The potentials of Nigeria have not been realized, essentially because she had been governed by people who are not guided by any well-tested political theories. Political science today, with numerous speculations, appears to be leaving political theory behind; whereas it is in it that the salvation of our country may lie. Hence, the effort in this thesis to explore the theoretical basis for the rapid development of the country and may be extracting from Plato a theoretical guide for today and the future. The present Western civilization is not only an extension, but also remains a practical substantiation of the general theories developed and the practical issues raised in the village democracies or city states of Plato’s ancient Greece. What the
present Nigeria needs most is rapid development together with justice in the state and society. This is why we have chosen the ancient Greek period. This study was organized in four chapters and each chapter treats a particular theme which centres on a particular problem or issue. The first chapter, the introduction, defined the problems, the objectives, the significance and scope of the study; chapter two treated literature review; chapter three dealt with the research procedure: the framework of analysis, the class struggle theory, the historical methodological approach. The major theories of Plato were discussed in the subsequent chapter, while the commentaries and the political development in Nigeria followed in chapter five. Finally, the tested hypotheses or answers to the problematic were treated in chapter six. The conclusion and recommendations are made that Plato and his theories are still relevant to the Nigerian polity.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The thesis, Plato’s Republic and the Nigerian Polity, derives from the earliest dialogue of Plato, The Republic. It situates around the Nigerian and Athenian societies. Its aim is to determine the relevance of Plato’s theories in his book The Republic to contemporary Nigerian society. The theories of Plato are
only relevant to Nigeria if their validity can be established in the first instance. In his book, The Republic, Plato tries to idealize the world and to envision the just society where man can find fulfillment in life. In order to accomplish his vision of a just society, he tries to construct an ideal pattern that can eventually lead to the achievement of the just state. In the process of constructing the ideal state he sets standards for mankind to follow in their quest for a just society; a fit which no nation in the world has achieved since the time of Plato.
This thesis sets out to establish whether Plato’s ideal construct is feasible and whether it is practicable in Nigeria in view of her peculiar circumstance as a nation since 1960.
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