OJPS  Vol.11 No.3 , July 2021
Examining Civil Society Organizations’ Collaboration Paradox in Confronting Electoral Challenges in Enugu State, Nigeria, 1999-2020
Abstract: Researches critical of electoral freedom and fairness, integrity, financing, and security in Nigeria have challenged Nigeria’s democratization process. However, not many of them have captured these challenges considering the paradox of the civil society organizations’ collaborations (CSOs) in Nigeria. We argued that for civil society to activate the democratization process, a historically structured imbalance through dualism of political and economic collaborations of the civil society should be resolved. The study made use of the Exploratory Research Design, using the Structural-Functional Analysis and the Post-Colonial State theory as frameworks for analyzing the imperativeness of economic collaborations to direct the political collaborations. It made use of mixed method of data collection and analysis, using a sample of 312 respondents drawn from population of 1434 members of civil society organizations. We used the Multilinear Regression model in the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences IBM (SPSS) version 20 to test the statistical hypothesis that: civil society organizations’ uncordial relations with government organizations and their uncordial relations with business organizations are significantly related to their detection of electoral challenges in Enugu State, 1999- 2020. It was found that civil society organizations’ uncordial relationship with government organizations rather than uncordial relationship with business organizations is significantly related to help in detecting electoral challenges in Enugu State, 1999-2020.

1. Situating Civil Society Organization’s (CSOs) Paradoxical Collaboration in Nigeria

The contradiction and disarticulation in the parity in the integration of civil society organizations in areas of governance and economy, or in conventional parlance—the state and market, in the tackling of electoral challenges (Ibeanu, 2006; Cernea, 1997), has not been given adequate attention in literature of civil society. While the economic collaboration which is theoretically foundational for operational collaboration has been difficult, their existent collaborative efforts have often been political, described as ad-hoc and motley (Ibeanu, 2012). In the collaborative zest of civil society organizations to tackle electoral challenges, civil society organizations such as NGOs are operationally diverse (Cernea, 1997), but the operationally diverse nature does not bring in good lessons for understanding their collaborations, whereby civil society organizations do not challenge the bad state of affairs or threaten capitalist development or anti-democratic developments of the capitalist state. Still, they do not question the appearances of international capitalism and class relations (Fernando, 2011), but form a united front against collaborations on ethno-religious state nationalism by playing them against each other in election (Ibeanu, 2006). This brings up a dualism which needs to be balanced towards economic collaborations described through the paradox of motley-operational collaboration, considering that political collaborations which dominate interactions are also not deep, continuous and consistent. Fernando (2011) stated that the NGOs do not question the in-balanced relationship between capital and labor in politically participatory ways that threaten capitalist development. Instead ethno-religious nationalism among them is played on to their own selfish whims and caprices. Such patterns of collaborations become their preoccupation which they leave to over-determine other interjections and hence undermining and neglecting deeper issues of class/labor relationship even in electoral contestations, the real political and economic realities confronting the people are not discussed. This exposes critical questions to be asked for collaboration of civil society with government and economic class for electoral challenges. More fundamentally is the need for a will on the economic class to solve electoral conundrum and in the area of collaboration as to be considered in civil society organizations.

Cernea (1997) looked at how this is requisite particularly in NGOs and noted that operational collaboration of NGOs which are part of the civil society organizations’ programs and projects would also employ the local patterns, structures and strata of social organizations, in articulating and implementing projects and programs in areas of their comparative advantage. NGOs have comparative advantage in helping poor people to articulate their needs to government officials. They generally do this in areas of population, health and nutrition projects and in voluntary resettlement of displaced people, which suggests more NGOs are needed in the area of increasing operational collaboration with political parties and industrial organizations to fight electoral challenges. Egbe (2004) hinted the importance of collaboration or associational life in civil society organizations, such that they are understood by their choices of interactive patterns with other organizations in the society. Be it state group or economic group interest, the civil society in other words, could work with the state in helping to find legal expressions and basis for confronting distribution of power through complex and creative relationships. Civil society organizations being political in the public interest could be part of a continuous legislative and even electoral process for state power acquisition. As civil society organizations behave like the state, it serves dual function or makes dual impacts as coercive function of the state and social reproductive function of the capitalist state. While this political and economic character of the civil society sis brought to bear looking at democracy, in recent times, following the spate of political and economic crisis, alongside government ineptitude and apathy to ameliorate the hardship faced by the citizens in Nigeria, civil society organizations face challenges of grasping their rights under democracy, and to make a meaningful impact on either economic or political collaborations with out-group/organizations under democracy. The type of involvement of civil society in politics has been haphazard in the sense that stories of government-owned NGOs dominating welfarist activities, or development or rationalizing political actions in the other aspects of their activities while government moves around ceremoniously as seen in the Daily Star (Enugu State owned newspaper) reports from 2003 to 2018 (See Appendix). It is on this note that it becomes necessary to situate the collaboration of civil society organizations collaborations in Nigeria’s democratization process.

