JASSD - Journal of African Studies and Sustainable Development (Vol. 5 No. 1, 2022) OBAFEMI AWOLOWO: FROM HUMAN NATURE TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Emmanuel Oriyomi


This paper interrogates Awolowo’s conception of human nature and how it can help in nation building. Nigeria, for example, is in a crisis of underdevelopment. It is plagued by corruption, insecurity, bad leadership, etc. Awolowo analyzed these problems, and attributes them to a lack of proper understanding of human nature. Findings show that the solution which he proffers to these problems rests on his conception of man as a composite of mind, body, soul, and ego, who is both the agent and focus of development, and who flourishes best when educated, under good leadership, in an atmosphere of democratic socialism. In his view, while the soul of man disposes him to love his fellow men, his ego sometimes disposes him to selfishness. This is why Awolowo rejects capitalism, which seems to fuel man’s tendency to greed, in favour of socialism, which aims at social regulation of economic forces in order to attain equality of opportunities and abundant life for all. This paper establishes Awolowo’s view of man as the agent of change in society. Awolowo uses the method of induction in drawing conclusions from human nature, which creates gaps in some of his conclusions. It contributes to knowledge by providing a coherent work on Awolowo’s philosophical anthropology, thereby contributing to literature for teaching Awolowo’s philosophy in schools, and for leadership and citizenship training. It recommends the adaptation of Awolowo’s socialist ideas in national development.

Keywords: Development, Man, Ontology, Socialism, Transcendence

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