ZIK’S NEO-WELFARISM: A VIABLE OPTION FOR THE NIGERIAN STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
This thesis springs from a genuine sense of patriotism to fashion a way forward for my beloved country. It is rather remarkable at this time there seem to be little incentive for patriotic concerns since the state had neglected to play its part on the unwritten social contract with its citizens. Achebe captures the scene very aptly, “when two Nigerians meet, their conversation will sooner or later slide into a litany of our national deficiencies.”
These national woes range from the alarming state of governmental maladministration to the executive mismanagement of the supreme powers of the state. Its effects include incessant nation-wide confusion, political instability, and social unrests seriously endangering life and property. The irony however is that these social evils that are man-made are perceived by some people to be Divine ordinances or as an aspect of man’s essence which cannot be ameliorated.
The root cause of this general prevailing decadence in our society is the poverty of ideology. The prevalent ideology is reflected in the untoward practices of the leadership, which has filtered into the entire sphere of society’s life. Thus, our moral sensibilities have been inverted.
The tall order facing us if we mean to regenerate our fatherland is “to evolve a new political culture,” through re-examining the alien ideology “imposed on us as a super structure by the colonial whites” with our indigenous ideology to form a social matrix, what Zik calls Neo-welfarism. I see this event as a historical necessity. So that we recover from our state of complete inertia, when confronted with issues threatening our corporate existence and destiny.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria is a country blessed with enough material and human wealth to satisfy its citizenry. However due to inadequate ideological orientation, she is nowhere near the echelon of developed states. Though independent, she still moans under the burden of under development. Politically, she is the bedrock of instability as leaders want to perpetuate themselves in office. Economically, she is not better off as occasioned by the low standard of living of its citizens. In the technological circle, she could best be described as rich abroad while poor at home.
These and many more tend to undermine the image of the Nigerian personality globally. As no human society can thrive without an ideology of its own rooted in its culture and past, Nigeria must look inwards. There is an urgent need for a socio-economic system rooted in Nigerian culture and manifesting Nigerian qualities which are “democratic according to her institutions, welfarist in her economical background, altruistic in sociological life and religiously animistic.”The socio-economic system that encompasses these qualities should be adopted to alleviate the basic problems facing Nigeria. These positive visions will be considered in the light of Zik’s Neo-welfarism.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Men in various epochs have devised different socio-economic systems to attain the ideal, and actualize the objectives of the state, which is the material and social well being of the individual. These systems are adopted depending on their suitability and adaptability to the particular people and environment.
In this light, we shall turn our searchlight on the system that will be best adapted to the Nigerian situation. This system as it were will proffer solutions to the perennial problems of Nigeria that have defied logic with a view to restoring human dignity. This is paramount for we need more than just the nebulous idea called democracy. To get to the El dorado, “we must go beyond democracy and define in ideological terms the new society we envision and which our people are daily craving for.”  Neo-welfarism will take us there.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the research is to establish the fact that Zik’s neo-welfarism is an invaluable contribution towards the development of an enduring political culture, good governance, and socio-economic enhancement of Nigeria. It is most pertinent at this period Nigeria is at the crossroads, groping for political stability, national unity, economic reconstruction for a new social order, to heed the advice of Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s former President to social scientists. He admonished them to devote more time to the study of the input of great Nigerians like Zik, describing him as a scholar, a states man and a “beacon to serve as reference point from which we take off in our search for a durable political and economic system.”
Furthermore, the research shows that his theory of neo-welfarism is the product of a combination of his ingenuity in harmonizing opposites, with the environmental circumstances and the socio-political climate of his life and time. This is in accord with the views of the famous British Philosopher, Bethrand Russell;
Philosophers are both effects and causes: effects of their social circumstances and of the politics and institutions of their time; causes,( if they are fortunate) of beliefs which mould the politics and institutions of later age.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research does not over labour itself with discussing various socio-economic systems obtainable in all countries, to locate the best option for Nigeria. It is rather focused on Neo-welfarism with little insights into Capitalism, Socialism and Welfarism. This insight will take a form of critique.
The work will critically analyze these above-mentioned socio-economic systems giving their merits and demerits and, stating why each is not suitable for Nigeria when taken alone. Neo-welfaism will be equally analyzed bringing out its basic features and the reasons why it is the most viable option for the Nigerian state.
1.6 METHOD OF THE RESEARCH
Due to the nature of the work, which is historical as it is explorative, it becomes paramount to employ the methods of exposition, analysis and critique. The expository method will help us know the nature, origin, and history of the three major socio-economic systems: capitalism, socialism and welfarism. That of analysis will tell us the difference among these economic systems not excluding their merits and short comings, whereas critical appraisal will help us re-assess the various political systems to locate the most suitable one for Nigeria to aid her socio-economic enhancement.
The key concept here is neo-welfarism. This concept is not merely abstract, but has a place in the practical human society. Neo-welfarism has much relevance in the socio- political and economic life of man. By this fact, effort will be made to practically apply the principles of neo-welfarism for the growth and development of our Nigerian society.
With the above background therefore, the work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is introduction. Chapter two is the literature review where the independent struggles in Africa together with the three major socio-economic systems of capitalism; socialism and welfarism will be discussed, exposing their strong and weak points. This launches us into chapter three which out lines the intellectual and cultural foundations that made Zik opt for neo-wlfarism, since no one speaks from nowhere. Chapter four will see us vividly describing the socio-economic system of neo-welfarism as a veritable Nigerian ideology, giving the reasons for this postulation. While chapter five, is the critical evaluation and conclusion. C. Achebe, The Trouble with Nigeria (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co. Ltd. 1983), p.2  T.U Nwala, Nigeria: Path to Unity and Stability (Nsukka: Nigeria Books and Publishing Co. Ltd, 1997), p. 230.  G.B. Ezeani, Redeeming Nigeria Through Massists Ideology (Yola: Juddy Best Publishers. 1987), p. 15  M.I Nwoko, Basic World Political Theories (Owerri: Claretian Institute of Philosophy. 1988), p. 203  T.U. Nwala, Op. Cit; p. 231.  Mosadomi, Secret behind my success – Zik (The Punch Newspaper, Monday, Nov. 18, 1991) p.2.  B. Russel, History of Western Philosophy (London: Unwin Paperbacks. 1979), p.7
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