Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Richard Akpenyi

Contestation and Corruption in Elections: An analysis of forms, causes and evolution of election corruption in Nigeria’s Delta State.

Photo of Richard Akpenyi

Electoral corruption has long been considered a barrier to free and fair election contests. However concerns are being raised about newly emerging forms of election-corruption and whether they or any other corrupt act can be considered successful in distorting election results.

With these developments in mind the aim of my research project is to explore the evolutionary changes of electoral corruption in Nigeria’s Delta State, i.e. the forms, mechanism, causes and shifts in electoral corruption strategies between 1999 and 2015.

The research method is qualitative in design. In order to trace the course of state elections qualities overtime and to conclude on its findings, the research method employs the analysis of primary and secondary sources of data. Regarding the primary datasets it utilizes in-depth interviews with state and non-state actors from various organizations involved in election-monitoring, election-management and election-campaigning processes. The secondary dataset involves the content analysis of pre-existing international and domestic electoral observation reports and historical studies describing election corruption in Nigeria’s Delta State local elections.

Background

I am a British national of Guyanese and Nigerian heritage. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2004 at Ruskin University with a BA(Hons) in Forensic Science & Criminology. I went on to achieve an MA in International Criminology from Greenwich University in 2006, after which I spent several years living and working in Nigeria.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I have a passion for learning about the intricacies of human behaviors and society. The PhD is a continuation of my interest in learning and an opportunity for me to acquire specialist knowledge of both election processes and election-corruption in Africa. I find the PhD program also sets a good foundation for mastering a range of research skills that would increase my employability in my chosen field of study, and make my specialist knowledge more desirable to potential employers. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

During my years living and working in Nigeria I grew an interest for understanding the dynamics of election-corruption and election contests. The interest developed from my many observations of citizens voicing their concerns and opinions about the current state of Nigeria’s Democracy, and in particular their differentiating beliefs about the behaviors that constitute poor election competition. As my own understandings of electoral integrity grew, so too did my appreciation for the need of empirical research into the forms of behaviors that constitute election-corruption in my state of origin (Delta State, Nigeria). I am passionate about using such knowledge to improve the lives of Nigerian citizens embroiled in poorly functioning state run elections.

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