Preliminary Findings Submitted to ICSAG Research Team at the Second Methodology
Workshop, Centre for Research and Documentation (CRD) Kano
AUGUST 13 -16, 1999.
Background: community organizations are a universal phenomenon. They have existed as far
as human history can record and could be found in all human settlements. This fact holds true
for the whole of Nigeria as some studies have shown.1 In the northern part of Nigeria,
especially in Funtua local government of Katsina state and Sabon-Gari and Tudun-Wada of
Sabon-gari and Zaria local government respectively, the areas of focus of this study, there is a
proliferation of these organizations of different types in terms of origin, objectives, activities
and structure. While some of them are form exclusively as either trade, professional, cultural or
religious associations, others are general in their activities. They include cultural, economic,
social, fund raising, self-help, developmental activities in their programmes. This study is on
social clubs, a typology of community organizations. These belong to the category of
community organizations that are general in their activities. As their names and activities often
suggest, they exist as "social, cultural and dramatic clubs". But also, they embark on self-help
and social developmental activities. Specifically, the study will focus on "Bayajidda Social and
Dramatic Club", Funtua, Katsina State. Focus of the study is also on Tawakaltu and Bajinta
"Social, Cultural and Dramatic Clubs", Sabon-Gari and Zaria local government respectively of
Paul Francis et al. 1998 "State, Community and Local Development in Nigeria". World Bank Technical Paper
No. 336, Africa Regional Series; Awa, Eme. O. ed. 1992. The Transformation of Rural Society. A study of Rural
Development in Eastern State of Nigeria. 70-76. Fourth Dimension Publishers, Nigeria; Ekong, E. Ekong ( )
Rural Sociology; ( ); Fadepe, N.A. ( ) the Sociology of the Yoruba. Ibadan University Press; Honey, Rex and
Okafor, Stanley I. Eds. (1998) Hometown Associations: Indigenous Knowledge and Development in Nigeria.
Intermediate Technology Publications; Indabawa, Sabo Amin 1994. "Community Development and Local
Kaduna State in Nigeria. These clubs stated and still function as avenues for social outlets for
their members and the public (through artistic forms as drama, music, dance, poetry recitation,
(Ludo, Porka and "dara") and also provide self-help services for their members. They later
expanded in size and scope including in their activities programmes that are development
oriented for their members and the general public. Also, the government has often engaged the
services of the clubs for social development projects. They are specifically engaged for Health
and Environmental Campaigns. They are also involved by the government of their states in the
cultural and social activities it organises. Membership of these clubs is made up of both male
and female within the age category of 18 years and above. These are drawn from divergent
cultural, religious and professional background although Hausa Language is their major
medium of communication.
However, these clubs are often perceived in negative terms by the public and government
agencies like the police. The clubs are often referred to with derogatory terminologies like
Karwaye (Harlots)- used to refer to the female members of the clubs, and Yan-iska (bastards) to refer to the club in general. The police has occasionally raided, arrested and detained some
members of these clubs on the allegations that they habour criminals. The government not only
insists on the annual re-registration of the clubs but monitors and grants permission before
some of the clubs carry out their programmes.
At the general level, this study is part of the international study on civil society and government
coordinated by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, England. The aims of the
study are:
To gain a practical and analytical understand of the character and functions of civil
society both in general and in their systematic variations.
To identify activities of civil society which can enhance or detract from the quality of
political life and governance in different societies.
Government Empowerment in Nigeria. In Journal of Social Management Studies, Vol. 1194. Faculty of Social
and Management Sciences Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria.
To develop measures which can strengthen civil society and enhance its impact as an
agent for improving political life and government.2
However at the specific level, my objectives here will be to:
Identify the origin, nature and functions of social clubs;
Establish their aims, objectives and activities;
Find out their membership, structure and processes;
Identify their funding sources and the nature of resource handling;
Find out the position and role of women in the clubs;
Identify the areas of club's interaction with the State and the nature of this
interaction; the objective here is to establish the outcome of these interaction
and asses it against background of the aims which they sought to achieve
Establish the impact of club's interaction with the State on both the club's and the
Identify the weakness and strength of social clubs as well as particular problems with
the state's approach in relating with the clubs, and;
To recommend areas for strengthening clubs in governance process.
Even though one can allude to the universality of the phenomenon of community organizations
both in their historical existence and geographical spread, studies on the phenomenon have not
come to terms with what it really means. This is especially reflected in their definitions which
are distinct from one another. In his study on Rural Sociology, Ekong E. Ekong referred to
Harper and Dunham to have identified 13 definitions of community organisations in their book
Community Organisations in Action; Basic Literature and Critical Comments.3 Ekong
proceeded to refer to community organisations in Nigeria as " ... the arrangement of
relationships between the various individuals and groups in a community or their institutions in
See Manor, James, 1998. "Civil Society and Government: A concept paper". ICSAG Research.
Ekong, E. Ekong ( ) Rural Sociology, p. 344.
order for that community to function properly or attain Objectives". He, adopting M.G Ross's
definition, defines Community Organisation as "...a process by which a community is
mobilised to identify its needs or recognise a problem within its environment, develops the will
to work together in meeting such needs or resolving the problem, find resources internally
and/or externally to deal I with the problems or needs, take actions in respect to them and in so
doing develop cooperative and collaborative attitudes and practices in the community".4
From another angle the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) defined community organization as "the process by which the efforts of the people
themselves are united with those of the government authorities to improve the economic, social
and cultural conditions of communities into the life of the nation and enabling them to
contribute fully to national progress".5
In establishing the relationship between "Community Organization and Social change" Ekong
had first had to disaggregate between the concepts of community and organization. He
attributed to Community the notion of a people locally based and sharing similar problems.
