1) Before the emergence of organised societies, humans lived in what was known as the ‘State of Nature’ where life was nasty, precarious and short (Thomas Hobbes). Justice was never a part of this setting, apart from jungle justice where suspected criminals were hastily dealt with without being convicted or given the opportunity to defend themselves. Death was the most common punishment of the time, served either by a mob or someone more powerful. In the ‘State of Nature’ might was right!
2) To put an end to this quagmire, humans decided to go into an agreement where they freely decided to entrust some of their rights to an authority that will be charged with the protection of their lives and property. This was also a way of forestalling any form of jungle justice for the life of an alleged criminal is also to be protected unless convicted for a grievous crime (such as taking the life of another). Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and others described this free agreement among people as ‘The Social Contract Theory’, in their attempt to define the origins of government as we know it today.
3) In Nigeria today, it is so sad that government security officials are the ones spearheading jungle justice. Instant killings of yet-to-be-convicted criminals without trial, or pulling the trigger at the slightest provocation, has become the order of the day. Many are even killed in police or military custody while on handcuffs. Peaceful protests, unarmed agitations are dispersed with live bullets and dead bodies are whisked away to unknown destinations.
4) The truth is that when any government can no longer protect lives and properties of its citizens, worst still when it participates in the extra judicial killings of its citizens and eventually becomes the monster it was meant to fight, then the ‘Social Contract Theory’ empowers the people to withdraw their mandate from such a government. When this happens, the people are to look for any other social arrangement that would ensure the protection of lives and property, justice, peace and progress.
5) The fact that Nigerians in the face of the worrisome security challenges cannot unseat the government or renegotiate their social contract, constitution or union, simply exposes the fact that there was no Social Contract in the first place. What we have is a state that was artificially constructed and eventually hijacked by political gangsters, merchants or/and terrorists.
6) But to the hijackers of the mandate of the people in Nigeria, John F. Kennedy has something to tell you: “Those who make peaceful Revolution impossible, make violent Revolution inevitable.”