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Corruption is a world-wide phenomenon which has been in societies throughout history. It has
caused political and economic instability in societies and it has also led to social conflict and
violence in the local government sector and also to the society at large. Corruption has been
identified as one of the major problems confronting effective local government administration in
According to Harsh (1993), corruption is a practical problem involving the outright theft,
embezzlement of funds or other appropriation of state property, nepotism and granting of favors
to personal acquaintance. Furthermore, he said corruption involves the behavior which deviates
from moral and constitutional requirements. Also, Odey (2002), contextualized corruption in
Nigeria as the air which every living person breathes in naturally, he said corruption in Nigeria
has been so naturalized that many of us becomes corrupt without making any effort and often
without knowing it. Despite the availability and expenditure in the extremely large amounts of
foreign exchange derived mainly from Nigeria’s oil and gas resources, economic growth has
been weak and the incidence of poverty has increased. It is estimated that Nigeria received over
$22 billion from oil export between 1981 and 1999. Yet the number of Nigerians living in abject
poverty, that is, on less than $1 a day doubled between 1970 and 2000 and the proportion of
people living in poverty rose from 36% in 1970 to 70% in 2000. With the above quotation, it is
seen that corruption within Nigeria is the main cause of this problem.
Corruption is the greatest bane of local government administration in Nigeria. At the grass-root
level, corruption has been accommodated, entertained and celebrated within the system. In the
local government setting, corruption is labeled and referred to as “EGUNJE”, ( a slogan which
means “illegal offer” in Nigeria). Unfortunately, Democracy, which is assumed to be the antidote
to corruption, is not well practiced at the grass-root level. Kolawole (2006) laments this situation
when he opines that “in spite of the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and
Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC), corruption still strives in our society”. In his
analysis, Kolawole was of the view that lack of funds was no more a constraint on local
government performance, but a mismanagement and misappropriation of funds accruable to it.
The term local government administration in Nigeria has attracted serious attention both
nationally and internationally since the great local government reform of 1976, thus the initiator
of the 1976 Local Government Reforms as contained in the guidelines (1976), emphasized the
basic features of local government as “government at the local level exercised through
representative council established by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas”.
These powers would give substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and
institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of services and to determine
and implement projects so to complement the activities of the state and the federal government in
their areas, and ensure through active participation of the people and their traditional institutions
that local initiatives and response to local needs are maximized. Local government is the closest
tier of government to the people of Nigeria, yet the resident population in it is denied the benefits
of its existence. Awa (1981) defines local government as “a political authority set up by a nation
or a state as a subordinate authority for the purpose of dispersing or decentralizing political
power”. Equally, the United Nations office for public administration (1976) sees local
government or local government administration as a political sub-division of a nation or (in a
federal system) state, which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs,
including the power to impose taxes or to exert labour for prescribed purposes. The governing
body of such an entity is elected or otherwise locally selected.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 1999 as amended 2011), defined local
government as government at the local level exercise through representative council established
by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas. These powers should give the local
government council substantial over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional and
financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of services and to determine and implement
projects so as to complement the activities of the state and federal government in the areas to
ensure through devolution of functions to their councils and through the active participation of
the people and traditional institutions that local initiative and response to local needs and
conditions are maximized.
The study area of this research work is based on Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa
State. Bayelsa state was created on October 1st, 1996 out of the old Rivers state by the then
regime of General SanniAbacha. The name Bayelsa, is an acronym of the first three (3) letters of
the major local government areas known as Brass-BALGA, Yenagoa-YELGA and SagbamaSALGA, these three acronyms formed BAYELSA. The then Brass LGA is what makes up the
present Nembe, Brass and Ogbia local government areas; the then Yenagoa LGA consists of the
present Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw local government areas and the then
Sagbama LGA is what makes up the present Sagbama and Ekeremor local government areas.
Bayelsa has a population of around 2million people. Its capital is at Yenagoa, the traditional
center of the Ijaw people, Nigeria’s fourth largest ethnic group after Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo;
while Ijaw dialects are spoken by most Bayelsan’ people. English is the state’s official language.
The state covers an area of about 21’000 square km, and about three-quarters of its total area lies
under water. Bayelsa state is located in the southern part of Nigeria. It shares boundaries with
Rivers state on the West, on the East and South by the Atlantic Ocean and on the North by Delta
state. The local population engages in mostly fishing and farming on a subsistence and
commercial level. Bayelsa state has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in
Nigeria and a thriving petroleum sector. The first oil found in commercial quantities in Nigeria
was found in 1956, in an area that is currently part of Bayelsa state. The state consists of eight
local government areas which are Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama, Yenagoa, Nembe, Brass,
Ogbia, Epie/Atissa and Ekeremor local government areas.
Yenagoa is a local government area in Bayelsa state, Nigeria. It has an area of 706km square and
a population of 353,344 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 561. Yenagoa is the
traditional home of the Ijaw people. The Ijaw forms the majority of Bayelsa state. English
language is the official language, but Epie/Atissa language, one of the Ijaw languages, is the
major local language spoken in yenagoa. Since attaining the status of state capital in 1996,
construction and other activities have accelerated appreciably.
