Modern Nigeria and the Roots of Corruption: A Historico-Philosophical Reflection

Cyrille Ngamen Kouassi


It is very difficult if not impossible to come to term with a universally accepted definition of corruption. Basically, however, it is admitted almost all over the world that corruption or corrupt behaviour involves the violation of established rules for personal gain and profit. In other words corruption is an illegal exchange. The main thrust of this paper therefore, is to demonstrate that the so-called “institutionalized corruption” in modern Nigeria is the result of the loss of the Nigerian identity to the benefit of colonialism and imperialism. From historical perspective, it is evident that pre-colonial Africans in general and Nigerians in particular, were honest, humble and disciplined people with a high sense of love, justice and equity. This study made use of secondary data that were subjected to internal appraisal. This paper posits that there is a strong correlation between corruption and capitalism which appear to be the by-products of colonialism and imperialism in modern Africa. The paper then recommends that if modern Nigerians genuinely and effectively desire to address the issue of corruption there appears to be no other alternative than to go back to traditional or pre-colonial societal values of Africa because a person’s personality and integrity are rooted in his or her culture.

Keywords: Corruption, Colonialism, Culture, Imperialism and Modern Nigeria.

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