Theoretical Perspectives and the Challenges of Corruption in Nigerian Democracy

Solomon Otubo ,Anwar Seman Kedir
Keywords: Democracy, Corruption, Political Institutions, Political Culture ,


This study is premised on analyzing the relationship between democracy and corruption, and how it shaped the Nigerian state. In the past studies on democracy and corruption, analyst in most models, assume a linear relationship, where the advent of democracy is expected to reduce the level of corruption in a country. Other models assume non-linear relationship, which were based on the assumptions that democracy can only reduce corruption at an advanced stage of political development. The premise of both linear and nonlinear model hypotheses offers an insightful information in discussing the casual relationship between democracy and corruption, however their methods and sampling techniques are inadequate and inconclusive on how to theoretically explain issues posed by this relationship. Notwithstanding, some of the recent studies on democracy and corruption focused on conditional hypothesis which assumed a U-effect relationship between democracy and corruption. It suggested that corruption occur at an early stage of democratization with low per capita income. This study synthesizes across these propositions and suggest that, to explain the casual relationship and the effect between democracy and corruption in a country, it is important to explicitly analyze some of the quasi endogenous political factors which are inherent in explaining political outcomes. This study examines these endogenous factors as implicit to uniform practices found in the measurement of democratic principles. Thus, it argues that political culture and political institution controlled in a case study analytic approach such as Nigeria will provide enough theoretical explanations on the relationship between democracy and corruption. Thus, it will argue that weak political institutions established through culture of corruption cannot produce efficiency and accountability, irrespective of democratic longevity. The debates and challenges of corruption in Nigeria’s democracy will further demonstrate that democratic institutions which did not emerge through a systematic political culture will produce political outcome that are favourable to corrupt opportunities.