(Public Administration)




The significance of this research is to analyze or discussed the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria: a role of civil society. Data were gathered from the activities of the civil society in the past and recent time journal and text and in some political department. The results of the findings revealed that the civil society had played an important role in the sustenance, liberation and emancipation of the democracy in Nigeria. It is therefore finalized or concluded that the civil society cannot be over emphasized in the democracy, development, economic and the upliftment of the principles of fundamental human rights in Nigeria at large.



1.0    Introduction       

1.1    Background of the Study                     

1.2    Statement of the Problem                    

1.3    Objectives of the Study                               

1.4    Significance of the Study             

1.5    Hypothesis                                

1.6    Scope of the Study                     

1.7    Limitation of the Study                               

1.8    Methodology                                      

1.9    Definition of Terms                             



2.0    Literature Review                       

2.1    Review of Related Literature                

2.2    Theoretical Frame Work              



  1. Evolution of Civil Society and Democracy in Nigeria  213.1 Evolution of Civil Society in Nigeria          

3.2    Civil Society and Democratic Governance in History 



4.0    Civil Society and the Consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria              

4.1    The Role of Civil Society in Democratic Government

 4.2   Problems Affecting the Effectiveness of Civil Society

in Nigeria.                                                         

4.3    The Way Forward                                               



5.0    Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation   

5.1    Summary                                  

5.2    Conclusion                                 

5.3    Recommendation                               





Nigeria experience with democracy has been epileptic since 1960 when she got her independence from the British administration, 1999 will be the third attempt (if the third republic is excluded as it was abolished even before it started) in coming to grasp with democratic ethics. In each practices widely accepted to be at variance with the spirit of democracy was perceived to be the major reason for democratic demise in Nigeria. Violence corruption, political association has gone a long way to threaten its very sustenance. Due to the way it’s has been pursued, democracy in Nigeria has come to mean thin go to many people.

A lot of people have not been able to extricate or distinguish it from dictatorial regimes despite the fact that there are perceived element of major characteristic of democracy. For instance, it has been alleged that in many quarters, that even when election are conducted, citizens are not allowed to take part in the voting process in having a god share in the elected government of the day Adele (2001).the role of civil society is not only strengthening but also ensuring it’s sustenance becomes very imperative.

However, civil society roles in consolidating in third world nations has been doubted, this is because why credit must be give to them for ensuring that democratic transition are successful, they lack what it takes to assure its continuation.

According to Boadi (1995) there are many factors responsible for this lack of funds, depending on government and of course political polarization are some of the many reasons that has contributed to the effective weakness of civil society in the third world nation specifically Nigeria.

        Civil society is defined by Diamond (1999) as “The realism of organized social life that is voluntary, self generating (largely), self supporting, autonomous from the state and bound by a large order and a set of shared rules” the need to remain their function in organized state.

        This is because according to Diamond (1999), it is distinct from society in general in that if involves citizen acting collectively in the public sphere to express their interest, passion and ideas, exchange information, achieve initial goals and make demands on the state and hold local state officials accountable. Civil society is an intermediary entry standing between the private sphere and this state. The lack of mutual set goods and exchanged information which has risen due to the politizatin of civil society has rendered it is so weak to hold state officials accountable.

        Third world civil society is no longer on intermediary entity standing between the private sphere and the state, rather as earlier asserted, lack of finance (fund) has been by many to have been co-opted by the state in advancing their selfish interest. A good example is the infamous June 12, 1993 election allegedly won by MKO Abiola. Though it was adjudged as the freest election in Nigeria till date, it was annulled by the military in Nigeria, the then general Ibrahim Babangida.

        However, according to Chikendu and Kalu (1996), the polarization of civil society especially as it reflects their geographic location (north east- west dichotomy) especially strengthens the military resolves to be adamant to the people wish.

        Nevertheless, it is believed that civil society have great role to play in sustaining democracy in Nigeria as indeed all third world nation, if the concept of civil society then consolidating democracy in Nigeria for instance, their will be a reality, but as already shown above, the role played by these civil groups have become questionable, given the constrains that hinder their effective organization.

        This project therefore, is very timely in that it will rigorously and systematically look at civil society to be of immense help in consolidating democracy in Nigeria by overcoming their weakness. Many reasons given for these weaknesses which ranges from co-operation of such associational group will be looked at in other words, the problem bed veiling civil society in Nigeria will be highlighted and prospects of a strong civil society as it helps to consolidate Nigeria nascent democracy.


