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Issue 2016, 2

Corruption Perception Studies and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria

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Abstract: Perception studies of corruption have proliferated in the last decade. However, there is a lingering controversy over the proper us of the outputs from such studies to benefit anti-corruption efforts. Against this backdrop, these paper reviews the theoretical context of the perception studies of corruption and their justifications. It examined key perception studies of corruption at the global, regional and national levels in relation to Nigeria and discusses key issues associated with them. These include controversies around the definition of corruption, methodological issues such as the reliability of the perception approach to the study of corruption, possibilities of cross country comparisons, the connections between global, regional and local anticorruption studies and the issue of how such studies and rankings reflect power relations. The paper argues that perception studies will be significant and effective to the extent that elites and government officials continue to take the opinion and perception of citizens and other stakeholders seriously.

Keywords: Anti-Corruption, Governance reform, performance indicators, Perception studies, Nigeria.


There has been a global concern about corruption in the last two decades. These concerns have been followed by actions to address corruption at national, regional and international levels. These actions included the evolution of principles, conventions and compacts to stem the tide of corruption.

At the global level, the United Nations (UN) Convention against Corruption adopted in 2004, following a long process of negotiation, is a framework for criminalising, preventing and enforcing laws against corruption. It provides opportunity for cooperation, technical assistance and information exchange on anti-corruption (Webb 2005). The companies in the UN’s Global Compact against corruption have committed to abide by the TI’s Principles for Countering Bribery or the World Economic Forum’s Partnering against Corruption Initiative (Cockcroft 2010).

At the regional level, several conventions and agreements have been reached to deal with the problem of corruption. For instance, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention against Illicit Payments was established in 1997. The convention involved a fairly effective review process by the signatory states. African governments undertook to improve their political and economic governance regimes in order to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development under the New Partnership for African’s Development (NEPAD). They went on to establish the African Union’s (AU) Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance, which was signed in 2002 by African leaders. This was followed by the African Peer Review Mechanism to monitor progress and share knowledge. By acceding to the APRM, countries agree to meet its standards and requirements with respect to governance in these areas. The APRM provide ways to measure critical elements of governance for self-assessments and national programmes of action with the active participation of civil society. A critical element of APRM is the commitment to fighting corruption in the political sphere. The AU convention on Preventing and Combating corruption was established in 2003 (Angu 2014).

At the national level, countries where corruption is endemic have toughened anti-corruption laws and introduced anti-corruption institutions to address the menace, in addition to signing to these international conventions and peer review initiatives. Nigeria signed the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating corruption and the AU Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance on 26 September 2006. It set up the Independent Corruption and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2000 and followed it with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2004 as mark of the commitment to combating corruption in all spheres (Nigeria APRM 2008).

The effort to use peer review to advance anti-corruption efforts only draws from efforts within civil society and academia to understand corruption in its various dimensions, derive measures of anti-corruption and provide a ranking of country situations in relation to corruption. The latter effort has spurred a series of publications on corruption measures and rankings across the world, with Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as the flagship.

However, there is a lingering controversy over the proper us of the outputs from such studies to benefit anti-corruption efforts (Grodleland 2010, Andersson and Heywood 2009, Maria 2008). This paper reviews the theoretical context of the perception studies of corruption and their justifications. It identifies key periodic studies at the global, regional and national levels in relation to Nigeria. It explores the various uses of these studies and discusses key issues arising therefrom. Some of the issues identified included controversies around the definition of corruption, methodological issues such as the reliability of the perception approach to the study of corruption, possibilities of cross country comparisons, the connections between global, regional and local anticorruption studies and the issue of such studies and rankings as expressions of power relations. In general, such perception studies have been quite popular even though they have not been established in research as very useful in strengthening anti-corruption initiatives and institutions. This is largely because they do not focus on the root causes of corruption. The paper concludes by reflecting on the foregoing and provides insight on how research can inform the anti-corruption effort. Perception studies will be significant and effective to the extent that elites and government officials continue to take the opinion and perception of citizens and other stakeholders seriously.


Democratisation, Governance Reform and the Proliferation of Corruption Perception Studies

Perception studies of corruption are traceable to the series of democratic reforms that followed the fall of the Berlin wall, signalling the end of the cold. The democratic transition literature, which at first focused on the processes of transition, the challenges, forms and path of transitions processes, was popular in the early progress of the democratic third wave. Indeed, the enthusiasm that attended the democratic élan in Africa was so high that democratisation in Africa was celebrated as “second independence in Africa”. The promise of the first independence from colonial occupation was never fulfilled in many states to any significant extent. Thus, the emerging uprising against dictators and single parties was thought to hold a better promise of accountability and responsiveness of governments. What with the emergence of a variety of associations in civil society calling for change, challenging sit-tight rulers and military dictators! Even regional bodies, such as the AU were caught in quest to improve governance.

