Nigeria Briefing Paper

All have had varying degrees of impact on nigerian

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Unformatted text preview: s. Civil Society Nigerians have organized themselves in a variety of ways, depending upon religious affiliation, ethnic identification, occupational category, and gender. All have had varying degrees of impact on Nigerian politics, depending upon their organizational capacity, membership numbers, and the relevant issue area. Many of the ethnic associations that formed during colonialism evolved into political parties, and in contemporary Nigeria, ethnic associations often collaborate with particular political parties. This is also the case with religious organizations. For example, there is an array of Muslim civil society organizations in the north that work with political parties that support the Shari'ah court system and that promote pro-Arab and pro-Muslim policies. Babangida’s 1985 decision to change Nigeria’s status in the Organization of the Islamic Conference from observer to member was widely supported by many Muslim organizations, but it inflamed Christian organizations in the south, such as the Christian Association of Nigeria, which was not supportive of this change in membership status. There are also a number of organizations based on occupational category, including labor, business, student, and farm groups. The coordinating body for labor unions countrywide is the Nigerian Labor Congress, which has occasionally unified workers to strike to improve their status. This occurred during the First Republic, but due to the antiunion stance of many of the military regimes, the union’s effectiveness in articulating political demands has been limited over the years. Most Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at apcentral.collegeboard.com. 25 businesses in the country are represented by three large associations: the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria; the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines, and Agriculture; and the Association of SmallScale Industries. As westernized, elite-based organizations, they have strong ties to the country’s political and bureaucratic leaders, thus enabling them to articulate demands that are often well received in policy-making and policy-implementing circles. Similar to other countries, student groups have been active in organizing mass protests against government policies. This was especially the case during the first three republics, and it continues to be a challenge for the current democratically elected government. While farmers are the largest occupational group in the country, their interests are disparate depending on crop and/or region of residence, and they are too geographically dispersed to effectively organize their interests in ways that substantially impact the political process. Women have occasionally organized themselves into civil society organizations, but their scope and effectiveness have been limited. Political Participation For the most part, political participation has been limited to casting votes in occasional electoral contests, working on behalf of political candidates/parties during brief periods before these electoral c...
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This document was uploaded on 04/02/2013.

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