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Personality factors influencing politicians' attitudes toward wellbeing of citizens: A study in Southwest Nigeria

Benjamin Osayawe Ehigie (Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)
Ibidolapo Abimbola Kolade (Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)
Olukayode Ayooluwa Afolabi (Department of Psychology, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




To examine how personality dispositions of Nigerian politicians predict their attitude to the wellbeing of citizens.


A survey research was embarked that engaged 185 political aspirants to various electoral positions in the 2003 Nigerian elections. Respondents were administered a standardized psychological instrument that measures four personality attributes – needs for achievement, affiliation, dominance, and autonomy. They also responded to another standardized instrument that measures attitude to wellbeing of people.


Hierarchical multiple regression analyses conducted showed that gender and age are significant predictors of politicians' attitudes to wellbeing of the people. Male and younger politicians are more favorably disposed to people's wellbeing than female and older politicians. Among the personality attributes only need for achievement significantly accounted for variations in attitude to people's wellbeing. Specifically, the lower politicians are in need of achievement the more favorably disposed they are to people's wellbeing.

Research limitations/implications

The research participants are not completely representative of politicians in Nigeria because the sample was drawn from the Southwest only. In addition, the personality attributes examined are not exhaustive as there are other possible attributes that could predict politicians' attitudes to citizens' wellbeing. There is also a limit to which results on attitude can be used to predict actual behavior of politicians to people's wellbeing.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates the need for psychological tests in Nigeria's electoral process. It demonstrates that personality attributes of politicians could be assessed and used to predict their concern for citizens' wellbeing. It is opined that, where politicians are more concerned with the citizens' wellbeing, it could enhance the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria.


The paper demonstrates a dimension of psychological testing in Nigeria's electoral process.



Osayawe Ehigie, B., Abimbola Kolade, I. and Ayooluwa Afolabi, O. (2006), "Personality factors influencing politicians' attitudes toward wellbeing of citizens: A study in Southwest Nigeria", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 428-446.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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