The concept of governance gained currency in international development in the 1990s just as democracy was attaining the status of a universal value. The intellectual pre-occupation with the democratisation process, democratic transition research, was to show that democratic experiments in Africa had experienced varied outcomes. From genuine transformations and relative successes to halted transitions, backslides to authoritarianism and state failures. The transition process in some countries witnessed escalating and repeated political violence and outbreaks of armed conflicts, such that many new democracies failed to deliver as they should in relations to some of the assumptions and predictions found in mainstream theoretical works on democratic transitions and democratization (Bratton and de Walle 1997).

Several efforts were made to explore how Africans view democracy and markets in order to determine the direction of the democratization process and to provide ideas on how to foster democratic deepening. Hence the series of Afro barometer surveys that became very popular. Several organisations have also conducted annual surveys to trace organisational involvement in public–policy making. For instance, the Democracy and Governance Research Programme on Social Movements of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has conducted a number of annual surveys since March 1994, in order to trace trends in membership of a range of organizations including political parties, civic organizations, trade unions, women’s organizations and traditional savings clubs, as well as the levels of trust.

Similarly, it was generally believed that democratic sustenance could only be guaranteed in the longer term if democracy was able to foster posterity and economic development. Concerns about the performance of democracy was ultimately linked to how power is exercised in the management of public affairs, hence the concerns about the governance capabilities and effectiveness of Africa’s new democracies. During this period, a lot of resources and research effort were invested in teasing out the elements of ‘good’ or ‘modern’ governance or of governance that conduce to development. Thus, since the 1990s when the wave of democratic reforms swept through the African continent, efforts have been directed at promoting not only democratic institutions but also the elements of good governance. Indeed, as part of the effort to make sense of the democratic pressures of the 1990s and give direction to the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Africa, the democratisation process was conceptualised as a process of cultivating and developing governance elements in Africa. Several academic researches teased out governance factors as they relate to state performance in terms of public administration, policy implementation and judicial predictability. Further engagement with governance took the form of an audit of key elements of governance such as voice and accountability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption to determine the extent to which they were present in the governance systems in African countries.

The performance assessments of African countries, in terms of specified governance indicators, was further informed by the belief that African countries were riddled by conflict and were poorer than their Asian and south American peers because of the deficits of governance. In the words of Kofi Annan, “good governance is…. the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” (1998). Attempts were made to identify certain governance indicators in the bid to be able to strengthen the quality of governance on the continent. But without a detailed investigation of the governance situation in Africa, the governance research agenda has scarcely gone beyond eliciting the perception of citizens on how African countries fare on the indicators governance.

In Governance Matters, the World Bank provided a compilation of indices such as corruption, freedom, competitiveness, trade openness, political risk, and receptivity to private enterprise as measures of good governance. This was in addition to subsisting indicators of development that are traditionally produced by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) the Human Development Index. In the context in which elections were problematic and democratic rule did not translate into state responsiveness and effectiveness in service delivery, the governance measures became quite popular as gauges of government performance and a basis of exhortation to African leaders.

Later on, improvement in the quality of governance was made the basis for access to aid by western donor countries. In this wise, aid was viewed as a tool that could be used to foster the cultivation of governance elements in the hope that they will lead to some of the desired improvement in the performance of the state in Africa and also enhance aid effectiveness.

Further still, the event of September 11, 2001 has redirected greater focus on governance effectiveness, owing to the belief that ungoverned spaces in fragile and failing states, constitutes opportunities for terrorists to flourish. Improved governance performance would advance material prosperity, lead to poverty reduction and thereby reduce potential for local and global conflict. It is believed that having a score card report on the status of governance of countries in the world would enable policy makers to identify and intervene in countries at the lower end of the scale where the “absence of good governance predisposes local populations to ethnic violence and increases the likelihood of civil war” (Rotberg 2004: 5).


