CITIZEN: A citizen is a person who is a legal member of and owe allegiance to a particular country he resides in which he enjoys full civil and political rights and will be ready to put his life at stake in defence of his territory when occasion calls for that.
The special status which is accorded to citizens by the state is called citizenship. It can rightly be said that not everybody that resides in a territory is a citizen. People who are not legally recognised as members are called aliens. Aliens are foreigners who does not enjoy the rights which a citizen enjoy.
Citizenship education refers to the process or acts directed at giving members of a politically organized society required knowledge, and developing necessary skills, attitudes and values that would equip such individuals to function or participate effectively in all activities aimed at enhancing the collective good or development of the society.
GOALS OF CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
Citizenship education is directed at achieving the following goals in the education of a child or learner;
1) To enable the child or learner acquire relevant knowledge about the affairs of a politically organized society at all levels including immediate local community, district, local government, state, the whole country and the world community.
2) To acquire knowledge about citizens’ rights and duties, and citizenship acquisition laws and processes.
3) To develop skills for effective participation as citizens of a politically organized society at different levels.
4) To develop positive attitudes and values that would promote active participation in the affairs of society.
5) To enable the learner understand the relationship of politically organized societies at all levels for the purpose of informed and active participation.
6) To enable the learner identify emerging issues or problems in different societies with a view to acquiring knowledge, skills and values to solve them.
7) To enable the learner develop citizenship consciousness in their politically organized society and develop patriotic zeal to commit themselves to serve the state and, if need be make supreme sacrifice in the service of their state or humanity.
ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP
1) Citizenship by Birth and Parentage: In Nigeria, according to the Nigerian constitution, children born either in Nigeria or outside Nigeria by Nigerian parents automatically become a Nigerian citizen. In some other countries like USA or UK child of visiting parents who are born in their country is regarded as a citizen of that country.
2) Citizenship by Registration: This is a method by which women acquire citizenship through marriage. Any woman who has been married to a citizen of a state can register and become a citizen of that state.
3) Citizenship by Naturalization: A citizen of a country who has lived in another country for a long period can apply for citizenship of the country he resides. Naturalization is the process through which nationals of other countries are granted citizenship after satisfying the necessary conditions prescribed by law. Such conditions differ from one country to another. Generally, the conditions are
(i) The person must be of adult age.
(ii) He/she must be of good behaviour.
(iii) He/she must swear an oath of allegiance.
(iv) He/she must show a genuine intention to be domiciled in that state and reside in that state continuously for a prescribed number of years.
(v) He / she must show genuine interest or love for that state and must be prepared to make contributions to her progress.
(vi) He/she must renounce the citizenship of any other country.
4) Citizenship by Honorary: This is when citizenship of a country is granted to a distinguished or eminent foreigner without the usual requirements as a mark of honour.
5) Citizenship by Conquest: Through conquest after secessionist struggle, citizenship of certain individuals may be changed by acquiring a new status.
DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS OF CITIZENS
The following are some of the duties of a citizen in a state, in return for most of the rights enjoyed.
1) Payment of Taxes: A citizen should pay his tax to provide the state with revenue for social services e.g. pipe-borne water, hospitals etc.
2) Obedience to Law: A citizen should obey all the laws of the state for the common goods of the citizens
3) Voting at Elections: A citizen has to vote during election to elect the right leaders for the country.
4) Detection and Prevention of Crimes: A good citizen should always assist the law enforcement agencies in detecting and preventing crimes in the society.
5) Not Interfering in the Rights of others: A good citizen is to respect other people’s right and not interfere with the rights of another citizen.
6) Show Respect for National Symbols: National symbols like the national flag, national anthem are to be respected by citizens.
7) Loyalty: A good citizen must show loyalty to his country and must not be a betrayer.
8) Enlistment in the Armed Forces: When called upon to be enlisted in the armed forces for the defence of the country, a good citizen should make himself available.
IMPORTANCE OF CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
The importance of citizenship education to national development include:
1) Developing Good Citizens: Citizenship education is necessary for proper upbringing of a good citizen. A society can only be developed through the contributions of good citizens.
2) Peaceful Co-existence: In a multi ethnic group society like in Nigeria, citizenship education teaches peaceful co-existence.
3) Awareness of our Rights and Responsibilities: The rights we enjoy in a society make us actual citizen of that society. Citizenship education therefore make us aware of our rights and responsibilities required of us as citizens.
4) It Promotes Good Relationship in the Society: Since citizenship education leads to the upbringing of good citizen with sound morals, living together in harmony will not be a problem.
5) Creating a Better Society: It creates a better society when citizens behave well. Good behaviour makes the society orderly, peaceful and stable.
6) It Makes Government Easy: Where government plays its roles in the society, the citizens will contribute meaningfully towards the creation of a better society. Well informed citizens will make government easy in the society.