The state of corruption in Nigeria has been categorized as endemic. Corruption has not only been
classified as a major problem in local government administration but it has also been identified
as a major obstacle to the national growth and development of the economy. Research has shown
that corrupt practices have been perpetrated not only in local government administration but also
in public and private places since the pre-colonial era to the colonial period and through
independence till date. Absence of democracy and good governance gives way to corruption;
also poverty is an inducement to corruption at the grass root level. Many of the local government
representatives are jobless; they go into politics to make money rather than to serve the purpose
to which they were elected. Apart from poverty itself, the fear of poverty is another factor,
people are afraid of going back to poverty after the completion of their tenure or after retirement,
this then results to stealing of public funds.
Corruption also flourishes under weak leadership and weak government. When political or
administrative leader cannot effectively control people under him, corruption becomes imminent,
due to the fact that most of the funds meant for public project will be diverted to their private
purse as a result of lapse in the system. Also, low wages and salaries as well as greed also brings
about corruption, this is as a result of lack of effective accountability in the system. Local
government officials are not held responsible for their actions as well as their inactions and also
there is no strict adherence to the rules guiding the local government system. The local
government system in the country is characterized by ethical perversion and moral depravity.
The masses are not carried along in the execution and implementation of projects, projects are
done on papers without recourse to inspection and probity.
There are different problems facing local government administration in Nigeria, but the main
problem facing local government administration in Nigeria is the issue of corruption. As a matter
of fact, mere mention of local government includes corruption. The popular myth propagated by
the local government officials is that the councils are always short of funds. No doubt, the heavy
funding that runs into billions of naira as seen from the tables of budgeting may not be enough
because of the high level of corruption in the councils. It has also been observed that most local
government councils do not accord adequate regard to the budget process. The outcome of this
situation is the indiscriminate and unplanned execution of projects. The state government which
would have served as a check is not free from this problem either. These contracts are inflated
and worst still, the projects are not executed and there by defeating the essence of these budgets.
Every research work contains diverse objectives to be achieved at the end of the research. Thus,
the objective of this research work is to assess corruption and local government administration in
Nigeria specifically in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa state. The specific objectives
of this study are:
1. To ascertain that accountability and transparency are encouraged and promoted in the local
government system.
2. To identify mechanisms to put in place for an effective and efficient administration in the local
government system.
3. To analyze ways in which the conditions of the people living in the grass roots can be
4. To describe the modalities of bringing meaningful socio-political and economic development
of the grass root.
5. To identify the challenges facing project monitoring and evaluation in Nigerian local
government systems.
The research questions that would be considered in the course of this research work are:
1. Why have local governments, (including Yenagoa local government area) in Nigeria, despite
their various sources of revenue been unable to contribute meaningfully to national economic
2. How can corruption be reduced in local government systems of Nigeria, especially in Yenagoa
local government system of Nigeria?
3. How has the nature and structure of local government in Nigeria affected it revenue
That accountability and transparency have not been encouraged in local government system of
That adequate mechanism was not put in place for an effective and efficient administration in the
local government system.
That the condition of the people living in the grass root has not been improved.
The benefits of this research work are;
1. To incorporate mechanisms to support public infrastructural development and its appropriate
financing at the grass root level.
2. This study will add to the existing literatures on corruption and it will also be useful for the
policy makers, the government and other stakeholders to proffer solutions to other problems.
This study is expected to research on Corruption and Local Governments Administration in
Nigeria. However, in view of time and other constraints, Yenagoa Local Government Area in
Bayelsa State has been chosen to be the representative of all other local governments in Nigeria.
In view of the technicalities involve, it would be unrealistic to assume that all necessary facts
would be gathered in the process of this research work. This study is expected to assist other
researchers in this context of study. However, the research work is constrained by the following;
1. Time constraint: since time is very essential, other academic programs have put limits to this
study, therefore, it is impossible to cover various areas that were intended to be covered.
2. The confidentiality of the local government workers has also put limitations to this study.
This study contains five chapters. In the first chapter, the subject matter, objectives, research
questions, research hypothesis, significance of study, scope of study are contained in the first
chapter. The second chapter contains literature review; chapter three contains the research
methodology adopted for this study, while chapter four contains the data presentation, data
analysis and the interpretation. The final chapter which is chapter five contains the summary of
findings, conclusions and recommendations.
1. Allocation: this is an amount of money that is given to somebody for a particular purpose. It
is also the act of giving something to somebody for a particular purpose.
2. Embezzlement; it means to steal money that you are responsible for, or that belong to your
employer and is kept in your care.
3. Accountability: it is an act of being responsible for your decisions and expected to explain
them when you are asked.
4. Corruption: it means a dishonest or illegal behavior, especially of the people in authority. It is
also the act or effect of making somebody change from moral to immoral standards of behavior.
5. Equalization: it is an act of making things equal in size, quantity, value .e.t.c, I the whole of a
place or a group.
6. Administration: these are the activities that are done in order to plan, organize and run a
business, school or other institutions in a country.
7. Revenue: this the money that the government receives from taxes, or that an organization
receives from its business to help improve the growth of such business or to help develop the
8. Transparency: this is the quality of something such as a situation or an argument, that makes it
easy to understand
9. Misappropriation: this is an act of taking somebody else’s money or property for yourself,
especially when they have trusted you to take care of it.
10. Grass-roots: these are ordinary people in the society or an organization, rather than the
leaders who make decisions in the society, such as the federal government and the local


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