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The civil society and civil society organizations, have sacrificed their
existence, goals and objectives to the course of the fight towards sociopolitical development in Nigeria. To this effect, they have made relentless
effort and provoking arrangements, to ensure that the goals and objectives
for which they are set up are achieved to a considerable extent. Hence in the
course of their activity towards achieving this goal, they discovered that
there are lots of factors undermining socio-political development in Nigeria
and hence sought to put an end to them. Issues such as; poverty, corruption,
unemployment and human rights violation have been a thorn on the neck for
socio-political development in Nigeria and until this is made history, the
Nigeria socio-political development will remain a mirage. Having discovered
these problems, the civil society organizations have continued to fight these
problems to a standstill to ensure that the development dream of the
Nigerian socio-political sector is kept alive as we will see through the
activities of the Civil Liberties Organizations (CLO)
In our attempt to analyze and investigate the problem associated with
this research work, we adopted the structural functional theory as our
theoretical framework while the secondary method and documentary
research was used for gathering and analyzing data. This research work on
the Impact of civil society organization on the socio-political development
(An appraisal of the Civil Liberties Organization) was carried out to ascertain
the impact civil society organizations make on Nigeria’s socio-political
development and hence making useful suggestion that would further
enhance socio-political development.
This study was divided into five (5) chapters. Chapter one (1) talked about
the Background of the Study, statement of problem, objectives of the study,
significance of the study, hypotheses, methods of data collection and analysis,
scope and limitation of the study as well as operationalization of concepts or
terms. Chapter two (2) contains Sub-topics bothering on civil society
organizations and democracy in Nigeria, stressing more on the origin and
development of civil society organization in the post military Nigeria. This
chapter further highlighted the dimensions of civil society organizations,
with also the analysis of the objectives and roles of civil society organization.
Chapter three (3) bothered on issues such as the driving forces of civil
society organizations in Nigeria, this entails issues like; the perversity of
corruption in Nigeria, the scourge of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria
and of course the prevalence of human rights violation in Nigeria.
Chapter four (4) talked about the case study or appraisal of this research
work, which is; the civil liberties organization and socio-political
development. Further treating sub-topics like; civil liberties organization and
the war against corruption in Nigeria, where I discussed the role civil
liberties organization play in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The chapter further analysed the role of civil liberties organization against
the backdrop of poverty and their influence in poverty alleviation
programme in Niegria. The chapter concluded with the role of civil liberties
organization in the protection of human rights in Nigeria. The fifth chapter
(5) which is the last but not the less interesting, includes the summary of this
research work, the conclusion and of course recommendation, where the
researcher recommended points that would enable effective and efficient
participation of civil society organization and subsequently increased growth
in the socio-political development of Nigeria.
Table of Contents
Title Page ————————————————i
Approval Page ——————————————-ii
Dedication ———————————————–iii
Acknowledgment ————————————iv-vii
Abstract ———————————————-viii-xi
Table of Contents————————————xii-xiv
Chapter One: General Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study ———————–1-5
1.2 Statement of the Problem ———————–5-7
1.3 Objectives of the Study—————————7-8
1.4 Literature Review———————————8-17
1.5 Significance of the Study ———————18-19
1.6 Theoretical Framework ———————–19-25
1.7 Hypotheses ————————————-25-26
1.8 Methods of Data Collection and Analysis ——26
1.9 Scope and Limitation of the Study———-26-27
1.10 Operationalization of Concepts ————-27-29
Chapter Two: Civil Society Organization and
Democracy in Nigeria
2.1 Origin and Development of Civil Society
Organization in the Post Military
2.2 Dimensions of Civil Society Organizations—–42-49
2.3 Objectives and Roles of Civil Society
Chapter Three: The Driving Forces of Civil Society
Organizations in Nigeria
3.1 The Perversity of Corruption in Nigeria———63-83
3.2 The Scourge of Poverty and Unemployment in
3.3 The Prevalence of Human Rights Violation
in Nigeria—————————————–100-107
Chapter Four: Civil Liberties Organizations and SocioPolitical Development in Nigeria
4.1 Civil Liberties Organization and the War Against
Corruption in Nigeria.————————–108-119
4.2 Civil Liberties Organizations and Poverty Alleviation
4.3 Civil Liberties Organizations and Human Rights
Protection in Nigeria—————————-125-133
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and
5.1 Summary—————————————–134-136
5.2 Conclusion —————————————137-139
5.3 Recommendations——————————-140-146
Bibliography ————————————-147-150
Chapter One: General Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
The topic “The Impact of Civil Society Organization
on Nigeria‟s Socio-Political Development: An Appraisal of
Civil Liberties Organization”, was induced by the level in
which the various civil society organizations in the
country have strived to combat those issues that have
continued to undermine the country‟s bid to social and
political development over the years. George Soros, in his
book: The Age of Fallibility, Observes that society is
suspicious of those who claim to be virtuous and not
without justification. The claim of being virtuous is very
controversial and is a characteristic of most civil society
organizations. Whether they live up to this virtuous claim
or not, is open to value judgment, subjectivity and as
Soros argues that the burden of proof is certainly that of
the claimant. The implication is that it is misleading to
make a sweeping assessment of the civil society
organization and their activities. However, it is very
necessary to check the extent to which they have made
impact to improve public welfare, strengthened cultural,
social, economic and political life-wire of the society.
