Mayowa Michael Adeniji


In developing societies, democratisation and governance are often marred by the influence of clientelistic dynamics, which usually define the nature of the interaction between legislators and constituents. MPs face pressure to downplay their primary law-making, representation, and oversight roles in favour of the provision of particularistic and clientelist goods or risk losing goodwill and elections. Against this background, this study presents a literature review of clientelism and constituency development services in Nigeria. As a mechanism for directing and distributing clubs and private goods, this paper isolates Constituency Development Funds in Nigeria, investigating its practices and governance implications. This study acknowledged that constituency services could be instrumental in the delivery of public goods and development initiatives at the community level. However, these services mostly take the shape of soft projects that are challenging to measure and have accountability deficits. Therefore, although constituency service activities, through the operation of Constituency Development Funds, have the prospect of engendering decentralisation of development, this is less likely in low-accountable systems. The paper reiterates the arguments that clientelism complicates and perpetuates the cycle of deprivation by jettisoning public goods for private or particularistic goods. It also undermines the quality of the delivery of legislators' primary functions.


Development, Clientelism, Constituency Development Fund, Legislators.

Full Text:



Aborisade, S. (2019). Constituency projects: Controversy lingers as communities suffer neglect,

Agi, V. (2017). Constituency Projects, Another Conduit Pipe For Grand Corruption?

Acheampong, M. (2020). Legislators’ pathway to power in Ghana: intra-party competition, clientelism and legislator – constituents’ relationship. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 27, 300 - 316.

Ahmadu, R.A. and Ajiboye, N.,2004. A Handbook on Legislative Practice and Procedure of the National Assembly. Abuja: National Secretariat of Nigerian Legislatures.

Awofeso, O. and Irabor, P. (2020). The Nigerian National Assembly and the oversight of constituency fund. Global Journal of Politics and Law Research,8(1),50-67

Ball, A. R. (1977). Modern Politics and Government 2nd Edition. London: Macmillan Press.

Barkan, J. D. (2009). African legislatures and the "Third Wave" of Democratization.In J. D. Barkan (Ed.), Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies (Pp.1-32).Boulder, CO,USA:Lynne Rienner Publishers.

BensonJ.F.(2018).Legislator-Constituency Relations and the Concept of Representation: A Case of the Constituency Development Fund. PhD Thesis, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

Bobonis G. J. & Gonzalez-Navarro M. (2017) Vulnerability and Clientelism. NBER Working Paper Series.Working Paper 23589

BudgIT (2017). 2016 Federal Constituency Projects: Lessons and Findings from Focus States. Tracka

BudgIT (2019). 2018 Federal Constituency Projects Tracking Report: Fighting for Communities left behind. Abridged Version. Tracka

BudgIT (2022). 2021 Federal Constituency Projects Report: Using advocacy to build citizens’ capacity for improved governance. Tracka

Dahl, R.A. (1989). Democracy and Its Critics, New Heaven: Yale University Press.

Dataphyte (2021). Examining the 2021 Constituency Projects from the SDGs Lens. Dataphyte: Abuja

Demarest, L. (2012). Elite clientelism in Nigeria: The role of parties in weakening legislator-voterties. Party Politics,1–15

Dunn, K. C., and Englebert, P. (2019). Inside African Politics. 2nd Ed. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Duruji M. M. and Duruji-Moses F. U. (2017). Legislative powers and constituency projects in Nigeria’s fourth republic. South East Journal of Political Science,3(1),158–177.

Fashagba, J. Y. (2009). Legislative oversight under the Nigerian presidential system. The JournalofLegislative Studies15(4):439–459.

Fikri, H. (2017). The Practices of Political Patronage and Clientelism of the Democrat Party in the 2014 Legislative Election in Ponorogo Regency. Jurnal Studi Pemerintahan. 8(4),467–492.

Gallego,J. and Wantchekon, L.(2012). Experiments on Clientelism and Vote-Buying.

New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption.15,177–212

Guerra, A., & Justesen, M.K. (2022). Vote buying and redistribution. Public Choice, 193, 315 - 344.

Keefer, P. (2007). Clientelism, Credibility, and the Policy Choices of Young Democracies. American Journal of Political Science, 51(4), 804–821.

Keefer, P. & Khemani, S. (2009).When do Legislators Passon Pork, the determinant of Legislator Utilization of the Constituency Development Fund in India, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4929.

Kitschelt, H.,& Wilkinson, S. (2007). Patrons, clients, and policies: Patterns of democratic accountability and political competition. NewYork, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Kopecky,P.,& Scherlis, G. (2008). Party patronage in Contemporary Europe. European Review,16(3),355–371.

Kuo, D. (2018). Clientelism, capitalism, and democracy: The rise of programmatic politics in the United States and Britain. Public Administration. 97,960–961.

