Civil society and development in Nigeria: An exploratory study of student attitudes and perceptions in 1992

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Kristi Andersen


Civil society, Nigeria, Student attitudes

Subject Categories

Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Modern nation states seek to become developed. An important component of development is national unity. The more social cohesion there is, the greater the possibility for robust development.

Civil society has an important role to play in every nation's development. It is a representation of the articulation of group interests. Within political science and other academic literature on Africa, civil society has enjoyed a recent renaissance. However, academic interest has not sufficiently dealt with the relationship between the cleavage groups of civil society and development, particularly as this relationship relates to Africa.

This dissertation tests whether Nigerian students' attitudes vary according to three cleavage groups which have been important in Nigerian politics and history, if student attitudes do vary according to religion, region, and ethnic group, then that may suggest continued disunity in Nigeria.

A survey instrument was used at two Nigerian universities, the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University, yielding 601 results from undergraduates.

The students in this study are an elite in Nigeria and the findings reveal that, overall, their attitudes reflect a negative sign for national unity in Nigeria. There continue to be important differences based on religion, region, and ethnic group. However, these differences are not as pronounced as they are in Nigeria, at large.

This dissertation makes two important contributions. First, it provides a snapshot of students at two universities. Second, it indicates the presence of religious, regional, and ethnic difference within a population that is likely to assume important positions of power.


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