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PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

Abstract

Men enter into social contract with the aim of safe guarding and protecting life, liberty and property. This contract is made by electing their representatives who represent the people’s interests in different arms and various levels of government. However, these elected representatives only represent their own selfish interest, that is, using the office to enrich themselves instead of adhering to the contract they

(elected representatives) entered with the people. Thus, there is a breach of social contract which Locke says can lead to revolution because that is the only way citizen’s right can be preserved. Nevertheless, for any society to be at peace, the government must adhere to the contract she entered with the people.

PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of Study

In the history of man’s political governance, men existed in separate units that is, political groups and systems. Men formed themselves into political society in order to organize themselves. In organizing themselves, they provided a means of taking care of their individual needs in the society. Such needs are food, shelter, clothing and health. They tapped the natural resources of their environment to solve their needs. This process of organizing themselves in society is governance. All members of the society agreed

to have representatives to handle their common problem and protect the group and individual interests. In doing this, they entered into a social contract. Locke advocated for a social contract as a result of inconvenience in the state of nature. To remedy the inconvenience, which the state of nature entailed, men first formed themselves into civil society and in forming political associations, they entered into a

social contract. The people (members of the civil society), now set up a government. By government we mean, a government that will enforce morality and protect the fundamental human rights of the individual citizens. Democracy is a system of government under which the people exercise their franchise either directly or through representatives who are periodically elected by them. However, democracy as

practiced in Nigeria creates bottlenecks which make the idea in the political system unrealizable. The Nigeria political experience is characterized by numerous undemocratic vices, such as godfatherism, nepotism, ethnicism, sycophancy, corruption, thuggery, election rigging, etc. These have constituted a bane to democratic culture in Nigeria.

PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

1.2   Statement of Problem

Social contract was entered into by way of remedy for the inconvenience of the state of nature to avert and escape from the state of war. Social contract is therefore a suggestion that civil society exist between the citizens and their ruler. But in spite of this there are problems associated with the concept of social contract. These are as follows: The idea of contract postulates that individuals who enter into the contract are free to do things in their own way. For Appadorai, A, in The Substance of Politics, he reasoned that “the evidence of early law and custom shows that primitive men had no such freedom”.

In another instance, the theory is dangerous in practice in the sense that, it is favourable to anarchy. This is because, the state and institution are regarded as result of individual will, but they have no sufficient authority when they contradict this individual will. More so, more than one exponent of this social contract theory assumes men is state of nature are equal but one may argue that inequality is natural

rather than equality. Even though, the social contract could be found, it cannot necessarily bind the descendants of those who originally entered into the contract. Finally, Democracy as it was defined by political thinkers as a system of government ruled by the people is only an idea that can never be realized. According to Robert Dahl, in Contemporary Themes in Social and Political Philosophy by

Nwokereke Eze, he says that “True Democracy is only an idea that no actual regime has ever met or will ever meet to deny the term to any regime as not fully democratic in their idea sense” . It is equivalent in saying that no democratic has ever existed.

1.3  Purpose of Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the breach of social contract theory. Specifically, the research tends to

  1. Make a philosophical exposition of Locke’s Social Contract Theory.
  2. Examine the breach of social contract in Nigerian polity.
  3. To examine the positive influences which the social contract can have in the modern world particularly the Nigeria
  4. To evaluate problems that are associated with the concept and to suggest possible solutions.

1.4  Scope of Study

This study is the reflection of man’s existence (state) in the state of nature and political society as examined by John Locke. Its primary concern is John Locke’s social contract theory and its relevance to Nigerian polity.

The study will also make reference to social contract exponents to prove a relevant point in this study.

PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

1.5  Research Methodology

Philosophical research follows the method of collection of data and breaking down of data. These data are collected from library, commentaries, etc.

The method used in this work is critical and analytic, critical in the sense that, it will examine the work and analytical in the sense that, it will break down the language used and analyses both the languages.

1.6  Definition of Key Concept

For the purpose of clarity, it is important to define some key concepts so as to make this exposition understandable to non-philosophers and armature philosophers. Consequently, the following concepts are clarified:

  1. Social: By social, we mean the relationships among the people in a society.
  2. Contract: By contract, we mean the act of entering an agreement with the sole aim of protecting interest and good.
  3. State: By state, we mean “a sovereign community of people living in a territory and having common culture aspiration.”
  4. Politics: The term politics is the part of social activities which involved in getting and using power in public life to influence decisions that affect a country or society”.
  5. Political Party: By political party, we mean “a group of people who act together as a political unit, seek to obtain control of government.”
  6. Political Power: Political power is the act of acquiring power in a state through the formation of political parties and administrators.
  7. Governance: By governance, we mean the way in which a country is governed or controlled through elected representatives of the people.
  8. Polity: This is the form or process of government.
  9. Democracy: A system of government rule by the people.
  10. Theory: By theory, we mean a formal ideal that is intended to explain why something happen or exist.

PROJECT TOPIC- A BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IN NIGERIAN POLITY: JOHN LOCKE’S PERSPECTIVE

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