How politics, not religion, brews terrorism
The book, Nexus of the State and Legitimation Crisis (published in 2015 by Prime Publications, Lagos) is the collection of six research essays of the author, Professor Adebayo Ninalowo, a professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos. The central theme of the discourse is the political state and legitimation of political authority, as well as the crisis of legitimation.
The author, in dealing with the issues subjected the discourse into two levels of analysis, namely, the transnational and the local levels of analysis.
This approach, for scholars like Dieter Senghaas and Johan Galtung, is a discourse on the “Centre-periphery” analysis of the nexus of the state and legitimation crisis. Altogether, the book has 190 pages, comprising six chapters, each chapter in its own uniqueness, explores the central theme of the book.
Entitled Discourse on Transnational Crisis of Legitimation, chapter one is an inquiry into the consequences of hegemony or multiplicity of domination across geopolitical boundaries, conflict of interests and contestation or counter-hegemony. The chapter demonstrates how so-called ‘transnational humanitarian interventions’ have been used to achieve intrinsic interests, whereby what remains of such intervention is a crisis of legitimation.
The reward of such transnational interventions include awards of contracts to Americans, and other allies, for post-war reconstructions of destroyed infrastructural facilities such as the case in Iraq.
Today, we all know that peace has not fully returned in Iraq as well as in Libya after the execution of Gadhafi. What remains in Libya as well as in Iraq is crisis of legitimation.
From what is discussed so far in this chapter, the author drew the following corollary, that, there are dialectical linkages within the nexus of transnational hegemony, contradictory vested interests and contestation, the latter of which is congealed and activated as crisis of legitimation.
Chapter 2, with the title, Transnational Hegemony, Knowledge Base and Contestation, is an accomplishment of two important objectives. First, it interrogates and demonstrates the various forms and methods of transnational hegemonic aspirations and drives. Also, the author presents a thorough conceptual amplification of the concepts of ideology, hegemony and counter-hegemons, that is, contestation, with particular references to Marx, and Antonio Gramsci.
Entitled A De-Mystification of the Pervasive Understanding of Terrorism, Chapter three rejects and debunks the notion that acts of terrorism are religiously based.
Since every religion advocates for tolerance, peace and peaceful coexistence, it cannot and should not be argued that acts of terrorism are based on any religion doctrine. Rather, the author argues, acts of terrorism are both theoretically and practically traceable to structural existential and perceptual realities of domination and rebellious resistance. He is pointblank, noting that terrorism should be viewed within the nexus of global asymmetric or unequal hegemonic power configuration.
Specifically, reference is made to acts of state terrorism as practised during the Cold War, where training was given to some groups or individuals who were later deployed in fighting proxy wars in places such as Angola, Apartheid South Africa, Nicaragua and Mozambique.
According to the author, the notion of terrorism embraces extreme actions that deliberately involve destruction of life and property in order to effect social and political changes and in effect terrorism may also involve a state, but this might attract different appellations.
America’s war against Iraq under Sadam Hussein, he argues, is purely a case of state terrorism per excellence. America’s foreign policy during the Cold War, especially against the Soviet Union and its allies took the form of state terrorism.
Under Domiciliation and Citizenship Rights, Chapter four interrogates the relational dynamics between domiciliation, that is, individual residential location, and citizenship rights, particularly as mediated by the political state within the comprehension of social contract.
The chapter also clarifies the notion of domiciliation, which implies the process of locational claims of entitlements of residence by individual or groups within a given area. The notion of citizenship rights is anchored within the notion of social contract when we speak of the rights and responsibilities of the citizenry.
Consequently, interrogating domiciliation and citizenship rights is all about the ability of the political state to ameliorate the human condition. In the particular case of domiciliation and citizenship rights, it is expected that various organs of the state are involved in the mediation.
In Chapter five, Conceptual and Existential Juxtaposition of the Notion of Failed State, which appears to be the kernel of the book, historical and comparative approaches are deployed to distinguish an ideal political state from a peripheral, quasi-political state.
The author invokes the normatively or the ideal-typical construct of a political state to gauge the performance of a substantive political state, whether it lives up to the normative expectations.
In order to fulfill this objective, the author attempts to capture the universal ideal-typical functional significance of the state in relation to the notion of social contract.
In this manner, Professor Ninalowo draws attention to the global historical notion of symbiotic social contract between the political state and the citizenry, especially as espoused by social contract theorists, a la John Locke, Jean Jacque Rousseau, John Stuart Mills and others.
The social contract requires that the state provides instrumentalities towards the amelioration of the human condition (rights), while the citizenry on their part pays taxes, discharge communal duties (obligations).
Now, the question is, how does the Nigerian state fulfill this global historical mandate as a political state? The author, in the rest of the chapter gave an elaborate insight into instances in answering this question.
The last chapter, Antinomies of Corruption and Democratic Governance, focuses on the interface between democratic governance, corruption and the amelioration of the human condition.
Certainly, the book is resource material for various academic disciplines due to its multi-disciplinary approach. Teachers and students of politics, sociology, conflict studies, democratic governance, law and diplomacy and globalization will find the various chapters useful in their areas of teaching and research.