Kusche, I. (2014). Political Clientelism and Democracy: Clientelistic power and the internal differentiation of the political system. Acta Sociologica, 57(3): 207-221

Lindberg, S. I. (2003). 'It's Our Time to "Chop"': Do Elections in Africa Feed Neo-Patrimonialism rather than Counter-ActIt? Democratization, 10(2), 121-140

Lindberg S. I. (2011). MPs, Clientelism and Collective Goods. Working Paper Series. The Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg

Loewenberg, G., and Patterson, S C. (1979). Comparing Legislatures, Boston: Little. Brown and Company.

Nnamani D.O. Ekoh l. A. & Joe-Akunne I. Constituency projects and its implication for democratic development: focus on Nigeria National Assembly. International Journal of Academic Multidisciplinary Research,5(6),270-276

Nichter, S., & Peress, M. (2017). Request fulfilling: when citizens demand clientelist benefits. Comparative Political Studies, 50, 1086 - 1117.

NOA (2021). National Legislative Conference 2021: Constituency Projects and National Development,,Members%20of%20the%20National%20Assembly.

Norton, P. (2013). Parliament in British Politics (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mares, I., & Young, L.E. (2016). Buying, Expropriating, and Stealing Votes. Annual Review of Political Science, 19, 267-288, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-060514-120923

Mueller, L. (2018). Personal Politics without Clientelism? Interpreting citizen-politician contact in Africa. African Studies Association, 1-27. doi:10.1017/asr.2017.131

Odeyemi T. I, Abioro, T. (2019). Digital technologies, online engagement and parliament-citizen relations in Nigeria and South Africa in O. Fagbadebo & F. Ruffin (eds.)Perspectives on the legislature and prospects of accountability in Nigeria and SouthAfrica (pp. 217–232). Springler International Publishing AG,

Odeyemi, T.I., Olorunshola, D.T., & Ajibola, B. (2023). Turning public engagement into standard practice: institutionalisation in the work of the South African Parliament. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 29, 406 - 424.

Oni,S., Olanrewaju,F.,& Deinde-Adedeji, O. (2019). The Legislature and Lawmaking in Nigeria: Interrogating the National Assembly (1999–2018) in Y.K.Fashagba, O.M. Ajayi,& C. Nwankwor (eds.), The Nigerian National Assembly, Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development (Pp.15-32).Cham: Spinger Nature Switzerland

Orimogunje O. O. (2015) Legislative constituency projects in Nigeria: a matter of constitutionality or political expediency? Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization, 41,180–194.

Ornstein, N. (1992). The roles of the legislature in democracy. Freedom paper No.3. California: Institute of Contemporary Study.

Osumah, O. (2010). Patron-Client Politics, Democracy and Governance in Nigeria, 1999-2007.A Journal of Contemporary Research,7(2),276-289.

Policy Research Report (2016). Making politics work for development: Harnessing transparency and citizens engagement, Conference edition. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank: Washington

Power, G. (2012). Global parliamentary Report: the changing nature of parliamentary representation. Denmark: IPU and UNDP

Roniger L (1994). The comparative study of clientelism and the changing nature of civil society in the contemporary world. In: L. Roniger &A. Günes-Ayata (eds.) Democracy, Clientelism and Civil Society (Pp. 1-18). Boulder, CO: Rienner.

Russell, M. (2012). Trustee or Delegate: A Legitimate Question Facing Political Representation. Department of Political Science - Tufts University, Student Research Brief Series, II (2), 1-12

Shin, J.H. (2015). Voter Demands for Patronage: Evidence from Indonesia. Journal of East Asian Studies, 15, 127-151.

Stokes, S. (2005). Perverse Accountability: A Formal Model of Machine Politics with Evidence from Argentina. American Political Science Review, 99, 315 - 325.

Tom, E.J. and Attai, A.J. (2014). The Legislature and National Development: The Nigerian Experience, Global Journal of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences. 2(9)

Tsubura, M. (2015). Does Clientelism help Tanzanian MPs establish long-term electoral support? Afrobarometer Working Paper No.159

Udefuna, P. N., Jumare, F., & Adebayo, F. O. (2013). Legislative Constituency Project in Nigeria: Implication for National Development. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(6), 649-653

Van de Walle N. (2007). The path from neopatrimonialism: democracy and clientelismin Africa today. Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Working Paper

Wantchekon, L.(2003). Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in Benin. World Politics, 55(03), 399–422

Warren, S.S. (2019).Candidate Choosing and Political Accountability in African Legislative Elections. Doctoral Thesis, New York University

Wolak, J. (2016). Public Expectations of State Legislators. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 00(00),1-35.doi:10.1111/lsq.12147

Young, D. J. (2009). “Is Clientelism at Work in African Elections? A Study of Voting Behavior in Kenya and Zambia, Afrobarometer Working Paper 106.

Zackaria, A., & Appiah-Marfo, Y. (2020). Implications of political clientelism on the effectiveness of legislators in Ghana. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 28, 26 - 46


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Mayowa Michael Adeniji










ISSN (PRINT):    2682 - 6135

ISSN (ONLINE): 2682 - 6127





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.