1.1. Research Problem

Civil society organizations as para-political organizations help to make certain demands and give support under modern states practicing democracy. They are checks against the excesses of the government, human rights violations, abuse of the rule of law, monitoring of the application of the constitution; facilitators of participation and skills of all segments of the society; instillers of sense of tolerance, trust, hard work, moderation and compromise among the various parties in the society; alternatives to political parties; mitigating instruments against the excesses of fundamentalists, extremists and maximalists who tend to have a very narrow view of life, and; recruiting ground for and training of prospective members of the political class for the enhancement of quality participation in government (Diamond cited in Egbe, 2004). In the out-group interactions of civil society group with noncivil society organizations made up of the government and business organizations, a political and economic public space is created. Existent literature has not clearly made a paradoxical connection of political and economic contradictions interplay in the collaboration of civil society for democratization process in Nigeria, or how civil society organizations motley and operational collaborations with external organizations such as the government and the business societies, influence or determine the most critical workings of democratization process, such as free and fair elections in Nigeria. It becomes a problem whereby operational collaboration of civil societies have been hampered, the societies that were supposed to be mobilized economically and politically became politically and economically separated and set against the other by primordial interests (Egbe, 2004; Ibeanu, 2012).

In recent times, it was observed that the citizenry has become almost handicapped to contribute to the democratic process visibly to feel economic advantages of democracy, thereby politically waiting for four years to make a meaningful impact on either economic or political collaborations with out-group organizations under democratic political system like Nigeria. A compendium of Daily Star Newspaper from 2013 to 2018 indicated organizations and interaction with the government did not indicate the presence of religious or ethnic organizations which are known to collaborate with the government in their operations. Rather, both political and economic collaborations were dominated by the activities of government driven nongovernmental organizations and development based organizations. Also, these political and economic activities of civil society organizations basically shadow the work of government in areas of development and welfare or activities rationalizing the actions of government in form of political support organizations. This condition has left out democratization through of civil society organizations in electoral education, and show disdain, and loss of focus on the democratic path. These collaborations become imbalanced and reflective of politics in general and have been economically incapable of distributing democratic dividends through proper electoral processes. The organizations have been incapable of evolving a democratic state through proper electoral processes. However, they have not functionally extricated the common political and economic vantages of the state to ensure the needed democratic freedoms. If there were such, they were not reported for the years (See Appendix).

Electoral malpractices and violence thus become the order of elections in Nigeria between 2003 and 2019. From the ongoing, the challenges of the democratization process have not been able to be holistically captured considering the motley-operational paradox of the civil society organizations in Nigeria. It is on this note that this study seeks to find out how did civil society organizations’ motley and operational out-group collaborations associate with detection of electoral challenges in Enugu state, 1999-2020?

1.2. Research Reason

Nigeria has been witnessing electoral malpractices, electoral fraud, insecurity, and these have challenged Nigeria’s democratization process. However, scholarship have questioned the input of the civil society organizations to its democratization process, but not many of them have investigated these challenges considering balancing the paradox of the civil society organizations’ collaborations (CSOs) in Nigeria. The focus of this study becomes civil society organizations under the time frame, from 1999 to 2020, to capture the longest sway of civilian administration in Nigeria, studying the long existing civil society organizations under the civilian administration since the later was coterminous to democratic administration within which its theoretical liberality allows electoral process, at the core of peoples’ political participation, against military regimes as held by political theory.

1.3. Research Objective

Our research objective is to analyze the dialectics of civil society organizations’ political and economic collaborations and their influences on tackling electoral challenges, 1999 to 2020.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Civil Society Organizations and Electoral Challenges

