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Corruption is one of the major reasons for the Third Worlds’ underdevelopment. Nigeria, a country among the third world state is not immune to corruption. The federal and state government in an attempt to show that they are not insensitive to the prevalence of corruption has accordingly provided some institutional structures for battling corrupt and felonious conduct.
In spite of the fact that these structures exist, corrupt practices multiplies by day. It has been observed that the major reason for the abysmal implementation of poverty alleviation policies is due to the prevalence of corruption.
Taking Akwa Ibom State as a case study, this paper seeks to proffer explanation as to how corruption affects implementation of poverty alleviation policies in the State. In order to achieve this, we shall investigate to discover the inroads of corruption during implementation.
We also intend to investigate to know whether the anti-corruption structures are functioning effectively as well as finding out what may be the reason for their ineffective performance. With a good theoretical backing, the paper will explain why some people are corrupt when they are entrusted with public funds.
1.1 Background of the Study
Every since her independence in 1960, and her subsequent attainment as a republic in 1963, Nigeria has been battling the malaise of corruption and poverty. Several policies and programmes have also been formulated to tackle these two factors which are not only accused of causing backwardness, but also to a greater extent serves as an impediments to development.
Though blessed with bounteous natural resources, Nigeria is generally regarded as one of the poorest country in the developing or Third World States. As always shown in the United Nations Development Programme’s Report, Nigeria always occupy pathetic positions as one of the poorest state in the world.
In spite of the plethora of poverty alleviation strategies which past government had initiated and implemented, a World’s Bank Report indicated that Nigeria’s Human Development Index (HDI) was only 0.416 and that about 70 percent of the population was vegetating below the bread line.
This situation has elicited responses from several administrations of the Nigerian government since independence. For example, policies and programmes set up by the past administrations to alleviate poverty includes:
Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Better Life for Rural Dwellers (BLD) Family Support Programme (FSP) Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) Agricultural Development Project (ADP) Oil mineral producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEO) Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and a host of others.
It has been observed and revealed by scholars that corruption is the main obstacle towards the realization of these policies and programmes. This malaise seem to halt development in all its ramification despite the amount of effort put by government to alleviate people from poverty.
On assumption of office on May 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo took upon his administration the major task of redressing the twin problems of poverty and corruption. In an effort to reduce these impediments, President Obasanjo earmarked the sum of N10 billion for the establishment of poverty alleviation programme and on the 29th of September 2000, he inaugurated the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to battle corruption. (Eminue, 2005).
Akwa Ibom State, a sub state of Nigeria is certainly not immune to the diseases of poverty and corruption. Accordingly, both the state and federal government has provided the state with the institutional structures for poverty eradication. Some of these structures includes:
Life Enhancement Agency Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) Family Support Programme (FSP) etc
Like past Poverty Alleviation Programmes, it has been discovered that the unrelenting hands of corruption has touched these programmes thus becoming the major constraint, accused of causing the ineffective functioning of these laudable programmes.
In order to save these programmes from total decay, this research project seeks to discover how corruption affects the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies. It also aims discovering the causes of corruption during implementation as well as providing adequate measures to eliminating it.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that corruption is the main obstacle towards the realization of poverty alleviation programmes in Akwa Ibom State. Corruption has blocked the poor from enjoying and attaining the aims and objectives of these programmes.
In spite of the fact that these programmes are present, the poor gets poorer by day. This is the problem which impedes the attainment of goals of poverty reduction strategies in the State.
To expose this problem, pertinent questions are asked:
What causes corruption during implementation? How does corruption affect the implementation of poverty alleviation programme? What are the effect of corruption on the poor? Are the implementors affected by corruption? Are the Anti-corruption structures effective?
Provision of answers to these questions shall be very beneficial in dealing with corruption.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
When the statement of the problem is examined, the objective of this study may be summarized as follows:
To investigate how corruption affects the implementation of poverty alleviation policies in the State. To discover the in roads of corruption during implementations. To discover the real culprits of corrupt practices. To prescribe who the government should choose as implementors as well as beneficiaries. To investigate to ascertain whether the measures and structures for battling corruption are effective.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study shall contribute enormously to constructing a more robust implementational approach to poverty alleviation programme and at the same time ginger up anti-corruption structures to their work of battling down corruption.
