Western democracy currently being practiced by Nigeria by virtue of her colonial background, rests on a tripod, generally referred to as the three arms of government, namely the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary. 

In accordance with the principles of separation of powers, each of these three arms of government is mutually exclusive and independent of one another,  but however cooperates to ensure the smooth running of government. 

In the same vein, through their respective  powers,  each of these three arms of government tries to curtail the excesses of the other arms by way of checks and balances. For instance, while the legislature appropriates budgetary expenditures and confirms appointments of executive and the judicial officers, and can even summon any member of the two bodies to appear before it, the executive in some extreme circumstances,  can deny both the legislature and the judiciary of necessary funds to compel them to toe its path, while the judiciary has the power to jail any member of these other two bodies. 

Since the advent of the present administration about three years ago, there have been hues and cries from several quarters about alleged disobedience of court orders as well as  the spurning of legislative summons by the executive arm of the federal government. 

Mention was made of various court judgments ordering the release of certain individuals brought before it, in particular, former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the now “missing” leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, which the executive arm had consistently failed to obey.  

Just a few days ago, Senator Magnus Abe from Rivers State cried to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) in the state to obey court orders if the future of the party must be guaranteed, especially ahead of the 2019 elections. He bemoaned a situation where the party had defied subsisting court order, warning that that would not be healthy for democracy in the country.

In like manner, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen lamented that the recent invasion of the Rivers State High sitting in Port Harcourt was an indication that democracy in Nigeria was under threat.

The Chief Justice described as “show of shame” the attack on judges, magistrates, staff and lawyers who reported for duty. According to him, “these hoodlums who were said to be heavily armed reportedly inflicted bodily harm to judicial officers and other staff of the judiciary going about their lawful duties and destroyed some properties belonging to the judiciary. 

“This action was aimed at stopping the court from sitting and delivering a ruling on intra-party dispute of the APC in respect of the local government congresses of the party in the state. This latest act of intimidation of the judiciary and the unwarranted violence against a peaceful institution of an arm of government is quite disturbing”, he lamented.

If the judiciary is complaining, so also is the legislature. Some functionaries of the executive arm like the Comptroller General of Customs Services, Colonel Hamid Ali (rtd), the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Abubakar as well as the Minister of Steel Development and current APC Gubernatorial Candidate for Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, believe that they are too big and powerful to be summoned by the legislature and so they all had consistently refused to honour legislative invitations. 

To cap it up, some hoodlums, a few weeks ago, in connivance with security agents in  broad day light, invaded the plenary of the Senate of the National Assembly and took away its Mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, and those who hold the ace have turned a blind eye.

In every democracy, respect for the rule of law is central to the growth of the system, and nobody, no matter how highly placed is above it. But the present executive arm of federal government does not seem to believe in that since it has continued to flout the rule of law with impunity. This is killing our democratic governance which the Buhari government has sworn to uphold.

0 thoughts on “Engendering Nigeria’s  Democracy  ”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *