JOHN LOCKE’S POLITICAL POWER VIS-À-VIS ABUSE OF POWER IN NIGERIA


JOHN LOCKE’S POLITICAL POWER VIS-À-VIS ABUSE OF POWER IN NIGERIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

TITLE PAGE……………………………………….……………..……..i

CERTIFICATION…………………………………………….…..…….ii

DEDICATION……………………………………………………..……iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENT…………………………………………..……iv

TABLE OF CONTENT………………………………………………….vi

BACKGROUND OF STUDY………………………………………….viii

CHAPTER ONE

VIEWS OF PHILOSOPHERS THROUGH THE AGES

1.1     Ancient Period………………………………………………………1

1.2     Medieval Period…………………………………………………….5

1.3     Modern Period………………………………………………………6

1.4    Contemporary Period……………………………………………….10

CHAPTER TWO

MEANING OF POLITICAL POWER IN JOHN LOCKE

2.1                  Division of Political Power……………………………………….17

2.1.1     Legislative Power…………………………………………………18

2.1.2   Executive Power…………………………………………………..20

2.1.3   Federative Power …………………………………………………23

2.2     The Birth of Political Society………………………………………25

2.3     The Birth of Political Power……………………………………. …27

CHAPTER THREE

ABUSE OF POWER IN NIGERIA

3.1     Craze for Power…………………………………………..……….41

3.2     Despotic Rule in Nigeria…………………………………….…….45

3.3     Who Becomes the Leader………………………………….…..…47

CHAPTER FOUR

EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION

4.1            Evaluation and Analysis………………………………………..…49

4.2            Conclusion…………………………………………………………58

BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………..………………63

 

BACKGROUND OF STUDY

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Throughout the history man has always sought different methods of organizing himself into political states. He needed these methods for the systematic organization of himself according to what is befitting to his nature, since he is both a political and a rational animal that is capable of realizing himself fully in a well-organized political state. And so, the problem and question remains, how well organized and secured is his political society? Which method of such organization could be adopted? Thus, he has to seek ways to organize his political society and ensure his security. Such questions are the problems, which concerned political philosophies and philosophers. It can also be viewed as the major problem of an ideal state as we can see in Plato’s political philosophy. But as much as man’s nature yearns for this perfect and ideal state, where there would be equal right and justice, the idea of the ideal society has almost always eluded him, owing to the complexity of man’s nature. That this yearning has led him to evolve several methods and systems aimed at the ideal political state is very evident in man’s effort to develop numerous political groups and elites. This is also very clear as regards different political parties that are formed by the political elites in Nigerian situation, today.

In Nigeria today, there are many political parties. And each group’s intentions are to ensure a reliable and trustworthy party that is capable of presenting a strong and sincere representative who will eventually run for them during elections. However due to people’s wrong notion about politics, they could go to any length provided their dreams are profitably actualized even if it warrants stepping on others’ toes. Whichever means they employ to actualize their dreams, it is important not to overlook the fact that they have good and noble intentions of moving Nigeria forward as it pertains to development and doing away with all forms of corruption.

For over forty-five years of the nation’s independence, since October 1, 1960, Nigeria has struggled to entrench democracy and democratic values in the land. The structural imbalance in the polity, which has an over-bloated bureaucratic center, has created a desperate scramble amongst the power blocs to have access to the center, which flows abundantly with milk and honey. This deadly scramble has no doubt resulted in avoidable deaths and death games. The deaths of Harry Marshal, the River state’s political strong man and the ANPP National Vice chairman, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, a sage, a politician, former Senate President in the National Assembly and the running-mate to the presidential candidate of ANPP, General Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 general elections are eloquent testimony to these facts.

Therefore, the political terrain is as murky and muddied as ever. The absence of a normative order has occasioned the rise of individuals and new political parties whose personal interests appear to be more important than the interest of the state itself. This absence of a normative order could be seen as a modern political absurdity, if ever there is any and a negation of a political state. These individuals and parties annul national elections with impunity, abduct or murder state officials with alacrity, rig elections with audacity and raid the national treasury with tenacity. Before them the state is prostrate and the nation is powerless. The abuses of political powers and the corruption of our political elites is becoming the order of the day. And unless concrete efforts are made to demystify governance and leadership, by redressing the rate of injustices, abuses and corruption, the craze for power among our political leaders and elites will not stop; it will continue to increase. Thus, Nigerians must be made to imbibe the culture of a decent life and genuine, meaningful access to wealth through hard work, which could equally exist outside political offices and political power. Truly, the art of governance and leadership must be demystified, in order to bring our elected political leaders to serve the people who elected them to the office with sincerity instead of presenting themselves as Kings and Princes.

