Obafemi Awolowo on Dialectic, Education and Development in Nigeria



Awolowo develops a theory of dialectic which rests on the principle of social justice, fairness and equity. It is a departure from the Hegelian dialectic which thrives on contradiction. For Awolowo, dialectic is about love, hence it works with the basic rule of life, namely, that good begets good and evil begets evil. In his analysis, Awolowo sees love as a basic rule of life for leaders who are desirous of achieving effective governance translatable to development. In his belief, good governance flows from an adherence to this basic principle and it is apparent in the leader’s readiness to be transparent and accountable for their actions in power. In essence, Awolowo’s dialectic is about the leader’s willingness to pursue a course of action that is capable of bringing about social justice, equity and fairness in society. Awolowo sees a symmetrical relation between education and political consciousness, hence his belief that mass education is necessary for the development of political culture in Nigeria. For him an illiterate person is a pawn in the hands of his fellow men/ women; however, with education he becomes liberated. This paper attempts to show that there is strength in Awolowo’s dialectic; hence it could contribute to the ongoing debates on good governance and development in Nigeria and Africa.
Key words: Dialectic; Development; Immutable law; Universal mind; Good governance; Leadership; Mental magnitude


Dialectic; Development; Immutable law; Universal mind; Good governance; Leadership; Mental magnitude

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.hess.1927024020110102.1558


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