Organization on the other hand he said is the process of changing the conditions of the
community. Other elements in this process, he added, are development and social relationship6
Perhaps dwelling a little further on the various uses of the concept would widen our horizons of
Howard Newby in a preparatory course for a study section at the Open University in Britain did
a sociological study of the concept community. He found out that the concept is "used in all
kinds of ways". Some of the early usage in Newby's study showed the concept being used in
two senses. The first showed it as a sage in regretting the loss of community life with the
advent of modernisation. "Here community is used to denote a sense of common identity
between individuals and enduring ties of affection and harmony based upon personal
knowledge and face-to-face contact". The concept is used to contrast technological
advancement with man's` spiritual and emotional impoverishment. A second sense of its usage
Ekong, E. Ekong. Op. Cit. P. 345.
Eme, O. Awa. Op. Cit. P. 64.
Ekong, E. Ekong. Op. Cit. 344.
is over the "decline of locality as a basis of modern society organisation" that is, community
was seen as a local basis for conducting economic activities.7
Similarly, Hillery, in a paper "Definitions of community" Areas of agreement", as Newby
showed, identified 94 definitions. In a classification of these definitions, Hillery observed their
only similarity to be their common allusion to "people".
Thus from his sociological study of the concept Newby concluded that the many definitions are
reducible to three:
1." ... as a fixed and bounded locality that is, as a sociological expression, denoting a human
settlement within a particular territory'.
2. " ... as a local social system- that is, as a set of social relationship which take place wholly,
or mostly, within a locality'.
3. " ... as a type of relationship. More particularly, community is defined as a sense of identity
between, individual (even though, in some cases, their mutual identification may never have
resulted from any personal contact)"8
However, Raymond Williams, as Newby referred to in his studies disagrees with the usage of
community as localism. He said it was "only when the local basis of society was threatened did
a conscious ideology of community emerge...".9 Two threats to societal life mentioned by
Williams are economic and legal constraints. Under these threatened conditions, community
became the "mutuality of the oppressed" A result of constraint born out of common
powerlessness and poverty.
From these numerous definitions and usage he studied, Newby showed that the concept is used
either as a "Normative prescription, that is, expressing the value of the individual concerning
what life should be or as "Empirical description of life in various localities". That is studied of
community as they actually are. But he observes further that these value laden and descriptive
usage "...give some indications of the wide range of contemporary social problems which the
analysis of community raises. In many respects the desire for community symbolise a desire for
personal and social fulfillment, an attempt to close the gap between life as it is actually
Newby, Howard. 1980. Community. Open University, Great Britain, pps. 6-8.
Newby, Howard, Op. Cit. P. 13.
Newby, Howard, Op. Cit. P. 12.
experienced and life as those who ...(experience it) would like it to be or perceive it as having
been in the past"10
Margaret Stacey protested the use of the concept community. She said it is highly value-laden
and that the "definitional disagreement comes from this. That rather, concentration should be
on institutions and their inter-relations in specific localities "which she said would give a better
understanding of locally based social network".11 Consequently this study declines the usage of
community as the concept to understanding social clubs as a phenomenon. In this usage it
restricts our focus from relationships that span a given locality and, secondly, community
assumes an inter-relationship amongst all inhabitants of a given locality. Rather, in place of
community, social network is adopted in this study to understanding social clubs. Social
network is used in explaining the ties that shows which individual, group or institution interact
with one another.12 Secondly, social network exposes the relationship between individuals and
groups and their fiscal environment.
Social Network, as Newby's study traced has come to replace the value laden and emotive
concept of community. It is also the concept used in explaining the ties that shows which
individual, group or institution interact with one another.13This study, therefore, is premised on
the assumption that social clubs are a social network.
In a study focused on social clubs in the eastern part of Nigeria, Ogunna defined social clubs "
... as an organised group of people who posses certain common social values and attitudes that
pulls them together for the purpose of achieving shared objectives. It is a system of cooperative
human effort designed to satisfy social goals. It is an organisational expression of the persistent
feeling of loyalty and obligation to the group with common basic understanding and n identical
beliefs in certain social issues..."14 This definition, while it reflects certain general
characteristics of social clubs (organised group of people, shared objectives, co-operative effort
Newby, Howard, Op. Cit. P. 33.
Ogunna, A.E.C. "Community Power Structures and Politics". In Awa, Eme O. 1992. The Transformation of
Rural Society: A Study of rural Development in the Eastern State of Nigeris 1970-76.
Ogunna, A.E.C. Op. Cit. P. 38.
Toyo, Eskor. 'Neocolonialism, Primite Accumulation and Third world Orientations (A Clarification of Issues)',
Nigerian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 4, Nos. 1 and 11, 1985; Abba, Alkasam et al. 1985. The Nigerian
Economic Crisis: Causes and Solutions. Gaskiya Coproration Limited, Zaria.
and the satisfaction of social goals), obscures the fact that social clubs are not a monolithic
group. Their basic difference lies in the social position of the members of the club: that is the
division between advantaged and disadvantaged members of the society. This difference,
consequently, informs the difference in the objectives and activities of social clubs. For
example, Ogunna's study classified between National Clubs and localised ones. The former has
national structure and membership while the latter is just localised to specific towns and clans.
In describing the activities of the national clubs he said they initially were concerned with
entertainment of their members and protecting their interest and also provision of life insurance
scheme for their members. Even when they decided to extend their services to community
development some reasons that accounted for this were
To demonstrate to the society that they posses wealth and they are philanthropic;.