With a view to understanding the electoral process and civil society relationships, a scholar like Schneckner (2006) identified that civil society organizations have been playing crucial roles in determining and detecting electoral fraud as election observers. They are often trusted to confer legitimacy and increase trust, and thereby safeguard the electoral process against electoral fraud. He posited also that non-state actors such as marauding organizations, militias can also aggravate tensions to election leading to electoral fraud. Marco (n.d.), recommended the use of local forces by civil societies for the 2007 elections in Nigeria, this is because domestic election observers to the international observers possess more advantage which lies in their competence in bridging the language barriers and having numerical strength. However, the observation practically characterized civil society organizations as agents of electoral fraud detection, through indigenous means’ and large size. Common Wealth Human Rights Initiative [CHRI] (2015) identified that in ensuring free and fair elections, there is a need to adopt international bodies such as the Common Wealth of Nations and the civil societies as partners. Based on this standpoint, civil society organizations are there to help reduce or annihilate the impact of corruption in society. Based on this conception, it is taken that civil society organizations also need to be in collaboration with international bodies as well to tackle electoral challenges. Also, Noble and Morgan (2012) posited that in particular; the media organization brings the needed substrate or landing for international collaboration. They also provide coverage of electoral issues and that a vast majority of fund from the Oversea Development Assistance (ODA) and other economic assistance from international development agencies or organizations from developed countries were only interested in collaborating with media organizations, and not directly with the. With these literatures, we find the place of electoral integrity, financing, security, freedom and fairness to be challenged by the incompetence of local institutions in Nigeria. Having ascertained the importance of organization large size, ability to confer trust and representing local initiatives, work with international bodies and the media, and; requiring of huge financing, we shall review the forms of collaborations that generally represent these characters and in what forms they are, motley or operational.

2.2. Civil Society Organizations, Political and Economic Collaborations

Though without specific attention given to elections, collaborations have been asserted to require a plethora of factors, and actors in tackling electoral challenges in the society. These factors and actors take major forms that are either political or economic. In reality, they have taken several shapes, such as legislative engagements (Nwanolue & Iwuoha, 2012); miscellenous in good private or public practice (Gallagher & Wykes, 2014), and healthcare (World Health Organization [WHO], 2013). Specifically political and economic challenges could be overtaken with plausible focus on the legislative engagement of civil society organizations in the country. According to Nwanolue and Iwuoha (2012), the legislative engagement of civil societies that makes them initiators and executioners and as well as beneficiaries of development is what should characterize the civil society in Nigeria. On this same issue of engagement, Gallagher and Wykes (2014) expounded that civil society among the multi stakeholders’ engagement for good practice, while others are the private sector and the government. A good practice is a consultation process of engaging the people through commitment by actors, participation in program design, timely engagement of people, access to information by actors, giving gender awareness, capacity building of stakeholders, participation in decision making, implementation and monitoring. They hold civil society organizations to be partners of democratic governance alongside the business class and the government. This could be interpreted to mean that the civil society organizations do not operate in isolation for democratization to occur in the country. However, this position did not focus on civil society relations in electoral issues. World Health Organization [WHO] (2013), on this same grounds also skated over the importance of civil society organization electoral engagement, with its focus on health as they find that Civil society organizations, especially the nongovernmental organizations, together with the academia, professional associations and private sector to garner political support and mobilize the society on issues such as healthcare provision. For this view, “CSOs have several roles that they are uniquely placed to fulfil”. (WHO, 2013: p. 30) This view upholds the idea that civil society organizations do not operate in a vacuum, they require the private sector for political support. It also stated what could be explained as a normative description of civil society organization. However, this view did not discuss the strength of this particular character of civil society organizations as regards Nigeria’s democratization process.

