ROLES AND POLICY OPTIONS
Olaitan ganiyu rotimi
Department of economics lagos state university ojo nigeria
A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE NATIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT ON CORRUPTION AND CORRUPT PRACTICES IN NIGERIA ORGANISED BY AFRICA LEADERSHIP FORUM ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2005 AT THE DEPT OF ECONOMICS LASU OJO
The problem of corruption has attracted the attention of scholars, development workers, activists, politicians, international organizations, public affairs commentators and the general public for a very long time. The problem is not new to humankind even though it has reached unprecedented proportions in recent years. It is as old as society itself and cuts across nations, cultures, races and classes of people. It has been argued that one of the major obstacles to the development of poor countries is corruption. Corruption is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our time, a challenge that is not only leading to impoverishment and loss of lives but also threatening the stability of society. In an opinion poll conducted by the Guardian Newspapers, Nigerians picked corruption, unemployment and bad leadership as the worst problems hindering the country’s development. 761 respondents or 70 percent of the respondents out of the total sample of 1,080 people picked corruption as one of the worst problems hindering the nation’s advancement.[i] Meanwhile, in the past young people are usually puritanical and idealistic in their positioning. But in the recent past, corruption has eaten very deep into the entire fabric of the African society. The youth today are as corrupt if not more corrupt than the old people. The Youth are involved in the manipulation of primordial values such as ethnicity and religion to further their selfish interest. What is the extent of the problem of corruption? Why have the youth joined in the corruption train? What are the strategies that have been used to fight corruption? Why are these strategies not winning the war against corruption? What are the options for winning the war? What can de done to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in such a way that it will not hinder development? This paper will attempt to address these questions. In the paper, we argue that the youth in Africa are being socialized into corruption by the social reality in which they are living. Meanwhile, over the years, universal strategies and policies are emerging that can be used to wage and win the war against corruption. Unfortunately, the war is not being won because these strategies are not being faithfully and comprehensively utilized and also because of the narrow focus of the war.
The paper is divided into six parts. The first part explicates the problem of corruption and contextualizes the involvement of the youth and raised the questions that the paper will try to answer. The second part analyses definitional issues, categorization of corruption, causes of corruption, manifestation and acts of corruption and the impact of corruption. The third part of the paper describes the effort to wage war on corruption at international, regional and international levels. It also analyses the policies, strategies and programmes that have been put in place to fight corruption against the actual practice and concludes with the elements that are critical in any effort that can win the war. The fourth part advanced reasons for why the war against corruption is being lost and outlined the options for winning the war. The fifth part pointed out the importance of youth in any society and the challenge of youth involvement in corruption while the sixth and final part outlines what can be done to enlist the youth in the war against corruption.
2. THE PROBLEM OF CORRUPTION
(a) Definitional issues Corruption even though a global problem, lacks a universally...