Meaning of Civil Society
Civil society refers to any non-governmental entity formed by a group of people working in the interest of the citizens. It is a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity.
Examples of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria
- Arewa People's Congress
- Ohanaeze Ndigbo
- PANDEF - Pan Niger Delta Forum
- Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta
- Nigeria Labour Congress
- Oodua People’s Congress
- Centre for Women, Youth and Community Action (NACWYCA)
- Initiative for Food Environment and Health Society (IFEHS)
- Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
- Centre for International Volunteers for Youth Development (C4144YD)
Principles of Civil Society
There are basically 3 principles of civil society. They are:
- Principle of participatory engagement: This principle states that all members of a group should have access to participate in the group
- Principle of constitutional authority: This principle states that the right of every individual must be protected.
- Principle of moral responsibility: This principle states that every member of the group should have moral responsibility to use his/her civil liberties in the way that do not violate the human right of others.
Functions of Civil Society
- It makes state at all level to be accountable, responsive and to be more effective. They help to limit and control the power of the state
- It promotes political participation through the process of educating people to know their rights and obligations as citizens, and also encourages them to participate in election.
- It serves as training ground for future leaders
- It helps inform the public about important public issues
- It functions to mediate and resolve conflicts within the society.
- Civil society contributes to the formation and practice of democratic attitudes among citizens.
Qualities and Characteristics of Civil Society
- It facilitates open, voluntary participation
- It enables community stakeholders to hold economic and political actors accountable for outcomes of policy decisions
- It provides a context for mutual benefit and exchange
- It seeks to promote the “common good,” with a particular concern for inclusion of those currently marginalized.
- It is non-profit oriented.
Also Read: Political Apathy