Relevance of Thomas Hobbes’ Social Contract Theory to Nigeria’s Democracy
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Social Contract
State of Nature
Thomas Hobbes


A critical glance at the contemporary Nigerian society shows a very gloomy picture of our supposed democracy in contrast to what is obtainable in most developed and even developing countries of the world. The paper interrogates the factors responsible for the bane of Nigerian democracy; it searches the prevalent challenges as well as the panacea. The Social Contract Theory is one of the theories of origin the state. It attempts to provide philosophical basis for the existence of the state and offers justifications for political obligation. It regards the state as the product of a pact or covenant. Thomas Hobbes, one of the foremost social contract theorists pointed out that humans' pre-societal existence did not satisfy their ardent dreams, their fervent aspirations and their ultimate end, hence necessitated the emergence of the state and governance. Human beings, in the quest to attain fulfillment, got into society to better their lots against the backdrop of order-less and lawless existence. In line with the above aspiration, human society was contracted to achieving the required expectations. This paper, therefore sees the debasement, dehumanization, injustice, bickering and politics of might is right which characterized the Nigerian state as a replica of the Hobbesian state of nature and consequently proposed ways to correct them. Using the analytic and expository methods, the paper further argues that the increasing terrorist activities, incessant clamour for secession, questioning of Nigeria's legitimacy and other security challenges facing Nigeria are the consequences of the caricature democracy (subversion of the will of the people) practiced in Nigeria. This paper concludes that if the lessons from the Hobbesian social contract be embedded in Nigerian democracy, this will lead to a responsive governance and consequently lead to an all-round development of the nation.