Volume 10, Issue 2, May/August 2021
Columbus N. Ogbujah
Equality, Equity and Justice in Resource Distribution in Nigeria
In ethics and political philosophy, the concepts of equity, equality, need satisfaction, and justice are significant for the fulfilment of underlying requirements of human rights, and the attainment of peace in societies. Studies show these as potential frames for defining processes, distributing resources, sharing responsibilities, allocating rewards, demonstrating respect and dispensing with unequal treatments. Justice, as the ideal that impels us to impartially adjudicate between competent claims, is linked to equality. But as the moral force that propels actions for needs’ satisfaction, it is linked to equity. Hence, equality and equity are two elements of the theory of justice: both are grounded on the principles of distributive justice. This ‘common grounding’ apparently obfuscates their distinctive features, and over time, has elicited their equiparation. This essay highlights the archetypal frames of the notions of equity and equality as indispensable principles of social justice. It identifies the skewed distribution of resources in Nigeria as arising from a legal framework that removes the power of personal/group autonomy from the people. The essay notes the misleading tendency in the insulated use of equality for justice, and accepts the primacy of distributive justice amongst rival pathways to national cohesive living.