American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Party Politics and Democracy: The Role of Civil Societies and Struggle for Democratization in Nigeria
Moses .M. Adagbabiri, PhD; Okolie Ugo Chuks

Nigeria returned to democracy since May, 1999 following long years of authoritarian rule by the military that had been in power for almost thirty years, and while considerable progress has been made in the area of personal freedoms and liberties, flashpoints of ethnic, communal religious and resource conflicts persist across most of the country. This is exacerbated by the seeming failure of government to address key issues affecting economic performances such as poverty alleviation, access to education, employment, resource distribution, infrastructure development and political power contests. The struggle by civil society associations in the 1990s were as much a protest against economic mismanagement as they were a clear rejection of tyranny and dictatorship. Civil societies are regarded as the conscience of any nation. Its concept refers to all those autonomous groups of associations occupying the domain of the family and the public realm of the state. The prefix “civil” denotes that such associations usually exist outside the military. Africa’s civil societies have been portrayed as the prime movers in the democratization process, especially in the 1990s. Democratic struggles are a part of the struggle for survival. It is to a large extent about people turning away from the state and assuming greater control over their future within the context of a state that is fast disintegrating under self-inflicted fiscal crisis and weakened national institution. However, with the establishment of democratic government in Africa, it seems the high expectations about the capacity of these civil society associations to promote governance reform, and foster democratic heights have been exaggerated even as one is not doubtful of their strengths in influencing governments’ policies. The central argument of the study is to linking the democratic struggles as a part of the struggle for survival and the establishment of civil society associations to promote governance reform, and foster democratic heights in influencing governments’ policies.

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