As the club increased in size and many members became apparently wealthier, they
then collected enough funds. The Honda Club is one club mentioned as belonging to this
category.15 One can extend the list by adding professional bodies. This study therefore can be
said to be a study of advantaged members of the society who are less constrained
economically. The so-called localised social clubs are but a reference to cultural and ethnic
associations who concern themselves with their community development. These cannot be
grouped together with social clubs as clubs are essential heterogeneous in their composition
and are a migrant phenomenon.
The concern of this study centres on clubs of the less advantage category whose members are
high constrained economically. These types are mostly prevalent in the northern part of
Social clubs could therefore be defined as a network of people who, as a result of similar
experiences) agglomerate and harnessed their efforts to protect themselves and transform their
existing conditions. Social clubs are essentially a relationship characterised by mutuality
entered by members in respect of their social environment. Of the category under study, social
clubs are a solidarity of people who are economically and legally constrained and organized to
identify and co-operate for the purpose of transforming their conditions of their existence.
These are made up of unskilled, semi-skilled and unemployed men and women drawn across
Kwanashie, Mike ( ) Structural Adjustment: Capital Accumulation and Employment, in (
ethnic and religious boundaries. They are always identified as "social, cultural and dramatic
Origin/Profile of "Social cultural and Dramatic clubs"
"Tawakaltu socials cultural and Dramatic club."
Tawakaltu social, cultural and Dramatic club is currently located at No. 73 Yoruba Street,
Sabon-Gari, Zaria Kaduna State. The club was founded in 1982 by 15 people as a drama wing
of "Tsaunijet Football club". It was later ceded as an independent organization to enable
members fully concentrate on drama and cultural dances. Two aims were fundamental to their
formation of the club. First to appeal against increasing involvement of their peers in police
cases through the use of drama. Secondly, the club was formed to start some self-help activities
to assist members from the degenerate social conditions of existence and the increasing
hopelessness from unemployment. Specific self-help activities were assisting members and
securing their release from police arrest. Drama was adopted as a means to campaign for and
begin concrete self-help activities especially from gate-takings during performances and
membership dues. However, it could also be seen that drama became the locus on which some
germ of organizational activities began.
Of the founding members, 12, that is 80%, were of Hausa ethnic group and of the Islam c
religion. A few of these were clerical staff of Zaria local government; others were traders but
most were unemployed.
Later in the year members signed for registration by sending a draft copy of their constitution to
the local government youth development office. They were given an attestation certificate and
later registered in 1987.
Membership of the club is made up of men and women. The women live at the club-house as
single women. While some are engaged in retail business like making and selling of Yogurt ,
Zobo, Iced-water, the majority of the women are unemployed. The men on the other hand are
made up of clerical staff from the local government, members of Road Transport Workers
Union, Retail market traders, secondary school students and unemployed. This membership is
categorised into two. The first category is the dues paying and identity card holding members
which are 60 in membership. These are the bona fide members who can sit at meetings, vote
and be voted for into positions of leadership. The second category is made-up of a supporters
club. These are people who patronize the club's activities. It is from this category that bona fide
members are recruited.
Those who voluntary indicate interest in membership from the supporters club are put on
probation. Their activities are monitored to see their commitment to the club and to ensure that
within the period they are not involved in any criminal activities. However, recruitment is often
biased towards workers, traders and women. But when a woman is transferring from another
club her activities in the other club are traced to ensure her movement is not connected with
fraudulent activities.
Committee Zatarwas (executive council): this is made-up of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman,
Secretary, Assistant-secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, director of Socials, Director of
Drama, Police Commissioner and his officers - these are responsible for order during
performances and also play the role of policemen in plays. Others are Shugaban Mata
(Women's Leader) Maitamaki Shugaban Mata (Assistant Women Leader), women Secretary,
public Relations Officer and Club Messenger. Elections into this council used to be annual
until 1992 when the club received directives from the Youth Development Officer to make it
biennial. The functions of the Executive Council are to take decisions, plan programmes and
represent the club. The council holds its meeting weekly either Saturday or Sundays where it
also tallies accounts from earnings and spending from the previous week.
Members of the executive council can only hold the same position twice - that is, if they are
re-elected after which they can only contest for different positions. For example the Current
Chairman was the former Director of Drama who held the position twice while the current
Financial Secretary was the former Chairman who also held that position twice.
The club has three patrons who act as advisers. These are usually nominated and presented to
the general meetings for approval after the nominees agree to serve in such positions. The
choice of patron is informed by those the club feels are in strategic position to help its members
in times of need. They are usually drawn from businessmen or government functionaries.
The club holds its general meetings fortnightly. This is where decisions of the Executive
Council and programmes are presented for approval, modification or rejection. Also presented
at the general meetings are the previous week earnings and spending. From the general meeting
the Executive Council receives information and suggestions from members. An average of 46
members was recorded in the course of the field trip for this study.
The club programmes of activities are divided into weekly and seasonally. The weekly
activities are Drama, Music and Cultural dance. Theses are slotted for Friday, Saturday and,
Sunday of every week of the year. The weekly activities start with drumming. This serves to
attract the public and to indicate the commencement of the day's activity. This is later joined by
cyclical dance and songs with all members. It is later substituted by the club's cultural troupes
in costume after which a drama sketch is presented. Members later withdrew into meeting
depending on which is due and often terminated the day's activities around 8 p.m.; although if
the club receives an invitation, it could slot it in any day of the week.
