The Role Of NGOs In Democratic Governance In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

The Role Of NGOs In Democratic Governance In Nigeria


Democratic governance is a desired system of government that offers the electorates the dividends of democracy. It is a system where the freedom, rights and privileges of individuals are respected and upheld and the nation experiences national growth and development. This study was undertaken to examine the role of Non-governmental organization in democratic governance. The Study reviewed literatures on the civil societies and democratic governance. The study adopted the descriptive method of analysis is presenting it data. The data collected were through primary and secondary data. The study found out Nigeria occupies a negative status in the practice of a democratic governance in Nigeria. The NGOs plays any crucial role in ensuring democratic governance in Nigeria. The study recommends sponsoring for the Ngos and increasing the rights and privileges of the same.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Democracy is a global maiden which every nation woos. The democratic craze is sweeping across the whole world, from the nation states in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to Africa and Asia. It shows that democracy has gathered momentum across the globe as a result of its immense advantages and by implication because of the negative consequences of bad governance (Bello-Imam 2004:1). Consequently, democratic movement all over the world is among other things, an insistence on expression of the will of the people. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa has no choice than to align itself with the rest of the world on the democratic crave. However, Nigeria has not been so lucky to be democratized. It has had long tortured history of dancing around democracy but has never gotten it right. This is largely due to some challenges amongst which are lack of large scale free, fair and credible election; lack of freedom of speech and publication; refusal to accept defeat in elections by political gladiators; corruption and attitude of political office holders to corner the wealth of the nation; inobservance of rule of law; and long military rule (Adekola 2010: 1). The relatively free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria in April 2011 show that light is beginning to show at the end of the tunnel. The democratic events in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria under President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and Late General Sanni Abacha among many others show that the democratic struggles and democratization in Africa have been informed by different and sometimes conflicting objectives and strategies between the elites and the masses. (Okoro 2007). Contrary to popular participation, democracy in the African context means the ability of few people to effectively take control of the powers and authorities of governance with or without the choice of those they represent. In order for democracy to be meaningful it must be characterized or underlined by the principles of openness, representation, accountability, transparency and the defense, protection and preservation of individual and group rights (Vanhanem 1990).

African people through democratic struggles and decades of sacrifices have rejected authoritarianism. To that extent, democracy is viewed as the only framework through which development can be facilitated in Africa. Ironically, Ojo (2005) observed that, the democracy in the African context serves the interest of only the ruling class.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Democratic governance in Nigeria has been a theoretical knowledge void of practical experience. The country has seen a number of administration come and go with no or little evidence of democracy. All the administrations that have ruled this country after the military has preached this sermon of democracy but have failed to deliver its dividend. The crusade of democracy is now used as a tool to gather votes and dumped after the elections. Even as Nigeria is about to experience another election in 2019, democracy will be preached through various political mediums, all in a bid to convince the electorates that the incoming government is interested in her and is able and capable to deliver on the election promises. However, after the elections, all these democratic promises are locked up in a box waiting for the next four years. Some Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have identified this gap and have taken it upon themselves to play a vital role in bringing this gap that exists between elections and democratic governance in the country. This study is therefore undertaken to examine the crucial role of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in democratic governance in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The study has the following aims and objectives:

  1. To determine the status of democratic governance in Nigeria.
  2. To examine the role of NGOs in ensuring democratic governance.
  3. To ascertain the challenges of NGOs in ensuring
  4. To recommend ways of enhancing the role of the NGOs in ensuring democratic governance.

1.4 Research Hypotheses:

The study formulated and developed for testing, the following hypotheses:

  1. H0: Nigeria occupies a negative status in the practice of a democratic governance in Nigeria.
    H1: Nigeria occupies a Positive status in the practice of a democratic governance in Nigeria.
  2. H0: The NGOs do not play any crucial role in ensuring democratic governance in Nigeria.
    H2: The NGOs plays any crucial role in ensuring democratic governance in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the study

This study is focused on examining the role of NGOs in democratic governance. It will prove beneficial to the numerous non-governmental organizations who are derailing from their role of ensuring a democratic governance. The study will prove to be a tool for policy makers in terms of making policies that will reflect democracy. The study is will also be a reference for further researches on the role of NGOs and the understanding of a democratic government.

1.6 Scope and limitation of the Study

The scope of this study covers the Non-governmental Organizations whose visions are to ensure a democratic Nigeria. This is so because, there are numerous NGOs with visions different from the subject of discussion. Also, the study covers the literatures on democratic governance both national and international publications. However, the study is limited by time. The researcher had less time to visit some of these NGOs to gather first-hand information about the subject of discussion. Also. The study is limited by finances for logistics purposes.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Democracy is a system of government in which people choose their rulers by voting for them in elections.


Establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization. It includes the mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members (with the associated accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the organization.


A character assigned or assumed

1.8 Organization of the Study

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to reiterate that the objective of this study was to examine the role of Non-governmental Organizations in democratic governance in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in examining the role of Non-governmental Organizations in democratic governance in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

This study was undertaken to examine the role of Non-governmental Organizations in democratic governance in Nigeria. The study opened with chapter one where the statement of the problem was clearly defined. The study objectives and research hypotheses were defined and formulated respectively. The study reviewed related and relevant literatures. The chapter two gave the conceptual framework, empirical and theoretical studies. The third chapter described the methodology employed by the researcher in collecting both the primary and the secondary data. The research method employed here is the descriptive survey method. The study analyzed and presented the data collected in tables and tested the hypotheses using the chi-square statistical tool. While the fifth chapter gives the study summary and conclusion.

5.3 Conclusions

The Non-governmental Organizations has played a prominent role in the promotion of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. This role includes the struggle for decolonization and demilitarization as well as promotion of rule of law, popular participation in policy making, and transparency in governance. In order to provide a thorough analysis of the contributions of Non-governmental Organizations to democracy in Africa, this project work employed the sociological conception of Non-governmental Organizations. This conception extends the understanding of Non-governmental Organizations to include a variety of organizations. These organizations range from contemporary advocacy NGOs that focus on issues of civil liberty, democracy, health and gender to traditional organizations like labor unions, professional associations, ethnic, and religious groups. This study rejects the conventional notion of Non-governmental Organizations as framework for analyzing the contribution of the civil societies to democracy and good governance in Nigeria. It argues that any definitional notion that restricts constitutive elements of the civil societies to only advocacy NGOs will leave out the role of the traditional organizations in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria. The study therefore underscores the need for scholars and practitioners to reflect the specific contexts as well as social and political environments within which Non-governmental Organizations operate in their analysis of the role of the Non-governmental Organizations.

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