Beyond Ranking: Some periodic Perception Studies of Corruption

In the 1990s a variety of institutions began to develop measures of the elements governance. Levels of corruption featured consistently in most of these measures. This was in addition to the measures and rankings provided by Transparency International’s ranking of states according to the perceived levels of corruption, Freedom House’ Freedom in the World, Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s credit rating provided the models for such efforts. Many of these measures of governance are largely based on subjective criteria; some rank countries and others do not. In this section we take a quick look at the various major perception studies of corruption at the global, regional and national levels. By far the most popular of these measures is the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) publish by Transparency International. Others are the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators, Global Integrity’s Global Integrity Index, Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI), Bribe Payers Index, Business Environment and Enterprise performance Survey (BEEPS), Country Policy and Institutional Performance Assessment (CPIA), Global Competitiveness Index, Global Corruption Barometer, Index of Economic Freedom, International Country Risk Guide, World Justice Project, World values Survey, Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Open Budget index, Regional barometers (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe), Citizens Report Cards Dial Governance Module attached to household Surveys, World Bank Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC) Diagnostic Surveys etc. (see June, Chowdhury, Heller and Werve 2008).



Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is the most widely used measure of corruption. It is the most comprehensive quantitative indicator of cross-country corruption available, where each single country is recognisable. Compiled by a team of researchers at Gottingen University, headed by Johann Lambsdorff, the CPI assesses the degree to which public officials and politicians are believed to accept bribes, take illicit payment in public procurement, embezzle public funds, and commit similar offences. It ranks countries around the world based on international experts and business peoples’ perception of the public sector corruption. CPI scores are scaled from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean. A country’s rank indicates its position relative to other countries and territories included in the index. The CPI is best known and widely used to for measuring corruption. The CPI is an aggregate index constructed essentially from international expert assessments and opinions surveys of business executives and therefore represents a very narrow range of perceptions. Thus, its validity is often questioned. TI also publishes the Global Corruption Barometer, which investigates and tracks ordinary peoples’ view towards, and experience of corruption.



A very popular perception study that focus on Africa is the African Governance Report (AGR). The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa publishes the AGR. The first edition was published in 2005. It is the first major Africa-driven study in this light. It is borne out of the Commission’s effort to promote consensus on good governance and the capable state in Africa. It is conceived as mechanism for monitoring good governance, while showcasing best practices for improving governance by African countries. It is also designed to formulate policy recommendations to address capacity gaps and other governance- related challenges that face African countries. The ECA (2005) argues that in crafting the reports emphasis is placed on local ownership of the resultant empirical body of knowledge to strengthen the legitimacy and effectiveness of policy-making and advocacy at the country and sub-regional levels. The organisation and execution of the project has the objective to improve the capacity of national research institutions in conducting governance research and analyses in Africa.

The AGRs, like most perception studies of corruption, gauge citizens’ perceptions of the state of governance in their countries on the basis of a list of governance indicators. Unlike the CPI, a typical AGR consists of an elite survey, a desk study and a household survey that deals with issues of governance such as political governance, economic governance and financial management, private sector development and cooperate governance, institutional checks and balances, Institutional effectiveness and accountability of the executive, and institutional capacity building for good governance. The use of a combination of methods in the reports is expected help to improve the objectivity and reliability of the findings. The first edition of the AGR in 2005 covered 27 African countries, while the second edition in 2009 covered 35. The third edition in 2013 covered 40 countries.

Another important governance report is the Ibrahim Index of African governance. Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Index is a collection of quantitative data that provides an annual assessment of governance performance in several African countries. The Ibrahim Index provides a framework and tools for citizens, public authorities and partners to assess progress in governance. While the AGR does not rank countries, the Ibrahim index ranks countries as part of the effort to engender competition among Africa Leaders for recognition. These reports come as part of a larger effort to promote mutual learning and accountability, and competitiveness in leadership performance in the spirit of African Peer review mechanism and the Mo Ibrahim African leadership awards.

The Mo Ibrahim Governance Index and AGR are the two regional perception studies that are regularly cited and discussed in the Nigerian public sphere. There publications often catalyse debates about Nigeria’s corruption status and the performance of the anti-corruption institutions.



At the National level, the Independent Advocacy Project (IAP) did the most prominent periodic perception study of corruption. The Nigeria Corruption Index (NCI) (2005, 2007) is based on Public experience and hard data survey and is funded by National Endowment for Democracy. The NCI captures corruption as experienced by ordinary Nigerians in their interaction with officials of government establishments. Survey respondents provide information on organisations where they have encountered bribery, where they paid bribes, how much and for what. It therefore evaluates the average Nigerian’s daily encounters with corruption in terms of frequency, size, severity, financial and social costs.


