Civil society and leadership in Africa: a case study of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
ABSTRACT This study sought to investigate a key role of the civil society for the emergence of quality leadership in Africa in general and in Nigeria and DRC in particular. A descriptive and explorative research design had been used to guide critical analysis of existing secondary documents and primary data and situate the role of the civil society in Africa’s desire for a quality leadership and governance era, with specific case studies covering Nigeria and DRC. The findings suggest that individuals and groups, as the backbone and actors in civil society, should design strategies that are inherently democratic and transparent as a prerequisite to effective action. A transparent and democratic civil society can play an important role as watchdogs to ensure governments are accountable and fulfill their commitments. By insisting on transparent development strategies, the civil society can actively engage in policy making and implementation. As advocates of policy change and analysis, they can play an even greater role in ensuring accountability and transparency, openness and responsiveness, while building social capital, enabling citizens to identify and effectively articulate their values, civic norms, and democratic practices. The civil society is an important agency in the mobilization of constituencies, such as the vulnerable and marginalized in the society, and encouraging them to fully participate in politics and public affairs. The study concludes that the civil society is an integral actor and partner in development. A strengthened and focused civil society can create an environment that nurtures quality leadership practices and upholds sound democratic principles. It is only then that leaders can steer Africa to social, economic, and political prosperity.