Citizenship, everything you need to know about citizen education

1. Citizenship 

 Citizenship is a legal right of belonging to a particular county (Longman, 1987;229). Mezieobi (1992;81) state that citizenshipconnotes “membership of a sovereign state or its division; enjoyment of all rights – political, civil; and legal; participation in the performance of certain duties and obligations to the body politics…”
  Aluyor (1996; 19) defined citizenship ” as recognized membership of a definite political entity, community, state or country and having full rights, privileges and obligations to the nation “.

2.  Education

  Education has been defined by Longman (1987;441) as the process by which your mind develops through learning at a school, college or university, It is also the knowledge and skills that you gain from being taught. Fafunwa (1974) described “education as the aggregate of all processes by which a child or young adult develops the ability, attitudes and other forms of behavior which are of positive value to society in which an individual acquires the knowledge, facts, skills, abilities and attitudes necessary for an active and useful life in society. The objectives of education includes:
To increase human experience and awareness of the world around him. To prepare individuals for useful and active, social, political and economic life in society.To preserve the cultural heritage and To enhance the individual adaptability to the changing circumstances of human existence and environment (Obasi et al 1999:5)
Nweke (1997) defined education as “the process by which young people acquire the cultural heritage, knowledge, ideas and civilization of the past so as to be able to take part in the civilization of the future”. Education is therefore, the means by which individual is developed so that he will be able to live effectively and efficiently in the present society and contribute to its advancement and upliftment.


Citizenship education can be define as an academic discipline which teaches or train the individual on how to be intellectually, morally, socially, spiritually, physically relevant and beneficial to the society. It is also the scientific study of modern government, the rights, duties, character and obligations of citizen in a country. Citizenship education according to Barr, et al “entails passing to individuals certain very important cultural behavior, knowledge and values that are required as bona fide members of a community or nationality”. Joyce (1973) considers citizenship education as “necessary for preparing people for social responsibility”. Citizenship education is also defined as the art or study of political institutions, fundamental rights and duties of citizens in the society. 
   The conceptualization of citizenship education as an academic field of study is to enhance the citizen’s political literacy particularly in areas that involve his/her fundamental rights, constitutionality, duties and obligations to the country.

The Aims/Reasons For The Introduction Of Citizenship Education In Nigeria

 Citizenship Education was introduced by the National Board for Technical Education  as directed by the Federal Military Government in 1991. It was introduced as a mandatory course for all National Diploma (N.D) students in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It replaced the course titled ” contemporary social problems and outline history of Nigeria “.
     The basic reasons for introducingCitizenship Education as a compulsory course for students of polytechnics, colleges of Education…. etc is according to NBTE (1991) :
  • To change our decedent society by socializing the students/citizens to cultivate desirable habits, values, positive attitudes and nationalism.
  • To inculcate the idea of national loyalty and understanding based on an awareness of the nation’s roots and cultural antecedents, thus enabling students to come to grips with our societal morals, national aspirations, values and problems.
  • To produce a citizenry conscious of its role in a wide world, proud of its antecedents and prepared for effective leadership role in diversified fields in the society thereby ensuring a positive contribution to national integration and greatness.
  • To expose the students to the basic concepts and provision of the Nigerian constitution.To instill into their consciousness an awareness of democratic values, socio-political institutions and the citizens rights and obligations to the society.
  • To train and introduce the students to the practical issues of government, good citizenship, environmental health and national development. 
  • To increase the student/citizen’s political, social, and moral performance in the challenging life situation Nigeria.
  • To inform and educate the student/citizens about their civic/political responsibilities, duties, rights and obligations in the country.
  • To elicit specific performance skills and attitudes which will help the student to appreciate dynamics workings of government.
  • To promote authentic national development and facilitate the realization of our national objectives of free, democratic, just and dynamic society with bright and full opportunities.
  • To enable students appreciate and contribute efforts towards political stability and good political leadership.
  • To generate positive responses to government policies and programs and to other national issues.
  • To inculcate in the students virtues of unity in diversity.
  • To produce future leaders who are not cultists, who do not involve themselves in money swindling activities, who do not give involved in examination malpractice but potential leaders who are honest, decent, God-fearing : respectful, loyal and self-reliant.
  • To expose the student to appreciate the intricacies and complexities involved in governing a country.


    The philosophy of this course is based on the fact that no society or country can develop or prosper if the citizens lack the awareness of basic democratic values and socio-political institutions in the country.
    For a nation to achieve political stability or orderly development, the citizens must display in their conduct the unalloyed sense of patriotism/nationalism, political literacy and desirable habits. This values and habits must be devoid of tribalism, greed, corruption, favoritism, and bitter political wrangling.
  It has been noted that between 1960 and 2005, Nigeria has about eleven (11) different political regimes only 3 of which were civilians. It is also noted that we have experimented with some political systems such as parliamentary and presidential systems respectively with none working. In fact, the Nigerian political scene has according to political analyst, been characterized by discontinuities, uncertainties and instability.
 The ugly situation were mainly attributed to maladministration, electoral malpractice and corruption which have now permeated the fabric of the whole society.
     It is in recognition of the need for stability and positive socio-political orientation to facilitate national growth that this course on Citizenship Education is now being taught in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, It is hoped that the course will provide a viable means for sustained development and cultivation of positive values and attitudes. It is also expected that the course will sensitize our students to the rules and regulations governing all Nigerians as contained in our constitution.
      Conclusively however, it is fervently hoped that these courses in citizenship education will lead to the ultimate achievement of our national objectives of a free, democratic, just and egalitarian, united ; strong and self-reliant, great and dynamic society with bright and full opportunities vis-a-vis eradicating our fears of hopelessness and political uncertainties.   

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