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Legislator-Constituency relations and the concept of representation in Nigeria: The case of the constituency development fund

Citation: Benson, Jemina (2018) Legislator-Constituency relations and the concept of representation in Nigeria: The case of the constituency development fund. Doctoral thesis, University of London.

Benson, J - PhD Thesis - IALS - 2019.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

This thesis takes up the normative question of representation and argues that for representation to be effective legislators must act in the interest of their constituents. It approaches the question of representation by presupposing that substantive acts of representatives done on behalf of constituents is important in assessing whether representation is taking place or not. It challenges the concept of representation that focuses only on the conferment of office through elections and demands that representative acts which considers and includes citizen participation be used to judge representation. It demonstrates this by analysing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which was introduced by a government policy designed to promote and support the activities of representatives and offers insights into the reasons for lack of effective representation in Nigeria. The empirical findings in the research reveals that the lack of understanding of what it means to represent, on the part of both the representatives and the constituents, coupled with institutional features that do not foster accountability, affect effective representation in Nigeria. Other factors working against effective representation are the issue of non-participation of the constituents in matters that affect them directly and distant connections that exists between the representatives and the constituents. Apart from having in place institutional features that would enhance the relationship between the representatives and the constituents, institutions through which the representatives’ act needs to be strengthened by enacted laws that would make it binding on representatives to act in acceptable manner. Rules of ethics and responsibility can also define acceptable behaviour for representatives in the course of their acting on behalf of constituents. This can overcome some of the barriers and contribute to effective representation in Nigeria.

Creators: Benson, Jemina and
Subjects: Law
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • 23 September 2018 (submitted)


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