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1.1   Background to the Study

In order to live in an ideal society man has often devised means, theories that will guide society. Every theory in history was due to the situation at a given period of time. From ancient to modern period questions have been raised by philosophers as to what is the ideal society for human beings? What prompted the formation of a civil society and a civil rule for government to guide society? A society without laws or a government is like that of Hobhesian state of nature or a society where might is right where everybody will be judge of himself or deeds. In order to avoid this chaos in the society was what prompted to the formation of a civil society which led to the establishment of a civil` rule or government.

It was in this vain that also prompted Locke to write on society. Locke lived in a period of great social unrest; he devised his theory as to the proper functioning of government in the society. The glorious Revolution of 1685 in England which centered around the relevance of absolute monarchy and the need to limit the power of the monarchy against the growing assertiveness of the of the parliament was what brought about Locke’s Two Treaties of Government, it was a remedy of the Glorious Revolution which espoused liberalism constitutionalism appealing to reason. Locke’s theory which combined constitutionalism, stability, freedom, consent properly and tolerance has played a crucial role in an orderly development of Western democracies.

Locke laid emphasis on civil rule or government he believed in the absolute freedom of individual in a society, and also in government where the people rule, government for him government should be at the service of the peoples and not otherwise.
Civil rule is a system where the people rule or where government is accountable to the people Locke’s civil rules is like our modern representative democracy where the voice of the people are heard and represented. The formation of civil society which brought about a civil government was mainly used by the contractions philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and J.J Rousseau.

Thomas Hobbes was the first contraction philosopher that came up or used the term formation of a civil society and government from the state of nature. He viewed the state of nature as a “gloomy, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (Poplin and stroll 78). Therefore a civil society is thus a comprise which people enter into in order to achieve peace; they must give up the attempt to satisfy their desire by forfeiting their personal authorities. His civil society was that of a totalitarian government which was what Locke kicked against.

John Locke’s civil government as espoused in his Two Treatise of Government contained the ingredient of democratic principle. In our modern society democracy is viewed as the hallmark of societal civilization. According to Barthold Georg “man’s capacity of justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary”.

In Nigeria the experience with democracy has been epileptic since she got her independence from the British administration, 1999 Nigeria made the third attempt to grasp with democratic ethos. The democracy has not been perceived in Nigeria, the major reason for this violence, corruption, political association and very recently godfatherism, has gone a long way to threaten the sustenance on democracy in Nigeria. Former military ruler, Major general Muhammadu Buhari, branded the current mode of democracy in Nigeria as nonsense. For him “the country cannot be said to be practicing true democracy when elections are neither free nor fair, votes are wantonly stolen and people are killed with impurity” (Omokhunu).

Nevertheless, Locke’s civil rule has a vital role to play in sustaining democracy in Nigeria. This research will therefore rigorously and systematically look at Locke’s civil rule to be of immense help visa-vis Nigeria’s democracy by consolidating democracy in Nigeria and over coming its weaknesses.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Locke lived in the period of great social unrest, it was due to this fact he developed the theory as to ensure the proper functioning of government. In the state of natures as developed by Locke, was one of liberty and equality but it was due to this reason that the theory of civil society came about, individual persons or groups entering into contract through consent, the aim of the contract was for self preservation, property and applying punishment to those who transgress the law. It was his ideas on the civil rule or government that formed the tenets of democracy.

In Nigeria there has been repeated attempt to consolidate democratic government have faltered. This has been a big barrier to Nigeria’s development. The issue at hand is how can we practice true democracy as proposed by Locke in his two treatise of government.

1.2    Objective of the Study

The aims and objectives of this work is an appraisal of John Locke’s civil rule as a possible antidote for Nigeria’s democracy it Locke’s concept of civil rule functions wells, it can champion government reforms, confront corruption, advocate respect for human right, and promote and defend democratic processes and institutions in Nigeria.

1.3    Scope and Limitations of the Study

My area of research will be on John Locke’s civil rule as an antidote for Nigerians democracy. My major limitation is Lack of literature on the topic.

1.4    Methodology of the Study

The method employed in this research is expository and analytical, and Locke’s two treatise of government as a major secondary sources, textbooks, Journals interment relating to relevant aspect of the problem. To this end this will expose the issue at hand.

1.5    Significance of the Study

This research work will serve as a tool for schools for the enhancement of democratic ethos in Nigeria, it will also contribute to the enhancement to this field of enquiries. It is hoped that it will provoke further researches in the nearest future.


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