The root cause of the problem of Africa we know is to be sought within the context. of the inability of the contemporary African to manage the ambivalence of his situation well.[1]


Man has been described variously as a rational, social, and free being. The contingency characterizes him as a being towards an end. Consequently, he is endowed with the capacity for improving his natural habitat. But the exercises of Man's essential traits and the actualization of his end are possible only in the society. Martin Heidegger clarified this fact when He said "Man is a Being-With-OthersÔÇŽ"[2] This coming together of persons towards the cornmon goal necessitates the formulation of rules to regulate the pursuance of this objective, which basically is development of the individual and the society as well.

Consequently, the natural law precepts, which are grounded on man's essential nature, as a rational being, constitute the foundation of all the human laws in the society. By natural law precepts, we mean the laws which are intended by nature to regulate the behaviour of human beings, and enabling them to do Good and refrain from Evil. Thomas Aquinas held that the first precept of law is that "good is to be done and promoted and evil avoided. All other precepts of law are based on this fact."[3] These laws are transcendental and thus, form the basis of unity and authentic development in any human society.

It is against this backdrop that this work aims at examining the current trends of events in the Nigeria Society and how these precepts have shaped its conducts and socio-political life. It shall attempt to bring out the advantages of the communal culture, while at the same time; it shall proffer some possible solutions to the predicaments bedeviling this great nation.


Economically and politically, Nigeria appears to be a stagnant country, the country that never develops, and where the universal human laws and values do not apply. Contemporary Nigeria is a place where people can plunder with impunity and ease. Our dear country has become the pawn of politicians, international businessmen, adventurers and power brokers as they willfully to achieve selfish objectives at the detriment of Nigerians themselves. This so clled giant of Africa has come to be identified with Violence, Malaria, Massacre, Famine, Poverty, Debt burden, Failure, Retrogression, Ethnic clashes, Religious crisis, Identity crises, Greed, Underdevelopment and many other vices.

A closer look at Nigeria would convince one that the basic precepts of natural law are lacking in our socio-political conducts. A curious mind will surely ask "is it that we have not come to the level of understanding these precepts as good and necessary ingredients for the survival and growth of our society"?

From the 11th of April, just immediately the presidential election that declared the incumbent president Dr Goodluck Ebere Azikiwe Jonathan, as winner of the poll was announced. The Northern part was thrown into confusion. It started with some northern Muslim youth protesting and showing their grievances against the outcome of the presidential result. These they showed through burning of some members of other parties' especially chieftains residential homes. The People Democratic Party members were majorly affected. Like a wild fire it metamorphosed into religious crisis; of which Christians places of worship were burnt and their properties destroyed. Many Nigerians precisely Christian in the northern part of the country largely dominated by Muslims lost their lives and property.

At this one begins to wonder what is really happening, if some individuals are more Nigerians than the others. If the governance of The Nigeria nation is meant for a particular region or zone, religion, that some people will have to act as untamed animals simply because their preferred candidate lost an election. Little wonder some politicians see election in Nigeria as do or die affair, as such our politicians can go at any length to achieve their aim.

Why would they (politicians) not do that, when achieving a political office in Nigeria is seen as an opportunity to amass wealth. Embezzlement of the nation's treasury has become a game in the Federal and State Houses of Assembly. The case is not different in the ministries. No one thinks of serving the common good or writing his name in gold through his good works, but almost everyone is engaged in a zealous search for opportunities of self-aggrandizement. Individual interest is set first before national interest. Think of the billions of our Naira in foreign banks owned by our politicians, stolen from the treasury.

Political instability is an intractable problem associated with underdeveloped nations. Bad leadership exasperates this problem. It is a truism that most of our leaders are visionless, corrupt and bereft of progressive ideas and leadership qualities. Many usurp power through questionable means, and upon ascension of office, their self-proclaimed lofty objectives are usually forgotten. It is this attitude that prompted Achebe to say "they all manage to turn themselves into little tyrants over their own people."[4] Sit- Tight Syndrome among our leaders is fast becoming institutional. Many have refused to relinquish power, not because the people want them to continue, but because they simply want to cling to power to the detriment of their people, thus they engage in all forms of election malpractice.

Added to this problem is the arbitrary increase in the allowances of the Senators and the National Assembly members, without a commensurate increase in civil servants' salaries. Imagine the environmental hazards and depredation in the Niger Delta area without an appropriate compensation to the people and development of the place. The basic right of the ordinary Nigerian child to education is denied him/her, and the free education policy is implemented only on Television and Radio. Basic amenities like light, water, road, housing is nothing to write about in this country despite the abundant human and natural resources. "Too rich to be poor" is the phrase that can describe this pathetic situation.


