An assessment of the African peer review mechanism (APRM): the case of Nigeria

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy in Politics and International Studies
Title An assessment of the African peer review mechanism (APRM): the case of Nigeria
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
This thesis assesses the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as it has
played out in Nigeria. The APRM is an initiative by the African Union (AU)
and the New Partnership for Africa?s Development (NEPAD) to promote
good governance through self-assessment and monitoring by African states.
The APRM is particularly interesting as a continental (rather than singlecountry)
programme which puts the good governance agenda in the hands
of African states themselves (rather than international financial institutions,
for example).
Focusing on the National Programme of Action (NPoA) of 2009 - 2012, the
research finds that the APRM has had little or no impact on governance in
Nigeria. Notwithstanding the NPoA?s limited contributions to national
development, the entire process has failed to recognise, engage and tackle
the underlying socio-political dynamics of politics in the country, which have
the most impact on governance structures and processes. The thesis
accounts for this outcome by examining structure (through the role of actors)
and underlying socio-political dynamics, both nationally and internationally.
In terms of actors the research explores the role of individual leaders,
NEPAD and APRM secretariats (national and continental), federal state
representatives, regional and sub-regional organisations, international
donors, and civil society in the APRM process. In terms of underlying factors,
Richard Joseph?s theory of prebendalism gives analytical power to
understanding the APRM within Nigeria?s political culture, while the neoGramscian
perspective of cultural hegemony enables an analysis of the
APRM within the broader international context. Both contribute to a holistic
assessment of the APRM in Nigeria. Neither one of these two theoretical
contributions is able to offer a comprehensive assessment if used
unmodified or on their own.
The APRM has the potential to open new political spaces for collaborative
engagement between government and civil society in Nigeria, with the
possibility of beneficial effects for governance and accountability. So far,
however, this potential has not been realised. This must be judged as a
significant shortcoming to date.

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