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PHILOSOPHY

THE QUEST FOR POLITICAL POWER THROUGH VIOLENCE

THE QUEST FOR POLITICAL POWER THROUGH VIOLENCE

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THE QUEST FOR POLITICAL POWER THROUGH VIOLENCE

CHAPITRE ONE

INTRODUCTION

Man is a being with an insatiable desire for dynamism. Man has been preoccupied with how to effect changes in society to maximise his well-being since the evolution of societies, and as a result, he has never abdicated the pressing responsibility of searching for, or evolving models of governance that would lead to a better understanding and organisation of society, and one of the reasons for this conviction is to foster a blissful life for humanity free of rancour, violence, crisis, and conflict.

According to Thomas Hobbes, men agreed to live in a civil society for the sake of self-preservation and happiness, so that the unpleasant and miserable situation of anarchy and conflicts would be ameliorated, if not fully eradicated.

According to the philosopher, the fear of uncertainty and insecurity of lives and property inspired the establishment of civil society. Jean-Jacques Rousseau also discusses preservation, arguing that the human species must adapt its nature if it is to survive and avoid conflict.

In this context of societal evolution, Hannah Arendt observes that the glorification of violence is not limited to a small minority and eternally.

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

In Nigeria, essentially, violence has taken front stage in the democracy, resulting in the untimely killing of her inhabitants in the pursuit of political power. We internalise Georges Sorel's ideas in his Reflections on Violence; he felt that power had to be switched from the decayed middle to the working class, and that power could only be obtained through a general strike that, in order to be effective, had to be violent[1].

Political strife pervades most of the world's political systems. This is especially true in emerging nations such as Nigeria, where political disagreement, crises, and even violence have become important features of the political process, particularly after independence.

Nigeria may have taken pride in achieving independence with minimal social disruption and violence. Nigeria fell from crisis to crisis and was on the verge of implosion as the country witnessed an increase in party, ethnic, and regional hatred.

As a result, violence or the prospect of violence is a global phenomena. In a same spirit, Charles Tilly writes, “Collective violence has flowed regularly from the political process… Men seeking to size, hold, or realign power have continually engaged in collective violence as part of their struggle.

” Nigeria is an excellent case study for both theoretical and empirical research on political violence. We believe that the causes and dynamics of violence in Nigeria are basically similar to civil violence in other areas of the world. Rioters in Nigeria share similar psychological features with their counterparts around the world;

most of them are disappointed in their pursuit of political and economic goals, as well as in seeking redress for complaints. Those in power in Nigeria had little regard for the established routes of political activity, that is, the laws of the game, and political authority in this country through violence leads to economic prowess and citizen marginalisation.

According to Arendt, power and violence are diametrically opposed; where one controls absolutely, order is missing. Violence appears when power is threatened, but when left to its own devices, it leads to power's demise[2].

Political violence has been a key feature of political struggle in most of Nigeria, taking many forms ranging from assassination to armed battles between opposing politicians' gangs.

Most of the time, this violence is carried out by gangs whose members are openly recruited and paid by politicians and party leaders to attack their sponsors' competitors, frighten members of the public, manipulate elections, and defend their clients from similar attacks[3].

The general election represented yet another heinous chapter in Nigerian political history and culture. Comparatively, it is difficult to determine which general elections were the most violently afflicted since the return to civil rule in mid-.

The 1999 general election was violently prone, as were the 2003 and general elections, and it was also clear that each general election took place under different dimensions and circumstances, with a progression of casualties. The deterioration of economic conditions continues to produce new dynamics and nuances that modify the pattern of political violence.

As a child, Hannah Arendt witnessed war and violence, which prompted her to write: these reflections were prompted by the events and debates of the last few centuries, which has indeed become, as Lenin predicted, a century of wars and resolutions, and thus a century of that violence…[4]

This is currently thought to be their common denominator. However, there is another component in the current situation that, while none foresaw it, is at least as important.

The technological advancement of weapons of mass destruction has now reached a point where no political purpose could ever equate to their destructive capacity or justify their annual use in armed conflict.

As a result, warfare, which has been the final harsh arbiter in international disputes from time immemorial, has lost most of its efficiency and practically all of its glamour.

The apocalyptic chess game between superpowers, that is, those who move on the highest plane of civilization, is being played according to the rule; if neither side wins, both are doomed.

1.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This pattern in Nigerian politics raises some intriguing political questions. Nigeria is an excellent case study for both theoretical and empirical research on political violence. We believe that the causes and dynamics of violence in Nigeria are basically similar to those of civil violence everywhere in the world.

Though the ability of different actors in the Nigerian political system to compromise was quite impressive, particularly after independence, it was during this period that violence or its potential use moved to the centre of political action, becoming a weapon in the hands of both the state and the individual.

As a result, the relevance of this study is seen as an avenue to the Nigerian political situation, which has been anchored on violence rising from the shedding of bloods of her citizens, and thus by advocating for non-violence as a means in achieving a positive political quest with the shedding of blood or rioting, which is paramount in the Nigeria political arena.

