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1.1 General Introduction

Machiavelli achieved worldwide acclaim for the way he conceived of and understood politics. Today, the term “Machiavellism” refers to a political environment characterised by dictatorship, authoritarianism, deception, and brutality. This is due to Machiavelli’s approach and rules for maintaining state stability.

Machiavelli develops a viewpoint that reconciles politics with warfare, and justifies the use of force, cruelties, deception, and appearance manipulation in the service of government. He was heavily influenced by the political turmoil in Florence at the time.

Furthermore, Machiavelli portrayed virtue as vice and vice versa. The politician or ruler, in his opinion, should not be a moral agent. Insofar as he preserves power, he should be less concerned with the morality of his acts.

The Machiavellian principle, by definition, considers the ultimate result of acts rather than the means employed. This creates a survival of the fittest situation. This condition undermines the notion of democracy and stifles its evolution.

Democracy, as we know it, is hailed for providing a safe haven for freedom, equality, justice, and fairness. All vestiges of Machiavellism must be avoided for any democratic organisation to thrive. This is my primary concern in this project.

I’ll investigate how the Machiavellian concept is applied in Nigerian politics. Has it made a difference, or is it causing chaos? This is the question we will address in this discussion.

1.2 Objectives Of The Study

The purpose of this book is to critically examine Machiavelli’s principles. This will consist of declaring and describing the entire content of his principles, as well as highlighting their implications.

In addition, I will ‘x-ray’ the democratic principle, examining its origins and the prerequisites for its implementation.

This verification will take place within the context of the Nigerian situation. However, the only challenge here is to apply Machiavelli’s principle to Nigeria’s democratic environment. We will examine and question about the significance of Machiavellism to democracy in Nigeria.

As well as the numerous forms in which Machiavellism has permeated the atmosphere of politics in Nigeria and other aspects of life from our independence days to the present.

Furthermore, rejecting the existence of this Machiavellian principle is unrealistic and insincere to the entire project. Many political intellectuals and philosophers have criticised this theory for its dictatorial and immoral nature. Some objected to its immorality.

In their critique of Machiavellism, Marx and Engel stated that “the true exponents of Machiavellian policy are those who attempt to paralyse democratic energies during periods of revolutionary charge”

[1]. The hazards of this principle constitute a threat to the moral underpinning of political life in general, and particularly in Nigeria.

It has had an impact on Nigeria and her leaders, as well as reorganised the leadership system. In his instruction to the prince, Machiavelli stated that the ruler is simply concerned in maintaining power and obtaining whatever he desires, regardless of the means employed, and thus the end justifies the means.

1.3 Statement Of The Problem

Man is a political, social, and religious being by nature. These three qualities of man play a critical role in shaping man into what he should be. These qualities are complementary in the sense that none of them trumps the other in man’s diverse undertakings.

Religion protects human behaviour and so fosters morality. This morality is manifested in the form of virtues. Virtue directs our behaviours, including our social and political lives. Many political theorists and philosophers have been concerned with moral issues.

Some consider morality to be a must for survival. In his definition of morality, Ekwutosi Cosmas asserts that it is “the rightness and wrongness of human action”.

[2]. The issue of morality is central to Machiavelli’s political thought. Politics and morality have long been linked by philosophers since antiquity. They found politics in moral principles. Machiavelli’s case was one of stark contrast. “He writes to remove morality if they want to be successful politicians or rulers,” says Joseph Omoregbe.

There is no room or regard for morals. Machiavelli warned his readers from the start that “simple efforts to master and apply the tenets of traditional rules will not produce an effective ruler.” Politics must follow its own set of rules”

[3].A look at the perspectives of other philosophers will reveal the importance they place on morality in political life. Human activities, according to Socrates, are related with morality. Thus, he believes, “knowing the good is doing the good.”

[4]”Knowledge is a virtue.” He associated knowledge with virtue and believed that knowing a virtue is the same as having it. According to Plato’s moral philosophy, “virtue means knowledge, true knowledge of the true consequences of all acts”

[5]. Plato, like Socrates, believes that the purpose of human life is happiness and that the only way to it is through a virtuous life.

Furthermore, Aristotle’s moral theory is based on his idea that people, like everything else in nature, have a particular ‘end’ to achieve.

He begins his Nicomachean Ethics with the statement, “Every art, every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good.”

If this is the case, the challenge for ethics is, “What is the good that human behaviour seeks

[6] Happiness is the end goal that is pursued for its own sake. According to St. Augustine, once morality is removed from government, it ceases to exist.

Any government requires justice. As a result, he claims, “There is no city without concord; but there is no concord without justice.”

As a result, fairness is the first condition for the city’s existence.”

[7]. The fundamental issue with Machiavellian principles is their rejection of morality. Justice, peace, and fairness had no place. The popular dictum of Machiavelli, “the end justifies the means,” is an attack on ethical values.

Where will morality be if we take pride in the outcome that we get through fair and filthy means? If we accept this, what basis do we have to condemn some immoral acts committed by people?

