CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: A THREAT TO SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Amuwo (2005) and Obayelu (2007) consider corruption as the exploitation of public position, resources and power for private gain. Fjeldstad&Isaksen (2008, p. 3) and Ogundiya (2009, p. 5) define corruption as “the betrayal of public trust for individual or sectional gain.” Obayelu went further to identify corruption as “efforts to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private gain at public expense; or a misuse of power for private benefit.” Corruption covers a broad spectrum of activities ranging from fraud (theft through misrepresentation), embezzlement (misappropriation of corporate or public funds) to bribery (payments made in order to gain an advantage or to avoid a disadvantage). From a political point of view, Aiyede (2006, p. 5) views corruption as “the abuse or misuse of public or governmental power for illegitimate private advantages.” His view corroborates the position of Lipset and Lenz (2000) that corruption is an effort to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private benefit at public expense. Tanzi (1998) adds that such abuse of public power may not necessarily be for one’s private benefit but for the benefit of one’s party, class, tribe, or family. Although corruption is global in scope, it is more pronounced in developing societies because of their weak institutions. It is minimal in developed nations because of existing institutional control mechanisms which are more developed and effective.