This research work is on effect of corruption on local government administration in Nigeria: A study of Ohaukwu Local Government Area. Corruption is the act of diverting public goods resources and interest for personal or private benefit/gain. The study became very essential in order to determine the effect of corruption in Ohaukwu local government council, also to device means of curbing the menace of corruption in the local government system. Three hypothesis were formulated and tested for the study. The researcher used Structural Functionalism and Hierarchy of Needs Theory to analyze the work. The study is quantitative survey research, and the main instrument for data collection was questionnaire. The research among other things has established that corruption undermined the administrative efficiency of our local government system; Ohaukwu local government has also made effort to control and/or eliminate corruption in its council areas. It is also established that economic dislocation, diversion of government revenue to private pockets, payment of salaries to ghost workers, greediness, falsification of receipts, nepotism, patronage system, extortion, bribery etc are corrupt practices which has bedevilled the activities of local government. It is also established in the study that the state of poverty among the local government staff increases the rate of corruption in the system. Meanwhile, the study’s position is that Ohaukwu local government should devise various means to improve the living standard of its inhabitants in order to reduce level of poverty within its council in terms of health care services, education, water, electricity and good road network etc. The researcher therefore recommended that in order to control and/or eliminate corruption in the local government system, there should be public lectures on effect of corruption in local government through workshops, seminars, etc in the council area. That there should be strict monitoring of local government project, taking into cognizance the cost value, materials and human resources to avoid fraudulent act. That official position in the local government should not be given out as compensation to party loyalist by political godfathers. The recruitment exercise into the local government should be on transparent procedures. Local government should improve their workers by ensuring adequate remuneration and training. The local government senior staff category should be made of competent men with unquestionable character. This will go a long way in enhancing the administrative efficiency and serve as panacea to curb corruption in local government system in Nigeria.
The expediency for the creation of local government anywhere in the world stems from the need to facilitate development at the grassroots. The importance of local government is a function of its ability to generate sense of belongingness, safety and satisfaction among its populace. All forms of government, regimes or political systems have so far ensured the attainment of this goal. Such strategy for ensuring national administrative development and political efficacy is found in the concept and practice of local government. Whatever is the mode of government, local government has been essentially regarded as the path to, and guarantor of, national integration, administration and development (Gboyega, 1987).
The need to look for a balanced development, maximize citizens’ participation, and arouse government responsiveness, necessitate the creation of the local government. The local government serves as a form of political and administrative structure facilitating decentralization, national integration, efficiency in governance, and a sense of belonging at the grassroots. The local government is a unit of administration all over the world (Agagu, 2004). Although it’s a universal institution, it however, exists in different forms and in different political systems. Whatever the form of existence, the local government has been essentially regarded as the path to and guarantor of administrative efficiency, effective service delivery, and participatory development (Arowolo, 2005). It is a critical tier of government because of its closeness to the people (Gboyega, 1987). Local government appeals to both the people and government as a feedback institution that relays the opinions and demands of the grassroots to a higher government (Adejo, 2003). Apart from this feedback function, other competing functions of service delivery, promotion of democratization at local level, and mobilization of human resources for grassroots enhancement, place the local government in a strategic position for sustainable development.
The local government system has been a major feature of the Nigerian government and politics since colonial rule, over the years, there have been changes in name, structure, and composition, while the system was operated differently all over the country (Agagu, 2004). It was on this premise that the rising tide of progress, growth, and development experienced in the local government was based. The 1976 local government reform, carried out by the military administration of General Obasanjo, brought about uniformity in the administrative structure of the system. The reform introduced a multi-purpose, single tier local government system for the whole country (Ajayi, 2000). Since these reforms, successive governments have tinkered with the local government structure with a view to enhancing its capacity for good governance. Fundamentally, the local government is created to serve the rural communities. The local government is expected to mobilize and harness local resources and ensure their effective utilization, with the support of the state and federal governments.
Rural development at the grassroots has been the concern of every responsible and responsive political system. This is because development and participation have continued to elude people of the grassroots. Development remains insignificant if it does not positively affect the lives of those in the periphery of decision making arrangement. The Nigerian state therefore created local government as the third tier of government whose objective is to ensure effective, measurable and efficient service delivery to the people.
After many years of experimenting with the local government system, observers have expressed concern over the parlous state of local government administration in Nigeria and the apparent disconnect between it and the lives of the people. As important as this tier of government has been, there seems to be some impediments that have been infringing on its performance and functions in recent times.
