Show Less
Restricted access

Church and Civil Society in 21st Century Africa

Potentialities and Challenges Regarding Socio-Economic and Political Development with Particular Reference to Nigeria

Sylvester Uche Ugwu

In view of the unprecedented level of socioeconomic and political underdevelopment plaguing the African continent, there remains one key area in the polity with great potentials which remains largely untapped: civil society. What can it contribute to the alleviation of the burden of underdevelopment in Africa? What is the place of the Church in civil society, particularly in Nigeria? Can there be a sustainable cooperation between the Church and other civic groups in the country for the purpose of development? Using mainly literature-based methods, this work seeks to dig into the understanding of civil society from the ancient Aristotelian «polis» to its 21st century African idea. It discusses the place of the Church in relation to the social question. Some of the vital areas of the Church’s civil societal involvement ad intra and with other civil groups are examined, using the Caritas’ structural principle of approach. Some major challenges hindering the vital input of the two institutions towards sustainable socioeconomic and political development are x-rayed. It extensively exposes the immense potentials for development through the cooperation between the two institutions. Conversely, some enormous challenges facing civil societal cooperation for development are discussed. Finally, research goes on to put forward some vital insights, ideas and suggestions for the fruitful cooperation towards the realization of the potentials for national development.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

7. Challenges and Obstacles to the Realization of the Goals of the Church and other Civil Society Organizations


The possibility of the Church and other civil society organizations in Nigeria working or cooperating towards the socioeconomic and political development of the country depends to a large extent on their quality and strength. Their quality and their strength, on the other hand, hinge on their ability to overcome their own critical challenges and obstacles. What are the major obstacles and challenges that may hinder the actualization of the goals civic groups set for themselves? The following subsections discuss some of the most important challenges and obstacles that civil society faces in Nigeria, including realities of the church(es). These are: external and internal corruption within the organizations, lack of unity of purpose of civil society groups due to selfish interests, lack of adequate manpower as well as overdependence on foreign aid and foreign partner organizations.

7.1. Corruption in the Social and Political Life in Nigeria

It could be said that the greatest sign of failure in Nigeria’s governance since independence is corruption.1409 One could further assert that the major difference between Nigeria and other countries of the world in terms of development is the higher level of corruption in the former.1410 The high level of corruption in Nigeria can be traced to the poor quality of values pursued by the generality of the citizens, especially by the rulers and the elites. Development all over the world is mainly determined by the positive goals, ethics and norms and the determination of the people to...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.