CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYAmuwo (2005) and Obayelu (2007) consider corruption as the exploitation of public position, resources and power for private gain. Fieldstad&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 (the 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.The effects of corruption on a nation’s economy are damaging. A nation inundated with corruption cannot be viable economically; neither can the system generate enough support/ affection required for the survival of democratic system. This is a situation inNigeria where corruption has become part and parcel of the political culture. Corruption has indeed robbed Nigerians the benefit of economic development because scarce available resources that should have been deployed to execute development project have gone into private foreign accounts. Corruption is widespread in Nigeria, not because the people are different from other parts of the world, but because the conditions are ripe for it. There are many reasons why this is so. The motivation to earn income from among the populace is relatively stronger; exacerbated by poverty, unemployment and lowwages. In many developing countries Nigeria inclusive, accountability is generally weak. Political competition and civil liberties are restricted. Laws and principles of ethics in governance are poorly developed and the legal institutions charged with enforcing them are ill-prepared. The research seeks to investigate corruption in Nigeria as a threat to sustainable Economic development using Ministry of Agriculture as a case study
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