Nigeria’s fourth Republic (1999-2015) and Electoral Outcomes: How long can Patronage or ‘Politics of the Belly’ Last

The relationship between elections and the vitality of a democratic society
is clear. Elections have proven to be the best means of strengthening the
mandate of a performing administration or removing a non-performing
one. This paper argues, however, that the outcomes of several elections in
Nigeria’s Fourth Republic have proved contrary to the common trend in
most advanced democratic systems, in which electoral outcomes are based
on performance. While in some cases, especially in political party primaries,
candidates with little or no democratic credentials have emerged during
general elections, in other instances administrations with relatively high
records of infrastructural development have been voted out. This study traces
the most probable causes of this paradox to Nigeria’s money politics and
a possible misinterpretation of the concept of development. It is essentially a
literature-based study, descriptive but also analytical. The paper concludes
that the country will have to contend with the politics of underdevelopment
for as long as immediate and pecuniary benefits constitute the expectation
of the generality of followers.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: development, electoral outcomes, Nigeria, patronage politics, stomach infrastructure
journal of african elections vol14 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa