IMPACT OF CIVIL SOCIETY ON DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA FROM 2003-2013
This study investigates the role of civil society organisations in advancing democratic government in Nigeria between 2003 and 2013. Over the years, Nigeria has faced political, religious, economic, social, educational, and electoral challenges. There have also been difficulties with inadequate government, corruption, and poor service delivery, to name a few.
The researcher believes that formidable civil society organisations in the country can alleviate societal ills such as corruption, mismanagement of public funds, power outages, and extrajudicial killings, among others. Additionally, a thriving civil society organisation will promote good governance.
The researcher, who is aware of various civil society organisations in Nigeria, wonders why there are so many evils, therefore he decides to conduct this research to determine the role(s) that civil society organisations have played in Nigeria in supporting good governance. Two types of data collecting were used: primary and secondary.
In the case of primary data, the researcher distributed questionnaires to several civil society organisations and conducted oral interviews. Secondary data were also utilised. The researcher gathered important information for our work from journals, seminar papers, textbooks, periodicals, and newspapers.
Secondary data were the primary sources of data collecting for this work. It was discovered that Nigerian civil society has been fighting governments that do not adequately reflect the interests of the people since colonial times. Civil society in Nigeria during the colonial era fought for the abolition of colonialism.
Civil societies battled for citizens under Babangida and Abacha's military authoritarian regimes. Civil society actions resulted in the formation of an election reform committee under the current democratic administration.
Also, civil society actions resulted in the Freedom of Information Act. Despite certain advances, Nigerian civil society organisations face numerous challenges, one of which is funding.
Many organisations lack the necessary funds to operate, and as a result, some have folded. The civil societies do not appear to consider themselves as battling for a shared aim. They appear to be divided.
1.1 Background of the Study
Every citizen of a state, developed or developing, wishes to establish organisations that will ensure that the government governs them in accordance with the principles of democracy. In the absence of such organisations, leaders often dominate the people based on their personal whims and caprices.
Civil society and democracy have both contributed to the betterment of Nigeria by ensuring that citizens' civic rights are not violated and that the wishes and needs of the people are considered and used in administration.
Omodia and Erunke (2007) thought along these lines when they noticed that civil societies form in response to a dire or significant necessity to institutionalise a culture of good governance within the framework of democratic democracy.
The two researchers (Omodia and Erunke) consider civil society as a reinforcing mechanism for good governance that benefits the majority of the people.
They felt that civil society is fully expressed when it is permitted to grow while maintaining its relative autonomy from both state apparatuses and the machinations of selfish ends for governmental existence.
Nigeria has been wrestling with the challenge of democratic consolidation since its independence in 1960. Ethnic and religious disputes have threatened Nigeria's democracy, as well as its unity.
The root causes of ethnic and religious disputes can be traced back to maladministration, corruption, poverty, unemployment, and our political leaders' improper use of national resources.
The aforementioned challenges jeopardised Nigeria's corporate survival in the 1960s, prompting the military to enter politics. Now that the country has returned to civil government,
our political leaders have solutions to the problem. The Nigerian government's handling of ethnic, political, and religious concerns will determine if democracy survives.
For democracy to continue in Nigeria, there must be dynamic civil society organisations that push government reforms, combat corruption, advocate for human rights, and preserve democratic institutions and processes.
Some researchers, such as Ihonbere (1995) and Osaghue (1997), have claimed that civil society organisations in third-world nations play an important role in the consolidation of democracy.
Because of Nigeria's long military control, civil society has had little impact on the country's democracy. For a long time, the military ruled politics. The military ceded control of the government to civilian officials in 1999. Since then, the country has faced numerous obstacles in sustaining its budding democracy.
These problems can be overcome if there are active civil society organisations in the country. As previously stated, civil societies exist to champion reform, combat corruption, advocate for human rights, and promote and defend democratic processes and institutions.
Nigeria appears to have adopted democratic standards similar to those found in sophisticated democracies such as north America and Europe. Our elections are characterised by intimidation in the country's politics.
A group appears to have assumed political control of the country. There are instances of god fatherism and the like. This type of circumstance need active civil society organisations in the country, which will awaken political leaders to the obligation of providing effective governance.
The researcher, conscious of the function of civil societies and their growing presence in our country, decides to conduct this study with the goal of determining the impact they have had on Nigeria's fourth republic.