Programmes of the club for the year are also decided into dry and raining seasons. This mostly
involves a community development programme.
Visits could either be for condolence or in show of solidarity. For condolence the club
organises visits depending on its financial situation to hospitals. For this purpose they carry
along gifts both cash and kind, often with prayers to the sick. This is done irrespective of
whether the person visited is known or unknown. Sometimes it is targeted at a house that is
bereaved of a loved one. On other occasions visits are paid to similar clubs in other locations of
local government in a show of solidarity. This often provides an opportunity for sharing
experiences and exchanging ideas.
This is a rotational fund raising activity for members of the club. The person whose turn it is is
responsible for inviting a local popular artist. He/she takes care of the artist's transport fare and
feeding. Monies collected at ajo include donations from other members, spray from dances and
gate takings. The club takes 5% of all monies collected while the remaining is left for the
person for whom the ajo is organised. However, ajo in Tawakaltu has suffered some setback in
the past two years. Some members for whom ajo was organised scrammed without
reciprocating the gesture to other members. This led to mistrust amongst members and
consequently suspension of the activity. Some members found a replacement for ajo through
birthday parties. Members started organising birthday parties in which other members and
invited guest come to donate money and gifts. Birthdays could not be sustained because of the
general down turn in the economy. This rather intensified the need for members to raise money.
The club registered an instance where a member organised a naming ceremony for her sheep.
The club organises literacy programmes for members who wish to learn to read and write in
Hausa. This programme is occasional substituted with a skills acquisition lesson in which
members who have a skill in making yogurt, pomade, soap share their knowledge with those
wishing to learn. Currently the club is embarking on a campaign to secure a sewing machine
where the women's leader can share her sewing skill with other women members. The club
often finances the cost of materials for the lessons at no cost to members.
Community Development refers to services provided by the club for the benefit of the entire
locality. This could either be initiated by the club itself or the local government. Projects
initiated by the club are clearing of refuse dump within settlements, clearing of blocked
drainage during raining season, filling of potholes on major roads, weeding of cemeteries. The
club has also made financial contributions to the rebuilding of a collapsed primary school hall
at L.E. primary school Sabon-Gari by the community in Sabon-Gari.
Community development projects for which the club is involved by the local government are
environmental sanitation, spray of insecticide in stagnant water along the gutter, tree planting
campaigns annually launched by the local government, and health campaigns like those of
meningitis, cholera. For this purpose the club has also received training from UNICEF and
SPACE 2,000. The club has also been involved by the local government in special clean-up
exercise especially when visitors are expected by the local government e.g. the Junior World
Cup and visitations by ministers or the state governor.
The clubs sources of funding are N5 weekly membership dues, N10 gate-takings for
performance, a special contribution levied on members in emergency situations e.g. when a
member is sick; the transport fare given by the local government for some of the projects which
involve the club; transport fare and mandatory N500 it charges those wishing to hire its
services; monetary spray it receives when staging performances; 5% percentage it uses to
collect from ajo and honoraria given by NGOs for participating in programmes they organise.
From revenue generated, a weekly imprest of N200.00 is kept with the financial secretary while
the excess is deposited at the clubs' account with the Bank of the North it opened in 1987.
Tawakaltu has 16 women in the club. These are made up of divorced and young ladies. These
ladies are patronised by specific men who come to see them or send for them in the evenings.
Some of the women augment this with retail business like selling of soft drinks and sewing and
selling cardigans.
The chairman of the club described women as "rai kungiya" (the life of the club) because of the
role they play in the club: women are responsible for all the cooking done whenever the club
has visitors; they are the attraction for the audience that pays to watch the club performances,
they raise revenue for the club during cultural dances - men sometimes get carried away and
over spray; they are a major source of raising membership for the club from both women and
men; they are important in propagating important messages to the society as it borders on their
experience - e.g. cultural practices like forced marriages or the choice of spouse for the lady
"Bajinta Social, Cultural and Dramatic Club"
This club was formed by 8 people at Tudun-Wada, Zaria on the 13'h February, 1982. It
currently has its office at Tudun Wada Zaria local government, Kaduna State but operates its
activities at Kuta Hotel.
The name Bajinta is a Hausa name signifying someone who displays extraordinary efforts in
any endeavour. Its aim and formation were to entertain people of Hausa culture, promote unity
amongst people and embark on self-help activities.
The club is registered with the Youth Development Office, Zaria local government, and has the
following objectives in its constitution:
(a) Unite youth in Zaria and its environs.
(b) Enlighten the public through drama on global occurrences.
(c) Strengthen relationship between clubs and the public.
(d) Educate club members through public lectures
(e) Embark on self-help through communal efforts
(f) Assist the government to educate the public on national issues
Membership of the club is voluntary and is made up of both men and women. Membership is
often advertised during community development work. Interested candidates are given the
clubs constitution to study. If they agree with its aims and objectives they are then given a
membership form to fill in after which they are registered. The club currently has a
membership strength of 125 people who are dues-paying and identity card holders.
Committee Zatarwai (Executive Council) is the decision-making organ. It is made up of the
Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary-general, Assistant Secretary-general, Director of Health,
Director of Socials, "Commissioner of Police" and his officers who are responsible for order
and prosecution of members who violate club's rules, Women's Leader, Assistant Women's
Leader, Female Director of Socials and Public Relations Officer. Election into theses offices
are conducted biannually while previous officers can only hold their post for two terms after a
After those terms he/she can only contest for any other post after two years. The function of the
council is to make decisions and supervise its implementation by the committees. It also
prepares programmes for the club. The club meets fortnightly for this purpose.