While outlining the conditions, functions and the role of civil society such as holding government accountable, encouraging transparent governance, undertaking advocacy, engaging in consultations or negotiations during the peace process, mediating between different protagonists in a conflict, the Democratic Progress Institute (2012) stated that the civil society alone cannot guarantee democracy. For this institute, the democratization process is a product of many factors with civil society as its pivot. The importance of the other segments of the society comes to light such as; government and the business class as well as supported by the Literacy Watch Bulletin (2001), who in particular has buttressed the fact that civil society organizations do not work in isolation of other factors of democracy within a country or a society. While Odo (2015) was critical of the civil society organizations collaboration under military rule, he investigated democracy and good governance in Nigeria and made exposition on how certain critical elements (like democratic institutions of the civil society), were lacking when the military and political elites should have accommodated them. This led to breakdown of rules, gross misuse of power, erosion of human rights, disenfranchisement of the populace, excessively powerful regional governments and conspicuous consumption by politicians amidst abject poverty of Nigerian masses. For Odo, the absence of civil society organization collaboration has led to several negative effects on democracy and good governance in Nigeria. The challenge this brings to our study was that it was not focused on electoral challenges as an aspect of the democratization process in Nigeria, nor was it about comparing these challenges with the character of collaboration. In specific terms, some scholars have identified political and economic organizations that are important key players in civil society organization operational collaboration. For example, while Ayatse, Onaga and Ogoh (2013), explained that good governance flows logically from the concept of governance, they nevertheless asserted that the major actors or agencies of government are the trio of the state, civil society and the private sector. This concurred with the other views that civil society organizations do not operate alone but with other actors to ensure good governance and democratic practice. However, it is limited in discussing the character of operational collaboration of civil society organizations in Nigeria’s democratization process with a specific focus on how they grapple or tackle electoral challenges. The Literacy Watch Bulletin (2001) describes civil society organizations to have weak interactions with the government and the business class. This resulted in underperformance in both their basic functions and responsibilities to the people. Again this espies the strong influence the state and the economy have on the civil society organizations operating in Nigeria. The importance of this view is that it espies what other scholars have regarded as the private sector. Stating clearly that the business class is normatively involved in the civil society collaboration. Furthermore, there has been an increasing mediating role of civil society organizations in changing interactions of atomized individuals in the form of organized community organizations, which helps individuals derive greater benefits from government programs and market opportunities (Uphoff & Krishna, 2004). Essia and Yearoo (2009) identified that in developing countries like Nigeria, civil society organizations are more popular with donor organizations and that many donors’ concern is that civil society organizations should be able to monitor public spending, thereby aiding the functioning of government rather than being excessively critical of the state. They also identified the institutional problem of civil society organizations in Nigeria to be fundamentally dependent on external forces to create space for government-civil society interactions, as they are unclear, narrow, project-based and ad-hoc. They noted that government would be more willing to partner with civil society organizations that have capacity for budget work policy analysis, linkages and are financially able to contain its basic operations. They upheld that civil society has an undeniable role to play in model democracy. This view shows the particular dimension of the economic function of civil society organizations as supposed. While this view is also stating the importance of collaboration of civil society organizations with the government as well as other segments of the society, it departs from the normative views of former scholars which only stated the collaborative requisites of the civil society. This view is undoubtedly critical of the state of the civil society in Nigeria, however, it was not focused on the collaboration of the civil society in tackling electoral challenges in Nigeria, howbeit Enugu State Nigeria, 1999-2020.

3. Civil Society Organizations, between Operational and Motley Collaborations

With specific attention to the democratization process and its electoral challenges in Nigeria, nature of the political and economic contradictions constitute a snap-shot of organizational paradox in the unscientific placement of the political before the economic collaborations. This is described as motley collaboration (Ibeanu, 2006), collaborating pro-political collaborations with the state; (Ibeanu, 2012; Nwosu, 2014). Civil society organizations were bifurcated into those that were anti-military administration (anti-political and pro-political status quo). These organizations were in some sort of mobilized form to encourage the democratization process especially in the return to elective civil rule (Nwosu, 2014). Thus, their crucial roleplay in confronting the desire for an electoral civil rule cannot be underestimated. On the same hand, Ibeanu (2006) conceived the importance of economic organizations with its’ non-collaborativeness with the civil society but with the government in the Niger Delta. Civil societies demonstrate the high incidence of inter-communal conflicts under military rule, with the tendency for military regimes and petrobusiness collaboration to instigate conflicts over resources between and among communities in the Delta. Thus democratic leadership is stripped from society. Even, civil society organizations are further busied in striving for peace and conflict mediation. In another light, mobilization is hindered within civil society organizations since the contradiction, disarticulation and incoherence of organizations rendering them incapacitated to collaborate or mobilize based on their class, with increase of overdeveloped state with the highly fractional political class, (especially of participation) exhibited in the post-colonial state in Africa spiraled into the civil society organizations and hindered democratization process in Nigeria, thus collaboration becomes ad-hoc, without recourse to economic mobilization of organizations. The democratization process in Africa and Nigeria has been laden with contradictions of institutional structures of incoherence and marginal challenges, which in turn, purports the undermining of developmental issues.

Following this, Ibeanu (2012: p. 5) called for the need to “twist the divisive historical arm of capitalism in developing countries,” while analyzing the Nigerian civil society. For Ibeanu, the line of the democratization process, which is important to the working-class people, is guaranteed in the political defeat of capital and the proletarian state. A large population of the civil society membership, in their relations (being the working class), are still locked within primordial boundaries, limiting their mobility and availability for exploitation; which is necessary for the rise in working-class consciousness and national thinking (to realize true political and economic meanings of democracy.) Workers (advocates in the civil society organizations) remain largely divided. Some of their so-called leaders are now large merchants and entrepreneurs in both business and government-the petty bourgeoisie. This presents the incoherence of the civil society in the social relations of production. Finally, for the petty bourgeoisie, the democratization process is an authoritarian affair that peruse the civil society for their political and economic gains, through a very interventionist state dispensing privileges, freedoms and liberties to their benefits. In Nigeria, the petty bourgeoisie has emerged as the determinant/reigning class (to be distinguished from dominant/ruling class) also hijackers of Nongovernmental Organizations, and after independence, they were primarily identified amongst ad-hoc primordial organizations, particularly ethno-communal and religious organizations (only for quick political gains) (Ibeanu, 2012). The bastions of divide and rule politics and the champions of ethnic and religious politics, continue to thwart the orientations and mobilizing platforms of civil society organizations for maintaining power, stirring up conflicts and suppressing real advocacy of these same people’s rights.

