THE HOBBESIAN STATE OF NATURE AND THE NIGERIAN SITUATION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

ABSTRACT
Looking at the Nigerian state one would see that it harbours a variety of elements present the Hobbesian state of nature where there is perpetual fear and strife, no laws, no authority, no sense of justice or injustice and no sense of right or wrong. In the Hobbesian state of nature force and fraud flourished with a general disposition to war of every man against every man. In this state of nature self-interest was the rule of action and people held on to whatever they could grab until a stronger man came and snatched it from them. Life here was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Similar to the Hobbesian state of nature, the Nigeria state is one where self interest and the spirit of corruption is the dominant rule - an evident fact in the everyday living of Nigerians among political and public office holders and even the commoner on the street. Lawlessness, fraud, armed robbery, hired assassinations, political, religious and ethnic violence, kidnaps, general insecurity of lives and properties causing perpetual fear and strife and other stated issues in the Hobbesian state of nature are replicated in the Nigerian state. They hold both individual and society to ransom owing to their devastating effects and make progress and development a mirage. We are still in a state of nature. Our task in this essay is a comparative analysis of the Hobbesian state of nature vis-à-vis the Nigerian society. Our philosophical lens will capture how these problems are replicated in the Nigerian society. We shall attempt a critique and a panacea of issues here stated followed by the conclusion.


CHAPTER ONE 
1.0       GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1       BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The facts are clear, loud, distinct, lucid and vivid. They are visible even to the blind, audible even to the deaf and known to everyone and thing around us that the Nigerian state several years after independence still harbours a varied number of elements that existed prior to the setting up of a civil society as embodied in the Hobbesian state of nature.

Antecedent to setting up an organized state Hobbes avers that men lived in a society without laws, authority and morality, no sense of right or wrong, justice or injustice. In it self-interest was the order of the day; this resulted in struggles and conflict making war prevalent among men who lived in perpetual danger and fear of death. According to Hobbes “there was no permanent ownership of anything by anybody; whatever anybody could grab was his own for as long as he was able to retain it. A stronger man could come along and snatch it from him and it would become his until another stronger man also snatches it from him”.1 This society had no progress, no development, no agriculture and no industry. In it according to Hobbes, “the life of man was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.


Likened to the Nigerian situation, it calls to question the validity or strength of our laws where we have a case of “complete erosion of our value system(s) such that, corruption and other social vices have acquired the status of virtues and mediocrity has become a norm and legal tender”2, where looters of public treasury with impunity walk freely and are celebrated while a commoner with a far lesser degree of crime languishes in detention – justice or injustice? A lot of other criminal acts are being perpetrated daily and offenders with the backing of godfathers get off the hooks without punishments. These expose the corruption and weakness of our legal system and display a great degree of the immorality in our society. Election rigging, exam malpractices, economic and financial crimes, prostitution out of destitution and frustration, political thuggery, hired assassinations and other societal vices confirm and depict the absence of morality in our society.

Besides these, the Nigerian state continues to struggle with ethno-religious, politico-economic and socio-cultural realities of battles, pains and tears that are heart breaking. These are indications of Hobbes’ state of war and insecurity which existed among men in the state of nature and accounts for the collapsing social-economic structural and apparent relative stagnation we face as a nation. All these hinder societal progress, development and creation of more industries because potential foreign investors see the Nigerian state as unsafe. What is more? How else do we say that ours is an identical twin of the Hobbesian state of nature? In terms that lack any form of ambiguity, I hold that that exactly is what we have.

The issues mentioned above are very striking and pose a lot of questions, thus making the need to answer the questions raised and address issues therein an imperative. This is what this essay has set out to tackle.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is an obvious fact that Nigeria state is one that embodies a litany of problems which cover the areas of economy, social, political, ethical, religious and otherwise. A critical look at each of these problems would reveal that threads of similarities run across all of them, namely selfishness or self-interest and corruption. The element of self interest as it was in the Hobbesian state of nature, led to strife and conflict which brought about a state of war of every one against everyone. Following an ambivalence of interest, there is bound to be conflict which leads to war and by extension insecurity.

Nigeria presently is not free from these facts and as such one can say that these issues and others to be exposed in this work are similar to what obtained in the Hobbesian state of nature. Is this where we are supposed to be now as a country? How do we have these issues eradicated to have a better Nigeria? Don’t we need a revolution to move ahead? Which way Nigeria? How do we move forward from where we are? The fact that these questions need answers and the need to redress the situation in the Nigerian state which is still seen to be in the state of nature is what has triggered off this essay.

1.3       PURPOSE OF STUDY
In the light of the problems enumerated above, this essay aims at taking a critical look at the practical situations in the Nigerian state and how they replicate discouraging elements of the Hobbesian state of nature with a view to advancing possible solutions to combat them.

1.4       SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This work is not just only a comparative analysis of a philosophical postulation and a reality of life; it is a critical philosophical look at the Nigerian state and the status quo. It is going to expose the situation Nigeria has faced over the years and still faces.

The research will be significant because it is going to expose us to the need to eradicate of these issues which are overlooked in our every day living and have come to be accepted as ways of life. It is going to show the risks and dangers these issues hold for posterity and finally, it is going to proffer possible solutions on the way forward.

1.5       SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope of this work lies in its limitedness to the Hobbesian socio-political philosophy and how it relates to the Nigerian situation.

This work is epistemological, historical, anthropological and ethical. It is epistemological as it would expose the notion of the Hobbesian state of nature and lay bare the situation of the Nigerian state following a comprehensive and logical approach. On the historical lane, it will survey the evolution of a civil society and also touch areas in the Nigerian society that lie in the past. Anthropologically, it studies man in society and from an ethical perspective looks at the morality, immorality or even the amoral aspects of issues here discussed.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 123 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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