An Assessment of the Roles and Challenges of Civil Society Organizations on the Process of Democratic Consolidation of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic
organizations (CSOs) in the democratic consolidation of Nigeria. As the third sector, civil Society is known to be at the forefront in the democratization process for quite a long period of time, but their contributions are continuously being relegated especially by the state who viewed them with negative lenses particularly when they are opposed to their conducts. The paper had therefore tried to examine three civil society organizations namely Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Alliances for Credible Elections (ACE) and Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN).
Methodology: It achieved this objective by using a qualitative semi-structured face to face interviews supported with secondary sources of data. Nvivo 12 software was used in coding, categorization and general management of data.
Results: The study revealed that CSOs in Nigeria have promoted the reliability of election by observing every phase of the country’s electoral process. Indeed, the CSOs have promoted democratic principles of civic participation, political engagement and tolerance among some political parties thereby advancing democratic consolidation in the polity. They have also stimulated policy changes in some crucial socio-economic policies. Again, the study revealed that CSOs faced economic problems which seriously distresses their operations and sustainability especially inability to extend into rural areas. It has also shown donor organization influence on the organizations which encroach their ideological base.
Implications: The paper concluded by suggesting that the civil society must devise a means of economic survival as well as further strengthen their capacity through training and retraining to fully understand how governments operate for effective and concrete criticisms that would enhance democratic productivity to the people. Civil society should be allowed to freely ventilate democratically without threats from the state since it inspires governments to be more accountable, transparent, honest and responsive to the public needs, which will make it further win the support of the public hence reinforce its legitimacy.
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