It is also right to say that since the dawn of
participatory democracy, the rights of citizens such as
the freedoms of expression and of association are seen as
sacrosanct. Often, these rights are provided in the
constitution and other extart laws of the country. When
people outside the corridors of power freely exercise these
rights by volunteering to pursue a valued course or by
protecting against a government policy, they double and
are recognized as civil society group or organization. This
tends to lend credence to the assertion of Abbie Hoffman
who said many years ago that:
Democracy is not something you
believe in or a place to hang your
hat, but its something you do, you
participate. If you stop doing it,
democracy crumbles (1963:30).
A significant problem in most developing countries
is over centralization of decision making and the lack of
stakeholders involvement that permit patronage of
powerful special interests and high levels of corruption.
Scholars are agreed that lack of stakeholder buy-in
attenuates the policy process, decreases efficiency and
this in-turn affects economic growth. This is where civil
society can play a major role by contributing to greater
transparency and accountability.
Civil society is a “space” where function is to
mediate between the individual and the state while there
may not be a clear cut definition of civil society; they
more or less agree that it comprises institutions such as
religious organizations, labour unions, charity
organizations, community groups, non profits and the
media. In advanced and virile democratic systems, these
institutions supplement formal processes such as voting
and help citizens shape the culture, politics and
economies of their nation. Civil society organization tends
to strengthen and raise the capacity of citizens to address
social, economic and political developmental challenges.
Hence in this study, we attempt to expose or bring
to limelight, the impact of these civil society organizations
on the socio-political development of Nigeria, laying
emphasis on the civil liberties organization (CLO). The
Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) was established in
1987 as one of Nigeria‟s largest human rights
organization. Its formation and emergence can be
credited to a renowned Nigerian radical lawyer Olisa
Agbakoba (SAN). The civil liberties organization
investigates human rights abuses and campaigns,
through litigation, publications and communication with
the government on behalf of people whose rights have
been abused. It has published a number of reports on
police brutality, military decrees, government impunity,
the death penalty and annual reports on the human
rights situation in Nigeria. Its legal aid project has
represented over 4,000 indigent victims of human rights
abuses. The organization also undertakes human rights
education through its empowerment project, conducting
clinics and seminars on rights issues. The government is
extremely active in lobbying the government through
dialogue and public censor and launching campaigns to
end specific government abuses, hence providing an
avenue for socio-political development in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The 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
policies 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 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 government. No doubt, 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.
Key assumptions that connotes legitimacy to the
existence of civil society organizations is that they are
expected to be knowledge driven, 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, by other segment of
society and government. To this effect, some questions
were raised in the course of this study, questions as;
what is the problem prompting the study? Which ends up
seeking to find the solution to the questions below:
i. Is there any relationship between civil society
organizations and democracy?
ii. Is bad governance the driving force of civil society
organizations in Nigeria?
iii. To what extent has the civil liberties organization
influenced the socio-economic and political
development in Nigeria?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objectives of this research is to assess the
impact of the civil society organizations, on Nigeria‟s
development. The specific objectives of the study are:
i. To establish the relationship between civil society
organizations and democracy.
ii. To ascertain if bad governance is the driving force
of civil society organizations in Nigeria.
iii. To determine the extent the civil liberties
organization has influenced the socio-economic
and political development of Nigeria.
1.4 Literature Review
The activities of civil society organizations have over
the years engineered several forms of development in
Nigeria. Activities ranging from protecting against certain
government policies to the organization of seminars,
conferences and enlightenment programmes to educate
the masses or citizens on the various human rights and
how to kick against abuse on such rights. Civil society
organizations, through protest and campaigns have over
the years worked to bring about accountability in
government, in the sense that the government has
become more accountable and responsible as a result of
the eye cast on it by the civil society organizations, hence
bringing about people oriented policies that further bring
about development in the country.
