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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
The sensitivity of Nigeria‟s petroleum industry is clearly reflected in its importance to the
Nigerian economy, because as a major foreign exchange earnerit contributes over 80% of
government revenues and also provides for the development of Nigeria‟s infrastructures and
other industries (Anya, 2002; Chukwu, 2002; Mathiason, 2006). According to the British
Petroleum (BP) Statistical Energy Surveyas cited in Mbendi (2014), Nigeria is a leading oil and
gas producer in Africa and is ranked as the tenth largest oil producer in the world with proved oil
reserves of about 37.2 billion barrels, and estimates in excess of 187.5 trillion standard cubic feet
of natural gas as at the end of 2011.
The foregoing underscores the vast investments potentials of the Nigerian petroleum
industry; hence, investment decisions is likely to be influenced by the value of firms in the
industry.Given that the maximization of firm value depends upon the financial health of the firm,
which involves the evaluation and selection of appropriate governance strategies and financial
structures that can influence the firm‟s value. Thus, the aim of firm executives is to maximize the
value of the firmand its stock (Namazi&Kirmani,2009).
Consideringthat the operations of firms associated with the Nigerian petroleum industry
are volatile and the characteristics of its assets and liabilities are opaque, leading to an
asymmetry of information, less transparency and a greater ability to obscure existing and
developing problems, good corporate governance is seen as a necessary instrument that will
complement effective supervision and allow managers and supervisors to better allocate scarce
resources to improve firm value in the industry. It is also believed that the implementation of
good corporate governance would protect the interests of stakeholders, build and maintain public
confidence and ultimately contribute to the integrity and stability of the industry as well as
improve the overall value of the firms.
Several studies (Fama & Jensen, 1983; Baysinger & Hoskisson, 1990; Bathala & Rao,
1995; Christensen, Kent & Stewart, 2010) view the predominant role of corporate governance as
concerned with the structure of rights and responsibilities among the parties with a stake in the
firm, and is reflected in accounting and finance literature as the
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