It is against this thought-provoking background that we are going to view Locke’s Political Philosophy, in relation to his notion of Political Power and as it concerns Nigerian leadership. John Locke views political state or society as an association of persons with common consent and agreement. The civil state or political society is instituted as a remedy for the inconveniences found in the state of nature. Thus political power is established when the community gives up their natural power and right of enforcing law, order and preservation of property to the Legislative power. The nature of Government for Locke is that of trust and embraces only such powers as were transferred at the time of the change from a state of Nature into civil or political society. Hence it is part of human civilization to aim at the perfect state.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

As a prelude to the problem, we should understand the reason behind John Locke’s quest for civil society and subsequent political power. It is due to the fact that Shaftesbury’s plan, [Locke’s master], of revolution against the British commercial imperialism, failed to yield its desired fruit. As the planned revolution failed, Shaftesbury and his men [Organized Private Army] fled to Holland with John Locke. While Locke was in exile, the then king James II of England ruled the Nation with such an iron hand that the people rose in arms to expel him and set King William and Queen Mary to the throne. The people’s resolution to expel him was successful because of their unanimous agreement, as well as for the fact that the Catholics dominated their government for a long time. Thus, the latter successful revolution could be called the Glorious Revolution of 1688. With this revolution, Locke returned from exile and wrote his work: Two Treatises of Government. In this work he expressed the view that Reason was God’s voice in every man; hence, there could be no real conflict between faith and reason.

In his treatises on Government, therefore, Locke proposed a Social contract, which gave every citizen a right of a say in the government. This is the right to leadership of the civil society. But this right is exercised maximally by the legislature. The legislature has the supreme power of maintaining law and order; to regulate the institution of property by judging between conflicting claims. It exercises, equally, the right and power of ensuring the preservation of lives, properties and estates. As such, the right of a ruler is not only to govern but also, to provide security of lives and property. However, this power is established on trust to the legislature through the consent of the community.

In short, John Locke holds the view that political power exists and that it is exercised only for the public good. The basis of government as we know is consent, and the powers which are wielded by Princes and Rulers inhere in such consent; it is not based on any absolute right found on grant, covenant or otherwise, but on conditions of a trust, and under liability to forfeiture if the conditions are not fulfilled. Following this idea, one could ask: how can this notion of government, which is proposed by John Locke, be applied to Nigerian democracy taking into account the incessant craze for power among our political elites? Can Nigerian leaders perform well if Locke’s principles are well utilized and practiced? Today’s political situation in the country makes the questions more glaring when most of our political leaders are seriously making questionable moves towards 2007 leadership race. There is no doubt that Locke has given us a clear and reasonable view on how government should be run. We are not going to take everything Locke proposed but make little critical analyses of his propositions and, apply them suitably to Nigerian Democracy.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of this thesis is specifically to study John Locke’s political philosophy with particular reference to his notion of “political power”. In order to do justice to this study, it is necessary to establish a kind of background that will make the concept of political power in Locke, understandingly, appreciable. As such, the work will examine the nature of political society before examining political power because it is only when we understand Locke’s notion about political society that we will be able to comprehend his notion of political power. The above comprehension will assist in relating it to Nigerian democracy as it pertains to Leadership problems and the nature of political power. Ability to understand these will enable us to see loopholes in Nigerian Leadership and also enable us to give reasonable thought to how best the society should be governed

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

Of course, the study of John Locke’s political power has much relevance to the Nigerian politics. The study will address many issues stemming from political, social and the likes. Equally, the study is necessary because it presents a well-established political society whereby important dimensions of political life are discussed and normalized. The nature of political terrain in the country today will inspire us to appreciate Locke’s theory well. There is no doubt about it.

SCOPE OF STUDY

Following the above-stated nagging issues, we should be limiting our study, specifically, to the notion of political power. A look at the concept of political society will enable us to understand it properly. As much as possible, the work will concentrate, to a large extent, on the study of the analysis of political power and its dimensions, not excluding its merits and demerits.

METHOD OF STUDY

The method is simply expository with critical analysis of the concepts, as we earlier on pointed out. We shall equally view critically the nature of Nigerian Leadership and as much as possible, justify some justifiable positions. The thesis is divided into four chapters with bibliography. The first chapter deals with the literature review starting from the ancient to the contemporary philosophers. The second chapter deals with the political philosophy of John Locke, more especially, as it concerns our study. In chapter three, we shall establish its relevance to Nigerian democracy and leadership. Effort will be made to see the nature of leadership in Nigeria and how politicians or leaders come to power. And lastly, we shall conclude with chapter four, taking into account the critical analysis of the whole project.

 

 

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