The club's programmes of activities are divided into weekly and seasonal. Drama and cultural
dances are its two major weekly activities for entertainment and fund raising. However, it also
uses drama to communicate messages to the general public; for example, campaigns against
communal violence and to preach peaceful co-existence in the family. The local government
has often relied on the club for its health campaigns like immunization, meningitis, cholera.
When immunization was introduced in Zaria, it was mostly rejected on the suspicion that the
aim was to control population by destroying the reproductive system. The local government
used the club to clear such suspicion. The local government has also employed the services of
the club in social activities. It organises its representation at the annual Cultural Competition
organised by the State Council for Arts and Culture. However, the club's weekly activities have
been suspended since February for lack of a venue in which to perform.
The club's community development services can be classified into those services it renders at
its own initiative and those it is engaged to do by the Local Government for the benefit of the
society. The club has constructed two culverts: a well for drinking water and every raining
season embark on clearing blocked drainage to enable free water passage. It also goes to weed
the cemetery every year and clear refuse dumps within immediate human settlement. It was
also engaged by the local government for environmental sanitation during the Junior World
Cup hosted by Nigeria.
The club often organised visits to hospital to sympathise with the sick and offer them prayers.
Visits are also organised as a networking activity with other clubs. In this case it either goes to
visit another club outside its local government or the state or receives such other club s its
This is a reciprocal fund-raising activity for members of the club. It is organised fortnightly.
Money received during ajo includes gate-fees, donations and sprays. It is expected in Bajinta's
ajo that members donate at least what other individual members donated to their own ajo. For
this purpose the artist invited to sing occasionally stops singing to allow members to announce
their donation. This is then recorded. At the end all monies are collated. The club takes 10%
while the remaining goes to the person for whom it is organised for. He or she is responsible
for the artist transportation and honorarium. Ajo in the club is used specifically to raise capital
for business or to raise money for urgent problems. An average of N30,000.00 is often raised
per ajo. Through the proceeds of ajo six women have been able to go into restaurant and grains
business, while the men have often used their money for marriage, it is said. Ajo is currently
the major and consistent activity of the club.
Funding for the club's activities are 150 monthly membership dues, registration fees of N150 of
new members, N5 fine for late comers to the club's activities, 10% it receives from ajo
organised for members, donations and sprays whenever it is hired by the public and a token
contribution given by the local government to "wash-up" whenever they are involved in
environmental sanitation the local government organises. Also the club is given an honorarium
for the cultural competition organised by the State Council for Arts and Culture.
Registered members of the club are made up of divorced women and young ladies. They play a
major role in the club as described by the chairman. Their presence in community development
work and drama cultural presentation attracts an audience for the club. This has helped raise
the revenue earnings of the club.
Origin: The club was established in 1987 at Funtua town by four people which later grew to
fifteen. The club's name is derived from the legendary Daura Warrior, Bayajidda. The club's
motto is "progress" and has its office located at the clubhouse in Unguwan-Wanzamai, Funtua,
along Zaria road.
Aims: The aims of forming the club were to evolve an organ that will begin self-help activities
for founders and also start some community development activities. Founders also felt that it
was only through group efforts that they could attract government attention rather than through
individual complaints. These aims were informed by daily complaints and a critique of
government effort at addressing the poor conditions of those living in the country, often when
people gather over games like "Dara", Ludo and Porker in the evenings. Founders therefore
evolve drama as a means of reflecting the people's living conditions as well as sending the
message for mutual assistance to the public. The club was registered in 1987 at the social
welfare office in Funtua local government and has the following objectives in its constitution:
1. Unite the youth for self-help
2. Promote the love and respect in the public mind through the medium of drama and the like.
3. Help club members in times of problems like ill health.
4. Network with other clubs to educate the public about government intention
5. Be loyal to every government
6. Avoid discrimination on the basis of politics, religious and ethnic background.
Membership into the club is voluntary. The current membership strength is 152 made up of
men and women. This is made up of people from professions such as motor-cycle transport
workers, primary school teacher, `wanzamai', fine-art, retail traders, tea sellers, water vendor,
wash-men, brick layers, carpenters, and a snake-charmer. The club also has unemployed people
as members. For male members applications are considered only when there is a vacancy
created by migration of a member or death, while the women are considered through the rate by
which their numbers reduce as a result of marriage. Applicants are given the club's constitution,
code of conduct and ajo forms to study. Only applicants who accept the conditions in these
forms are registered. This is to enable only credible people into the club and to ensure unity one symbol of which is the members' uniform dressing at functions outside the town.
Committee Zatarwas (executive council) is the decision-making organ of the club. This is made
up of the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, assistant secretary, financial secretary, treasurer,
auditor, information secretary drama secretary, social secretary, community development
secretary, secretary for visitors, Alkali Kungiya (club judge), women's leader, women's
secretary, women's social secretary, messenger. However, for faster communication, a standing
rule is that everybody is a messenger. Elections are conducted into the executive council
annually. The executive council is also responsible for day to day running of the club, and
meets every Wednesday for this purpose except when there is emergency meeting.
The club has set-up standing committees to enable more members take part in club activities
and to ensure efficient performance of club activities. For this purpose the following
committees are established:
1. Community development committee
2. Electoral committee - this is set-up at the end of the year to conduct election of new
executives in January
3. Special committee - this is responsible for social functions such as members' marriages,
naming ceremonies or when the club is invited out of town. However, an emergency committee
is always set-up when a member is sick and cannot take care of himself. The committee
decides the amount members will contribute to treat the sick member.
