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1.1 Background of the Study

Corruption is a social menace that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Ebonyian polity. Generally, the global perception about corruption and graft in Ebonyi State and Nigeria is that of pervasive phenomenon. It has been acknowledged that corruption and its practices are both endemic and systemic in both public and private sectors of Ebonyian economy. The debilitating effects of corruption on the state are enormous. It affects the routine processes of governance both in public and private sectors, and it pollutes the business environment generally.

It also undermines the integrity of government and public institutions . In the words of Obasanjo (2009), corruption has been responsible for the political instability of successive government since the First Republic. Every coup since then has been in the name of stamping out the disease called corruption. Unfortunately, the cure turned out to be worse than the disease. And Nigeria has been worse for it. Nigeria’s external image took a serious bashing, a sour beloved country began to fixture on every corruption index.

This statement shows the commonality of corruption in Nigeria which has permeated all the sectors of the economy, or aspect of the society For instance, beyond the mere enjoyment of public funds, the amassing of wealth by illegal means does not seem to trouble Nigerians. Today, Nigerians applaud and tolerate ill-gotten wealth which in reality is money stolen from public coffers. This is a pointer to the fact that corruption is endemic in Nigeria. It has permeated every facets of the society; the family, the church and even the traditional systems are not left out of this contagious disease.

Corruption therefore, affects the developmental efforts of successive government in Ebonyi State. This has been responsible for the non completion of projects and programmes that would have help in alleviating the sufferings of Ebonyians. Corruption has been adjudged to be responsible for Ebonyi’s underdevelopment.

According to Adamu (2007), corruption exists in one form or the order in all societies. The major difference in the case of Nigeria and Ebonyi State is the extent of its pervasiveness and its implication for good governance, its value system and political culture in particular. To Adamu (2007), an average Nigerians has accepted corruption as inevitable and uncontrollable, believing that the society as a whole is corrupt and beyond remedy. Additionally, Nigerians believed that nothing meaningful will ever get done to correct or punish those perpetuating these crimes.

At the inception of the Fourth democratic era in 1999, corruption had reached such an alarming rate and had eaten deep into every facet of Nigerian society. It has indeed become an integral part of the administrative, political, socio-economic and cultural system as well as a way of life of the citizenry. The situation in the Nigeria Public Service was succinctly described thus: Government officials had become progressively indifferent to propriety of conduct and showed little commitment to promoting the general welfare of the people and the public goods.

Government and all its agencies had become thoroughly corrupt and reckless. Members of the public have had to bribe their way through in ministries and parastatals to get attention and government had to bribe another government agency to obtain the release of their statutory allocation of funds (Obasanjo, 1999). Despite the structures (reforms) put in place to combat the malaise or at least reduce it to its barest minimum, corruption stills continues to be endemic, particularly in the Nigerian Public Service with its attendant implications for effective service delivery and welfare of the people.

The effect of this is that majority of Nigerians are yet to enjoy the dividends of democracy and good governance. The Nigerian public service is discovered to be corrupt, in fact, it is no longer news, that corruption has become part of the service culture. The system has become so corrupt that it brought about non-challancy and lackadaisical attitude, recalcitrance and profligacy in the diversion of public funds meant for government work. Those funds often end up in private purses and foreign bank accounts. All these are characterized as corruption going in the Nigeria public service.

In Nigeria, it is one of the many unresolved problems  that have critically hobbled and skewed development (Ayobolu, 2006). It remains a long-term major political and economic challenge for Nigeria (Sachs, 2007). It is a canker worm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the nation. It ranges from petty corruption to political/bureaucratic corruption or Systemic corruption (International Center for Economic Growth, 1999). World Bank studies put corruption at over $1 trillion per year accounting for up to 12% of the Gross Domestic Product of nations like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela (Nwabuzor, 2005).

 Corruption is endemic as well as an enemy (Agbu, 2003). It is a canker worm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the country and has caused stunted growth in all sectors (Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), 2005). It has been the primary reason behind the country’s difficulties in developing fast (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), 2006). This is evident because Transparency International has consistently rated Nigeria as one of the top three most corrupt countries in the world (Ribadu, 2003).

This issue of corruption if neglected, would lead to dangerous consequences. This is why this study has chosen to find out the effect of corruption in the Nigeria public service using Ebonyi States civil service as a study.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Corruption is a great enemy of development. According to Sen 1999, development can be understood as “a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy”. Nevertheless, corruption does not allow these freedoms to flourish. “Corruption in one way or the other infringes upon the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals; it adversely affects all categories of rights”.

Generally, it is a well-known fact that corruption, which is prevalent in the Nigerian civil service administration, and affects the service effectiveness and efficiency of performance.

In fact, all activities in the civil service appear to have been impeded by this cankerworm. Corruption appears to be found in all human endeavors including individual families, other non-government and governmental organizations, but for the civil service, could be detrimental to the effectiveness of the services because of the role it plays in the government and entire society.

The general performance of the civil servants in their various offices seem to  be radically contaminated and as such has prevented majority of the services and in turn could tarnish the image of the country Nigeria both internationally and globally in her relation with other countries of the world.

