It has gradually become a common occurrence for public officers to become corrupt once they resume office. corruption in Nigeria manifests in the form of misappropriation, over invoicing, bribery, embezzlement, tribalism, nepotism, money laundering, outright looting of the treasuring, and so on. In Nigeria, most of the elected and appointive public office holders and top bureaucrats use their position of authority to actively engage in corrupt practices.
Over the years, opposition parties, citizens, have sought for the ways to solve this issues. Although different directions have been toed in the past, the rule of law is one direction that is constantly toed and probably stands out. As it is, if the rule of law exist in a state as it ought, public officials will take cognizance of the fact that their actions (corrupt) will face the wrath of the law without any impunity coming to shield them.
There is no single universally recognized definition of the rule of law or corruption. However, they have been defined by dictionaries and authors. The Rule of law as defined by Albert Dicey, a British philosopher, everyone is equal before the law, sanctions have to be backed by law, courts are the ultimate body and supremacy of court is ambivalent in civilized society.
Corruption is endemic in the public sector because of societal pressure on public servants, greed, bribery and embezzlement, tribalism and nepotism of involving in corrupt practices among others. However, public institutions must be characterized by meritocracy and professionalism, with the sense of patriotism and commitment to fighting corruption, as well as ensuring transparency. The anti-corruption agencies must not only be made to function independently of government apparatus but must also have the capacity to institute and effectively execute sanctions, without recourse to the personality involved. Punishment on corruption should be severe to act as deterrence.
The rule of law is crucial for the stable democracy, social justice and domestic peace. In every civilized society, there is a law governing and protecting the interest of the people which is the constitution. These law guides and regulates affairs, powers and functions of the leaders and people. If these laws are not there, violence, anarchy, dictatorship prevails. The rule of law states that no one is above the law in other words, equality before the law. Rule of law is the foundation for communities of peace, opportunity and equity as it underpins development, accountable government and respect for fundamental rights. To this extent, where the leader and individual commit the same offence, the two should be given the same punishment. The law is not bent to honour the status or position of any person. We are all subject to the provisions of the constitution.
Rule of law should be deeply entrenched. When the rule of law are well established and risk of involving in corruption is high and punishment attached to corrupt practices increased, nepotism and tribalism, which are the trust of the two public theories will be drastically reduced. Public servant will not bow to societal pressure.
Nigeria’s constitution establishes an independent judiciary, but other branches of government frequently interfere with the system because of their positions. This is where the principles of checks and balances with the separation of power comes into play. The limitation of the personnel of each branch to that branch, so that no one person or group should be able to serve in more than one branch simultaneously. Where this happens, there is compromise. Where there is clear separation of power and this powers are checkmated, the principles of the rule of law then takes precedent and prevent corruption. When these judges and court officials are poorly remunerated. The police is plagued by underfunding, inefficiency and corruption. Majority believes that the police is corrupt, making it the most corrupt institution. They have been considered unreliable in enforcing the law. The public should frequently demand accountability from public servant through the utilization of Nigerian freedom of information Act.