Use and Misuse of Perception Studies of Corruption

The various perception studies of corruption have helped in focusing attention on corruption. They offer systematic data that make it meaningful to compare perceptions of corruption across a range of difference countries. Indeed, the publication of the index of corruption by TI, the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index and others often occasion debates in both the local and international media. They therefore galvanise anti-corruption initiatives across the world. They have also generated great interest in academic research on corruption and anti-corruption initiatives.

Perception studies provide journalists, civil society organisations and other stakeholders with information upon which a campaign against corruption can be developed. They offer information the specific government agencies with significant problems of corruption that can be targeted for reform while serving as a catalyst of national dialogue about corruption, sustaining attention and debate about the issue over a long period.

Andersson and Heywood (2008) have shown that perception studies have been very influential to anticorruption initiatives across the world. They show that measures of corruption are policy tools that guide policy formulation and review. They help put corruption in the policy agenda. Increasingly, international businesses, international donors and Governments utilise governance indicators, especially in investment decisions. For instance, the millennium Challenge Account of the United States Government uses TI’s CPI to assess applications for funds. Performance improvement on the CPI by East-central Europe countries is an important factor in the accession process to the EU. In several other countries of Africa and Latin America reference is often made to rankings, especially when they are positive as evidence that the anti-corruption efforts in those countries are bearing fruits. In Nigeria the publications of these rankings have not only generated debates about the country’s anti-corruption initiatives, several presidents have responded to the content and claims of such publications.

In Nigeria, perception studies have been used in the design and development of anti-corruption initiatives. Indeed, in 2003 President Olusegun Obasanjo commissioned “The Nigerian Governance and Corruption Surveys” comprising of three complementary surveys among households, enterprises and public officials on the assessment of government service delivery and related corrupt practices. The survey was to establish a baseline against which to measure the progress and success of anticorruption programming efforts whether related directly to government reforms or the public’s understanding of corruption and its ramifications for society. It was also to reveal differences in attitudes about corruption among households, enterprises, and government officials by segmenting the stakeholders surveyed and to provide a lever for reform-advocating public officials to advance a specific reform agenda (TI/UNDP 2007).

Several civil Society organisations use the findings of perception studies to conduct anti-corruption education and implement other advocacy initiatives, engage stakeholders and propose reforms that can strengthen anti-corruption legal and administrative frameworks.

Some of the perception studies do not just provide a ranking. They often provide policy advice or recommendations on how to deal with the problem. For instance, the 2004 Global Corruption Report is devoted to political corruption. The 2004 CPI recommends that low-income countries should increase funds devoted to anti-corruption efforts and create better public access to information about budgets, revenue and expenditures to support anti-corruption. The Higher-income countries are to combine aids with recipient-led reform while reducing tied aid. All countries are advised to promote strong coordination among the government, the private sector and civil society in order to make the anti-corruption initiatives more efficient and sustaining. The 2007 Global Corruption Report addresses corruption in the judicial system and the 2013 Report is devoted to corruption in education.

Perception studies have been very useful in determining the various levels of tolerance of difference forms of corruption. A series of perception studies have been able to identify the factors that influence the different levels of tolerance of various forms of corruption. They have also aided scholars to test hypotheses on the relationships between corruption and other variables of development. Empirical studies have linked the macro-economic issues of corruption such as the level of (perceived) corruption and economic growth, the level of GDP and corruption, corruption and the legal system, corruption and elections. Scholars have analysed the indexes as explanatory frameworks to produce cross country studies that model historical, cultural, political and economic determinants of a variety of indicators of government quality (Andvig and Fjeldstad 2000, Canache and Allison 2005, Andersson and Heywood 2008, and Kostadinova 2009).

While the influence of these perception studies are not in doubt, there is worry that there are misuses of the outputs from the studies at various levels that may not augur well for anti-corruption. In the first place, publishers of the studies have cautioned against year-to-year comparisons given the limitations of the studies (TI for instance). Not only do the number of countries vary year by year, the composite data sets also vary. In many instances, users rely on the ranking rather than the aggregate score of the country to determine whether a country is making progress or not. This is often misleading since the rankings do not show regular intervals and a major movement of a country’s position on a ranking may be the result of an insignificant change in the aggregate score (Andersson and Heywood 2009).


