MACHIAVELLIANISM AND DEMOCRACY (NIGERIA AS A CASE STUDY). A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON PHILOSOPHY
Machiavelli has gained the world popularity because of the way he conceived and understood politics. Today “Machiavellism” is used to describe a political situation characterized by tyranny, despotism, deception and violence. This is because of Machiavelli’s approach and guidelines towardsachieving stability in the state. Machiavelli crafts a perspective that aligns politics with warfare, and justifies the deployment of force, the exercise of cruelties, the practice of deceit and the manipulation of appearances in the service of government. He was greatly influenced by the political disarray in Florence of his time. Moreover Machiavelli presented virtue as vice and vice versa. For him the politician or ruler should not be a moral agent. He should be less concerned with the morality of actions in as much as he maintains power.
The Machiavellian principle in its nature considers the end of actions and not the means used. This poses a state of the survival of the fittest. This situation to a great extent negates the principle of democracy and scuttles its growth. Democracy as we know is praised for its space for freedom, equality, justice and fairness. For any democratic institution to flourish all traces of Machiavellism should be eschewed. This is my major concern in this work. I shall verify how the Machiavellian principle is in play in the Nigeria’s politics. Has it helped matters or does it bring anarchy? This is the question we shall attempt in this discourse.
1.2 Purpose of Study
The aim of this work is to critically analyze the principles of Machiavelli. This will take the form of stating and describing the whole content of his principles as well as pointing out its implications. Also I shall ‘x-ray’ the principle of democracy tracing its origin and the conditions for its practice. This verification will be done within the Nigerian situation. However, the sole issue here is to relate the principle of Machiavelli to the situation of democracy in Nigeria.