Furthermore, civil society organizations as it relates
to their impact on socio-political development have been
subjected to different scholarly views in an attempt to
ascertain the level of relationship or disparity that exist
between the activities of civil society organization and
Nigeria‟s socio-political development. On a plain or level
ground or better still in a layman‟s term, socio-political
development can be seen or comprises of two factors;
social development and political development, otherwise
known as socio-political development. Social development
on the one hand refers to a broad term that describes
actions that are taken to build positive outcomes and
prevent negative social outcomes that can adversely
affect a community. These outcomes includes issues
ranging from crime, poverty, gang activity, school
disengagement, teen pregnancy, addictions and
substance abuse, obesity, poor health, environmental
degradation etc. The aim of social development is to
improve the availability of support systems in the
community that prevent negative outcomes before they
occur or buffer (lessen) their impact. For example rather
than reacting to crime after it has already happened,
measures are taken within the community that prevent
crime from ever occurring.
Good prevention starts with parents before they
have children and very directly once conception has
occurred. Evidence suggested that negative environments
not only affect pregnant mothers but can very directly
alter the architecture of the brain of the unborn child.
Social development is about creating environment that
enable children and youth to thrive and not merely
survive. In other words, social development refers to the
ability to create an enabling environment or building a
conducive environment for man to survive, while political
development on the other hand refers to a durable shift
in ideas or institutions that alters the feasible set of
options open to solving political problems. The study of
political development can also be understood as the
study of the evolution of the structures of the state, in
correspondence with the changes occurring in the
economic and social dimensions of group life. Political
development has been defined in many ways that reflect
the passage of societies and analysts preoccupations.
One formulation dwells on the emergence of national
sovereignty and the integrity of the state, demanding
respect and upholding commitments in the international
system. Others identify the domestic attributes of
constitutional order and political stability, attained
through the formation of a settled framework of
government, reliable procedures for leadership
succession and a consolidation of the territorial
administrative reach of government.
Political development enhances the states capacity
to mobilize and allocate values or resources to process
policy inputs into implementable outputs. This assists
with problem – solving and adaptation to environmental
changes and goals realization. The concemporary notion
of good governance also dwells on efficient, effective and
non-corrupt administration. Social and political
development seems to work hand-in-hand, hence this
research topic seeks to find out the impact of civil society
organization in the socio-political development of Nigeria,
using the civil liberties organizations as an appraisal.
Bratton (1994:5) has warned of the dangers in
appropriating a venerable concept such as civil society
when trying to explain contemporary African politics. The
dangers arise not only from the fact that the concept
evolve on a distinctly European historical and cultural
Milliuex, but also because its usage by political
philosophers has changed dramatically overtime.
This point was undermined by Pelcynske (1984:3)
when he opined that “few social and political concepts
have traveled so far in their life and changed their
meaning so much”. The practical dimensions of the
dangers are evident on the work of analysts such as
Mersha (1990:2) and Gold (1990:20) who tried to apply
the concept to non-western politics (Ethiopia and China)
and found it “unwieldy” and “complex” respectively.
Although there is some degree of elusiveness and
fugitility in the nature and meaning of civil society, the
difficulty in application experienced by some scholars
may not be unconnected to the tendency to adopt a
“Eurocentric” mind set with its emphasis on
individualism and libertarianism when operationalising
the concept in non-western settings, rather than conceive
of the concept as but one particular example of thinking
politically about conflict, how it is carried out, and who
has the „right‟ to engage in it” (Calaghy, 1994:237) viewed
from this perspective, civil society as we still see after
exploring the layers of perceived meanings with which
the term is burdened, is a useful formula for analyzing
state – society relations, not just because it embodies a
core of universal beliefs and practices about the
legitimation of and limits to state power, but also because
“it provides a vantage point for the study of political
practices and social movements, as well as establishing
the connections between power contestation and the
response of the state” (Chandhoke, 1995:41).