Corruption has been described as a major cause of the comatose state of local government administration in Nigeria, and a major hindrance to good governance. Along with corruption, issues regarding fiscal mismanagement, gross inadequacy of well-trained and qualified and unsuitable personnel, local leadership crisis, political godfatherism and non-implementation of accounting and auditing procedures to mention a few, have been adduced as some reasons for the failure of the local government system. Unfortunately, the much needed development has continued to elude the rural communities across the nation. It has been rural poverty, rather than rural development. However, the prevalence and pervasiveness of poverty and the underdevelopment at the grassroots level is still connected with the high level of corruption and absence of democratic ethos in the local government system. The level of corruption at the local government level is manifested in different forms. The local governments have abandoned their basic duties. But for the physical existence of their offices, many local governments exist only on paper. Worse still, council officials are adept in the collection of rates and tolls from the communities, markets, motor parks, among others, without much thought to even maintain the structures and facilities from which those rates and taxes are collected, let alone render service to the people. That explains why a small culvert, for instance, that connects two communities or neighbourhoods, will remain broken for years. The terrible state of feeder roads, street roads, filled and over-flowing drains and inability to clear even refuse bins are all dissatisfactions of the failure of local government administration.
In several local government areas, it seems they are no longer responsible for rural roads, local dispensaries and health centres, and markets. Ironically, local governments now receive much more money, both from federation account and internally-generated revenue.
Corruption distorts the allocation of local resources and the performance of local governments. The consequences of corruption are poor services, increased social polarization, inefficiency in public services, low investment in the local government area and decreased economic growth.
In view of the above, the following issues my interest a curious mind as research questions:
- What is the nature and dimensions of corruption in local government administration?
- What are the causes of corruption in local government administration?
- What are the effects of corruption in local government administration?
- In what ways can local government made a service deliverable institution?
The broad objective of this study is the effects of corruption on local government administration in Nigeria: A study of Ohaukwu Local Government area Of Ebonyi State. The specific objectives are:
- To identify the nature and dimension of corruption in local government administration.
- To find out the causes of corruption in local government system.
- To determined the effects of corruption in local government administration.
- To recommend ways of making local government a service delivery institution.
Ho1 There is no significant relationship between corruption and poverty in local government system.
HA1 There is a significant relationship between poverty and corruption in local government system.
Ho2 There is not significant relationship between corruption and poor services delivery on local government system in Nigeria.
HA2 There is a significant relationship between poor services delivery and corruption on local government system in Nigeria.
H03 Low development in local government is not as a result of corruption within the system.
HA3 Low development in the local government of Nigeria is as a result of corruption within the system.
The significance of any human endeavour is measured by its relevance to solving human problems. Therefore, the significance of the study is measured by its relevance to solving the problems of corruption and enhancing effective public administration in local governments in Nigeria.
The project will be of benefit, first and foremost to the Ohaukwu Local Government administration, as it will expose to them the various ways in which efficient and proper administration of local councils should be carried out.
Fourthly, the project will be useful to various institutions such as the Local Government Service Commission, the Federal Government, various state governments, universities especially Ebonyi State University, for gaining greater knowledge and understanding on how corruption can be ameliorated at the local level in order to improve effective governance.
Finally, the project will be useful to the general public, organizations, companies etc that may have interest in the project.
This is centered on the effects of corruption on local government administration in Nigeria, but due to the wide or vast nature of Nigeria, the researcher now chose Ohaukwu Local Government Area as a case to deal with this particular problem.
In view of the nature of this study, the researcher combined two theories to backup this work. These theories are “Structural functionalism and hierarchy of needs theory”. The choice of the former was predicted on the fact that structural functionalism emphasis on the effect and consequence of corruption, while the later shows shy officials engage in corruption.
Structural functionalism theory was propounded by Herbert Spencer, a British philosopher famous for applying the theory of natural selection of the society 1874. He identified corruption as a social problem. To him social problem connotes an act of a form of behavior which constitute concern to a significant proportion of the society to warrant a common solution by that society. The structural functionalist regard corruption as a serious behavioural deviation hindering the functioning of the local government. Corruption is regarded as inhibiting the needs and goals of local government.
When corruption becomes institutionalize in the local government system, it infiltrates into value system, it becomes a norm, part and parcel of culture and subsequently goes into the realm of behaviour. To this, corruption becomes social problem in the local government that must be critically and seriously addressed. Local government has long been treading the brink of this national catastrophe due to almost uncontainable intensity of corruption of a viable, virile and stable policy. Corruption constitutes the greatest hindrances to local government development.
The hierarchy of need theory as it relates to the effect of corruption in local government was propounded by Abraham Maslow in 1954, after observing reactions many people had within a defined setting. Maslow came to the conclusion that human being is waiting animal.
According to him, corruption is as a result of cultural relativity, low salary syndrome, imitation, institutional and rent seeking. According to Maslow local government officials are corrupt because their salaries are so low that they cannot make ends meet by depending solely on their meager salaries.
According to Akindele (1995) corruption is defined as any form of reciprocal behaviour or transact where both the power/office holder can respectively initiate the inducement to each other by some rewards to grant (illegal) preferential treatment or favour against the principle and interest pf specific organization (or public) within the system. In line with this, local government officials resort to corrupt activities to make ends meet and help their relatives.
According to Maslow corruption also arises as a result of workers trying to copy or imitate the life sty of other workers/individuals believed to have reached their self esteem goal or to have accomplished important thing in the society.