Non-violence is not a new concept in the history of man; however, Nigerian political elites should be educated on the use of non-violence as a path to contest for any political office of their choice rather than using violence to deduce the game of politicking, thereby defranchising some due to fear of injuries at the various electoral centres.

1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The political elite continues to equip teenagers, use them to commit horrific crimes, shed blood at every vital juncture of life, particularly during election season; and water the streets with the blood of the youths themselves, innocent bystanders, and passersby.

Politicians are assassinated in broad daylight and in the dead of night; bodies, souls, and destiny are willfully destroyed in the Manichean quest for political power; and conferences held to pontificate on the negatives of political violence were fruitless due to a lack of tangible deliberations and implementation to combat the scourge. Nigeria's political structures are entangled in a web of violence and murder.

Furthermore, in defining Marx Weber's idea of a state, C.W Mills succinctly defined politics as a struggle for power, and the ultimate form of power is violence.[6]

This closeness between power and violence appears to be consistent with the earlier ideology and postulations of the Chinese dictator Mao Tse-tung, who believed that power grows from the emanation of a barrel of gun. P Sartre lauded violence in the foreword to Fanon's Wretched of the Earth, arguing that it is only violence that pays.[8]

Nigeria's name has become a paradox as a result of her rise in several sectors of the . The records of mismanagement that led to this paradox are, in a sense, the ailments that Nigeria is suffering from. Nigeria has faced numerous challenges since her independence in 1960, including political, economic, cultural, social, and other issues.

The superstructure is indeed in a quandary. This sometimes calls into question the country's authenticity and true autonomy; some have even concluded that we are not independent.[9]

The ongoing wars against our fellow countrymen and women in the pursuit of political appointments through violence can only harm our collective development as a people.

With the ideologies of various philosophers mentioned earlier, as well as some individuals whose interest and specialty in political violence would be of valuable assistance in analysing the notion of violence and its relationship to political power, enormous questions will arise:

what is the necessity of violence in the existence and maintenance of political power, or can there be any political power without violence?

The aforementioned questions are very prevalent in our modern world with the contemporary penchant for world wars and revolutions in which violence is ultimately the rising common denominator[10].

With the advancement in technology man's inhumanity to fellow man through violence by production of weapons of mass destruction has persistently been in outstanding pedigree has rendered man powerless and technological modernization which should serve as a helper to man has rendered man powerless and technological modernization

which should serve as a However, when it comes to politics and politicking, violence has gained a significant drive. As a result, the pursuit for political dominance in the modern day is now full of violent deeds, so reducing morals to oblivion and elevating the glories of violence to new heights through adoption of the Machiavellian premise that the end justifies the means.

Having taken cognizance of the Nigeria scenario with facts born of experience and honestly justified by history, it is clear that the ambition for political power by violence is highly prevalent in Nigeria.

Violence has persisted in the Nigerian political system in the form of thuggery, rioting, ethnic crises, assassination, kidnapping, and depriving people of their voting rights, resulting in the untimely murder of innocent people. We believe that calling political violence terrorism is incorrect when it is employed in circumstances when no other form of protest is permitted.

Miller argues that violence may be permissible in dictatorships and other repressive regimes when used to defend human rights, provoke liberal reforms, and achieve other desirable goals[11].

A trip down to Nigeria's political activities reveals that politics, which is thought to be the natural activities of man taking cognizance of definition as a political animal, is a natural activity of man. Politics in Nigeria is a game of do or die, with survival of the fittest being the goal.

As Arendt states, the goal of political power in any government is to enable mankind to live together, to promote happiness, or to realise a classless society[12].

This meaning is no longer available nowadays; instead, individuals see political power as the best way to get money, and they will resort to any form of violence to obtain it.

In this article, I will intellectually expose the search for political power through violence, particularly in our country Nigeria, following Hannah Arendt's lead to demonstrate that power and violence are incompatible, and that violence can destroy power but not build it[13].

Most Nigerian politicians regard violence as both an offensive weapon and a component of personal protection as an essential component of a political campaign; they believe that they must preserve some power to unleash violence as a measure of self-defense.

1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

Nigeria is a country in which no single political system is routinely practised. It is a country where they may set the pace for politicking[14].

As previously stated, man is by nature a political animal. As a result, politics is not limited to a specific group of individuals, nor is it a filthy game. Those who engage in it, on the other hand, may be considered unclean. Politics is what the leaders in Nigeria refer to. Nigeria can thus not be said to have a political system other than inconsistency, which culminates in a pyramid of corruption.[15]

What we have in Nigeria as politics is a facilitation of imbroglios and camps of civilian armies; we have politicians a panoply of hotchpotch of individuals with contradictory interests ready to satisfy their individual characters through destructive manners[16].

To do this, the youths, who have become veritable tools of violence, must be re-oriented, as they are rapidly adopting this strategy as the greatest alternative for survival.

Again, I'd like to use this piece to appeal to the consciences of those whose hands haven't yet been soiled in politics to keep it going. This deadly malady has become so severe that venomous activities must be a part of Nigerian politics. As a result, in order to be “successful” in Nigeria, one must be abysmally violent[17].

The fact that violence is viewed as the rule of the day in Nigerian politics should not compel them to join them when they cannot beat them, because violence has always been a component of the Nigerian political process, leading to the loss of lives and property.

