The study critical assessed the impact of civil society organizations on socio political development in Nigeria; a case study of civil liberty organizations. A vibrant civil society is sine qua non to the sustenance of nation’s development. The study adopted secondary and primary methods to data collection of sourced information regarding the subject matter. The data were analysed based on the opinions of 141 respondents administered questionnaires. The data were presented and analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. The researcher found out that civil society organization had impacted significantly on socio-political development of Nigeria. Despite certain factors bedeviling it operational objectives such as political interference, poor funding, lack of internal democracy, corruption, a disconnection from rural organization etc. The study concluded that the civil society organizations or civil liberty organizations have sacrificed their existence goals and objectives to the course of the fight towards socio-political development of Nigeria. Far reaching recommendations were made in this study as it involves the successes of civil society organizations in a democratic dispensation in Nigeria. All the scholarly opinion adopted in the study were accordingly acknowledge in the references.
1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria history of democratic rule will be incomplete without reference to the struggle of and critical role played in strengthening the electoral law as well as actualizing the Freedom of Information (FOL) law in Nigeria etc civil society organization efforts at deepening democracy in Nigeria cannot over emphasized we can fail to not with great concerned that the space for civil society groups in gradually shrinking, it is becoming two obvious that some civil society organizations and activists cannot operate effectively due to part funding or governments interference or both (Yusuf, 2009).
It is in view of this that the tide calls on the federal government to provide the enabling environment for the smooth operation of civil society groups. Government must avoid actions capable of inhibiting the activities of these groups if the people must draw he benefit of democracy.
Nigeria experience with democracy has been epidemic since 1960 when she got her independence from the British administration, 1999 was the third attempt if the third republic is excluded as it was it was abolished even before stated in the coming to grasp with democratic ethos in each practice widely accepted to be at variance with time spirit of democracy was perceived to be the major reason for democratic demise in Nigeria violence, corruption, political association and very recent, good fatherism has not only undermined her democracy but has gone a long way to threaten it’s very sustenance civil society is that segment of society that is distinct from the state and political society it consist of civil associations or independent groups formed by people with common interest or aspirations, either publically, economically or culturally, with the view of exercise of power, civil and human right and distribution of resources. Civil society exists as the engine of democratization. It sets the pace of facilitate the democratic process, providing basis for the limitation of state power. It also supplements the role of political participation, promoting the development of democratic attributes and creating channels other than political parties for the articulation, aggregation and representation of interest. It also monitors state activities and disseminates information which can help the citizens to pursue and defend their interests and values.
Nigeria has spent about fifty seven years since independence struggle with political social and economic failure repeated attempts to sustain and consolidate democratic government have faltered. The resurgence of ethnic and religious conflicts all over the country has once again fueled pessimism concerning not only the future of democracy in Nigeria, but also the existence of Nigeria as a political entity. The way the government resolve these challenges will determine whether Nigeria’s fledgling democracy is transient or sustainable and more importantly, whether Nigeria disintegrate or reconfigures itself as a nation.
In the light of these concerns, it become imperative to reconsider the impact of civil society organizations on Nigeria’s socio political development as to think about the issue of civil society in the context of Nigeria’s socio political theatre is an exhilarating task and to explain why the concept of civil society is vital for sustaining Nigeria’s has cent democracy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Civil society organizations play prominent role as the mouth piece of the citizens on issues affecting the people and the society at large, especially in the case of polities and ideas that might threaten the peaceful coexistence of the citizens and hinder the socio political development of the society in Nigeria. The existence of repressive and unpopular governments for more than twenty (20) years serve as impetus for the emergence and proliferation of organizations that seek to challenge the legitimacy of policy, programmes and ultimately the existence of these organizations assisted considerably to open up space for the expression of dissenting opinions and what could be regarded as alternative voices, unfortunately this very character and attribute has come to serve as a shield for some opportunistic and self centered civil society organizations. The key assumptions that connotes legitimacy to the existence of civil society organizations is that they are expected to be knowledge driver, which means that actors, or at least members have requisite skills to investigate problems of society, proffer solutions and develop plans to facilitate buy on or by other segment of society and government. To this effect, some questions were asked in the course of this research; questions as what is the problem prompting this study which ends up seeking to find out the solution to the questions over the years, the civil society groups that exist in Nigeria have not been below;
- Is there any relationship between civil society organizations and democracy?
- Is bad governance the driving force of civil society organization in Nigeria?
- To what extent has the civil liberties organization influence socio economic and political development Nigeria
- What have been the factors militating against effective functions of civil society organizations in Nigeria?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objectives of this study is to assess the impact of the civil society organizations, on Nigeria’s socio political development. The specific objectives are;
- To established the relationship between civil society organizations and democracy in Nigeria.
- To ascertain if bad governance is the driving force of civil society organization in Nigeria.
- To determine the extent the civil liberties organization has influenced the socio economic and political development of Nigeria.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
The hypotheses stated for testing are;
Ho: Civil liberties organizations have not enhance socio political development in Nigeria.
Hi: Civil liberties organizations have enhance socio political development in Nigeria
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study cannot be overemphasised. However, the study served as a means of providing relevant answers to the bothering thought of scholars who were interview on the topic under investigation. Moreso, the study also provided guidelines to policy makers as regards to the kind of polices they make, that will match the desires of a society and subsequently the various civil society organization. In Nigeria, if the policies made or adopted by a particular government in power does not go down well with the people, it may trigger reaction by the various civil society groups, whose impact can Marred the government activities in the country.
Hence, the study would help to enhance the ideas and understanding of scholar and student alike, who are interested in the topic under study. The research findings in this study shall served as recommendations to the appropriate bodies for necessary action.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this research is the impact of civil society organization on Nigeria’s socio political development; a case study of civil liberties organization. However, the limitations of the study are lack of adequate funds to sponsor the research as really desire by the research. Also the uncap access to the relevant material, to enrich the study was not readily available and the time factor and poor cooperation from the respondents really limited the study.
1.7 Definition of Key Terms
The researcher operationally the meanings of the following terms used in the study;
- Civil Society Organizations: refers to the non-governmental organizations that manifest interest and will of the citizens.
- Socio political development: refers to the development of the institutions attitudes and values that form the political system of society (Adam 2015).
- Democracy: Means the process of leadership whereby the people select their leaders by themselves through electionary processes.
- Appraisal: refers to the process of assessing performance of a group or organizations activities over the time.Development: Refers to the all round interconnected progressive transformation of man, society and nature made possible by his incremental mastery over them.
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