The character of the transition to what has been known as Nigeria’s ‘nascent democracy’ did create considerable appreciation among various segments of the Nigerian polity. As the said ‘nascent democracy’ is ageing, popular apprehension regarding the economy, honest and transparent governance, and social services (education, jobs, health care delivery etc.) increased. Recently, the Nigerian public has been introduced to some terms that are relatively new both in the economic and political sectors. This gained ground especially in this present administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Examples of these terms include: ‘Dividends of democracy’; ‘nascent democracy’ ‘deregulation’; ‘Privatization’, etc. However, deregulation in terms of definition and operation, is still very vague in the minds of the people. In basic economic terms, deregulation is capitalist oriented. It has become the major defense for the efficient operation of capitalist economy. It is based on a free market enterprise, when market forces determine prices and even wages.
The cardinal thrust of this paper is to make an ethical inquiry into the moral and social problem of corruption in Nigeria vis-à-vis deregulated economy. There exists a fundamental question that this paper puts forward and also makes attempt to answer. Thus, has corruption been deregulated too in Nigeria? The reasons for this all-important question are legion. Despite the publicized opprobrium of this privileged crime, both the agents of government and the civil society nurture it. As a matter of fact, the Nigeria leadership from the beginning has been found to be the worse culprit and to that extent, the kernel of the problem.
Our argument is that corruption can only be reduced or eliminated in a deregulated economy, through a combative political will of the leadership. The governed equally must reciprocate this will of the government. Even as much as free or liberal market system is being conversed, it will be ethically wrong that opportunities for corruption be created for our productive and distributive systems. Hence, accountability and transparency ought to be encouraged. There is need to attempt a lucid explanation of the concept deregulation. This forms our next point for discussion.
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