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

In this long easy, I want to focus mostly on Hannah Arendt's thoughts about violence in relation to the Nigerian situation, despite the fact that they were not proposed for that purpose. I will focus primarily on Hannah Arendt's key work on violence, as well as additional texts/materials produced by her and other scholars pertinent to the objective of this study.

1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES

The scientific approach is absolutely necessary in any philosophical investigation. Method is so important that it aids in the validation of our philosophical convictions.

.Among the various methods commonly used in scientific works, a combination of an expository-critical procedure was found to be the most appropriate because it allows us to faithfully explore the relevant themes in Hannah Arendt's thoughts while also basing on different emerging opinions of other authors as a way of deepening, supporting, or even positive questioning.

It enables us to form implicit and explicit personal judgements about the author's point of view. It will be a combination of library and online research. The system I will use for citing and, more importantly, generating specific entries from every written source is primarily that of footnoting.

The concepts of Hannah Arendt on violence are contrasted to the Nigerian reality in order to determine what can serve as a better political vision for Nigeria.

1.7 DEFITION OF TERMS

Violence definition

Violence has become so common in today's environment that it draws little or no attention wherever it occurs. This canker worm has damaged every area of human life in this earth to the point where some individuals have reached a standstill.

Peaceful and harmonious coexistence among men appears to be an illusion for certain people, and it becomes an ulcerous cancer to society in both cultural, religious, economic, social, psychological, and, more importantly, political domains.

Violence, like time, is a difficult subject to define. According to Arendt, “violence is by nature instrumental; like all means, it always stands in need of guidance and justification through the end it pursues”[18].

The term “violence” is derived from the Latin word violentia, which means “impetuosity.” It is used to describe extreme force or restraint. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, violence is……a behaviour meant to damage or kill; an uncontrollable powerful sensation. [19]

Arendt advocated that violence can be justified, but it will never be legal. Its rationale loses validity the further it is meant and recedes into the future. [20]

In other words, violence turns the offender into a beast and the tormented into a thing.

Different Types of Violence

In general, there are two types of violence: internal (covert) violence and external (overt) violence.

Internal violence refers to the disharmony or peacelessness that one feels within himself. St. Paul succinctly alluded to this of violence in his turmoil and thus cried thus: the good things I want to do, I never do; the evil thing which I do not want-that is what I do.[21]

This type of violence is most observed in confused individuals and displayed externally in their relationship with their fellow man in society. Similarly, external violence refers to any sort of conflict or discord that, in addition to occurring within the individual, has an external manifestation in man's dealings with one another.

Analogically, it could be viewed as a type of volcanic explosion that, after burning beneath the earth at a very high temperature, explodes in the form of molten lava, leaving behind a mountain that mangles everything it comes into contact with. This is the type of violence that is referred to as external violence.

Dom Helder Camara[23], in his book Spiral of Violence, discusses three types of violence that combine to form what he calls the spiral of violence, which inspired the title of his book. The first in this spiral of violence, according to him, is institutional violence[24].

It refers to the brutal laws and policies that institutions impose on their citizens in order to subject them to subhuman enslavement. As a result, they are unfairly treated, humiliated, and constrained to the point where all hope appears to be lost. According to him, it is institutional violence that produces counter-violence[25],

another form of violence. It manifests itself in the shape of riots, terrorism, uprisings, and so on, in response to the subservience inflicted by institutional violence. Any attempt to respond to the powerful wind of counter-violence results in the third type of violence, which he refers to as oppressive violence.

It is typically a reaction to counter-violence by perpetrators of institutional violence as a solution to counter-violence through their agents such as thugs, police, the ‘EFCC,' or even another institution of violence, resulting in the spiral continuing.

This third sort of violence is the most heinous since the strong utilise every repressive tools at their disposal to suppress whatever threatens their dominance.

In this continuous cycle of violence from covert (injustice) to overt (revolt) to totalitarian (repression), the relentless rotation of violence appears to be limitless, shattering a harmonious and peaceful co-existence[26].

The Roots of Violence

Violence can be attributed to a number of circumstances. Arendt believes the following regarding the causes of violence:

Speaking about the causes of violence in these terms must appear presumptuous at a time when floods of foundation money are being channelled into various research projects of social scientists, when a deluge of books on the subject has already appeared, when eminent natural scientists-biologists, psychologists, ethologists, and zoologists-have joined in an all-out effort to solve the riddle of “aggressiveness” in human behaviour, and even a [27]

Despite the foregoing, several factors are nevertheless seen as the root causes of violence. They include egoism, injustice, aggressiveness, racism, and terrorism, among others, and we will look at some of them in this article.

EGOISM

Egoism is viewed as a display of selfishness. This is the mindset of someone who prioritises his own interests over the interests of others. It is evident that most of the violence we see around the world is the result of egoism.

As W.A Wallace puts it, “egoism creates in man a of exclusiveness to others.” Because of this exclusivity, he gets so full of himself that he sees the other as an enemy who should be exterminated. This phenomena highlights societal problems and intolerance among people, resulting in bloodshed.”

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