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THE ROLES OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOS) IN NATION BUILDING IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
1.1 Background of the study
Nation-building is often considered to be the process of constructing governments. This conceptualization misses the broader picture of nation-building, which involves not only the installation of governments but the deepening of society as a whole. According to Francis Fukuyama (2005), nation-building requires two elements that are somewhat at odds with each other. In one element, a government with a legitimate monopoly on power must be established. The second element builds and nurtures institutions so that this power put in place in the first element is checked and held subject to public accountability. To achieve the nation-building that Fukuyama describes, a consolidated effort must involve governmental and non-governmental actors. This report examines the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in nation-building. The question of how NGOs can contribute to nation-building is of particular importance for U.S. policy in Afghanistan and throughout the world as the construction of a post paradigm places the world’s major powers into the delicate position of nation-builder. In Afghanistan, the United States faces an intricate tapestry of challenges to security, economic development, justice, and democracy. At the center of these challenges lies the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s government. But nation-building in Afghanistan has proven much more complex. State construction is intertwined with economic progress and security reform. A lack of security undermines democratic progress and hinders economic development. A lack of economic progress undercuts the authority of the central government and threatens the legitimacy of democracy. This web of interdependencies suggests that the creation of a new government is insufficient to address Afghanistan’s problems. A comprehensive plan for nation-building, therefore, needs to find ways to link the emerging Afghanistan government with a broader process of social transformation.
NGOs have the potential to be a major ally in establishing this link between
government and society as part of the nation-building effort in Afghanistan.
NGOs improve the welfare of the country by addressing issues and providing services in areas in which government participation is lacking or insufficient, such as health care, education, and poverty relief. NGOs can be less bureaucratic than the federal government, allowing for quick dispersal of funds or rapid implementation of projects where they are needed most. Their nimbleness also stems from the fact that many NGOs are politically independent and do not have to tailor their actions to election cycles. Last, NGOs tend to be decentralized, reaching parts of the population that have yet to develop a citizen-government nexus. Because of this decentralization, NGOs can create challenges for political and macroeconomic progress. Governments view NGO activity as encroachment upon their mandates, particularly as international donors have increasingly supported NGOs rather than funding governments directly. The government of Bangladesh, for example, perceives NGOs to be competing with it for finance and tightly regulates foreign funding. As NGOs provide services, a government can appear ineffective and unnecessary, hardly qualities that add to its legitimacy. Some governments have responded with restrictive legislation on NGOs, often requiring NGOs to register with a government body to gain a legal identity and access to foreign aid and tax exemptions.
Furthermore, the often complicated nature of NGO-donor relations can be problematic for the progress of post-conflict aid projects. Funds may be provided only upon the fulfillment of certain political and economic conditions, resulting in projects that are tailored to the wishes of donors rather than the needs of local Communities (Evans-Kent and Bleiker 2003). The constant battle for funding and renewal prohibits NGOs from developing the kind of long-term vision and projects required to tackle the underlying causes of a failed state. What begins as strong donor support in the initial phase of reconstruction may dwindle as attention shifts elsewhere. International attention was diverted away from Bosnia to Kosovo and then to Afghanistan. Now Iraq has the potential to redirect attention and much-needed resources away from Afghanistan (arguably, this is already occurring). If NGOs in Afghanistan are to be afforded full opportunity to participate in building a nation marked by a thriving economy and an established democracy, this must not happen. The challenge is to strike a balance between the developmental work of NGOs and the legitimacy and authority of the central government. In this paper, we explore different possibilities for reaching this equilibrium such that the nation building efforts in Afghanistan can advance beyond government-building and so that these efforts are sustainable as foreign funding wanes. We have examined the role of international donors and NGOs in the reconstruction and recovery process in Afghanistan and have reached the following conclusion: The Government of Afghanistan (GOA) is unable to provide a stable political and macroeconomic framework for its nascent democracy. In response to this failure, international donors and NGOs have stepped in to help fill the governance vacuum. This influx of NGOs has had mixed results on the nation-building process and created confusion as to the best strategy to pursue for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
However, eliminating NGOs is unlikely to solve the problem. Rather, we suggest a concerted effort to align NGO activity with nation-building goals. We examine four pillars of post-conflict nation-building in this analysis: establishing security, reforming the justice system and implementing a fair and effective rule of law, promoting social and economic well-being, and forming democratic governance and citizen participation (Feil 2002). These are intertwined to the extent that a positive outcome in each area depends upon successful integration and interaction among the actors working toward each goal. We explore in turn the effects NGOs have had on each pillar and how we believe they can facilitate action. We add caution, noting how the use of NGOs presents its own set of challenges. We also consider the potential effects of the GOA and other international donors.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
The advances in NGO have rapidly transformed the social and economic conditions across the globe which has brought a great improvement in the educational and medical sector to mention few. This has provided new tools for enhancing access to amenities. The nation building which is one aspect of this transformation has made a dramatic impact on our society, particularly in the field of education. This has significantly encouraged participation by students and facilitated learning through the use of good learning aids, Provision of resources in educational, health and agricultural sectors is very crucial in the sense that it provides access to good standard of living as well as creates job opportunities.
Regrettably, there has been total lack of use of opportunities by health, education and agricultural sector in Uyo .local government area in Nigeria who are expected to maximally benefit and utilize the resources from the NGO as one of their major sources of contribution to humanities. Various reasons have been advanced for this seemingly low reflection of NGO and nation building. While some are of the opinion that agricultural sector could be influenced by NGO activities, NGO plays a vital roles in educational sector, peace keeping and medical sector. It is against this background that this research work is conducted to find out the role of non Governmental Organization in nation building in Nigeria with Uyo Local Government of Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is to assess roles of Non Governmental Organization in the National development, while the specific objectives are as follows:
- The roles of Non Governmental Organization in Agricultural sector
- The roles of Non Governmental Organization in peace keeping
- The roles of Non Governmental Organization in medical sector
The following hypotheses will be tested:
1. There is no significant contribution of the NGO to peace keeping in Nigeria.
2. There is no significant contribution of the NGO to agricultural sector of the economy in Nigeria.
3. There is no significant contribution of the NGO to educational sector in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Question
The following hypotheses will be tested:
1. What is the contribution of the NGO to peace keeping in Nigeria?
2. What is the contribution of the NGO to agricultural sector of the economy in Nigeria?
3. What is the contribution of the NGO to educational sector in Nigeria?
1.6 Significance of the Study
This work will be of benefit to tertiary institution students, Ministry of Education and teachers, NGOs, Parents and Guardians. This study is also expected to be of immense help to the Government, School administrators, Policy makers and Implementers. It will also be of help to improve the academic performance of the students. The result of this study is expected to provide data for planning, as well as provide additional stock data for other researchers, who might find it relevant and useful in their enquiries