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It has been argued by scholars that no nation can fully achieve its development potentials without democratic governance as engendered and supported by vibrant civil society. In this regard, civil society (CS) is seen as the engine of democratic governance (DG) and development of nations. Utilizing secondary data, the paper examines CS, DG and development in Nigeria. It finds that the nation‘s inability to enjoy DG for development in the past is the absence of continuous vibrant CS arising from weak support and lack of tolerance for the activities of CS organizations by the government and also, the non-adherence to democratic norms by public officials both in words and action. The paper concludes that for the citizens to enjoy DG there is the need for the CS organizations in the country to unite in their activities against repression, and resist every attempt by the government to cause division within their ranks as strategy for the successful entrenchment of democratic norms and its resultant dividends.
Keywords: Civil society organizations, democratic norms, democratic governance, development, Nigeria