Civil society groups are agents of development in any nation. Civil society organizations appear to play important role in social, political and economic development activities. The transformation of any society or system, particularly the developing societies like Nigeria depend on the effectiveness and efficiency of its civil societies. This paper critically assessed the impact of civil society groups, and its contribution to sustainable development in Nigeria. The paper also examines the factors impeding the performance of civil society groups in relation to national development. The paper adopts secondary method of data collection to source information. The paper concludes that the Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria and other developing nations are bed evilled with series of problems ranging from political instability, disconnection from rural organizations, lack of unity, inadequate funding, government patronage, lack of internal democracy, lack of skills, corruption and lack of state support and partnership. It recommends that Civil Society groups need to be sanitized and strengthened so as to ensure effective service delivery through the creation of an enabling environment for their operation and that they should maintain a high degree of independence from the government.




The United Nations Declaration (2000) sets out eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) until 2015. The eight goals are aimed at accelerating human development and reducing poverty in developing countries. Unfortunately, at present, most African countries are offtrack with respect to these goals. At the same time, the improvement in GDP per capita and the Human Development Index (UNDP, 2010) appear to be linked to well-being and poverty reduction. In most developing countries, poverty is still considered a big problem. Appropriate and collective planning efforts are needed to fight poverty. The importance of good governance for economic development has been increasingly recognized over the past three decades by academics as well as policy makers. Economists and lawyers have studied the effects of poor governance on economic performance, and the alternative of institutions that attempt to replace ineffective formal state laws.

The World Bank provides quality criteria for governance (political stability and absence of violence, efficiency of government, quality of regulation, rule of law, absence of corruption). According to UNDP (1997) “governance is in favor of sustainable human development“. According to UNDP (1997) “good governance is defined, among other characteristics, as participatory, transparent and accountable; it is also effective and equitable: it promotes respect for legality “. According to Sen (1999) “a process of expansion of the real freedoms that people can enjoy. In this way, the expansion of freedoms is both the primary end and the main means of development.

Globally more than 800 million people are still living on less than $1.25 a day. Much lacking access to adequate food clean drinkable water and sanitation. Majority of the poor people are in sub-Sahara Africa. In sub-Sahara Africa alone, more than 218 million people live in extreme poverty (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2017). Nigeria and Ghana are among the countries in sub-Sahara Africa faced with poverty problem for many years.

Nigeria is a federation with 36 states and a federal capital territory. It has a population of about 182.2 million and over 80 million people representing about 64 percent living below poverty line (Opejobi, 2016). Nigeria’s Human Development Index (HDI) as at 2016 is put at 0.527 and multidimensional poverty index of 0.279 and is ranked 152nd country in the world (UNDP/HDR, 2016). Nigeria has potential to be great considering the endowed natural and human resources at her disposal: the most significant oil exporter with the most extensive natural gas reserves on the continent of Africa. It is unfortunate that it has not fully translated these resources into usefulness for its economic development and still over-dependent on crude oil.