Theoretical Framework

In this study, we developed our hypotheses through the theory of Structural-functionalism postulated by Talcott Parsons, and as developed for democratic societies and para-political organizations by Almond and Coleman (1960) as micro theory to understand the sub-systemic crises in levels of interest articulation, integration and aggregation into democratic governance. At the macro level of analytical framework, we used the Post-Colonial State Theory as propounded by Alavi (1972), as a macro theory to capture the state dialectics influencing the civil society organizations challenges in democracy and conception of state. The study remarks on the crises (paradox) of civil society organizations and; how this contributes externally to the developments of their interactions with the state. While the structural-functionalist theory by Almond and Coleman is most suitable for the study of para-political organizations (i.e. civil society organizations). Later, in a view to understanding political development, which gives an apriori and process-viewpoint for understanding political systems, the structural-functional analysis was further developed. Almond and Powell (1966) argued that all political systems, regardless of their type, must perform a specific set of tasks to survive as systems called functional requirements. Some of these requirements being input and output functions were redefined with a deeper understanding of the political process. Various structures corresponding to these functions (input-output functions). Although the theory states that in a political system, political structures perform political structures, to evolve a structural-functional framework or theory, they posited that in various political systems, functions may be performed by diverse kinds of political structures and, sometimes, even by structures which are not overtly recognized as being, primarily, “political”. These input functions are political socialization and recruitment, interest articulation, interest aggregation and political communication. While the output functions are rule-making, rule-application and rule-adjudication. Of these, output functions, rulemaking, rule application and rule adjudication correspond to conventional governmental functions, performed by political or governmental organs such as the legislature, executive and judiciary respectively. The post-colonial state theory as the macro theory for the study holds on two characteristics of the post-colonial state in Africa. This argues that firstly, the post-colonial state in Africa was overdeveloped and could not properly mediate the class struggle. As Ake reinterpreted it, “the state was highly developed (over-developed) in the sense that it is very repressive and historically was not able to rise above class struggle to mediate between the opposing classes”, and that “the ruling classes of Africa are highly fractious: as they are juxtaposed in the different modes of production in intense quest for state power. (Ake, 1981: p. 128-129)

Understanding that organizations are functional parts of the society, that perform certain functions based on their level of integration with each other to make demands on the state system, we posit that organizational collaborations in electoral issues are fundamentally operational (functional) when they are continuous, economically oriented and aligned with material questions of the economy such as labor and class based questions. In this regard, the structural-functional analysis is crucial to study the situation of electoral objectives of political parties as part of the civil society (or para-political organizations) with the state and markets. It focuses on how a functional interest articulation, political socialization, political communication and interest aggregation is done to confront electoral challenges. On the macro level, both the state and market are studied by their level of contradictions and disarticulation, as given by the economic history of the Nigerian society emergence. The argument examines the dialectics in the collaboration of the civil society with the overdeveloped state and the less developed mode of production and the level of productive forces, present in the interactions of civil society organization memberships, as immobilized members of the proletarian class. Hence, the preponderance of political over economic collaborations in civil society.

4. Methodology

This study’s scope was civil society organizations in Enugu State, Nigeria. The justification for selecting Enugu state has the highest number of registered civil society organizations according to the latest publication of civil society organizations and NGOs in South-Eastern, Nigeria by institute for Democracy in South Africa [IDASA-Nigeria]. Enugu is also an old metropolitan capital during the colonial era and sits perfectly connecting the five states of Nigerian known to have operated largely decentralized and democratic society-based governance in Nigeria. It is therefore expected to capture notable developments of civil society relations to Nigeria’s democratization history. The Exploratory Research Design was used in this study. This is because of the study’s recourse to combined method of data gathering. It also takes input from the qualitative and quantitative research typologies. The exploratory research design also makes use of case studies and wide range of literature review as done in this study, and at the end, the literature review brings out the areas that are more silent and neglected as well as more salient to be analyzed. Basically, this research design is classed under the quantitative research type (Biereenu-Nnabugwu, 2018).

