HUME’S CONCEPT OF FREEDOM IN A FREE AND STABLE GOVERNMENT: A CRITIQUE OF THE NIGERIAN STATE.
The concept of freedom is diverse but each of these concepts of freedom articulate the way an individual is able to control his actions and relate with his state. In political philosophy, freedom is understood as the absence of any limitation imposed by either the state or other individuals in the society. Hence, this limitation is either social or physical. For classical liberals like Hobbes, liberty exists as freedom of individuals from external impediment or force; that is, the ability of one to act in accordance with his or her own freewill and be responsible for it. Social liberals on the other hand place more emphasis on social structure and agency and are thus directed towards ensuring the equality of all citizens. For Hume, freedom is found in a state where there is absence of the arbitrary use of power and presence of the rule of law. He presented the traditional or simple forms of government and two types of what he called mixed government. For him, greater form of freedom is found under a mixed government. The Nigerian state is republican and practises a democratic system of government. The events and policy in Nigeria show that freedom is far from the state using Hume’s lens. This article presents Hume’s concept of freedom and a survey of the practice and exercise of freedom in Nigeria especially as it has been seen since the inception of the fourth republic. It then concludes that there is a lot to be done as regards freedom of the press and media, equality before the law, independence and autonomy of the judiciary which are the defining factors of a free and stable state as Hume opines.