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1.1   General Introduction

        No epoch has had, notions so numerous and varied of state and rulership in such a fascinating and effective way, or in communicating this knowledge in so rapid and easy a way. Yet it is also true that no epoch has known less than what the knowledge of state and rulership is all about.

History is replete with the search for the best way to rule the state. This has given rise to various theories of government. Some of the theories have worked well in some places and not in other. African countries are no exception. I wish that this research work will help to influence the pitiable condition of the world politics. In the face of our county’s drift and traumatisation, occasioned by decades of despotism and demonic rule, this dissertation seeks in general to undermine or underline the many litanies of problems in global political concepts and what we can do as the masses of the nations that are involved

This work is a contribution of a reflection on the awful and ugly situation of political game throughout the globe. And in attempt to do this, we employed St. Thomas Aquinas’ idea of the state and rulership to be a standard for our rulers, and even those of us who are entrusted into their care.

1.2. A Brief Profile of St. Thomas Aquinas:

Aquinas was born in 1225 near Naples. His father was a count of Aquino who had hoped that his son would someday enjoy a high ecclesiastical position. For this reason, Aquinas was placed in the Abbey of Monte Cassino as a boy of five, and for the next nine years he pursued his studies in his Benedictine abbey. At the age of 14, he entered the university of Naples, but while in that city he was fascinated by the life of some Dominican friars at a near by monastery and decided to enter their order. As the Dominicans were particularly dedicated to teaching, Aquinas had, upon entering their order, resolved to give himself to a religious and also a teaching vocation. Four years later, in 1245, he entered the university of Paris, where he came under the influence of a prodigious scholar whose enormous intellectual achievements had earned him the name Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus) and the Universal Teacher. During his long and intimate association Albert both at Paris and Cologne, Aquinas thought was shaped in decisive ways.

Albert recognized the significance of philosophy and science for grounding Christian faith and for developing the capacities of human mind. While other theologians looked suspiciously at secular learning, Albert concluded that the Christian thinker must master philosophy and scientific learning in all its forms. He had respect for intellectual activity, and his writings attest to his acquaintance with a vast amount and variety of learning. He knew virtually all the ancient, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim writers. But his mind was encyclopedia rather than creative. Still, it was Albert who had recognized the fundamental difference between philosophy and theology, sharpening more accurately than his predecessor had the boundaries between them. Albert thought that such writers as Anselm and Abelard, for example, had ascribed too much competence to reason, not realizing that from a rigorous point of view much of what they ascribed to reason was in fact a matter of faith. Albert’s particular objective was to make Aristotle clearly understandable to all of Europe, hoping to put into Latin all of Aristotle’s works. He considered Aristotle the greatest of all the philosophers, and much of the credit for the dominance of Aristotle’s thought in the 13th century must be given to him. It was under these circumstances that his pupil Aquinas would also see in Aristotle the most significant philosophical support for Christian theology.

Unlike Albert, who did not change anything in the philosophers he quoted in his works, Aquinas used Aristotle more creatively, systematically, and with a more specific recognition of the harmony between what Aristotle said and Christian faith. After an interval of teaching under auspices of the Papal Court from 1259 to 1268, Aquinas returned once again to Paris and became involved in a celebrated controversy with followers of Averroes. In 1274, Pope Gregory X called him to Lyons to participate in a council, and while on his way there, he died in a monastery between Naples and Rome, at the age of 49.

Aquinas left a huge written legacy, the vastness of which is all the more remarkable when we recall that it was all composed within a 20-year span. Among his principal works are his commentaries on many of

Aristotle’s writings, careful arguments against the errors of the Greeks and the Averroists, a brilliant early work on essence and existence, a political treatise on rules, and many other notable works. His most renowned literary achievements, though, are his two major theological Works, the Summa contra Gentiles and Summa Theological

1.3. Background of the Study

Truly, there has been upsurge of interests on justice in recent times; however, the aim of this write-up is to parlay the relevance of St. Thomas Aquinas’ notion of State and Rulership as a sample for standard positive governance and what the state should be like. If we can subscribe to St. Thomas Aquinas’ idea of the state and rulership which is so Christianized, things will automatically take their normal shapes and position in the various countries of the world; political situations will return back to behold the face of the divine through which it derived its form of State and Rulership.

1.4. Statement of the Problem

An insightful, thought provoking work about the confused situation of things in the globe especially in Africa and particularly in our own country Nigeria. A country where bribery and corruption have eaten so deep into the bone marrow of its states, that one will be forced to belief and exclaim that something must be wrong.

Something must be wrong, and when something is wrong, then a solution is sought to put things aright. Unfortunately, this is not the case in our present day state. We seem to have landed ourselves in a state where the rats found themselves as they search for a way of controlling one of their greatest enemies, the cats. One solution was agreed by all the rats and that is to bell the cat. But one rat asked who will bell the cat? At this point, all the rats took to their holes for none was ready to volunteer to bell the cat. Cats remain the greatest enemies of rats till date. It seems we have landed ourselves in the same situation the rats found themselves.

Many states and countries of the world today are faced with the menacing problem problems of state and rulership. Somewhere like our country Nigeria, despite all the wealth that accrued from its sales of natural minerals like crude oil, majority of its citizens are still poverty-stricken. History is filled with fact of how the contributions of different philosophers helped in shaping many worlds politics. And with these, I am convinced that St. Thomas Aquinas will do better with his political postulations which we shall discuss below.

To show his readiness in bettering the lots of politics, this research sees his discussion on the state and rulership as a standard for positive governance.

  1. 5. Division of Work

This work contained four chapters. Chapter one presented some philosophers’ view on the issue of state and rulership, and thereby, paving a way for our next discussion on the origin and genesis of state and rulership. Chapter two deals with the origin of state and the notion of rulership, while chapter three made an inquiry into St. Thomas Aquinas’ notion of the state and his idea of rulership, from where we discover what led him assert that the state is subordinate to the church. Our chapter four served here as an appraisal of Aquinas’ notion of state and rulership which we have willingly chosen and recommend to be a standard for positive governance most especially as it concerned our country Nigeria.

1.6. Definition of Concepts

The State:

State in this definition is different from the word government. Generally, a state is a sovereign association of men and women who live within a defined territory and is administered by a government. A state, therefore, has four main attributes: Defined Territory, Population, Sovereign and Government.

State is different from government; it is a permanent entity while a government is a temporal body. Government changes but a state remains. A state consists of all the inhabitants, while government is just a fraction of the state.

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