Meetings of the executive council are held every Wednesday while general meetings are held
every Sunday. At the general meeting decisions of the council are released and future
programmes unfold for final adoption by members. Also at general meetings, information,
suggestions and complaints are given to the executive for necessary action.
Drama and cultural dances are the club's weekly activities. These are slotted for Thursday,
Fridays and Saturdays at the clubhouse. On other occasions the club chooses within its weekly
slotted dates to stage open performance at public places. This is either at the motor-park or
market centre and 'gidan -shata'. Open performances are specifically meant for plays on conflict
and health. This is a result of the training programme the club received from UNICEF, John
Hopkins University and Community Action for popular participation.
Environmental sanitation is a monthly activity of the club. This involves clearing of refuse
dumps within immediate settlements. The club often receives invitation from "Ungwanai" or
streets for environmental sanitation. It has on several occasions, on invitation from unions at
the market and the motor-park, conducted sanitation exercises at the market and the
motor-park. The club is also involved by the local government for this purpose.
Apart from its monthly sanitation exercise, it has implemented such community projects as the
construction of culverts and drainage in Ungwan Wanzamai and occasionally goes to fill
pot-holes on major roads. The club has currently applied for land from the local government to
build a health centre.
The club holds two hourly literacy classes for both its members and interested members of the
general public, which include married men and women. Forty minutes is devoted per lecturer
period to teach reading, writing and arithmetic every fortnight on Saturdays at the clubhouse.
The club has just been offered a rented room for a class by one of its married students who
wants to enroll his wife. The club charges N5 per student per lecture day and currently has 11
students for the session. On demand members who are literate in Arabic organize classes for
those interested.
Visits are occasionally organised in a show of solidarity with other clubs. The objective of the
visits is to strengthen relationships with the club visited, exchange ideas and strengthen the two
clubs' technical capacity in drama production and cultural dances. This is done through the
exchange and critique of performances.
Visits are also targeted for ailing clubs. In such a case the club organizes a special performance.
For special performances the club normally writes to the District Head of the town they are
visiting informing him of their coming to stage a special drama performance for him. For this
purpose the District head is requested to invite his friends. A similar arrangement is also made
with the club being targetted. On arrival the club organizes a mini sanitation around the district
head palace and his immediate neighbourhood after which they stage the drama presentation
and cultural dance. During the performance money is usually spent on the club. In addition the
club also presents a gift - "Garkuwa" (symbol of authority) to the District-Head. For the club
visited, the club also organizes ajo after its performances. Money raised from the ajo is handed
over to the local club for problems. Where the club is torn by internal strife a meeting is
normally conducted in the night to discuss the issues involved and set the processes in motion
for reactivating the club. Bayajidda also receives visiting clubs for similar purpose.
This is a rotational fund raising activity organised for those who register for ajo. This includes
club members and members of the general public. For the purpose of ajo a committee is set-up
every 4 months; the committee's tenure is either extended if there is no complaint against it or
it is replaced with new members for another four months tenure. The work of the committee is
to decide whose turn it is for ajo to be organised. The committee is also responsible for
ensuring the compliance to ajo rules as follows;
1. Any interested candidate for ajo must buy the form for N20.00.
2. There is a compulsory payment of N100.00 per ajo.
3. Except where there is an unavoidable problem ajo would be organised monthly
4. Donations for ajo shall not be counted; that is, ajo is based on conviction and goodwill.
5. The club has 5% of total contribution.
6. In the absences of a problem, the ajo committee must be in place for four months before it is
7. The person for whom ajo is organised is responsible for the artist invited.
8. Only those who purchase and sign ajo forms can partake in ajo.
9. All ajo members must reciprocate ajo for other members proportionate to their ability.
The rules were evolved to guide against the possibility of scrams which can led to mistrust and
collapse of the club. The person it is organised for is advised before the money is given to him
or her to solve an urgent problem or establish a business. From the proceeds of ajo members
must have to e.g. set-up retail business, furnish their rooms.
The club was assisted with a piece of land which the entire members go to cultivate during the
raining season. Produce from the farm is usually stored and sold mostly between April and
June when prices of foodstuffs have gone up. Produce is only sold to members at a subsidized
rate. However, this activity has a sufficient setback as the owner of the land took back half of
the land this year.
The sources of revenue for the club's activities are N10.00 weekly membership dues, N20.00
gate-takings during performances, N50.00 membership registration, money sprayed on
members during cultural performances, honoraria it receives from non-governmental
organizations for participating in their training programmes, contributions given by the local
government and unions for engaging the club in sanitation; money gotten from the sale of its
farm produce to members, 5% from monthly ajo, N5.00 fine on members who come late to
meetings and money it receives from being hired for celebrations like naming ceremonies and
The female members of the club leave as single women and are made-up of divorced women
and young ladies. They often survive on sexual patronage by specific clients from the public mostly business men and government officials. Women in the club became necessary when
there was the need to feature them in plays; as a result of this the club then adopted a deliberate
strategy of recruiting women into the club. The method used was to go in aid of any woman
who was sick or in police detention. This is because at this time single women were the prime
suspects for harboring criminals in the town. After the encounter the women come to join the
club; they are normally registered and given an identity card after filling in the necessary forms.
As described by the chairman of the club, women are synonymous with the club, because of the
role they play in the club:
They attract audience to the clubs activity like drama and community development
They boost the revenue earnings of the club. Because of their presence some men spray
more money than they intended and during fund solicitation the women bring more money.
They stimulate and activate the energies of men during community development work
They introduce innovations into the club; this innovation could be in the form of new
plays and cultural dance or certain actions taken by the club which can lead to its retrogation.
