Establishing a civil society organisation (CSOs) as a founder or manager, involves choosing between being an incorporated entity registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) or unincorporated under the Freedom of Association, as guaranteed by the Constitution. But recent years have seen new difficulties for CSOs, in the form of challenges to registration at the state level. Organisations working with women, children and youths, interested in working with government at the sub-national level are required to register with relevant Ministries.
Other emerging challenges are those around the legitimacy of civil society sector itself. Organisations within the sector are said to ignore their vision and mission, abuse their nonprofit status and have had their accountability and transparency questioned, hence, the need for more regulations. For individuals working in the civil society sector and interested in bringing development to the doorsteps of the common man, these allegations are extremely concerning.
Given its commitment to strengthening civil society regulations across the country, the Nigeria Network of NGOs, and the European Union Agent’s for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme (EU-ACT) project have given a high priority to understanding civil society regulations at the sub-national level and offer policy alternatives to enabling the operations of CSOs at the sub-national level.
Civil society’s relevance to our nation is too important, and its potential contributions to national development, too valuable to allow it to be relegated to the background.