Hegel holds that history progresses dialectically in a tripod fashion; this Thesis represents an existing state of affairs, Antithesis results where the thesis is challenged by a new idea resulting in a form of conflict. Synthesis is the result of the conflict between the Thesis and Antithesis. The dialectical process always produces something better than the previous state of affairs and as such, it is a necessary process; a process of the absolute spirit in the course of its self-development.

This philosophy is easily prone to determinism, where human freedom and individual active role are neglected. Nevertheless, a therapeutic theoretical diagnosis of the Africa conundrum can never be actualized unless active individual and collective efforts are invested into this project. Any adequate solution to this predicament must be comprehensive and as practicable as possible. It must be a systematic inquiry into the structure of human nature in its full depth, aimed at determining the reasons for the subject-object dichotomy in a way that makes the ego seek personal autonomy outside of the foundation of its unity.

I would rather like to offer an approach to this predicament which I called "Internal De-Encasing Approach."[5] This framework consists in good management of available resources, elections and appointment of technocrats into political and managerial posts, translation into action of natural law precepts like Morality, Justice, Education of children, Rationality, Violence-free society, Brotherhood, Freedom, Honesty, Equity, Accountability etc. Writing specifically on the problem of corruption in Africa, Nyarwth specifies 'Moral Ignorance' as the main cause of underdevelopment. He specified moral ignorance as the "lack of knowledge as to what objectively constitutes moral right or wrong."[6] For Ekennia, he locates the cause of this chaotic situation in the inability of the African to respond to what he termed 'Practical Rationality'. The essence of this rationality subsists in the ability to collective bargaining sustained and guided by "norms and principles commonly agreed upon."[7] This is you can agree with me is part of our problem in this country.

Another direct and practicable framework is through proper education. The ultimate goal of any authentic acquisition of knowledge subsists therefore in changing ideas such that through the possession of new and better ideas, human beings can affect positive changes in the society through their actions. Thus, education is a weapon of liberation, and therefore the key to authentic development. Francis Bacon underscored this view when he said "knowledge is power."[8]

Here, education is wider than the ability to decode printed materials and cognitive symbols. Nevertheless, care should be applied to avoid extreme westernization and Europhilia malady. The educational curriculum should reflect the historical and existential factors peculiar to Africa. It is pathetic to state that our intellectual resources are not used and as such are left to freeze. A good number of our geniuses are being used and exploited in other continents. We should know that education is indeed the power of miracle that turns the tumult of chaos into a dance of beauty. It kills the slight of disease, fear, ignorance, superstition and empowers the individual.


Nigeria has passed through humiliating and terrible experiences: from slavery to colonization and then neo-colonization. Knowing full well that there is no future for a people who deny their past, I cannot disregard the fact that these moments of our history raped and exploited our human and natural resources and worst still plunged us into crises. This does not mean that we should remain perpetually in this dungeon until history reaches its omega point. Rather, we should work for a better future.

I wish to say that our present miseries have not been imposed on us from outside. To a large extent, we are the architects of our problems. I agree with Madu's assertion that "the root cause of our problem lies on the human nature to disagree, and thus acts in a manner antithetical to the natural law precepts."[9] Martin Luther King was propelled by his belief in the equality of all human beings that he fought for the liberation of Blacks in America; Ghandi anchored his philosophy on the idea of non-violence, and fought for the independence of India. Adams Oshiomole believed in Human Rights in his fight for better working conditions for civil servants, so also does Dora Akunyili believe in the sacredness of human life in her fight to eradicate fake drugs.

Contemporary Africans must learn to come to terms with the ambivalence of their existential challenges, and should see them as necessary challenges that must be surmounted before any reasonable foundation for development can be achieved. This is the route to Nigerian renaissance

[1] Innocent, A. The Method and Principles of Complementary Reflection. (Aba: Cheedal Global Print Ltd, 2004), 232.

[2] Francis Njoku, Philosophy in Politics, Law and Democracy, (Owerri: Clarentian Communication, 2002), 36.

[3] Thomas Aquinas, Summer Theologica 1-11, q. 90. a.1.

[4] Innocent, A. The Method and Principles of Complementary Reflection. (Aba: Cheedal Global Print Ltd, 2004), 219.

[5] Innocent, A. The Method and Principles of Complementary Reflection. (Aba: Cheedal Global Print Ltd, 2004), 222.

[6] Ibid., 223.

[7] Ibid., 229.

[8] Ibid., 229-10

[9] Ibid., 223.