The Effect of Political Corruption in Nigerian Government and Politics

The Effect of Political Corruption in Nigerian Government and Politics ( A Case study of Anambra State 1999-2010)

According to the Africans in America news watch special report of November 19,2009. Godfathrrism is both a symptom and a cause of the violence and corruption that together permeate the political process in Nigeria, public officials who owe their position to the efforts of a political godfather incur a debt they are expected to repay without and throughout their tenure in office. Godfathers are only relevant because politicians are able to deploy violence and corruption with impurity to compete for office in contests that often effectively, and some times actually exclude Nigeria’s voters altogether. But their activities also help to reinforce the central role of violence and corruption in polities by making it even more difficult to win elected office without resorting to the illegal tactics they present. Nigeria’s godfatherism phenomenon is not unique to the ruling PDP, but as with many of the other abuses described in this report it seem most often in the conduct of PFP officials as both a cause and a result of the party’s success in maintaining its power.

What are godfathers in Nigerian electoral system?

In Nigeria, the term godfather calkla money-bags! Alkla, loan-shacks) refers to superfluously very wealthy men (no known woman yet) that finance elections.

When the godfathers sponsor election, they normally corner the government treasure and control the government in order to recoup their investment. It is more like a business enterprises. When the godfathers sponsor election, the indigenes of the state become virtually their salves until they satisfactorily get the return they want. The problem is that, the term of their investment are secret in most cases and their greed is most often insatiable. The problem of godfatherism is a subject the people of Anambra state understand very well, more than any other state in Nigeria.

In this segment of the research, attempt shall be made to review relevant literature with regards to the under consideration. I it, we hope to underscore some basic facts such as the godfatherisms, phenomenon, that is prevailing Nigerian government and politics, the madness of second tenure system, lack of local autonomy and other social vice associated with political corruptions in Nigerian government and politics.

Therefore, for effective control of corruption on Nigeria, the society must develop a culture of relative openness, in contrast to the current bureaucratic climate of secrecy. And a merit system (instead of the tribal bias, state of origin and nepotism or favoritism which have coloured the landscape) should be adopted in employment and distribution of national resources etc.

More importantly, the leadership must muster the political will to tackle the problem head on (see report on second global forum on fighting and safeguarding integrity, May 28-31, 1999). Regardless of where it occurs. The government’s human rights record remained poor, and government officials at all levels continued to commit serious abuses. Inadequate infrastructures, endemic corruption and general economic mismanagement hindered economic growth. The much of the country’s wealth remained concentrated in the hands of a small elite more than 70 percent of citizens live on less than one dollar per day. What causes corruption is likely to have a more profound and different effects in less developed countries, than in wealthy and developed societies. This is due to a variety of conditions, which cannot deviate significantly from the nature of their under development society (dye 1967). Because of the corrosive effects of corruption in national development, and given the relative limited resources or poverty in the region, Africa and indeed Nigeria, can least afford to be corrupt.


Corruption pervades all levels of government in Nigeria 86 in 2006 the head of Nigeria’s economic and financial crimes committee, Nulu Rihadu, estimated that Nigeria lost some U$380 billion to corruption between independence in 196- and the end of military rule in 1999. 87 Nigeria’s corruption epidemic has continued since then. Exact figures he impossible to come by, but some western diplomats estimate that Nigeria lost a minimum average of $4billion per year to corruption over the eight years of the Obasnjo administration. 88 that figure would equal between 4.25% and 9.5% of Nigeria’s total (GDP) in 2006. To put those numbers in perspective, a loss of 9.5% of the united state GDP to corruption in 2006 should have translated into #1.25trillion in stolen funds or #222billion (GDP 108.6 billion 89) in the case of the united kingdom’s economy.


Not all aspirants to political office in Nigeria can raise on their own the substantial resources usually necessary to compete in the country’s violent and corrupt political system-especially if they do not enjoy control over public resources to being with. As a result, in many parts of Nigeria, successful candidates are often those who are “sponsored” by wealthy and powerful individuals known in Nigeria pa-lance as political godfathers

These godfathers are not mere financial of political campaigns. Rather they are individuals whose power stems not just from wealth but form their ability to deploy violence and corruption to manipulate national, state or local political systems in support of politicians they sponsor. In return, they demand a substantial degree of control over the government they help bring into not in order to shape government policy, but to exact direct financial returns” in the form of government resources stolen by their proteges or lucrative government contract awarded to them as further opportunities for graft.

Godfathers also require their sponsored politicians to use government institutions to generate patronage for other proteges examples:

The former Oyo state governor victor, Olunloyo explained the relationship between politicians and their godfathers in this way:

“money flows up and down. These honourable members ( of the Oyo state House of Assembly), during election period, they want the patronage of the puppeteer. Afterward money will flow in the opposite direction back form the puppet to the puppeteer.


The effects of corruption on a nation socio political and economic development are myriad. The negative effects impacts, economic growth as it, among other things, educes public spending on education (Mauro, 1997: and 1995). Lipset and lenz note that the effect on growth, is in part, a result of educed level of investment, as it adds to investment risk (2000). The effect of corruption on education comes from the fact that the government spends relatively more on items to make room for graft (Shleifer & Vishny, 1993: lipset & lenz, 2002). And corrupt government officials would shift government expenditure to areas in which they can collect bribes easily. Large and hard-to-manage projects, such as airports or high ways, make fraud easy. In addition, poverty and income inequalities are tied to corruption (Lipset & Lenz 2000).

Development projects are often made unnecessarily complex in Nigeria to justify the corrupt and huge expenses on it. The new national stadium in Abuja, which is said to have gulped millions of naira more than necessary, is a case in point.


Many studies have been conducted that show the evils or consequences of corruption. And corruption has taught the Nigerian a dangerous and wrong less on that it does not pay to be honest, hardworking and law-abiding. Through corrupt means many political office holders acquire wealth and properties in and outside Nigeria and many display their wealth (which is beyond the means), but the society does not blink. This has made politics a big business in Nigeria, because  anything spent to secure a political office is regarded as an investment, which matures immediately one gets into office (The Guardian, July 14 2002).

Corruption wastes skills as precious time is often wasted to set up unending committees to fight corruption, and to monitor public projects. It also leads to aid forgone some foreign donors do not give aid to corrupt natures for instance the international monetary fund (IMF) has withdrawn development support form some nations that are notoriously corrupt and the world bank has introduced tougher anti-corruption standards into its lending policies to corrupt countries.

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