Philosophical Papers and Review

  • Abbreviation: Philos. Papers Rev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-663X
  • DOI: 10.5897/PPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 44

Article in Press

Decentralisation and constitutionalism in Africa: A theoretical exploration for sustainable distributive justice

Moses Aderibigbe

Central to the problem of most of the states in Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular is the excessive centralization of the federal system. The centralized federalism denied the opportunity for self-expression, autonomy and by extension prevented avenues for negotiations towards attaining equity and justice. Similar to this is the defect on the constitution which is meant to define what is right by creating a system of laws whose foundation is hinged on justice, fairness, equality and freedom. At present, the democratization process going on in most African nations promised some ideal program aimed at ameliorating poverty and reducing unemployment rate, but for these reformation to out live each democratic regime is the quest for constitutionalism. Given this, the problem of socio-political instability and disorder which are consequences of structural imbalance in the democratic system would be effectively resolved if adequate attention is paid to the question of distributive justice. This paper, therefore, adopted John Rawls’s theory of justice as its theoretical framework. Specifically, emphasis is laid on the Rawlsian Difference Principles, which prioritize the demand of social equality over that of liberty and thus would reduce the problem of social inequality and its attendant negative consequences.

Keywords: Decentralization, constitutionalism, justice, federalism, rawls