Civil society in Nigeria: reasons for ineffectiveness
Songonuga, Temitope O.
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Nigeria has experienced high economic growth over the last 15 years. Hailed as the Giant of Africa, the Economist confirmed in 2014 that Nigeria had the largest gross domestic product in the continent. Yet, after more than a decade of sustained growth using international metrics of measurement, the country has exhibited dismal performance across multiple measures of development, security, and democratic governance due to the mismanagement of its economic resources. The majority of Nigerians attest to this in successive Afrobarometer Network and Transparency International surveys conducted between 2008 and 2014. This thesis acknowledges these facts but draws the reader into an equally important exploration of the role of the masses and civil society in engendering democratic governance. The underlying premise is that civil society can play a role in facilitating representative governance, especially as it relates to service delivery and the Nigerian populace’s security. The thesis posits that civil society has been handicapped in its ability to fulfill this charter for three distinct reasons: weakened traditional institutions; lack of social capital and trust between the masses, civil society, and the state; and the detrimental impact of a primarily oil- and mineral-based economic model. These factors all hinder the government’s willingness to work toward the best interest of the society as a whole.
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