2.CLARIFICATION OF TERMS -Politics and political system.
A BIOGRAPHY OF CONFUCIUS.
3.THE CONFUCIAN IDEOLOGY (CONFUCIANISM).
4.THE BACKGROUND/BRIEF HISTORY OF NIGERIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM.
5.THE POLITICAL IDEOLOGY OF CONFUCIUS AND THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM.
The question “what has a Confucian political philosophy got to do with Nigerian political system?” might immediately strike the mind. Philosophy is a science of all sciences. Etymologically, it originates from the Greek, “philos” and “Sophia” that is, “love of wisdom”. Thus, from its etymological construct; it is a universal exercise of humans, and not culturally or racially bounded. Completing or manifesting the universal spirit of philosophy, we navigate beyond the western boundary, since philosophy itself is seen as a product or enterprise of human culture, giving interpretation reality and experience, culturally it interpenetrates all cultures such as the western, African, and Oriental alike. As such a consideration for further discuss.
This work will take a brief look at the struggle for independence, but will focus more on the history of Nigerian political system from the advent of her independence through to the present political system being practiced, with an attempt to expose strengths and weaknesses of the system, and to have a general outlook on Confucian philosophy, with more focus on the political ideology. Finally, to attempt a juxtaposition between the already appraised Confucian political ideology, and the Nigerian political system so as to establish a relationship.
CLARIFICATION OF TERMS
Before the clarification of this term, it is important to first, clarify “politics” in which it is rooted and is meaningful. Politics; is the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affects a country or society.1
Political system: the term political system, may be used narrowly or broadly; narrowly defined, it is a set of formal legal institution that constitute a “government” or a “state”.2 More broadly, it comprehends actual as well as prescribed forms of political behaviour, not only the legal organisation but also the reality of how the state functions.3 This explication will be narrowed understand the Nigerian political system.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF CONFUCIUS
The name Confucius is a Latinized form of “K’ung Fu-tzu”, the title for “master k’ung”, the title commonly used in referring to him in Chinese.4 He was born in 551 B.C. in the small feudal state of “Lu” in modern shangtung province. His family name was k’ung, and his personal name “Ch’iu”.6 His father died while he was at a tender age and he had to fend for himself, and face the problem of securing an education for himself.
While being still very young, he became engaged in pedagogy and established the world’s first private school of philosophy.7 Thus, Confucius, unlike many ancient philosophers, was the founder of a philosophical school (in the literal sense of the word). He later held senior government positions: he used to be a managing administrator of the capital, chief justice, and the first adviser to the ruler. He eventually refused all positions and spent 13 years travelling across China seeking practical implementation of ideals declared by him.8 Having returned to the homeland, until his death (479 B.C)9 he devoted himself to the management of ancient writings. Even though Confucius responded positively about worshiping gods only in terms of continuing traditions and was sceptical about faith in various spirits, after his death he was himself revered as a deity. He was said to have had 3000 students of whom 70 were close personal disciples known for their virtue.10
THE HISTORY OF NIGERIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
Nigeria is a nation state, a product of the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates in 1914, with a sixty-two years history of political struggle. Here there will be a Focus on Nigeria's political system from her independence to the present Nigerian society.
The struggle for independence
After the visit of her majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Edinburgh in January and February 1956, and also the message of the Queen represented by her Royal Highness the princess to the legislature of Eastern and Western Nigeria on attainment of self-governance by these regions,11 In May and June,1957 a constitutional conference which was held in Lancaster House in London attended by representatives of all political parties in Nigeria and by representatives of the United Kingdom government, resulted in further constitutional advances for Nigeria. Now the offices of the chief secretary and the financial secretary of the federation were abolished and the attorney general ceased to be a member of the council of Ministers which was occupied by Nigerians except for the Governor-general who continued as the president.12
The prime minister was appointed and so was the financial secretary to replace the former in the persons of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and chief Festus Okotie Eboh respectively. The prime minister formed an all-party government consisting of the Northern people's Congress (NPC), National council of Nigerians and Cameroon (NCN) and the Action group (AG). And then special commission to advise on problems of minorities, electoral boundaries and fiscal matters.13
In 1958, the constitutional conference was resumed to discuss the self-governance of the Northern region in 1959 and the independence of Nigeria in 1960. Nigeria by now have opened a central bank with her currency issued. In 1959, the Northern region became self-governing with an enlarged House of representatives and members of senate upon election. And by July 29th 1960, the motion of independence passed by the federal House of representatives had received a Royal assent. with the Nigerian constitution from the order of council which had been approved on September 12 by the Queen, Nigeria was set up for independence, comprising Northern, Eastern, Western Nigeria and the federal capital Territory (FCT) which is Lagos.14
