Gabriel Okele

Gabriel Okele

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Doctoral researcher

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PhD title: Constituents and Parliamentarians: The Quest for Political Accountability in Contemporary Nigeria
Supervisor: Dr Insa Nolte
PhD African Studies


Many African countries have some of the most promising development indicators in the world as exemplified by the GDP growth rate estimates of 6.81% and 6.10% for Nigeria and Ghana respectively in 2013. However, a diminishing per capita income and general decline in human condition appears to be a trade-off for increasing economic growth. People had hoped that their elected MPs would help transform their poor living condition through quality legislation and judicious appropriation of public funds. But this dream has remained elusive as poverty and political corruption co-exist at an unimaginable scale, which continues to beg the question whether the legislative institutions have the capacity to evolve equitable and people-centred governance. While there is evidence to support this assertion, it is striking that social discourse regarding African parliamentary corruption does not consider the merit of studying the daily behaviours of MPs as an important strategy for the understanding of the political sociology of the parliament.

Using the case study of Nigeria and Ghana, I am interested in exploring how African MPs, through their daily behaviours perfect informal networks that sustain political corruption. Studying MPs’ behaviours would enable us to mirror the socio-cultural environment in which the MPs operate and possibly widen the narrative of African development paradox. The study will seek to explore how social value and clientele networks breeds and sustains vicious circle of underdevelopment.