The population of this study was 1434 members of four functional CSOs/NGOs. While this is so is because the number of registered and currently functioning civil society organizations in Enugu State was ascertained to be 4, from original total of 17. This study followed up the latest update of NGOs and civil society organizations in Nigeria by 2007 study of. 17 but noted that only very few were functional since then. The study also admitted that there were many new civil society organizations that are yet to be registered and or qualitatively assured by international standards, thus could not be used for the study. The 4 civil society organizations were composed of about more than 30 staff members (internal members) and more than 1404 congregants (external members) who were on specific mission arrangement. The sample of 312 respondents was drawn from the population of 1434 members of organizations, using the Taro Yamane formula as stated below to make it more representative of that population rather than arbitrarily using 400. Data was collected with the help of survey method and documentary techniques and observation. Data was collected from both primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources to be used are the contingency questionnaire and in-depth interviews, while the secondary sources were journal articles, textbooks, book chapters, periodicals, official documents, unpublished theses, dissertations and internet materials. The researcher also visited one of the organizations as a participant non-obstrusive observer.

4.1. Administration of Instruments

Purposive Sampling was adopted in the study to get the required number of 6 societies that are eligible for sampling. It is a non-probability sampling technique we discovered that they saw societies in Enugu state as updated and recorded by Institute for Democracy in South Africa [IDASA-Nigeria] a total number of 48 civil society organizations. We took note of these organizations, and they werecategorized into 6 which were ethnic political organizations trade organizations right-based organizations professional bodies town unions and faith-based organizations. From this population of civil society organizations or organizations, Enugu had the highest number with a total of 17 registered civil society organizations, followed by Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra States respectively. This study reduced the number of civil society organizations in Enugu, from a total of 17 to 4 organizations, using certain necessary criteria which are necessary criteria which are influenced by the study. In order to get the legal, active, current and experienced through the years under study, civil society organizations that were involved in specific missions which were registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, currently handling a project and that has run a number of ten (10) years with the experience were identified and selected from the total listed 17 civil society organizations in Enugu State 2007.

Ratio system was used to determine the sharing of the respondents of inactive staff and congregants in the same society organizations’ missions. After allocation to about 312 samples, 250 questionnaire copies were distributed and 113 were returned. For Women Aids Collective, WACOL, about 22 students who were 18 years and above were selected from 4 Senior Secondary Schools in Enugu State where Childs’ Right advocacy training was conducted, out of which 102 students made the list and 2 staff members were sampled as part of the 102. For Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace CIDJAP respondents to be sampled needed were 43% who involved in the training at Oru-Aka-Di-Mma environmental projects out of which 17 were staff respondents CIDJAP had a training of about 1000 people, about a batch of 500 trainees as congregants were ascertained to be already actively working as cleaners, and more than 250 questionnaires were distributed to them throughout the state in Nsukka and Enugu city. For Society for the Improvement of Rural Persons SIRP, they had a total of about 500 congregants during an outreach for the training on drug abuse at Obollo Afor and establishment of Adullam Centre and 5 persons were selected out as paid staff or the internal members, making a total of 505 members. However, with the ratio to the sample population of 321, 110 SIRP members were selected after distribution of 200 questionnaire copies. For the Anglican Communion Synod Project at Ngwo Enugu community, a total of 67 persons were selected from the sample population of 312, after distribution of 150 copies of questionnaire, within which 6 representatives of SYNOD 2018 participants who were also members of the host church of Anglican Communion Office (St. Thomas Anglican Church Ngwo) were sampled, as internal members for the Anglican Communion.

In the administration of qualitative analysis techniques, specifically a content analysis of documents such as instances in Newspapers in Enugu State (The Daily Star) for some years back from 2003-2018 was done. This four year media review focused on current news prints from an Enugu State based news media. (See Appendix for summary TableA1). An interview was conducted on key persons of civil society organizations. The questions were asked by the interviewer with the camera focused on their faces, and hands to get their gestures which may also help give away certainty in their answers. The questions were posed without leads-on to any positive or negative response, especially considering the dualism in the questions. The key question asked was as follows; Do you think your civil society organizations’ collaboration with government and economic organizations hinders their supposed role on electoral challenges in Enugu state, 1999-2020?

4.2. Validation/Reliability of the Instruments

A pilot survey was done using a random sample of 30 persons from 4 civil society organizations which were one (1) rights-based NGO group, one (1) community-based NGO group and two (2) faith-based organizations answered 40 causality test questions, with 6 (six) demographic-based questions, after which corrections were made. About 30 observations were considered to be adequate and would not significantly affect this study. These steps were carefully taken as well, the Cronbach’s alpha was set at 8.24 alpha level which is greater than 7 considered to be good, with this the determination of the common factor load analysis was also done, the 40 questionnaire items were collapsed into 15 items (i.e. 5 demography based and 10 subject-matter based, testing causality). The content and face validations were also determined by professionals in statistical analysis and political science research.

