Assessment of Civil Society Organization - Legislature Partnership: A Case Study of the First and Second Sessions of the 9th National Assembly

Ochonma, Chidi (2021-06)


Ascertaining the working relationship between Civil Society Organizations and the Legislature at the federal level is the focus of this study. While several studies have examined the partnership between CSOs and other organs of democracy, the broad objective of this study is to examine the relationship between the CSOs and the Nigerian Legislature. The specific objectives are to ascertain the factors that motivate CSOs to collaborate with the Legislature in Nigeria, to ascertain how CSO-legislature partnership in Nigeria helps to promote the agenda of both parties; and to ascertain how the partnership contributes to the development of Nigeria. The justification for the study is that it adds value to previous and related research work by identifying and placing on scale, the major motivations that fuel this partnership. The study used the descriptive research design because it sought to observe and describe the interrelations between the subjects of the study- CSOs and the Federal Legislature. Survey data was collected from a total of 234 respondents (CSOs, politically exposed persons, the general public and Members and key staff of the National Assembly). The data was analyzed using frequency, percentages and charts. In line with the first specific objective of ascertaining factors that determine CSO’s interest to partner with the Legislature, the key findings show that the need to bring about change in societal outcomes through legislation and the need to address overall developmental challenges, are the major reasons why CSOs seek partnership with the legislature at the federal level. This is seen from the analysis of the results obtained from the survey where 48% and 22% of respondents from the CSOs respectively identified the aforementioned key motivations. The study also found that CSOs-legislature working relationship is mutually beneficial to both parties. The response for this objective was benchmarked using the ODI (2008) report on why CSOs work with the legislature. The result is consistent with the ODI report which states that the partnership is mutually beneficial. In line with the third specific objective that seeks to ascertain the effect and impact of the partnership, analysis of the findings show that CSOs-legislature relationship is perceived by 80% respondents to have the most impact on enhancing the public confidence of the legislature and providing opportunities for capacity building. While there is also a clear evidence that the partnership between CSOs and legislature can strengthen the fight against corruption, the evidence on how it fosters a smooth legislative-executive relationship, is not clear. The study recommends the need of a coordinating framework on how legislatures work with the CSOs in other to tie CSOs focus area to the specific are of need of the national assembly as contained in their legislative agenda. Providing access to data on specific areas of their intervention in legislative governance will also be important to ensure that such contributions are properly documented as a means of providing a basis for the oversight of CSO partnerships with the National Assembly.