International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Social Contract Theory: A Model for Reconstructing a True Nigerian Nation-State
Alubabari Desmond Nbete

The ideal purpose of the state has been variously conceived in political theory, leading to competing theories of state, one of which is the Social Contract Theory. With its earliest systematic postulation in the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, this theory gained much currency in the modern era. Although it was briefly eclipsed towards the turn of that era after Kant, it has been revived in contemporary political discourse, such as it is posited by John Rawls. The Social Contract Theory is both a theory of morality as well as a theory of the state. This study focuses on the latter dimension of the theory, in which 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. Perhaps most importantly, it offers a rational framework for reconciling the imperatives of governmental authority with the rights of the governed. It follows from this theory that the Constitution of the state must originate from the people or at least, according to some versions of it, be a hypothetical expression of their rational will. From that premise, this work suggests that the Nigerian state should be governed on the basis of commonly shared principles of justice. It goes further to argue that the Social Contract Theory of the state is an ideal model for reconstructing Nigeria into a truly united nation-state.

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