        The lack of an effective and viable civil society has called to question the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. Therefore, this projects work intends to look at the role of civil society can play in effectively ensuring the continuation of democracy in Nigeria, it will also highlight some of the problems that could militate against the emergence of a viable civil society and look at how the strength of Nigeria civil society could be enhanced.


        The aims and objectives of this study is to critically evaluate the role of civil society in third world nation with particular reference to Nigeria and how such role can effect positively or negatively to democratic sustenance in Nigeria through the civil society.

        The effectiveness of civil society in easing democratic transition in Nigeria with special reference to its consolidating role has been perceived to weak. It is therefore, timely and patient to look into the issues and proposed a way forward dispute the outlined weakness, democracy is still largely adjudged as the best form of government because of the freedom (bill of rights) it ensured in any given polity.


        The significance of the study will lie in the difference; it is capable of making to the enhancement of democratic ethos in the Nigeria political system. Its premise is that civil society has a great role to play in expanding Nigeria nasent democracy across its territorial boundaries.

        It will also contribute to the advancement of knowledge as it relates to this field of enquiries. It is hope that it will provoke further research in the nearest future.


        The following hypothesis assumption will be immense importance in researching the above problems;

I:      Null hypothesis: - Multi ethnic composition of Nigeria society has no significant effect on the viability and composition of civil society in Nigeria.

Hi: multi ethnic composition of Nigeria society has a significant effect on the perceived weakness of civil societies in Nigeria.

2.     Ho: The politicization of civil society in Nigeria has no significant effect on their perceived weakness in playing roles as intermediary between the state and private sector.

Hi:    The politicization of civil society in Nigeria has a significant effect on their perceived weakness in playing roles as intermediary between the state and private sector.

3.     Ho: The economic decentralization and expansion of the private sector have a significant impact on civil society that is full independent of the state.

Hi: The economic decentralization and expansion of the private sector have a significant impact on civil society that is full independent of the state.


        I will like to restrict my scope of analysis to the geographical entity known as Nigeria and the various civil society group found in it. These various groups will be used arise studies from time to time as the circumstances demands, however, these does not mean that when the situation demands, references will not be drawn from other countries in an much as it will help to advance of this study.


        As the case usually is, there are certain limitations. The researchers will be faced within the cause of this study. One is in the area of finance which might have a direct consequence on the quality of suitable materials. Apart from finance, also considering the fact that research work of this nature are often done within a time frame, the study therefore can not be exhaustive in its entirely.

        However, it is hoped that these constraints so named will be checked mated by making the best use of the materials that researcher have and spending more than necessary time in the research report will be minimal. Thus making the objectives and significance of the study.


        Secondary sources of gathering data will be largely employed for variables. This again will based on content analysis, what these involves is the critical review of related materials, literatures, journals, magazines and textbooks, it will also involves sourcing or browsing the internet for other relative materials.   


        Conceptual clarification is a major requirement for any scientific or empirical research. It lay the basis for outright understanding of major concepts that will be used this is because concept is the building block” of any given discipline.

  1. Civil Society: A whole range of social groups that seeks to operate independently of the state such as private business enterprises, labour unions, trade association, religious bodies, student organizations, artistic and publication (Gold 1999).

It has also been seen as an intermediary entity standing between the private sphere and state, it is distinct from society in general, in that it involves citizens acting collectivity in the public sphere to express and hold state officials accountable (Diamond 1995).

  1. Democracy: A political system providing for the participation of citizens in political decision making often by the representatives of governing bodies (Giddens 2001).
  2. Democracy Sustenance: A state of affairs in which none of the major political actors, parties organized interest, forces or institutions, considers that there is nay alternative to democratic processes to again power and no political institutions has a claim to the action of democratically elected decision makers.




Adeleke, B. (2001), Political Parties and Democracy in Nigeria Lagos, Ijede Commercial Enterprises

Boach, G. (1995), “Civil Society in Africa” Journal of Democracy Vol. VVI No3.

Chikendu, and Kalu V. (1960), The Military Question, Path to Path Nigeria Democratic Order Europe Marydan Publishers.

Ddens, A. (2001), Sociology, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Diamond, L. (1999), Rethinking Civil Society Towards Democratic Consolidation, Cross Words, Vol No 3, (February) Lagos United State Information Services.

Gold (1990), “Civil Society and Its Role in a Democratic State”.Journal of Democracy, Vol 1 No 3.

Osagae, E. (1991), Existing from the State in Nigeria in Haynes’s. (Ed) Democracy and Civil Society in the Third World Politics and New Social Movement Cambridge Polity Press.



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