The problem of corruption has been a major problem in every nations of the world. Different issues have been blamed on as the cause of corruption and its effect on society is enormous. The issue of corruption in Nigeria is endemic and widespread. Through various studies, capitalism has been traced to be one of the major causes of corruption in the Nigerian society. This is linked to Karl Marx’s concept of capitalism where he sees capitalism as a device in the hands of the rich to oppress the poor, which is similar to the case of the Nigerian society. Today, it is clear that those in power are major capitalists and by the position they claim, they control the affairs of our country. They are also in charge of appointing whom to rule and whom not to in order to enhance their corrupt practices. This is a problem in our Nigerian society that needs to be addressed with immediate effect and drastic measure needs to be taken to avert the evil that follows corruption.


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1.1   Background to the Study

The word corruption can be defined as a situation where people are willing to use their power to do dishonest or illegal things in return for money or to get an advantage1. It is dishonest or illegal behavior, especially of people in authority. It can also be seen as the act or effect of making somebody change from moral to immoral standards of behavior.

In recent times, corruption has reached such an epidemic proportion that something urgent and drastic need to be done before the entire fabric of the society collapses. The newspapers are filled with stories of corruption and successive government, have taken measures to stamp out this canker-worm. New criminals are taking pains to study the case of their predecessors in other to avoid their pitfalls, cover identifiable loopholes and perfect previous tactics and strategies. Indeed, it has been that if Nigerians devote only 10% of their energy and resources they spend on devising strategies for sidetracking regulations on positive and productive activities, Nigeria would have since achieved unparalleled growth and development.

Good governance guarantees the common good. Confucius calls it “public good”, Aristotle calls it “the good life”, and in Nigeria it is referred to as “democratic dividend”. This common good is achieved through the patriotic zeal, effort and contribution of every citizen. Common good is the totality of public goods and services, ranging from good education, functional hospitals, good road networks, stable policy and economy, protection of lives and properties, promotion of human rights, good laws and so on. This, according to Aristotle, is the essence of forming a political society.

At issue here is how Karl Marx concept of society can be applied to Nigerian government in the fight against corruption, because it is seen that corruption in Nigerian could be majorly traced to government. For Marx, capitalism is what he sees as corruption. He sees capitalism as an instrument in the hand of the rich (which he calls Bourgeoisies) which they use to exploit the poor (which he calls the Proletariats).

Though, at first, capitalism was not totally seen as a bad system for man, Marx did not fail to point out some of its benefits. The main aim of capitalism was to encourage hard work in the sense that, all men work for what they earn. But as time went by, the capitalist imbibed greed and used their position to exploit the poor masses. The capitalist squeezed the working class like a sponge to extract the last drop of profit. Marx examined the sufferings within capitalism which were rooted in its origin.

Nigerian politics today is similar to that of Machiavellianism, according to Machiavelli in his book The Prince, the essential thing in politics is to try and grab power by all means fair or foul, and having been able to grab it all means must be used to retain it1. In doing this, one should simply ignore morality and use moral or immoral means, provided that one succeeds in the end. The ultimate goal of all political activities is according to Machiavelli, to grab power. Once one has succeeded in doing this, any means used to achieve it is justified2. The philosophy of Machiavelli is very practical to situation in Nigeria were people use all possible means, fair or foul to Gain power and after gaining such power they do everything to protect it. Corruption as we have said has adhered effect or impacts in developing countries like Nigeria and if not checked can wipe out a generation.

1.2   Statement of Problem

The Fact that Nigeria is corrupt is no longer a hidden phenomenon and the effects are so glaring. According to Chinua Achebe, anybody who can say corruption in Nigeria has not yet become alarming is either a fool, a crook or else does not live in this country. The problem of this study is – how does capitalism engender corruption? How does capitalism in government affect the good functioning of government? What is the relationship between capitalism and corruption in governance in Nigeria?These questions guide us through and form most of the issues this work intends to tackle.

1.3   Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this project is to expose the meaning of the concept “corruption”, its causes and effect on the Nigerian society as a whole as related to capitalism, and to fashion out workable solutions to this problem.

1.4   Method of the Study

This work shall take an analytic approach. To achieve this, we will make use of secondary and primary materials as major sources to rely on.

1.5   Scope of the Study

The concept of corruption as a social evil is not peculiar to Nigeria. Other nations of the world have one time or the other experienced corrupt practices. However, this project is limited to Nigerian society and its government.

1.6   Structure of the Work

This work is divided into four chapters. Chapter one looks at the preliminary pages which include; Background to the study, statement of problem, statement of purpose, the scope of study, method of the study, structure of the work and significance of study. Chapter two contains literature review on the topic. Chapter three concentrates on Karl Marx’s ideal state and solution to corruption. Chapter four contains summary and conclusion of the work.

1.7   Significance of the Study

The major problems in Nigeria today stern from corruption and are too numerous to mention. Nigeria is in dire need of measures and solution to curb this disease. By reason of this work, I believe that this problem will be given a lasting solution.


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