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NCJ Number: 63815 Find in a Library
Title: LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE LAW IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA
Journal: JOURNAL OF ASIAN AND AFRICAN STUDIES  Volume:2  Issue:1-2  Dated:(JANUARY-APRIL 1967)  Pages:26-43
Author(s): S OTTENBERG
Corporate Author: E J Brill
Netherlands
Date Published: 1967
Page Count: 18
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: THE CORRUPTIVE ASPECTS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA ARE PRESENTED TO ILLUSTRATE FAILURE IN APPLYING NEW LAW TO A DEVELOPING AREA AND AN INABILITY TO CREATE EFFECTIVE CONTROL AND SELF-REGULATION.
Abstract: A HYPOTHETICAL MODEL OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT WAS TRANSPLANTED FROM ENGLAND TO SOUTHERN NIGERIA DESPITE THE COUNTRY'S RADICALLY DIFFERENT CULTURAL MILIEU AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. THIS SYSTEM OF COUNCILS (MUNICIPAL, URBAN COUNTY, COUNTY, AND LOCAL) MADE NO CONCESSIONS TO TRADITIONAL CULTURAL PRACTICES. INEFFECTIVENESS, INEFFICIENCY, AND MISMANAGEMENT OF FUNDS, PROJECTS, AND CONTRACTS HAVE LED THE COUNCILS TO BE VIEWED WITH CYNICISM BY THE LOCAL PUBLIC AS ORGANIZATIONS WHERE INDIVIDUALS CAN MAKE USE OF PUBLIC OFFICE AND AUTHORITY FOR THEIR PRIVATE ADVANTAGE AND GAIN. A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION IS TO VIEW IT AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE INTERACTION OF TWO SYSTEMS OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE MARKEDLY DIFFERENT--THE IMPORTED LEGAL SYSTEM AND TRADITIONAL NIGERIAN CULTURE. THE S.F. NADEL APPROACH STUDIES THE WAYS SOCIETY PATTERNS INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR, PARTICULARLY THROUGH FORMS OF SELF-REGULATION. TWO POINTS IMPORTANT TO SELF-REGULATION ARE VALUES AND INSTRUMENTAL NEXUS--A TENDENCY IN PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES FOR SOME OF A PERSON'S ROLES TO BE LINKED IN TERMS OF PRESTIGE AND STATUS SO THAT AN INDIVIDUAL'S DEVIATION FROM THE NORM IN ONE OF THESE ROLES INFLUENCES HIS STATUS IN OTHERS. SANCTIFICATION THEN ALLOWS SUPERNATURAL VALUES TO ACT AS CONSTRAINTS FOR DEVIANT BEHAVIOR. WHEN SPECIFIC FORMAL SANCTIONS ARE INVOLVED, THE AIM IS TO REHABILITATE RATHER THAN TO SEVERELY PUNISH OFFENDERS. SO-CALLED 'CORRUPTION' ARISES WHEN THE IMPORTED GOVERNMENT DISTURBS THE TRADITIONAL SOCIETY'S SELF-REGULATION. FOR EXAMPLE, THE NEW GOVERNMENT SAW THE PATTERN OF GIVING GIFTS IN EXCHANGE FOR SPECIAL SERVICE, EXPLICIT AND HIGHLY VALUED IN TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN NIGERIAN SOCIETY, CARRIED OVER INTO THE MODERN LOCAL POLITICAL SPHERE WERE IT IS NOW LARGELY ILLEGAL, EVEN IF ONLY TECHNICALLY SO. FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE, MEMBERS OF THE SUBORDINATE POLITICAL TRADITION MAY CONSIDER THEIR FELLOW MEMBERS' ACTIONS AS CORRUPTION INSOFAR AS THEY USE MODERN STYLES OF POLITICAL BEHAVIOR AND DEVIATE FROM TRADITIONAL ONES. THUS CONFLICTS OVER POLITICAL BEHAVIOR ARE UNAVOIDABLE AS INDIVIDUALS INTERPRET LAW IN TERMS OF THEIR OWN POLITICAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE. SUCH TENDENCIES SHOULD BE APPARENT TO LAWMAKERS IN DEVELOPING AREAS. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Bribery; Corruption of public officials; Nigeria; Socioculture; Tribal community relations; Tribal court system; Tribal history
Note: THIS IS A REVISED VERSION OF A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION, CHICAGO (IL), SEPTEMBER 11, 1964
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63815

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