This is informed by the fact that the women are most mobile and have visited many clubs and
watch their performances.
Because of their relationship with members of the public who are connected either in
business or in government, the women can easily intervene to save the club from police
Bayajidda has 48 women who got married from the club.
In a typical formal day at the clubhouse activities commence with the gathering of members of
the club and the general public from 4:00 p.m. in the evening. These are often split into groups
over indoor games as porker, Judo, dara depending on individual interest. Simultaneously,
they share riddles jokes, stories and gossip. They could also be seen sharing cigarettes and
colanut. Occasionally a member will perform, in the form of rhyme or poem in which members
debate its correctness. Their voices are only withdrawn when the drummers begin to display
their drumming skills. They are later joined by club members in cyclical dance and songs until
they are replaced at 5.00 p.m. by the club's cultural troupe. The troupe entertains the audience
until 5.30 p.m. when a drama sketch is presented usually for 30 to 40 minutes.
"Social, Cultural and Dramatic Clubs" are organizations of, until recently, migrants and settlers
located in areas poorly endowed with urban amenities like pipe water, electricity and roads, of
semi-urban towns. Except Bayajidda whose club houses are built with cement blocks, Bajinta
and Tawakaltu are accommodated by mud brick houses. All the clubs have to be accessed by
rough road and all rely on well water for their water supply, where the well runs dry they often
fall back on water vendors. The various rooms in the club house are linked by a network of
broken electricity cables. Clubs are essentially platforms for solidarity for people most
marginalised, economically and socially. These are forced to migrate to urban and semi-urban
towns in search of first, survival and secondly, to avoid the social stigma and the social demand
made on them by their societies. They therefore move to urban settlements to exploit the
possibilities for improving survival chances through any sort of income earning work available
and to do so behind the heterogeneous cover of urban settlement.
Three factors explain the nature of the marginalization of the social clubs economically and
socially. First is their earning and accommodation or settlement choice. Members of clubs are
made up of the unskilled, semi-skilled and unemployed who have no access to capital of any
form. This restricts their job opportunities beyond poorly paid work or low-income business.
Besides, these earnings must be shared between the basic needs of feeding, shelter, clothing
and their organization's requirement. They are therefore marginalised both in terms of earnings
for personal survival and choice of settlements as they have little access to social amenities.
Secondly, by 1982 and 1987, the periods which the clubs under study were formed, the
Nigerian economy had sunk into deep crisis through a process which started with the
disarticulation of the pre-colonial mode of production; that is, the break-up of the peasant and
handicraft economy in the colonial period. This process extended to the new colonial period.
This period saw the building of indigenous capital through the state-aided primitive capitalist
accumulation specifically through projects and programmes in the National Economic
Development Plans. This process is fundamental in the crises that characterise Nigerian
economy and politics by the 1980s and was therefore responsible for further marginalising the
Thirdly, an implication of the economic crises of the 1980s is its impact on social organization,
especially the family institution. Families that could not survive adjustments collapsed. This
fact explains the presence of divorced women in the clubs. In other instances, although this was
not confirmed in clubs studied, wives abandoned marriage to seek survival elsewhere.
Despite the various fiscal measures adopted to address the Nigerian economy, its degeneration
continued to the point of needing a "structural" overhaul. By 1986, the Structural Adjustment
Programme (SAP) was therefore introduced. SAP in essence aimed at cutting down the public
sector while boosting the private sector with the hope of developing the productive capacity of
the economy to solve the economic problems of unemployment, dependency of the economy,
stagflation etc. However, as Kwanashie observed, in the short-run SAP has worsened the
economic problems of the country especially the case of unemployment. This is because, as
Kwanashie observed further, unemployment was identified only within the context of the
capital accumulation process. That is, the issue of employment and therefore, related economic
problems identified by SAP, can only be solved by the productive structure of the economy.
Thus by 1987 when Bajajidda was formed, the economic and social conditions that
necessitated the formation of clubs had not disappeared.
"Social, cultural and Dramatic Clubs", while providing the platform for these marginalised
Nigerians to solidarise function, also act as tools or social instruments for members to cope
with survival through self-help activities. Initially, self-help activities were reduced to aiding
members in poor health or under police detention through the members' contributions and dues.
As this proved inadequate in meeting the group's needs, other alternatives were formed and as
such drama became relevant.
Drama was relevant to clubs because it provided the means through which clubs reproduced
and understood their reality. Secondly, it was a mediatory instrument between the clubs and the
wider society especially through income generation and also through the messages for mutual
assistance it stages. Thirdly, drama became the locus on which the group activities were
webbed; that is, some germ of organization stated forming around drama. Though drama raised
revenue for the club through gate fees in addition to membership dues, total revenue raised was
still not enough in meeting the basic objective of self-help for the club members. Ajo therefore
played a strong role in this regard. It provided the requisite capital for members to "rehabilitate"
themselves from their very poor living conditions. It was at the initial stage predicated on the
trust that members would reciprocate financial donations amongst themselves. However, due to
the problems of scrams, it developed into a permanent institution with rules evolved to
safeguard it. This explain the confidence people now have in it that even non club members
also partake in ajo, as is the case in Bayajidda clubs, while in Bajinta ajo is currently the only
activity sustaining the club. Ajo therefore not only strengthened members' physical life chances
but also consolidated the organization, giving it the base to reflect and expand its activities.
Alongside physical survival members could now develop their personal abilities through
literacy classes and skills acquisition programmes. This strengthened their self-confidence and
their commitment to their clubs.