Civil society organization is part of the approach
that appears in academic literatures today, here, it
regards the society as a certain arena or area of society,
the public space between the state and the households,
where groups constituted at a level beyond the family
engage in public political activity (Bryant, 1990:6),
Bratton, 1989:417). Although such political activity may
be motivated by the quest for private advantage, it is not
“private in the sense of being confined to the domestic or
household arena. Instead, it is considered „public‟ in two
senses. It entails collective action in which individuals
join to pursue shared goals; and it takes place in the
institutional commons that lie beyond the boundaries of
the household. A characteristic feature of this public
space is the normative notion of civility defined not just
in terms of simple courtsey and good manners, but a
readiness to moderate particular individual and parochial
interests in consideration of some common good through
which other‟s basic rights and interest would be
protected. It is the acceptance of such collectivity and
responsibility to the common good and the positive value
of activities meant to safeguard it that are deemed to be
at the core of civility and form what Still (1991:13) calls
the fundamental virtue of civil society organizations. As
John Dewey might have it:
Only by participating in the common
intelligence and sharing the
common purpose, as it works for the
common good, can individual
human beings realize their true
individualities and become truly
Since the dawn of participatory democracy the
rights of citizens such as the freedoms of expression and
of association are seen as sacrosanct as I further stated
this rights gives individuals and members of the society
the freewill to join any organization that represent their
interest. Hence in Nigeria, there are so many civil society
organizations, they include the following: The Alliance for
credible elections (ACE – Nigeria), Nigeria Labour
Congress (NLC), Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs
(SCIA), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Trade
Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA),
United Action for Democracy (UAD), Transition
Monitoring Group (TMG), Electoral Reform Network
(ERN), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Civil Liberties
Organization (CLO), Movement for the Survival of the
Ogoni People (MOSOP), Movement for the Actualization of
the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) etc, But this
research work will place more emphasis on its case
study, The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in
subsequent chapters. All these organizations mentioned
above, all perform various functions in making sure the
government is accountable and responsible to the people
by check-making their policies and acting as watch –dogs
on the government which will further bring about sociopolitical development.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research work will provide relevant answers to
the bothering thoughts of scholars who are interested in
this topic.
Moreso, it will also provide guideline to policy
makers as regards to the kind of policies they make, that
will match the desires of a society and subsequently the
various civil society organizations in Nigeria. If the
policies made or adopted by a particular government in
power, does not go down well with the people it might
trigger reactions by the various civil society groups,
whose impact can marr the government. But if the policy
is a good one, then the government would receive the
applause and support of these groups.
Hence, this research work would help enhance the
ideas and understanding of scholars and students alike,
who are interested in this topic as the impact of civil
society organizations would be studied and then one
would know what kind of impact to expect from civil
society organizations when certain policies are made. It is
imperative therefore to note at this point that these
impacts could be negative or positive, depending on the
goals, objectives, demand, aspiration and modus
operandi (modes of operation) of these civil society
organizations or groups.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
There are several modes or theories used in the
analysis of the political system or phenomenon by
political scientists. But this study sees more appropriate
the use of Gabriel Almond‟ Structural Functional Model
as a tool for analysis. The structural functional model
primarily concerned itself, with the maintenance of order
and stability in the society and the necessary
arrangement within the society which maintain the said
order and stability. Structural functional analysis
originated in the biological and mechanical sciences of
part of systems analysis. It was adopted and adapted as
a mode of analysis in sociology and anthropology as its
evident in the work of Emile Durkheim and Talcott
Parsons. It was developed in political science by Gabriel
Almond; S.P. Verma who stresses that structural
fucntionalism revolves around two main concepts;
functions and structures on the basis of which three
basic questions could be posed.
1. What basic functions are fulfilled in any given
political systems?
2. By what structures?
3. Under what conditions?
Functions have been defined by Merton Robert as
those observed consequences which make for the
adaptation or adjustment of a given system S.P. Verma
notes that while functions deal with the consequence
involving objectives as well as processes or patterns of
actions. Structures refer to the arrangement within the
system, which performs the functions. The basic
assumption of the structures function framework is that
all system has structures, which can be identified and
these structures perform functions within the system,
necessary for existence. Thus, it is perceived by Gabriel
Almond that all political system regardless of which they
are remains in existence. In various political systems,
these functions may be performed by different kinds of
political structure and sometimes even by structures,
which are of overtly, recognizes as being primarily
political. Verma notes that there is no one
correspondence between functions and structures. A
particular function may be fulfilled by a complex
combination of structures just as structural arrangement
may perform functions which might have different kinds
of consequences for the structure in the analysis of the
political systems, the analyst compare not simply the
political structures since these may not actually be the
mechanisms through which all the necessary functions
are being performed or they may not be performing the
functions originally allotted to them.
