THE APPLICATION OF JOHN LOCKE SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY TO THE PRACTICE OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA FROM 1999 TO 2021
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.