Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Sumita Pahwa

Reader 2

David Andrews

Rights Information

© 2018 Sofia L Padilla


This thesis is the result of a comparative study utilizing qualitative evidence regarding the democratization process and history in Ghana and Nigeria. As a whole, this thesis seeks to exemplify some of the potential outcomes of democratization since independence in sub-Saharan African states. I analyze the strength and condition of democracy and the democratization process through the electoral histories of Ghana and Nigeria. In my argument, neopatrimonialism encapsulates corruption via patronage, clientelism, and godfatherism. These three theories are the primary areas of concern within this study regarding neopatrimonialism. I assert that democracy is measured in this region as a reflection of the quality of free and fair elections, a key (but not sole) determinant of democratization. The quality or maturation of democracy is measured through the degree to which neopatrimonialism has impacted the integrity of the electoral process. Thus, instances elite clientelism through predatory prebendalism and violent corruption by political elite represent a very troubled democracy under which power structures serve the personal interests of the political elite. Comparatively, evidence of a more distributive form of neopatrimonialism indicates a stronger democratic regime, and is indicated by mass clientelism in the electoral systems of the state.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.