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By M.S.C. Okolo

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The second requires us willingly to transfer or relinquish some certain rights to others, given that they are willing to do the same. That is, we should be willing to enter into a social contract, since the state where everyone can retain his or her right to all things invariably results in war, since such an act is against the reason of peace. : 182). The laws of nature, however, cannot achieve their desired end without sanctions. It is for this that men agree to ‘the mutual transferring of right’.

Without any law or a strong ruler to set limits, mankind is continually at war with itself and life is constantly exposed to fear and the danger of violent death. It is to overcome this state that mankind, being rational animals, will come to the realization of the need for rational self-preservation. Hobbes notes nineteen laws of nature, rules a reasonable man will follow in pursuing his own advantage. : 181) 44 45 Achebe and Ngugi the law of nature as ‘the dictate of right reason, conversant about those things which are either to be done or omitted for the constant preservation of life and members, as much as in us lies’.

Ousmane, in his prefatory note to the novel, observes: ‘The men and women who, from the tenth of October, 1947, to the nineteenth of March, 1948, took part in this struggle for a better way of life owe nothing to anyone: neither to any “civilizing mission” nor to any parliament or parliamentarian. Their example was not in vain. ’ Although the urgent mission appears to be economic liberation, however, the political arrangement that makes it possible for a particular group of workers to be treated better than others is called into question.

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