Corruption in Nigeria: conceptual and empirical notes

Mustapha, Mala (2010) Corruption in Nigeria: conceptual and empirical notes. Information, society and justice journal, 3 (2). pp. 165-175. ISSN 1756-1078


Corruption has been widely defined as ‘the misuse of public power for private gain’ and symptomized a dysfunctional nature of political a system. This article identifies another ramification of the terms ‘corruption’ and/or ‘prebendalism’ within the prism of the Nigerian political culture. Whilst acknowledging the importance of the ‘grand narrative’ in the conceptual interpretation of the term, this article seeks to go beyond this state-centric analysis by invoking ‘spoilization of the system’ approach to explain how informalized nature of corruption and other acts of societal impropriety not least, financial fraud tagged ‘419’, ‘oil bunkering’ etc operating at the micro and indeed unofficial level of the state impact negatively on state-society relations. This article examines the manifestations of the ‘spoilization of the system’. Hence, the aim of the article is not to underscore the superficiality of the prevalence of the state-centric discourse on spoil politics in Nigeria or to enunciate a global theorizing; rather it attempts to explore the neglected conceptual relevance and context peculiarities that fit into the dynamics of unofficial corruption of the state as an additional discourse to the on-going debate on corruption in the Nigerian state.

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