Under the constitution set up by the order in council with which the independence came, the parliament of the federation consists of her majesty the Queen represented by the Governor general, a senate of: (a) 12 senators representing each region (b) 4 senators representing the FCT and (c) 4 senators on advice of prime minister. The federal House of representatives consists of 312 members from various regions including the FCT. Each region is self-governing with a Queen's representative, a premier, an executive council, a house of chief and a house of Assembly. The authority between federal and regional government is clear and defined.15 Nigeria then became duly independent by 1st October 1960 with sir James Robertson as the governor general and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa as first prime minister. And in 1961 sir James Robertson left Nigeria and was succeeded by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.16
Nigeria after independence
In august 1963, the western region was created and on the 1st of October, Nigeria became a Republic.17 And in January 15,1966 the first military coup brought down the first republic, with General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi installed as head of state, this was followed by the second military coup on the 29th July that same year by General Yakubu Gowon. In January 1967 Aburi met to prevent an immanent civil war and in May 27, twelve states were formed from the four regions and on the 30th of May, Ojukwu announced succession of the Eastern region and declared Biafra a republic, and with this, in July 6th the civil war commenced and ended 12th of January 1970.18
1973 saw one of the greatest transfers of wealth in peace time as a result of chaos and instability in the middle East leading to an impressive development projects; widespread corruption and mismanagement of fund. Two years later, on July 29th, the third military coup, by Murtala Mohammed began, with the replacement of twelve states with nineteen states on the 3rd of February. But unfortunately, he was assassinated in an unsuccessful coup and was succeeded by his deputy, lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state.
In September 21 a constitution was promulgated with ban on politics lifted and on the 1st of October the second republic was ushered in with the inauguration of the Shagari’s government, but marked by oil boom and increasing indebtedness.19. And on the 31st of December the second republic was overthrown in a military coup by General Muhammadu Buhari. His tactics brought about a police state with the curtailment of civil rights. In 1985 on the 27th the 6th military coup came up, when General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida took over power and launched the nation into a moral and free fall. Now the nation’s capital in Abuja as at 1991, and a national assembly inaugurated.20
Nigeria continued in military coup, ending with the ninth succession of General Sani Abacha (who dissolved all democratic and transition structures) after his eventual death, by General Abdulsalam Abubakar who organised a quick transition to civil rule in June 28 1998. And in 1999 Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office as president of Nigeria in the fourth republic under the civil rule and a democracy.21
Democratic practice in civil rule (no more military coup)
By now, having thirty six states with the FCT included, in December 2000, the oputa panel was created, in 2003 Obasanjo was re-elected as the president amidst mass rigging and in May 2006, presid4ent Olusegun’s chance of a 3rd tenure was cut by the senates rejection of a constitutional amendment and as a result, in April 2007, Umaru Yar’Adua was proclaimed winner of the presidential election under the ruling people’s democratic party (PDP) which he himself judged as deeply flawed.22
In July the year 2009, hundreds of people died as victim of the Boko Haram Islamist movement attack in the north eastern Nigeria. In that same year, the president travelled to Saudi Arabia for health checks. This brought about a constitutional crisis which led to a call for him to step down. However, in May 2010, he died and was succeeded by the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan as acting president before he was asked to step down. In October Nigeria marked 50 years of independence which was marred by a bomb blast and in December, at least 80 people were killed by another bomb blast on the Eve of Christmas near the central city of Jos.23
1 A S Hornby, Joanna Turnbull, ed, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 8th edition, (Oxford University Press, New York, 2010), 1132.
2 The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 25; Macropaedia knowledge in depth, 2000 ed. S. v. “Religion.” 1004.
4 Theodore Wm, ed, Introduction to Oriental Civilization; Source of Chinese Tradition volume 1, (Columbia university Press New York and London, 1960), 15.
7 Agnė Budriūnaitė, Fundamental Elements of Oriental Philosophy; Didactical Guidelines, (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, 2013), 15.
9 Theodore Wm, ed, Introduction to Oriental Civilization; Source of Chinese Tradition volume 1, (Columbia university Press New York and London, 1960), 16.
11 Burns Alan, History of Nigeria, (George Allen and Unwin Ltd, Ruskin House Museum Street, London, 1963), 255.
12 Ibid, 255-256.
16 Ibid, 258.
17 Irikefe, Why Nigeria is not Working; The predicament and the promise, (Kraft Books Limited, Sango, Ibadan,2013), 15.
23 Ibid, 19.