CORRUPTION AND UNDERDEVELOPMENT: (A CASE STUDY OF HALLIBURTON)
Background of the Study A man can be born again; the springs of life can be cleansed instantly…if this is true of one, it can be true of any number. Thus, a nation can be born in a day if the ideals of the people can be changed [William Jennings Bryan]. Nigeria is one of the Countries in Africa that loses billions of dollars yearly because of corruption. She was ranked the second most corrupt country in the world in 2004 [Olu-Olu, 2008]. In 2005 and 2008, Nigeria was ranked 13th and 17th respectively out of 146 countries by Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index [TICPI]. Although the 2007 ranking placed Nigeria as the 32nd most corrupt country out of 147 countries by TICPI, corruption still remains a serious problem in Nigeria [Shehu, 2006]. Corruption is a “multifaceted phenomenon with multiple causes and effects” [Andvig and fjeldstad, 2001: 1]. It is a trinity of illegal money, commercial and criminal activities [Baker, 2005; Guanardi, 2008]. According to section 8(1) of the Anti-Corruption Law of Nigeria (2004), it entails the act of asking for, receiving or obtaining any property or benefit of any kind for oneself or for any other person. It involves the abuse of public office for self-aggrandizement or private benefits [World Bank, 1997].
The term “corruption” covers a wide range of conduct patterns. It is a product of the socio-economic and political structure of any society. As a multi-faceted phenomenon, no single theory is equipped enough to explain its causation and/or control. Corruption is not a Nigerian Word. It is an English Word. While corruption is an English word necessarily laced with western ideas, the concept behind it is found in other cultures. Corruption is one of the dare devils that stares humanity in the face. It is also a global problem with certain destructive tendencies in the Third World Countries like Nigeria. But the rate of corruption in Nigeria is so alarming that one is constrained to ask: Is there anything peculiar to the nature of Nigerians that makes them to be corrupt? Achebe [1983: 35], quoting from the weekly star newspaper of May 15, 1983, wrote that the corrupt nature of the Nigerian society is such that, keeping an average Nigerian from being corrupt is like keeping a goat from eating yam.
Corruption serves as a spring board to under-development in Nigeria. Most economic, political and social problems in underdeveloped societies like Nigeria emanate from corruption which manifest in many ways such as: lack of accountability, inadequate funding of programs, diversion of public resources to private ownership, different types of discriminations, ethnicity, lack of competence, inefficiency etc. The problem of corruption as a phenomenon is historically rooted in the country’s political economy. In the colonial period, it was attributed to colonialism.
Although, the government has embarked upon anti-corruption measures, these are not sincerely and properly implemented such that the expected objectives and goal are not achieved. The problem is thus rather aggravated. Consequently, corruption has continued to perpetuate underdevelopment in Nigeria. Many factors seem to have combined to make the situation severe or worse than the case in the colonial era. Firstly, Achebe (1983: 1) fascinatingly explained that: The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely, a failure of Leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigeria land and climate or water or air or anything else the Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility or to challenge of personal examples, which are hallmarks of true leadership. There is also a common belief that poverty is one of the major causes of corruption. Here, it is argued that there exists a great deal of poverty among Nigerians in almost every segment of their social life. In Nigeria today, it is just a few families that can boast of three square meals a day, wear good clothes, or enjoy the basic necessities of life, such as water, good road network and electricity. Hence, everyone takes to corruption, no matter one’s own small capacity as a way of making up or balancing the prevalent inequalities. It is also equally true that, corruption is due to the degeneration and shaky foundations of our moral upbringing. Corruption transcends nearly every structure of Nigerian society. The situation is so bad that corruption has been institutionalized to a point where it almost passes for official policy in both public and private sectors of our national life. The socio-economic and political system itself appears to be built on corruption and it thrives on it. Even the churches and other religious organizations are……