who is arrested. Some police in Road check points collect illegal charge from motorists. Some tax officials are alleged to be using two types of receipt to collect revenue. One receipt is the original, and hence genuine, while the second is usually a false one for the collectors private use, thus depriving government of its legitimate revenue.
Within the university system, some students resort to sorting (finding ways of purchasing of high and unmerited mark from a lecturer in order to enhance the grade in their final examination) such students will then say they have gone into the university and having what did not work for. Lecturers and students print fake receipts, which they use in collecting school fees, and some unsuspecting students are usually discovered by the audit department.
With unchecked, unbridled, and uncontrolled power human becomes corrupt. According to Thomas Hobbes “life becomes soliciting, nasty, brutish and short” Our previous colonial background has been identified by scholars and also our colonial heritage has altered our values and perception of morality, some of the causes of corruption are:
When government allocates scarce resources to individuals and firms using legal criteria other than the ability or willingness to pay, corruption is likely to be the result. Corruption can thrive under industrial policies that allow poorly targeted subsidies to be appropriated by firms for which they are not intended.
The purpose is to lower the price of some goods below market value for social and political reason, this is also a source of corruption.
When public wages are low, public servants may be compelled to use their official positions to collect bribes as a way of making ends meet, particularly when the chances of being caught are low
Multi-ethic societies may be more likely to fall prey to corruption as a result of failure to manage ethnic conflict in a way that is fair to everyone.
This is a government – induced source of rent. The restriction on importation of foreign automobiles are examples of how government officials and politicians can make quick money via rent seeking corruption.
Many have noted the effect of corruption on nation building. Development scholars observe this effect. Corruption has an adverse effect on social and economic development and also in building a nation. The effects includes:
(1)  Diversion of development resources for private gain
(2)   Low tax revenue
(3)   Negative impact on quality of infrastructure and public services.
(4)   Slowing of economic growth and so many more.
Corruption in Nigerian is systematic and to address the problem, a systematic approach is needed. To curb and eventually eradicate corruption, Nigeria should emphasis transparency integrity and accountability in all their private and public transactions. Children, youth and adults must be given the power to distinguish right from wrong. All schools should return to teaching of moral education to empower children with the spirit of stewardship, while adults live exemplary lives, reflecting truth, kindness, dignity of labour and integrity.