Contesting the Nigerian
This book addresses the meanings and implications of self-organization and state society relations in contemporary Nigerian politics. The conventional wisdom in public choice theory is that self-organization could generate collective action problems, via the tragedy of the commons, or the prisoner's dilemma, or a condition akin to Hobbes' state of nature, where selfish interests produce social conflict rather than cooperation. In the absence or unwillingness of the state to provide such services, entire communities in Nigeria have had to band together to repair roads, build health centers, repair broken transformers owned by the public utilities company, all from levies. Consideration of post-authoritarian state-civil society relations in Nigeria began in a situation where the state was deeply embroiled in a morass of economic and political crises, further complicating these relations, and lending urgency to questions about state capacity, as well as the nature of the relationship between state and civil society, and their implication for the social, economic and political health and well being of the democratizing polity and its citizens.
State fragility, State formation and Human Security in Nigeria, (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013)
The democratic transition processes in Africa since the 1990s have carried great hopes and expectations about 'civil society' and ambivalence about the state. This book explores the complex interactions between state fragility, self-help, and self organization in Nigeria. Nigeria's associational life is highly developed and multifaceted, reaching far beyond 'civil society organizations' (CSOs) or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There is a 'third sector' within civil society that encompasses a spectrum extending from community-based forms of self-help to ethnic or religious representation, and even militias. Some self organization formations have narrow, pragmatic aims. Others have an explicit socio-cultural or political agenda. Many respond to, and cope with consequences of the Nigerian state's inability to deliver services and provide functioning regulatory frameworks. Examining and analyzing the emergence of broader forms of civil society, the book considers its roots, dynamics and successes, but also pinpoints its costs, ambivalences, and contradictions. Despite strong traditions of self-organization in Nigeria, many pressure groups, organizations defending rights, independent policy consultants and other structures known as 'civil society organizations' are also dependent on foreign aid. The book contributes to deliberations on the relationship between state and civil society in Nigeria, Africa, and globally.