4.3. Method of Data Analysis

This study used the mixed method. It involved triangulating of the qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis (Leege & Francis, 1974). This enabled the study to involve qualitative and quantitative interpretation of views from several documents and direct views of persons. The data was analyzed, supported by triangulation with use of inferential statistical tools like Common Factor Analysis (especially to check internal consistency within group questionnaire items and between organizations of questionnaire items for pilot study, whereby, invalid questionnaire items would be dropped in the course of the analysis.)

Multiple Linear Regression Analysis was used and IBM (SPSS) 20.0 would also be used. This was supported with the use of Qualitative Descriptive statistical tools like tables and pie charts, figures and pictures with descriptive statistical tools like mean, mean deviation, standard deviation, percentages. We therefore tested the following hypotheses.

H0: Civil society organizations’ motley and operational collaborations are not significantly related to detecting electoral challenges in Enugu State, 1999-2020.

H1: Civil society organizations’ motley and operational collaborations are significantly related to detecting electoral challenges in Enugu State, 1999-2020.

Test Statistic: The Multiple Linear Regression Analysis.

Significance Level: A significance level (α) of 0.05 was used in testing this hypothesis.

Table 1. Model summary.

a. Predictors: (Constant), Is your relationship with government not cordial?, Is your interaction with business organizations not cordial?

Table 2. ANOVA.

a. Dependent Variable: Does your group help in detecting electoral challenges? b. Predictors: (Constant), Is your relationship with government not cordial?, Is your interaction with business organizations not cordial?

Table 3. Coefficients.

a. Dependent Variable: Does your group help in detecting electoral challenges?

4.4. Results

Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the prediction of [organizations’ help in detecting electoral challenges] from [Organizations’ uncordial relationship with business organizations and Organizations’ uncordial relationship with government]. The results of the multiple linear regression analysis revealed the independent variables were statistically significant predictors to the model at p < 0.05 i.e. p < 0.024. Although, the result showed that the model explained 2.4% of the variance in the dependent variable (i.e. organizations’ help in detecting electoral challenges) (see Table 1 above) which means that 98% of the variation cannot be explained by the independent variables alone, the model was a significant predictor of the dependent variable, F (2, 309) = 3.792, p = 0.024. (See Table 2) While Organizations’ uncordial relationship with government contributed significantly to the model (B = 0.139, p = 0.009), (Table 3 above) Organizations’ uncordial relationship with business organizations did not (B = −0.042, p = 0.388). The organizations’ help in detecting electoral challenges suggests that with each increase in organizations’ help in detecting electoral challenges, organizations’ non-cordial relationship with government increases approximately by 0.139 units and organizations’ uncordial relationship with business organizations decreases approximately by −0.042.

All civil society organizations agree that motley collaboration, that is political collaboration, influences electoral challenges. The civil society organizations rarely collaborate with organizations economic relationships to tackle electoral challenges. This collaboration goes mainly but on individual levels, or by forms ofis miscellaneous groups, just like some of the organizations understudy. To substantiate this, many organizations agree to meeting with government organizations to charge against electoral challenges only during election years. This shows that electoral challenges were not only born out of motley collaboration with government organizations’ interaction, but was also through the absence of operational-collaboration with economic organizations. Electoral fraud and violence could only be checked by arrangements whereby funds and finances are mobilized against it through economically based or sufficient organizations. They have often mobilized with political class or collaborated with them to tackle electoral issues, but have rarely collaborated with business persons, organizations, engaged economically with organizations and building capacities, or using form of industrialist backed lobby or party financing, to tackle electoral challenges like vote buying, fraud, thuggery, violence, falsification of results and so on. There is a significant relationship between motley-operational economic collaboration of civil society organizations and electoral challenges. A respondent for faith-based organization shows this when asked about their organizational collaboration with political and economic organizations (See Table 4 below).