Issues and Matters Arising From Perception Studies of Corruption

One of the major challenges of studying and dealing with corruption is the problem of definition. This poses a major problem to the effort to understand the true causes, consequences and patterns of corruption. It is also implicated in the controversies that surround the measures of corruption and the various classificatory schemes on offer. The various perception studies define corruption differently. Apart from the fact that corruption takes diverse forms (bribery, conflict of interest, embezzlement, fraud and extortion etc.), there is no broad consensus on the meaning of corruption. Besides, corruption because of its very nature cannot be measures in a precise and objective manner, thus indicators are no more than imperfect proxies for actual levels of corruption (Rohwer 2009).

There are a variety of methodologies adopted by different bodies as seen from the above discussions. While some rely on experts and business leaders like the TI, the African Governance report uses a combination of both expert surveys and house hold/citizens survey. Each index has limited scope hence they provide a variety of information relating to anti-corruption. They do not use a common definition of corruption. Some focus on specific forms of corruption and conduct their own survey, others provide a composite data on corruption drawn from a variety of sources (Andersson and Heywood 2009, Lin and Yu 2014). Some, like Afro barometer, lack assessment of institutional framework or quality and are essentially citizens’ opinion, which may fall short of capturing actual quality of governance. The WGI does not enable disaggregation in terms of gender and poverty status, and its definition of the six primary indicators is unclear. For the TI’s Bribe Payers Barometer, bribery is the only form of corruption assessed. It would be richer to include other forms of corruption. The CPI does not decipher different types of corruption, does not assess institutional framework or quality. In the Mo Ibrahim Index, some data sets are out of date or contain gaps, and most data are derived from third party sources. The AGR is not a regular periodical like the Mo Ibrahim Index that is published annually. Thus, there is usually a long time lag before successive volumes are published (TI/UNDP 2007).

Academic attention has only begun to address the perception gap between international experts and local citizens’ concern about corruption in a country. In his comparison of perception studies of corruption by TI and the Asian Barometer survey, Lin and Yu (2014) concluded that the correlation between citizens’ perception and experts’ assessments in these selected Asian countries/territories was “moderately strong”. Confirming findings of other similar studies such as those of Kurz and Schrank (2007), he noted that the observed “perceptual disparity between the two perspectives did not always have the same direction: in some countries the international experts reported higher levels of corruption, while in others local citizens rated corruption higher”. Several reasons have been offered for this disparity: peculiar predispositions and idiosyncrasies of respondents, personal ideology, cultural bias, the eco-chamber problem, respondents’ reticence, media or government influence, and varying levels of tolerance of corruption.

The eternal pre-occupation opinion polls in the analysis of support for government show that perception matters for determining and affecting government legitimacy. The importance of perception for government legitimacy is underscored by the concept of hegemony. Indeed, the idea of manufacturing of consent emphasised the effect of government use of media and other organs of mass mobilisation in strengthening patriotism and compliance with government directives by the masses of citizens. To an extent therefore, public perception of the levels of corruption in the public sector may affect the legitimacy of government. In this regard, Canache and Allison (2005: 106) remarked, “the possible dark side of mass opinion regarding corruption is that pervasive and often burgeoning misconduct may poison public sentiment toward democratic politics in general.” There is no gainsaying the fact that corruption undermines the legitimacy of governments. That is why perception studies of corruption must be taken very seriously. Indeed, governments have expressed grave concern about the claims on the status of corruption in Nigeria. For instance, when TI publishes a CPI that shows an improvement in the relative ranking of Nigeria in the CPI, government officials advertise it as a confirmation that their anti-corruption effort is succeeding. When the report is unfavourable, they try to discredit the claims, reflecting a politics of anti-corruption locally, albeit with some international connection. Indeed, President Good Luck Jonathan in response to some of these report had argued that although there were cases of corruption in the country, the menace was being “over-amplified.” The president referred to the conduct of government business, which he said had experienced more transparency and fairness, to buttress his position. He specifically pointed to the fertilizer sector and the power sector, especially the bidding processes, as evidence that the government is “bringing down the issues of corruption gradually” (Ehikioya and Ofikhenua 2013: 63).

To be sure, there has been a challenge to the emerging industry of anti-corruption spearheaded by the major powers in the west seeking to protect western business interests. The issue of power relations has also featured in the choice or preference for particular definition and measures of corruption to be implemented. De Maria (2008) analyses the TI’s CPI within the context of international aid decisions and anti-“corruption” dollars flowing annually from the West to Africa. For him, the anti-corruption movement, or “industry” being led by the West is detached from the street level realities of Africa and is being driven by a very narrow and very western “business-centric” definition of “corruption” and has informed the equally narrow methods employed by TI to measure it.

