An Afro-communal ethic for good governance

  • Uwaezuoke Precious Obioha Akwa Ibom State University
Keywords: Good governance, leadership, communalism, relationality, complementarity


The underdevelopment of most African states and the attendant poverty and general social disorder that characterize her polity, is a product of failure of leadership. The hydra-headed monster of corruption and tribal politics seem to have a crippling hold on most states in the continent. These ugly narratives have occasioned the need and the increasing clamor and agitations for good governance. However, in order to address the problem of crises of governance in Nigeria for instance, economic, political and constitutional restructuring to true federalism appear to have been proposed as a solution to all of her problems. As helpful as this proposal may be, I argue that something more fundamental and enduring is needed which is an ethic of identity and solidarity grounded in Afro-communitarianism. As an Afro-communal ethic, identity and solidarity cultivates and promotes the virtues of love, care, complementarity, justice, equity, fairness and patriotism in governance practices. Using the Philosophical methods of critical analysis and synthesis of the current realities of most African States, I argue that the above mentioned virtues are lacking in the governance practices of most sub-Saharan African states and that the lack of these virtues has given rise to tribal, ethnic, ineptitude and corrupt politics/leadership.
Key Words: good governance, leadership, communalism, relationality, complementarity, 


Amadiume, I. (1987), Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society. London: Zed Books.

Asouzu, Innocent. (2007), Ikwa Ogwe. Calabar: Saesprint Publishers.

Behrens, Gary K. (2012), “Moral obligations towards future generations in African thought.” Journal of Global Ethics. 8(2-3): 179-191.

Eze, M. (2008), “What is African Communitarianism? Against Consensus as a Regulative Ideal.” South African Journal of Philosophy. 27: 386-399.

Gbadagesin, S. (2003), “Eniyan: the Yoruba concept of a person”, repr. in Coetzee, P.H., & Roux, P.J. (eds.), The African Philosophy Reader, 2nd edition. New York: Routledge. Pp 175-191

Gyekye, K. (1992), “Person and Community in African thought, in Wiredu, K. & Gyekye, K. (eds.), Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies. Washingnton, DC: Council for for Research in Values and Philosophy. Pp 101-122.

Ibrahim, MO. (2018), 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Source: Accessed April 18, 2021

Imoukhuede, B. (2016), “Corruption, Political Accountability and the Challenges of Governance in Nigeria.” Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences. VII(IV): 1-14.

Iroegbu, P. (1996), Communalism. Owerri,: IUP.

Iroegbu, P. (2000), “The political significance of belongingness.” Journal of Philosophy and Development. 6(1&2): 3-17.

James, W. (1892), Psychology: Briefer Course. London: Macmmilan & Co.

Masolo, D.A. (2004), “The concept of the person in Luo modes of though”. In African Philosophy: New and Traditional Perspectives edited by Brown, L. 84-106. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mbiti, J. (1969), African Religions and Philosophy. London: Heineman.

Metz, T. (2007), “Toward an African Moral Theory.” Journal of Political Philosophy. 15: 32-34

Metz, T. (2009), “African and Western Moral Theories in Bioethical Context.” Developing World Bioethics. 10(1): 49-58.

Metz, T. (2012), “An African Theory of Moral Status: A relational alternative to Individualism and holism.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice: An International Forum. 14: 387-402.

Metz, T. (2014), “African values and human rights as two sides of the same coin: a reply to Oyewe”. AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAW JOURNAL. 14: 306-321.

Molefe, M. (2016), “African Ethics and Partiality.” Phronimon. 17(1): 104-122.

Okeke, E. (2010), The Challenges of Governance in Nigeria: Broad Perspectives and Implications for the Engineering Practice. Paper presented at the Engineering is Development Confetence organized by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Nigeria (ACEN) Sheraton Hotel Abuja, 8-10 November, 2010.

Okere, T. (2004), “Crises of Governance in Africa: the root of the problem.” In Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, edited by Obi Oguejiofor, 3-11. Nigeria: Delta Publications.

O’Neil, J. (1993), “Future generations: present harms.” Philosophy. 68: 35-51.
Oyowe, Oritsegbugbemi & Yurkivska, Olga. (2014), “Can a communitarian concept of African personhood be both relational and gender-neutral? South African Journal of Philosophy. 33(1): 85-99. https://doi

Ramose, M. (2003), “The Ethics of Ubuntu.” In The African Philosophy Reader, edited by Coetzee, P. & Roux, A, 324-333. New York: Routledge.

Toscano, Manuel. 2011. “Human Dignity as High Moral Status”. Les ateliers de L’ethique. 6(2). 4-25.

Tutu, D. (1999). No Future Without Forgiveness. New York: Random House.

Wiredu, K. (1996), Cultural Universals and Particulars. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Wiredu, K. (2005), “Personhood in African thought”. In New Dictionary of the History of Ideas edited by Horowitz, M.C. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.