The first interviewee showed that collaboration is done only in election time and not economic or operational as political collaborations were more indicated. The implication was that there was disparity in collaboration with organizations alone (i.e. distinctiveness/special sessions) In like manner, the second interviewee showed through the responses that there was more of political collaborations, thus according to this study indicated to be motley. The interpretation was that there was disparity in collaborating with government class (number of meeting encounters) as they were continuous in with the legislature engagement but ad-hoc with market organizations. Hence, a continuous political engagement with ad-hoc economic engagement, time for law drafting did not include engagement with market organizations meant disparity in the tackling of electoral issues by collaboration with other organizations. The third interviewee also was indicative of political motley encounters or collaborations. This is because with the absence of parity in collaboration with organizations, (not distinctively arranged), engagement was done only in election time, hence, it was motley and less operational, that is, lacking engagement with economic organizations for election challenges presents a sustainable key for operational engagement (See Table 4 below).

Table 4. Analysis of interview sessions with representatives of civil society group staff members.

4.5. Summary of the Findings

It was found that that civil society organizations’ motley collaboration significantly relates to the tackling of electoral challenges. While the regression results show that, the members of civil society organizations admit to having issues in the collaboration with government organizations and politicians especially regarding tackling electoral challenges, the in-depth interviews show that civil society organizations seldom meet with the political class, in areas of policy, but not always regarding electoral issues, except on electioneering season. However, the economic collaboration which denotes the operational collaboration of civil society was admitted to be on individual bases and atomistic basis of engagements. It was found that out-group civil society organizations’ economic collaborations were motley, ad-hoc, and not continuous as regards issues on electoral challenges. Generally, it was assumed by this study that some of the unexplained causality between the independent and dependent variables of the statistical analysis was made by the interview responses and interpretations from documents. It was also observed that the questions on the contradictory part of the paradox showed no correlation were admitted to in the interview responses. This makes it pertinent for calls to be made to interrogate those balancing aspects of the civil society organizations paradoxical collaborations and consolidate on them speed up the democratization process, especially in low income countries (See Appendix).

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, it could be gleaned from the study that civil society organizations in Enugu state Nigeria, collaborate with the state more than the market as represented by different groups, industries, firms and private and profit ventures for tackling electoral challenges in low income states. The inability to balance the political and economic paradox has been described as the motley collaboration. We have argued through the literature that since the modern government just like other new states practicing democracy promotes only the capitalist values and cultures. The galvanizing religious and ethnic peculiarities for democratic practice, through questions in the societal material peculiarities are untapped to exude and demonstrate the local meaning of democracy. Because such issues may bring up realities of the citizenry which are class and labor based for true democracy (See Fernando, 2011). Today, nationalistic oriented societies are using both religious and economic situation to confront democracy in Nigeria. But they still lack the local economic basing and sustainability. It could be gleaned also from the findings that civil society organizations in Enugu State have a motley collaboration with political organizations than with economic organizations when dealing with electoral challenges. The survey data highlighted such association of lack of operational collaboration of civil society with economic and business organizations and presence of electoral challenges (See Table 2).

Civil society should be continuous in their economic and political engagements for the sole purpose of making an impact in the democratization process in the area of election. Apart from the general issue of ideology, practical issues of capacity, impactful issues drive one to opine that election is the core of the democratization process and such should be the concern of civil society organizations when interacting with out-organizations. This could be construed in two ways, society as a group seeking the use of political organizations and economic organizations to achieve a political end. While it is noted that civil society has not been continuously associative with political organizations, but also not cordial, adhoc, haphazard and short-lived in collaboration concerning electoral issues, they have been hindered totally in economic collaborations concerning electoral challenges with better education of the economic organizations on the several ways their collaborative efforts could help tackle electoral challenges in Enugu State as well as Nigeria. Here, the importance of lobby of the legislature, advocacy support on electoral issues, party support against fraud machines, and political monitoring of legislative processes (indirect elections of representative democracy), financing and monitoring of electoral tribunals, party finance monitoring, election monitoring through either of these collaborations with the civil society is key to help tackle the electoral challenges and speed up the democratization process. These continuous collaborations as well require ethno-cultural solidarity and professional communicative capacity engagement as well.


We thank the organizations that gave us audience. These were the Society for the Improvement of the Rural Persons (SIRP), The Anglican Communion registered by Enugu North Diocese, and; the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP). We also use this medium to appreciate individual sponsors; Prof. Biereenu-Nnabugwu, Makodi, Dr. Leonard and Dr. (Mrs.) Lois Nnoli.


Daily star, 2003-2018 civil society activities in Enugu state, Nigeria.

Table A1. Civil society organizations and dialectics democratization in Nigeria.

Cite this paper: Leo-Nnoli, T. and Biereenu-Nnabugwu, M. (2021) Examining Civil Society Organizations’ Collaboration Paradox in Confronting Electoral Challenges in Enugu State, Nigeria, 1999-2020. Open Journal of Political Science, 11, 522-548. doi: 10.4236/ojps.2021.113034.

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