The civil service which can  best be described as the life were of the nation, experienced several reforms over the years (Okutu, 2015). “In fact, it has required image of a sick –baby of the various government and the nation at large, its maladies internal range from gross effective and effectiveness to bribery and corruption” (Okutu, 2015). Unfortunately, these manifest itself in the civil servants, government top officers, police offices, teachers in various institutions in Ebonyi State.

In Ebonyi State civil service, corruption takes the shape of embezzlement of public funds, fraudulent activities by some political leaders (Okutu, 2015), nepotism and favouritism, indiscipline, recruitment of inexperienced officers and promotions and transfers of officers based on unmerit.

Other corrupt activities include setting of government offices ablaze to cover up crimes committed on records, collecting bribe to render services which are meant to be free of charge as well as under declaration of age and tampering with employment files (records) so as not to retire when due.

All these are being done in the public /civil service in guest for power and wealth as well as greed and selfishness among the leaders and civil servants and as such the civil service finds it difficult to carry out its task effectively. In any case, this research work is concerned with how high level corruption in civil service could contribute to poor performance, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the service.

To this effect, this study is geared towards ascertaining the effects of corruption in Nigeria Civil Service using Ebonyi State Civil service as a study.

From the foregoing, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. How do corrupt practices affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State?
  2. How does lack of openness and transparency in public service serve as a factor responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service?
  3. What are the measures necessary to curb corruption in Ebonyi State civil service?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

 The general objective of the study is to examine the effect of corruption on Nigeria civil service performance  with Ebonyi State civil service as a case study. The specific objectives of the study are:-

  1. To find out how corrupt practices affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State.
  2. To examine how lack of openness and transparency in public service serve as factors responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.
  3. To explore strategies for combating corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

1.4 Significance of the Study

Fighting corruption is not a one-time campaign. It took England more than a century to bring corruption under control. Hong-Kong and Singapore which is mostly cited as success stories in the fight against corruption long ago for instance, in Hong-Kong, the anti-corruption drive commenced in 1974. In order to curb corruption in a relatively shorter period of time, therefore, designing effective anti-corruption strategies is indispensable

Accordingly, this study will have the following significance;

To users of information, it will serve as a source of reference for scholars and researchers who would like to know more about corruption and interested in undertaking further research on corruption and anti- corruption; To the government, it will serve as important starting point for policy makers to understand where corruption exists, how bad workplace corruption is, the causes and what might be done to minimize it.

To the students, it will inculcate in them the spirit of patriotism, fairness and service to humanity and as well as provide the needed information as regards service delivery and what is expected of them in the future in the civil service.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  1. H1: Corrupt practices affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State.

H0:  Corrupt practices do not affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State.

  1. H1: Lack of openness and transparency in public service are responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

H02: Lack of openness and transparency in public service are not responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

  1. H1: Lack of strategies for combating corruption are responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

H03: Lack of strategies for combating corruption are not responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The topic for this research work is “Effect of Corruption of Nigeria Public Service; A Study of Ebonyi State Civil service”. Using Ebonyi State civil service as a study is to limit the scope of this study to the place of proximity to the researcher.        All questionnaires, interviews, observations and research will be carried out or derived from Ebonyi State civil service alone.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

There were excessive delays involved in getting materials and opinions from the staff of Ebonyi State civil service. Hence, most of the officials that should have provided useful information are usually absent. There was an exhibition of nonchalant and uncooperative attitude in providing data relevant to the study. In fact, due to the high rate of secrecy in the civil service most of them refused to give out information about whatever concerns the system.

Moreover, there was dearth of finance for this research, especially due to present harsh economic realities of this country.  Hence, combining this research work with the academic work are very much stressful and sometimes limited the extent of attention that would have been given to the research and consequently, affected its quality of information.

1.8 Theoretical Framework

Based on the research work, the researcher thinks it would be better to make use of the systems theory. The systems theory propounded by Hudulig von Beth handoff in (Akpala 1990) best explains the problems arising from corruption in the Nigeria Public Service, particularly in Ebonyi State Civil Service. The systems theory tries to explain that, the input when processed determines the output.

In order words what the public or civil service gives to the society, the society will accept and good measure pressed down, shaking together and running over will retire it back to them. Thus when leaders or those who lead, do not lead well or show good example to their followers (the masses) the follower will definitely follow the same track and could even do worse. The input when process determines output (Result) which the civil service injects into the society, the society returns back to them.

The civil service as stated by Udenta is responsible for the carrying out the day to day activities of the government. In order words, it is the circulatory system of the political system, the totality of civil bureaucracy set up by the modern government to administer, to execute their policy and programs. Furthermore (Chukwu 2007) stated that the civil service is an organized institution that is responsible for carrying out the day to day activities of government without the civil service.

There is no government. By this we ask, what do the civil service model? Well, since they are the society’s backbone, if they model is corrupt. The entire society will follow suite, when the mode discipline, the society will follow as well.

This systems theory from the researchers view is believed to be corruption in the civil service. How it reflects back to the society at large. This is a system, it circulates, or revolves, and whatever they push out will return back to them directly or indirectly.


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