Posted by News Express | 11 March 2021 | 825 times
States like humans are entities.
Both are capable of committing suicide, simply by shutting off their own life supply.
In the case of humans that could simply be cutting off oxygen and life is gone. For a state, it could be as simple as stabbing at the heart of the social contract with citizens to protect lives and property.
As an aside, people often take the coercive power of the state as a given; sometimes even as a God-given. But it is not.
What we have as state power is really the sum of the powers of all citizens of that state, voluntarily surrendered. That way the state garners enough might to protect all citizens and their property against internal and external intruders.
This is instead of having each individual take care of his own life and property himself, which may result in what a philosopher has called “the war of everyone against everyone”. In such a situation, might becomes right, while life becomes “nasty, brutish and short”
Thus individuals in society are persuaded to surrender their powers in the belief that the state would do a better job of protecting them because of its presumed impartiality and its monopoly of aggregated coercive force.
This is the basis for the emergence and sustenance of states.
Three key necessary conditions therefore for the erection and continuous existence of a state are: willingness of the citizens as individuals to submit to the state; the perception of the state as impartial; and the proof that the contract with the state works as in the actual protection of lives and property of citizens.
Obviously the last two – impartiality and actual protection of citizens – are enablers for the willingness of individuals to surrender and keep surrendering their powers to the state.
Where the behaviour of state induces perception of partiality in citizens and more importantly does not provide actual assurance of protection of the lives and property of citizens, the basis for surrendering of individual powers to the state begins to dissolve.
It is in the dereliction of this all-important assignment that the state can be seen as plotting its own suicide.
Is this what the Nigerian state is doing now? Are the citizens enjoying the protection of the Nigerian state today, or is there palpable dereliction as we see in ubiquitous insecurity in the country – the incessant spate of terrorism, kidnapping and mass killing by hordes of criminals, some disguised as herdsmen, swarming like locusts all over the country?
Two, is the state perceived to be impartial in intervening in the security crises, or is it perceived to be siding with terrorists that are daily decimating citizens, sacking them from their lands?
Lastly, does the state have any convincing record of its ability to defend the citizens given its recent pedigree?
If the answer to these three questions is NO, it would then appear that the conditions for the dissolution of the social contract of citizens with the state are essentially being met.
The shocking conclusion that this may be leading to is that the state is killing itself by assiduously working through obvious acts of commission and omission to cut off its own life supply, and thus force citizens to take back their individual powers to protect themselves.
So, should we be drafting an obituary for the Nigerian state? Have current state managers seriously considered the consequences of this abominable act of state suicide?
I shudder to think it!
The current managers of the Nigerian state are admitting by their actions or inactions anarchy into the country. They could be seen to be deliberately capsizing the ship of state to then leave citizens to drown in turbulence.
The potential resultant cataclysm is truly too gruesome to contemplate.
They must pull back the country from the brink or be marked out as the killers and undertakers of the Nigerian state who pushed it off the cliff.
•Kudo Eresia-Eke, a veteran journalist and prolific author, was at various times Commissioner for Information in Rivers State and General Manager at the Nigerian LNG.
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