One major function of a social club is the services they provide for the benefit of members of
the general public. This, in actuality, could tag their legitimizing activities which emerged as a
result of their encounters with both the general public and agencies of government like the
police. An encounter with some members of the public is over their musical activity in the
night especially during ajo, which often causes noise pollution. This normally leads to the
instigation of landlords to revoke space or accommodation rented to clubs as operating centres
by the public. Tawakaltu is currently operating from its seventh location while Bajinta is forced
to perform its fortnightly ajo in the parking space of Kuta Hotel some distance from its office.
Bayajidda is saved this instability because one of its members owned the current clubhouse it
operates from. Through community development the club has earned the respect and
confidence of members of the public. People now feel confident in taking sanitary complaints
to the clubs rather than to the local government.
Occasionally police raided clubhouses on the accusation that they harbour criminals, an action
defended as necessary whenever there is a strong suspicion. However, no club member has
ever been charged in court or convicted by the police on the grounds of crime as a result of the
raids. Besides most of the raids and sometimes detention of members are resolved informally
often at some financial cost to the clubs. One can safely argue that police raids were in actuality
extensions of corrupt practices. These raids are a function of the regime in government. Where
an atmosphere of human rights violation and corruption is established by the political regime,
the police also extend these practices to their areas of operation and as such clubs are at the
receiving end because of their powerlessness. With a new political climate in the country none
of the clubs has witnessed raids by the police this year. Rather Bayajidda was visited by police
officers on patrol asking them to inform them of any suspicious characters.
Politically " Social Cultural and Dramatic Clubs" do not have an articulate conscious ideology
with respect to their aims and their approaches. They are primarily conscious of their survival
needs and the autonomy to pursue these needs unrestrained. They adopt a strict membership
drive so as to purge themselves of criminals and consequently avoid any tampering with their
autonomy. They do raise money to secure the release of any member detained by the police or
are sick, and are very reluctant to seek redress where their rights are violated because they lack
confidence in the justice system. Social clubs are a quiet movement whose members mobilize
for changes that bear directly on their survival without necessarily colliding with state power.
Perhaps they rely directly on their survival without necessarily colliding with state power.
Perhaps they can best be conceptualised as a process in formation.
The local government is the most immediate level of authority where a sustained system of
interaction exists between clubs and the government. First of all in terms of concrete activities
it is at the local government level that clubs can be seen. Secondly, in terms of engaging their
services it is the local government that does so. Even where such services are needed at state
level recruiting, this is done by the local government especially during cultural competition.
And thirdly, the legal recognition in the form of registration done for clubs is done by the local
government. The process involves groups seeking registration as clubs to submit their draft
constitution to the Youth Development Officer at their local government. This is to ensure that
their objective is in line with the law, and that their activities, during monitoring, conform to
their objectives. In most cases (Bajinta and Tawakaltu) their youth development officer ends up
producing a final draft of the club's constitution and giving it back to them to print. For
registration, they are required to submit an application seeking registration with three copies of
the constitution attached in which one copy is kept at the youth development office, the second
given to the State Security Services (SSS) and the third to the Ministry of Youth and Sports of
their States. In the case of Bayajidda its constitution was produced by the defunct Mass
Mobilisation of Social Justice and Economic Reconstruction (MAMSER). A renewal of this
registration is done annually.
Another area of interaction between Social Clubs and the Local Government is in social
development work. Occasionally the clubs are engaged to execute social development services
such as clearing of refuse dumps, spraying of insecticide along gutters clearing of blocked
drainage, health and environmental campaign. However, the local government does not have a
defined policy towards the clubs especially in the area of social development service. Even
where clubs have applied for work implements to sustain some of the social services, none has
received any positive response to this effect. In addition to this one of the basic problems
facing clubs is space allocation to carry out their activities. Tawakaltu has been forced to
relocate eight times since inception while Bajinta, after relocating three times this year, has to
settle with a venue for its performances separate from its club office. In Zaria Local
Government, a Youth Social Centre initially launched for social function was only completed
after pressure and assistance from Bajinta. Despite that, after its completion the centre was
locked and the key handed over to an Islamic organisation on the condition that anybody
seeking usage should apply for it from the group. In the case of Tawakaltu, it has written
formal application as well as having lobbied the various local government chairmen for space
to build a theatre, but neither has happened since 1994. In Funtua Bayajidda not only applied
for space to build a theatre, it has also applied for space to build a Health Centre which
budgeted for N70,000 but this has not been given.
Deducing from the nature of these interactions between social clubs and government one can
say that the government registers the clubs to control, monitor and regulate their activities in
conformity with standard and values it approves. Also, in engaging clubs in socials
development services as well as encouraging them along these lines in public speeches while at
the same time, in concrete terms, denying their independent development along the provisions
of such services, government wishes first to reduce social clubs to reserve labour which it uses
whenever it requires it and secondly to deny their development as organisations that can
provide these services. Perhaps one benefit to those in government for this conduct can be seen
with the sanitation exercise for the Junior Word Cup organised by the Zaria Local Government,
as narrated by the Youth Development Officer, in which all the clubs in the Local Government
participated. It was declared that the local government spent N41.8m for the exercise. In the
case of this field trip, Bajinta, the club within this local government, admitted participating in
the sanitation exercise but denied given any money for the exercise.
The implication of this interaction between government and social club is that the social club
tends to withdraw and feel less encouraged in relating with government. They have a distrust
for authority and tend to concentrate their activities on members and other obscure places. This
withdrawal leaves the processes of governance unengaged.

Social clubs, social struggles and their interaction with the state