Finally, there is a touch of irony to perception studies of corruption. As Melgar, Rossi and Smith (2010) note, the perception of economic corruption would have more devastating effects than corruption itself; it generates a ‘‘culture of distrust’’ towards some institutions. Previous perception surveys may impart the opinion of participants in current surveys of corruption (the eco-chamber effect earlier mentioned).

With regard to the activities of donors, current practice may lead a vicious circle. Andersson and Heywood (2008: 760) foresee a corruption trap. In their words:


One potential consequences of the prevailing orthodoxy on both measuring and fighting corruption is that those countries most affected may become caught in a vicious circle: as aid becomes increasingly conditional on the adoption of western-defined measures to combat corruption, so those countries with the least resources to implement ‘good governance’ stand to suffer most from the withdrawal of precisely the support they need to stand any realistic chance of tackling corruption.


A number of explanations has been provided for the ineffectiveness of anticorruption effort in Nigeria that began with the return to democractic governance in 1999. Under the Obasanjo government, the major criticism levied against the EFCC was that it was being used by the Obasanjo government (1999-2007) to deal with political enemies. Many of the political bigwigs prosecuted and punished were those who were opposed to him on policy and political interests. The prosecutions by the EFCC were selective, even though they caused a great deal of discomfort to public officials over corruption. In general the efforts were undermined by political interference, weak political will to fight corruption, sluggish and corrupt judiciary, inadequate finance, lack of integrity and incompetence on the part of the officials of the anti-corruption bodies (See Aiyede 2014, Obadare and adebanwi (2010). The Human Rights Watch in its study argued that the major challenge to the anti-corruption war was “the country’s political system [that] is built to reward corruption, not punish it” (2010: 26). Aiyede’s study showed that the anticorruption war began to wane under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua (2007-2010) and practically lost steam under Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015). Under both adminstrations, leaders of the anti-corruption agencies were removed from office in untidy manner before they completed their tenure. No case has been successfully brought up against either of them. President Jonathan went further to argue that corruption in Nigeria was often exaggerated by the perception study reports, insisting that his anti-corrption effort was on course inspite of the poor rating by these studies (Aiyede 2014).



Perception studies have proliferated in recent times, with the global concern about corruption, in the context of the global waves of democratisation and governance reforms. These developments have witnessed a variety of studies on corruption that sought to understand the nature, patterns and consequences of corruption and its relationship with several factors of development many of them derived or relying on perception studies.

In general, there has been a consensus that corruption is not good for development. This general consensus has spurned the publication of several studies that seek to provide periodic reports on the state of corruption in the world to aid business and donor decisions on where to put their money, to inform anti-corruption efforts in corruption endemic countries and in improving knowledge and measures of corruption. With regard to anti-corruption policy and practice, this general consensus has flowed into the practice of aid making and development interventions. It has also affected the way some multi-national corporations do business and the way governments deal with corruption.

Given the nature of the phenomenon, apart from the reports of cases of big companies’ corruption activities that have made headlines, perception studies of corruption tower the horizon of the intellectual and policy discourse on corruption today. Such measures of corruption and rankings can be found at the global, regional and national levels. They have been employed to raise awareness about the situation of corruption, aide decision make in terms of the infrastructure for dealing with corruption and help governments, private businesses, donors and others in decision-making on matters in which corruption may be implicated.

There are, however, several issues that arise from the proliferation of corruption perception studies. The validity of some of the measures remains questionable. Understandably, there are difficulties with data collections while conducting surveys that may adversely impinge on the quality and validity of local survey. This has emboldened leaders of countries who believe the reports do not adequately reflect their efforts at anti-corruption to question such rankings. With the exception of a few, most of the global rankings are sponsored and are largely promoted by donors or institutions controlled by the major Western countries. Hence, the claim of power relations and echo chamber bias.

Further, there are issues concerning the proper usage of such perception studies. Perceptions remain perceptions. They do not manifest the true levels of corruption across countries. Thus, such studies are susceptible to being misused. The extent to which such studies affect popular view of corruption in a country and the extent of their utility for the anti-corruption efforts in various contexts remains a matter for further research.

To conclude, Nigeria has not had a sustained use of perception studies in its anti-corruption drive. Neither has it made significant progress in its anti-corruption effort. There is need for Nigeria to pay more attention to measuring performance in its anti-corruption drive. For this purpose, it needs to develop corruption eradication performance indicators to be used by the ICPC and the EFCC to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the anti-corruption programmes.


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DOI: 10.12893/gjcpi.2016.2.1