Volume 5, no. 2, 2007

Governance and Redevelopment of Civil Society in Africa

by Robert Dibie, Ph.D.

This paper suggests a sincere advocacy of inclusiveness (or inclusive nationalism) coupled with civil society engagement is needed to minimize inter-ethnic hostilities in Africa, while at the same time augmenting sustainable development. It argues that, if regional, ethnic and religious civil societies are to collaborate in the sustainable development processes of Africa. The continent  nations' political leaders will have to act responsibly and reach out to other community and ethnic based organizations outside their cultural groups. Further, the political system in most African nations would also need to provide incentives for the political leaders to establish a new dynamic nation that is based on Africa's interests rather than foreign interests that was the bone of contention during colonial period. It is further argued that empowering citizens, shareholders and community with enforceable rights and responsibilities to check abuses of authority over them will promote more accountability in the society. The deductions from the above principles are that public governance in Africa has to embrace all levels of the nation in the public, private sectors, and civil society organizations. Therefore, this paper suggests a sincere advocacy of inclusiveness (or inclusive nationalism) coupled with civil society engagement is needed to minimize inter-ethnic hostilities in Africa, while at the same time augmenting sustainable development.  Inter-ethnic hostilities and other social cleavages coupled with low levels of economic development appear to drive a culture of weak civil society actors.  Africa's political leadership may want to consider a type of inclusive nationalism.

Civil Society in Islamic Kingdom of Morocco
by Raphael Njoku, Ph.D.

This paper examines the position of civil society networks in Morocco and how they are negotiating with the monarchical state for a more liberal and democratic sociopolitical space. The state-initiated liberalization program that began in the 1990s was also intricately linked with a quest for a process of change from Morocco's conservative and traditional/religious patterns of civil society engagements to a more vibrant and secular forms. This transition program was launched in response to the wider global demands brought on Third World countries by Western donor institutions and governments in the 1980s. This study argues that the process of liberalization reveals the agonies of a monarchical theocracy that wants on the one hand to be identified with the process of ‘modernity' in compliance with the pressures induced more from outside and on the other, continues to exhibit fears about the consequences of compromising with monarchical powers and privileges.


Public Governance and Civil Society in Nigeria
by Robert Dibie, Ph.D., and Matthew Bradley, Ph.D.

This paper examines the role of civil society organizations in the political system of Nigeria. It argues that, if regional, ethnic and religious civil societies are to collaborate in the sustainable development processes of Nigeria, the nation's political leaders will have to act responsibly and reach out to other community and ethnic based organizations outside their cultural groups. Further, the political system in Nigeria would also need to provide incentives for the political leaders to establish a new dynamic nation that is based on Nigerian interests rather than the British interests that was the borne of contention during independence in 1960. It is further argued that empowering citizens, shareholders and community with enforceable rights and responsibilities to check abuses of authority over them will promote more accountability in the society. The deductions from the above principles are that public governance in Nigeria has to embrace all levels of the nation in the public, private sectors, and civil society organizations. It exerts that in order to determine the level of good governance in Nigeria the political leaders and citizens must realize that good governance cannot be limited to the public sector only for the nation to achieve sustainable development.

Indigenous Civil Society Practices among the Igbo People of Nigeria
by Johnston Njoku, Ph.D.

This paper explores these intellectual and social forces that shape the understanding and the persistent issues of civil society in order to develop a conceptual frame of reference for relating them to indigenous knowledge, institutions, and practices in Igboland, Nigeria.  The chapter presents an overarching model of civil society that embraces seven stakeholders namely: (1) local populations that is the grassroots in the villages, communities, or neighborhoods, (2) non-profit community-based primary associations, (3) politically mediated nation states or central governments, (4) non-governmental organizations, commonly known as the NGOs, (5) development oriented scholars, (6) multinational corporations and major funding agencies, (7) the scholars who research, assess, and report their findings to all the other constituting bodies. One of the central arguments of the chapter, therefore, is that in such a systemic structure, participating communities and organizations do not come into a synergic and collaborative relationship blank.  The chapter uses as an example a case study of civil society practices in Akanu Ohafia-a Nigerian village-to demonstrate the dynamics of identities and relatedness of civil society institutions in Igboland.  The point here is that the accumulated conventions of civil society practices in Akanu Ohafia is an example of what a vibrant community can offer as we address the issues of exclusion in contemporary civil society practices.

Civil Society and Democracy in Sierra Leone
by Ayandiji Daniel Aina, Ph.D.

This paper examines the role of civil society in the promotion of good governance, social, economic development and democracy in Sierra Leone. It argues that civil society in Sierra Leone is one of the most important elements of the country's democratization process. It explores the political economy of post-colonial Sierra Leone. It contends that civil society organizations tend to effectively influence the government and political processes in Sierra Leone. The paper made some suggestions on the strategies and options to enhance optimum performance by the civil society groups in their efforts to reconstruct and consolidate democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone.

BOOK REVIEWS

NGOs and Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2008, by Professor Dibie Published by Lexington Books

Reviewed by William Mello, Ph.D.

The NGOs and Sustainable Development book by Professor Robert A. Dibie explores the intriguing challenges that NGOs face in the development processes of the African people.  The book tend to provide guidance for civil society organizations and their clients groups who are engaged in the struggle on how to find viable means of collaborate with NGOs, the private, public sectors in the development of social and economic base of their respective nation. The book is a text full with many practical experiences. It is a very good book on how to understand the crucial needs for national and regional governments to collaborate with NGOs, the private sector and community based organizations in the development process of a nation. The book is full of concepts, instruction, and cases.