Portia Roelof's PhD thesis challenged the mainstream interpretation of sub-national Nigerian politics as principled reformers vs. patronage politics. Taking the case study of Oyo State, the adoption of donor-endorsed good governance reforms from 2011 onwards is explained by party-based political economy considerations and deeply rooted, but highly contested, ideological commitments. These reforms were in practice re-purposed to meet electoral demands for popular conceptions of good governance.
Her ongoing research agenda explores the ideological and political economy aspects of governance in Africa. She currently teaches DV400 Development: History, Theory and Policy in the Department of International Development. She also has a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford and a Masters in African Politics from SOAS, University of London.