What can we say about leaders and politicians who rise to positions of power in dubious means while enhancing their countries’ living standards?

There have been many who have pursued this road, such as Ghana’s Jerry Rawlings, who assassinated previous leaders in order to restore normalcy to Ghana’s political arena.

What about Nigeria, which is currently in a dreadful state? It appears that the common man has few or no ethically acceptable ways of survival.

Methodology (1.4)

My research method will be very critical and explanatory, with the goal of analysing Machiavelli’s principles and the principle of democracy. I will contrast Machiavellian ideals with Nigerian democratic practise.

My research on democracy in Nigeria will be limited to the three republics that have existed. A rudimentary examination of democracy and the elements that impede its viability in Nigeria will also be undertaken.

1.5 Review of Literature

A review of the theories of some other political thinkers will be conducted here. We will investigate all time periods.

Plato’s conception of the state is an idealist theory from the ancient times. The polis[8], the state, should, in his opinion, reflect the ideally ordered polity that exists in the intellect or in the universe of ideas.

A just state is the ideal state. The state arises as a result of the individual’s inability to meet his or her own requirements. The state is formed in order to meet these needs.

“The state is the highest form of association, most sovereign, embracing all others, and thus aims at the most sovereign of all good,” according to Aristotle. It is political ‘he koinonia politike’ – life’s communion in the form of state”

[9]. The state is the culmination of all human associations and activities that cater to all of man’s necessities. As a result, states exist by nature because man, as a political animal, can best ensure his good of life and meet his requirements through collaboration with other men in the state.

Because justice is the arrangement of the political relationship, the virtue of justice is a feature of a state. Distributive justice fosters political obligation and citizen-state harmony. As a result, it “involves treating equals equally”.

[10]. In addressing the components of the state, Aristotle justifies slavery. Aristocracy is his ideal form of government. “The state belongs to the people,” according to Cicero, “a people being an association of a good number of persons based on justice and partnership to secure the common good”

[11]. He believes that the natural law of reason is the foundation for all other laws, and that its source is Divine Wisdom and Reason, which governs the entire cosmos. All other regulations derive their power and inspiration from God’s authority over all things. He regards justice as essential to maintaining state order.

Many political philosophers developed theories about what defines a state and how it should be handled during the mediaeval period. In his theology of the two cities, Augustine pits the ‘city of God’–the heavenly kingdom–against the earthly kingdom,

which the Roman Empire represents. In his opinion, “the ‘city of God’ is the true society, a universal commonwealth ordained by God at the creation of man”.

[12]. It transcends all races, classes, and other types of barriers. The highest good can only be realised if the state is just.

According to Thomas Aquinas, civic society exists by nature. It stems from man’s nature as a social animal. His legal treatise could be used to analyse his theory. In his theory, justice is very vital. It implies “rendering to each one his right.

[13]” to him. There are two types of justice: special justice and general justice. Thomas More supported communism and believed in Plato’s concept of the philosopher monarch. The best and ideal state should “aim at the happiness or pleasure of the entire people and not only that of a few privileged citizens”.

[14]. He was opposed to the usage of the death penalty. Religion is crucial in the state, and individuals who are not religious should not be granted positions of authority.

As he puts it, “those who denied God’s existence and providence, the immortality of the soul, and future sanctions would be denied the right to hold public office and accounted as less than men.”

[15]. He linked morality with politics.

Jean Bodin, another theory, believes that “the state is a secondary or derived society, in the sense that it is a lawful government of several households and of their common possessions with sovereign power; but it is a different kind of society”.

[16]. The family is the natural social unit from which the state emerges. Political order must be maintained since it is man’s most basic need. The absolute sovereign holds the supreme power of the state. He has no right to ignore divine authority or natural law.

As a result, “the sovereign is unrestrained by law, and he cannot limit his sovereignty by law as long as he remains sovereign, because law is the sovereign’s creation”

[17]. The sovereign is the ultimate maker of the law and has complete influence over legislation.

Machiavelli flourished during the Renaissance period. With his books, the Prince and the Discourses, he established himself as the first political theorist to propose the state as a separate political organisation to be described.

“Machiavelli deviates from mediaeval teachings on the end of man by contending that the end of man is solely earthly and not heavenly”[18] in his political theory.There is no heavenly law for him.

Modern period theorists also made significant contributions to the advancement of politics. According to Thomas Hobbes, man originated in “a state of natural warfare-a state of homo homini lupus, a condition in which man is a wolf to man”

[19]. There is no morality, no law, no good or evil in nature. People then form bonds or contracts in order to establish peace and overcome the condition of survival of the fittest. The social contract, also known as the commonwealth, is the state in which the people give up their right to self-government in order to build a “unity.”

[20]. The same is true of John Locke. The state of nature is one of complete freedom and equality. Men make social contracts in order to form a political society in order to escape the disadvantages that characterise nature’s state.

Private property is acquired here by labour. As a result, “he hath mixed his labour with (nature), and joined to it something that is his own.”

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