It will also be useful to the implementors, beneficiaries and the government. It hopes to inform the government as to whether the mechanisms for tackling corruption is functioning effectively or abysmally.
Finally, this research will serve as a literature review for future researchers who may intend to update or carry out further research on the related issue.
Scope of the Study
This Research project will cover the landmass of Akwa Ibom State, with some important reference to the Nigerian state in general.
A theory explains why a phenomenon exist or occur. Therefore at this point, it is necessary to ask: can these problematics and corruption prone conditions not change? Can the average implementor become less corrupt and more patriotic? What way forward is available for this age long crime against humanity? An attempt to answer these questions would lead us to looking at the prescriptions of Abraham Maslow’s in his human relation theory tagged “Hierarchy of Needs”.
Corruption And Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Theory
Maslow was a psychologist who advanced the basic findings of Elton Mayo when he proposed his famous “needs hierarchy” in a 1943 article, “A theory of Human Motivation”, and his 1954 book, “Motivation and Personality” Maslow asserts that humans have five sets of goals or needs. These, he arranged in a hierarchy of strength of needs as illustrated below:
Fig. 1: Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy
To Maslow (1970), once the lower needs are met, they cease to be motivators for human behaviour. The higher needs Lemay, (2001) has added however, “will not serve as motivators until the lower needs are met”. (p.121). Thus a person will risk danger to get food shelter and clothing after which his thoughts turn to higher needs. Hence the average implementor in Nigeria dumps the spirit of patriotism and respect for the rules to the mud and engages in corrupt practices to satisfy his or her physiological needs. They engage in this irrespective of the risk involved to fulfill their family’s food, shelter and clothing needs which to a large extent, the present salary scale cannot cater for.
According to Maslow, “while it is true that man lives by bread alone” it is only the case where there is no bread when there is a plenty of bread, higher needs emerge – and these needs rather than simply psychological hunger, dominate the human organism. As these are met, higher needs emerge, and so on to the top of the hierarchy (Lemay 2001).
The case of the average Nigerian implementor is that with his present salary structure, he can hardly get enough “bread” for himself and family, how much more go for the higher needs. It is most likely that when these lower needs are properly taken care of, the implementor may have no reason to engage in corrupt practices.
The following hypotheses were postulated to give direction to the study.
Corruption is likely responsible for the abysmal implementation of the poverty alleviation programmes. Poor salary structure of implementors, resulting in corrupt practices, gives rise to poor implementation. Ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption measures and structures enhance poor implementation.
1.8 Method of Research
Our research methodology focuses on procedures used in the study and various methods through which the data were collected and analysed. It specifically deals with the population and sample of study, research design, data collection and procedure for data analysis.
Population /Sample of the Study: The population of this study consist of the staff in the Life Enhancement Agency of Akwa Ibom State, located along Babangida Avenue, Uyo. The sample consisted of forty staff of the Life Enhancement Agency who were randomly selected.
Research Design: The principal focus of the study was to find out how corruption affects the implementation of poverty alleviation programme in Akwa Ibom State. Data for the study was collected through questionnaire. It was constructed by the researcher through the assistance of the supervisor. It contained instructions and questions. Section A required on the personal data of the respondents while section B, asked questions on the topic of investigation.
The respondent were requested to mark “YES” or “NO” for each item on the instrument. A space was provided after each item for any reaction beyond simple “Yes” or “No”. The questionnaire was validated after several correction by the supervisor. It contained the necessary information needed for the research. Data collected from the secondary source, that is, records from Life Enhancement Agency were also valid because they were classified documents.
Data Collection: The data for this study were gathered by the researcher through:
. Primary Source – Questionnaire
Secondary Source – Records in the Life Enhancement Agency, Uyo
The questionnaire was administered in person by the researcher on the subject randomly selected for the study. The completed forms were collected immediately from each respondents after the exercise.
Procedure for Data Analysis: The data collected for the study were analyzed using the instrument of chi square.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Corruption: Corruption as applied to this study means outright embezzlement of public funds entrusted in one’s care and indulgent in bribes to satisfy one’s selfish desires.
Implementation: Implementation means the act of executing or carrying out the objectives and aims of a policy or programme.
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