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Ndokwa Vanguard

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The concept of freedom- by otunkor Emeka Francis

Jul 25, 2023

The word freedom originated from a German word ‘frijadomaz’. Freedom is a state of freewill, charter, and a state of not being enslaved, It is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants or it is the state of being free, or it is the absence of coercion , or constraint in choice or action.

However the chapter [4] of the 1999 constitution [Democratic constitution] boldly spelt the fundamental human right of its citizens.

The Leadership in Nigeria has in its virtue promoted high level of autocracy or what some critics tag as self perpetuating syndrome, thereby enslaving the citizens of Nigeria, for instance in Nigeria human right could legally be restricted due to some tangible reasons such as ; a state of emergency such as curfew where human right to movement could be restricted, again right to speech could also be restricted when there is law against hate speech and slander, also, an insane persons right is limited, and again the right of an imprisoned person or an ex-convict could be restricted from participating in politics.

Furthermore, Africa has been through a lot in hands of the Europeans, Africa suffered over four hundred years of slavery and over years of colonialism, this brought about the anti-racist and negritude movement in 1926 by Leopold Sedar Senghor and some other anti-racist movement led by some men of virtue.


The concept of freedom is an essential aspect of human existence as it encompasses the ability to live act as one desires without undue restraint, yet the question arises to what extent should freedom be granted while unrestricted may seem attractive , it can have negative impact or consequences when taken to extreme measures .

This article aims to explore the delicate balance between personal liberty and the need for societal regulations, by analyzing various aspects of freedom, including individual rights, social responsibility and the limits imposed by the law, we can delve into the complex nature of freedom and it’s extent.

Freedom is a multifaceted concept with sophisticated interpretations. Philosophically it refers to the ability to make choices without external limitations, it entails an absence of coercion allowing individuals to express their thoughts, beliefs and actions freely.

This freedom is the power of a human being, being able to exercise his/her will, desiring a particular outcome people bend their thoughts and put in their efforts toward realizing it, their capacity to work towards that goal is their freedom.

The perfect scenario is someone having an infallible or flawless idea and similarly having an infallible idea of how to realize it , then experiences no impediment or hindrance towards pursuing it. However, freedom should be tempered with responsibility, as ones liberties should not infringe upon the rights and well being of others or should it be a nuisance to the society at large.

One of the concepts of freedom is individual right, these rights are rights that are required to live a free and equitable life and cannot be interfered with or denied by the government or other individuals, a few examples of individual rights are the freedom of religion which allows people to practice any religion of their choice, the right to privacy which means that your personal information cannot be made public without your consent.

The principle of individual right asserts that every person is entitled to certain fundamental liberties. These rights are necessary to foster personal growth, societal progress and the exploration of diverse ideologies, however it is crucial to acknowledge that even this rights possess intrinsic limits for instance freedom of speech does not extend to hate speech or the incitement of violence or the freedom to form or join an association doesn’t mean one should join a group that can cause havoc to society, which is the reason certain limitations are imposed to insure the broader societal interests and individual rights.
A concept related to freedom is social responsibility which is an ethical framework in which an individual is obligated to work and co-operate with other individuals and organizations for the benefit of the larger society through transparent and ethical behavior that contributes to sustainable development . Freedom comes with an inherent responsibility towards society, as part of a collectiveness, individuals must exercise their liberties in a manner that respects others rights and contributes positively to communal well-being.

Social responsibility necessitates acting ethically, respecting cultural norms and maintaining a healthy balance between individual desires and communal interests, an example of a social responsibility is keeping the outdoors free of trash and litter by volunteering to pick up trash from the beaches and river banks in order to stop the pollution of the oceans, one can also be socially responsible passively by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts.

Social responsibility is a very useful tool in reducing the misuse of freedom which will lead to societal harmony and community cohesion.
The limitations imposed by laws on freedom; the establishment of laws and regulations is essential to maintaining a functioning society, these legal boundaries exist not to impede on rights arbitrarily but to establish a framework wherein individuals can coexist harmoniously. The limits imposed by laws on freedom serves the purpose of establishing and maintaining social order, ensuring the protection of rights and preventing harm of injustice, in doing this the government seek to protect citizens from harm and prevent abuses, and uphold societal order. However the line between legitimate limitations and unjust restrictions is often blurred. History has shown how oppressive regimes have manipulated the law to suppress individual freedoms under the guise of maintaining order and security. Striking a balance between necessary limitations and avoiding abuse of power becomes crucial to preserving a true sense of freedom, the enforcement of laws must be guided by principles of fairness, justice and respect for human rights.

Citizens must have a say in the creation of these laws to ensure they align with democratic values and maintain a delicate balance between freedom and regulation
Conclusively, freedom, though cherished must not be regarded as an absolute right.

The extent to which freedom is granted should consider factors such as individual rights, social responsibility and the limits imposed by the laws of the society. Acknowledging the complexities of freedom and embracing a balanced approach allows for the flourishing of individuals while ensuring the collective well-being of society. Striking this equilibrium is an ongoing process that requires thoughtful dialogue, compromise and a commitment to human rights.

Society’s progress lies in understanding that true freedom lies not in complete absence of restriction, but in the careful navigation of personal liberties within a just and equitable framework.

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