Welcome to myschoollibrary! In our social studies lesson today, we will be looking at the topic “Corruption”. Do have a pleasant time studying with us!
Subject: Social Studies
Learning Objectives: The learners should be able to do the following by the end of the lesson:
- Explain the term Corruption;
- Identify the types of corruption;
- State the causes of corruption;
- State the effects of Corruption;
- Suggest ways of preventing corruption.
What is Corruption?
Corruption is dishonest or illegal behaviour. Corrupt behaviour involves the use of one’s position or power to do something dishonest by obtaining money in return, such as when a policeman collects money from a criminal and allows him to go through a checkpoint. Corruption is an effort to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private benefit at the expense of the public. Thus, people in authority can be said to be corrupt when they abuse or misuse public or government power for illegitimate private advantage. It involves the breaking of established rules for personal gain and profit. Such an abuse for public power may not necessarily be for one’s private benefit. It may be for the benefit of one’s party, class, tribe, friend or family.
Types of Corruption
Forms of political corruption include bribery, influence peddling, fraud, embezzlement and nepotism. While corruption often facilitates criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking, money laundering and organized prostitution, it is not restricted to these organised crime activities and it does not always support or shield other crimes
Examples of corruption as identified by the Nigerian anti-corruption law include bribery, gratification, influence peddling and insincerity in providing advice with a view of gaining an advantage, less than a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, lateness and laziness and failure to report cases of inducement to the appropriate authorities.
Causes of Corruption
i. Concentration of Power in a Few Hands: Some conditions are responsible for corruption. For instance, when government structures put too much power in the hands of decision makers who do not give account to the people, and democratic processes are absent or not functioning well corruption thrives. But effective democratic processes, parliamentary systems, political stability and freedom of the press lead to lower corruption.
ii. Appointments based on Political Considerations: When government appointments are based on politics and people are appointed without merit, corruption will increase.
iii. Poor Salary: If people in government are poorly paid and their salary is not enough for them to survive on, they will try to make up by collecting bribes.
iv. Forming Cliques: Corruption also thrives where society is dominated by closed cliques and ‘old boy’ networks. This is a situation in which some group of people who have power try to prevent others from doing well and want to secretly keep everything for themselves alone.
v. Illiteracy and Ignorance: When people are illiterate or ignorant and are unable to understand what is going on, they can be deceived by those who want to steal public money.
vi. Low Personal Integrity: When personal integrity is rated as less important than other characteristics, then corruption will be the order of the day.
vii. A Weak Rule of Law: Generally, when the rule of law is weak, the judicial system is not functioning properly and corrupt people are not punished, then corruption will blossom.
viii. Expensive Political Campaigns: Costly political campaigns, with expenses going beyond normal sources of political funding, and the absence of adequate controls to prevent bribery or ‘campaign donations’ during elections provide room for corrupt practices.
ix. Greed: An excessive desire for wealth without consideration for others can lead to corruption. Some people want to possess almost everything without thinking of the needs and desires of others and this leads them into engaging in corrupt practices so that they can acquire more wealth.
x. Social Attachment to Material Wealth: When a society places much emphasis on the possession of material wealth as a means of increasing one’s social status, then people will do everything possible, including illegal means like corruption, to acquire such wealth.
xi. Poverty and Economic Insecurity: Lack or insufficiency of the basic necessities of life and not being sure of what the future holds would make many people to be involved in corrupt practices.
Effects of Corruption
Corruption poses a serious problem because it destroys society. It undermines democracy and good governance by disregarding or even destroying formal processes and rules of behaviour. Corruption at elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability. Corruption in the judiciary undermines the rule of law. It means that justice is being sold, so that if you have money you can pay a judge to make a decision in your favour. This is very bad and may lead to lawlessness.
Corruption in public administration leads to unfair and inefficient provision of services. There may be poor electricity supply and the roads may be left without maintenance because the money for providing and maintaining these services have been stolen by corrupt officials. More generally, corruption makes it difficult for government to work well. Procedures are not followed, resources are stolen and public officials are bought and sold. This, corruption undermines the democratic values of trust and tolerance.
Corruption in society is not limited to government alone. Corruption also describes what happens when people cheat and steal in any area of organisation. One common form of corruption in schools is examination malpractice. This should be avoided. It undermines the integrity of the examination process and spoils the entire school system.
Other effects of corruption are:
a. Low Level of Development: A society will not develop fast. It will not be able to provide for the needs of the people of that society adequately. Schools, hospitals, good roads, electricity and so on will not be sufficiently provided, as only a few people would take what is meant for the whole society and use it for themselves and their family members.
A corrupt society may eventually lose its sense of right and wrong, and will degenerate into a lawless one.
b. Results in Crime: Criminal activities become the order of the day in a corrupt society, as people’s faith in doing the right thing is lost. People feel that doing what is good, right and just does not pay.
c. Bad Projection of a Country’s Image: A corrupt country has a bad image both at home and abroad. People in a corrupt country tend to lose faith in themselves and find it difficult to trust one another. Foreigners also find it hard to do business with a corrupt country because they lose confidence in dealing with it’s people. Nigeria has been rated as one of the most corrupt countries of the world, making it difficult for Nigerians to transact business with foreigners and even to deal with them in other areas.
Prevention of Corruption
i. Hard Work: People should cultivate the habit of hard work in order to achieve their goals in life. Nothing good comes easy. It is when people try to get what they want without putting in much effort that they start to think of illegal ways of achieving them.
ii. Education: Education eradicates illiteracy and Ignorance. An educated society is not easily deceived. The people know their rights and are capable of defending such rights against those who want to deceive them and steal public money. Also, with good education, people can get good jobs to sustain themselves and their families.
iii. Commitment to Moral Values: There should be a commitment to a society’s sense of right and wrong. The society should uphold it’s moral standards, deemphasis the possession of material wealth and preach more about good character and uprightness, as marks of a successful life, than material possession.
iv. Strengthening Anti-corruption Agencies: The government should strengthen anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police and the judiciary, by getting rid of the bad eggs among them and providing them with more money to carry out their functions and pay their workers well. Also, those who are discovered to be corrupt must not only punished but severely. This will serve as way of discouraging others from becoming corrupt.
Done studying? Assess your learning progress with the following questions:
1. What do you understand by the term corruption?
2. Mention four different types of corruption.
3. Explain four factors responsible for corruption.
4. What are three effects of corruption in your country?
5. Describe three steps that the government of your country can take in reducing corrupt practices.
Were you able to answer those questions? Kudos!!
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