Structural functional analysis tries to shift the focus
of analysis away from the observable institutional
political mechanisms to any area where the actual
performances of the functional requirement of the system
are located. Political systems are therefore compared in
terms of the manner in which structures perform the
expected functions in the society. All political systems are
therefore perceived to perform two basic functions: Input
and Output functions.
There are four input functions, which includes:
1. Political socialization and recruitment.
2. Interest articulation.
3. Interest aggregation.
4. Political Communication.
These are three output functions, which includes:
1. Rule making
2. Rule application
3. Rule adjudication
All input functions are seen as being performed by
non-governmental organization or system of the society
such as: pressure groups, interest groups, schools,
family, political parties, independent newspapers, civil
society organization etc. The output functions are all
governmental and it is the governments and their
bureaucracies which make rules (Legislate), apply rules
(administer) and adjudicate between individuals and
groups (interpret) on the basic of rules. Political systems
can therefore be analyzed and compared in terms of the
degree to which their political structures are specialized,
whether specific functions are performed through
particular structure can perform a number of functions.
In some political system such as those of the advanced
industrial nations of American and Europe, structures
are specialized, political roles differentiated and function
In summary, it is to be noted that why the yard
stick by which systems are measured consist of the
functions which are performed by the political system the
units which being analyzed and compared are the
various structure which compose individual political
systems. The analyst should attempt to see which
structures or institutions fulfill the functions which are
ascribed to all political systems. Take interest
aggregation as an example, it is defined as the way in
which demands are combined in the form of alternative
cause of action. In the combination various types of
structures can play a part. Civil society organizations are
perhaps the structures which usually attempt to combine
and process demand under liberal democracy. Moreover,
other groups such as trade unions, interest groups or
non – governmental organizations can also achieve the
same goal, sometimes alone, sometimes in collaboration
with one another. These civil society organizations,
perform input functions as stated above, placing demand
on the government in other to achieve the set goals or
objectives for which they were established.
1.7 Hypotheses
With references to the questions formulated at the
statement of problem, the following hypotheses have
been derived.
i. There appears to be a strong relationship
between civil society organizations and
ii. Bad governance is the driving force of civil society
organizations in Nigeria.
iii. The civil liberties organization has influenced
socio-economic and political development of
1.8 Method of Data Collection/Analysis
The method of data collection used in this work is
the secondary source of data. It implies the visitation to
libraries, journals, newspapers, textbooks, and articles
from the internet. Since the method of analysis is the
secondary mode, the method of analysis is the qualitative
method, which implies that it is more of explanatory
1.9 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this study covers the activities of civil
society organizations in Nigeria, with particular attention
on the civil liberties organizations (CLO). Many of these
civil society organizations tend to have branches
nationwide of which civil liberties organization (CLO) is
an is not an exception, but what helped in this research
work was that their activities are narrowed, having one
founder and a narrowed ideology, similar interest, goal
and objective.
In the course of this research work, I encountered a
lot of problems, that limited the scope and idea of the
study, because the author of this work is not an island of
knowledge, he therefore depended on library works,
where there where few books, relating to the research
topic. Other activities in school, made sure the author
had little time given to this work. But it is a thing to be
grateful to God for, as this work turned out to be a
1.10 Operationalization of Concepts
In the study, some social, political and societal
terms were adopted and applied in relation to the subject
matter. They include the following:
 Political Development: Broadly the development of
the institutions, attitudes and values that form the
political system of a society.
 Society: The English word “society can be stretched
or narrowed to cover almost any form of association
of persons possessing any degree of common
interests, values or goals.
 Democracy: The “government of the people, by the
people for the people”, based in a nation “conceived
in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all
men are created equal, has had so many definitions,
but none has been as simple, yet comprehensive as
the one given above by one time. American
President, the famous Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)
at Gettysburg in November 19, 1863.
 Poverty: This is the state of one who lacks a certain
amount of material possessions or money.
 Human Rights: This is related to civil rights,
natural rights, people‟s right and civil liberties,
insofar as all of them are concerned are concerned
with the rights and liberties of individuals and
groups within a free society.
 Good Governance: This is an indeterminate term
used in international development literature to
describe how public institutions and government
conduct public affairs and manage public resources
for the betterment of the entire society.
 Bad Governance: The opposite of good governance,
involve the mismanagement and misconduct of
affairs that would enable development and positive
growth in the society.
 Development: The all-round inter-connected
progressive transformation of man, society and
nature made possible by his incremental mastery
over them.


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