Man, a Wolf to Man: A Survey of Thomas Hobbes’ Political Principles In Relation To Nigerian Situation

Bachelors Degree

Man, a wolf to man, in Thomas Hobbes’ conception, is an attack of man on his fellow man in pursuit of his selfish desires. In Nigeria, one who gains power is like one who survives in Hobbes’ state of nature.


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The nature of man is such that rationality forms his essence and distinguishes him from other animals. Thomas Hobbes’ state of nature, however, paints a picture of the denial of man’s rationality. There is a devaluation of the state of man and this awakened the interest of certain thinkers, Hobbes inclusive, and they set out to restructure and establish this lost dignity of human person.

However, philosophers have proposed and adopted numerous political and philosophical theories for the respect of human dignity and for the well being of man in his natural state. Philosophers like Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, and Jean Jacque Rousseau concentrated on man in his state of nature. Thomas Hobbes’ political theory of ‘Homo homini lupus’ (man, a wolf to man) is what this essay concentrates and explores in relation to Nigeria political situation.

In Nigeria, so many events and attitudes of our leaders have pictured neglects and insults on the intelligence of the human person in the society. At a close observation of our country Nigeria, a person notices traces of moral decadence on the varied sectors of the government. That a land blessed with both natural and human resources with rich cultural heritage has lost this dignity and has been stripped naked by our so called leaders. The most unfortunate situation is the collapse of academics in Nigeria where it is noticed that schools are shut for months, and no one cares about the lasting consequences of this on the developing young people and the future society. The condition has attracted remarks both from within and outside the country. Nigeria has been referred to as a “failed state” or an “abysmally corrupt entity”. The story about Nigeria has always been that of woes.

All these problems are what made Chinua Achebe to cry out:

 The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership

Therefore, Nigerians are what they are today simply because our leaders are not what they should be. Looking at the principles of Thomas Hobbes about the imaginative pristine condition of man, with all its hazards, struggle for all things, greed, and other traits, Nigeria could be equated with Hobbes’ state of nature.

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Table of Contents

Chapter ONE


1.1     Statement of the Problem

1.2     Background of the Problem

1.3     Views of Other Philosophers on the Problem

1.4     The Aim of the Essay

1.5     Summary of the Chapters



2.1     The Hobbes’ Notion of the State of Nature

2.3     Laws of Nature

2.2     Social Contract


3.1     Pre-Independence Politics

3.1.1 The Indirect Rule

3.1.2 Nigeria Nationalism

3.2     Post-Independence Politics

3.2.1  First Republic

3.2.2 Second Republic

3.2.3 Third Republic

3.2.4 Fourth Republic




4.1     The Nigerian Society: A Replica of State of Nature?

4.1.1 Economic and Religious Crises in Nigeria

4.1.2 Political Instability

4.1.3 Moral Decadence and Tribalism

4.1.4 Violation of Human Rights and Disregard for Human Dignity

4.2     Salvaging the future: Nigeria vis-à-vis Hobbes’ Society

4.2.1 Immediate Practical Solutions

4.2.2 Invigoration of Law Enforcement agents and Discipline

4.2.3 Decentralization of Political Power

4.2.4  Rule of Law



5.1     Evaluation

5.2     Conclusion



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