China’s Ancient Philosophy of Legalism Could Be Relevant in Current Nigeria’s Situation

To build a strong, peaceful and orderly society greatly depends on the leadership that is truly committed to strict transformational values that will benefit not only the current society but also the future generations. Any leadership that continues to managed corruption instead of genuinely fighting it can not ensure the future of a nation. In the previous democratic regimes, Nigerian leaders have expressed their feelings over the slow pace of development, unemployment, increase in crime rate, bad roads, poor electricity and linked them to issues of corruption which they would address in their governments. Every campaign centres on these issues but in the end turns out not to address them.

In the mean time, Nigerians do not even know the right person to elect at the apex leadership seat since they seem to be good during campaigns but when they get in the seat of power, they turn out to be (evil) people who do not work for the interest of the suffering masses, but their own selfish aims. At the moment, it seems that only the China’s ‘legalism’ as a school of thought can work in Nigerian society.

The philosophy of Legalism became quite popular in China during the Hundred Flower era. Followers of this school of thought argued that, ‘human beings were by nature evil and would follow the correct order only if they are coerced by harsh laws and stiff punishments’. The legalists (also known as School of Law) believed that only firm actions by the state can genuinely bring about social order that can positively transform a state. This was against the Confucius school of thought which holds that “human nature was essentially good and the universe has a moral code”. The aspect of the legalists’ view, that seem to be more relevant in this regard is that “human nature is essentially corrupt hence, officials can not be trusted to carry out their duties in a fair manner, and only a strong ruler could create an orderly society”.

Following the recent presidential debate for the April 2011 general election, it appears that Nigeria is yet to have a strong leader that can genuinely transform the country. All the aspirants spoke on same or similar issues bothering Nigerians with just variations in the choice of words/language structure used in answering the questions. There was no traces of Obama in their words/speeches which obviously show lack of passion to truly transform Nigeria. Gen. Mohamadu Buhari, which many believe that, if come into power, will transform the nation with his undaunted nature of approaching issues of corruption proved otherwise in the debate. His concern seem to be more on accountability and probe. In this way, it can be reasoned that he (Gen. Buhari) will spend four to eight years of his regime reviewing cases of corruption which have never taken Nigeria forward.

At this point, it can be assumed that Nigeria democracy is still crawling and not yet on its feet. Nigeria, therefore, needs a strong will leader with a legalist approach, who will draw a line between old and new practices and move forward by facing the contemporary challenges for the benefit of Nigerians, yet addressing issues of corruption under his regime, not with manipulative lawful means but also with firm hands. War Against Indiscipline (WAI), once introduced by Gen. Buhari, is simply what Nigerians deserve from a leader. Not leaders who condone indiscipline of all sorts which tend to be evident in economic backwardness of the nation. Unless a leader with a legalist view handles and treat corrupt Nigerians with firm hands, Nigeria’s developmental pace will not be different from the speed of a forest snail.

Source by Kunde Terkura Matthew

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