Header Ads

Breaking News
recent

SOCIAL CONTRACT




The commanding principle in the relations between the governed and government in Nigeria and many African countries is the crass reluctance by government to fulfill promises made to the people. The act is so ingrained that little efforts by governments to meet the needs of the people is celebrated and seen as favours from the ruling elites. This serves to consolidate the master posturing of the ruling class and expand the seeming slave mentality of the followership class. If this happened in a totalitarian system anchored on the doctrine of brutal force as a tool to invent the legitimacy of the ruling class, it would be understood for what it is, that is, power by force. Even this despotic notion has been challenged in the past to extol the power of the followership class, where sovereignty on a good day resides.
 In this regard, it is in the interest of the people to enforce any contract between them and government, meaning that government knowing the power of the people is afraid to ignite their anger. It is such fears that cause governments to perform. 

Beside the issue of good conscience, man according to Thomas Hobbes is essentially selfish. He is moved to action not by his intellect or reason, but by his appetites, desires and passions. To a very large extent, the African man in leadership has proved Hobbes right. He focuses on self preservation. But, Europe and some other parts of the world have been able to find a balance in checking the appetites, dislikes and passions of those who govern. Nigeria is still far from it. 

By the reason of a social contract, which draws the line on the basic standard of governance, government is meant to serve the people. In the absence of this service, the people serve government. The governed that serves government is at the mercy of government. In the case of Nigeria, the result is state officials seeing state resources as treasures to be pilfered and ransacked for their own gain. The chain reaction is failing health and education sectors, weak infrastructure, pervasive poverty, excess crime and frustration.
Such conditions mentally debase the people, leaving them exposed to the machination of those that lead. The people become beggars at the table of leaders, who toss them around and dictate the destiny of the state.
This is the level; I mean the benign level of our government system. Under such a system, democracy cannot be said to be the government of the people. It becomes government ratified by the dominating centres of power at anytime.

We can pretend at the moment to call it democracy, while waiting for it to evolve.


We also tend to conclude that election is the sole determinant of democracy. It is far more than that. The consolidation of democracy starts when the governed is able to call on government to act in the general good.
This tendency is a fall out of a contract entered into between those aspiring for leadership and those ready to give the order for certain characters to champion their political and economic destinies. Ones a winner emerges, the social contract immediately enters into force, meaning promises made, must be kept. If situation arises that genuinely impede on the capacity of the leader to keep to the terms of the deal, he or she must seek the understanding of the people in a dialogue of hope. The notion here is that the people or community as the case may be is supreme. The consent of the people becomes the supreme norm in the distribution of the commonwealth. Government is therefore in the nature of a trust and when a government abuses this trust the people reserve the power to remove it. This is the social contract.
The words of Manegold are instructive here:
“No man can make himself emperor or king, a people sets a man over them to the end that he may rule justly, giving to everyman his own, aiding good men and coercing bad; in short that he may give justice to everyman”

“If then he violates the agreement according to which he was chosen, disturbing and confounding the very things which he was meant to put in order, reason dictates that he absolves the people from their obedience, especially when he has himself broken faith which bound him and the people together”.

The foundation of democratic governance in Europe and America was laid on the core principle of this law. If we want to practice true democracy, our foundation should be laid on the ground of this law of contract. To enforce the law, the people pulled down governments in different revolutions in Europe and America, thus drawing the line between governance and self preservation.

Our chequered history as a conquered people, stemming from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the resulting colonialism made us psychologically benighted and mentally befogged resulting in our annoying docility. Our revolutionary instinct or capacity for development was stampeded and replaced with the selfishness of ethnicity and religion making us prisoners in ourselves. This is just one reason we are where we are. But we can rise above it. Since we are yet to rise above it, we are condemned to a system where leadership emanates from community conspiracy and defended by community conspiracy even when the defending masses are dying of hunger occasioned by the misrule of the government they defend. This is the politics that has restricted the enforcement of the social contract. This is the reason the “emperorness” in our leaders, becloud their sense of good governance.

However, every people deserve the kind of government they get. If the Nigerian people want good governance they will get it. If they want bad governance they will get it. For good governance, the generality of the people should mobilize themselves into conscious units that will become centres of power. These centres of power will cause the expansion of the power configuration thus limiting the negative influence of present men of power. In this situation, I have not considered violent uprising. I am looking at a conscious mass of people mobilizing to redirect the ship of the state. 
Take note; the political class is not as tough as you think. The people are far stronger.

Meanwhile, the absence of goodness on the part of the people will live the political class frolicking in their olympian heights. It then becomes a matter of prayer for a good man to emerge to dismantle the well entrenched political class. This good man cannot emerge from outside the well entrenched leadership class. Outside revolution in some cases, the messiah will be produced by the usurping leadership class. Any revolutionary attempt by the suspected messiah to dismantle the well entrenched selfish class that produced him will lead to political upheaval. The options are:
He will have to convert them to good men. This will take time.
He will have to jail them, this also will take time. Don’t forget they are well entrenched in the judiciary too.
He will have to negotiate with them. This again will take time because their character is to do badly. Since the people have handed their role to a “good man”, they will have to be patient as he negotiates his survival with the centres of power that threw him up. If the people want speedy result, they should take back their role and make government fear them.


No comments:

Powered by Blogger.