EFFECTS OF LEGISLATIVE-EXECUTIVE CONFLICTS ON DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AT THE GRASSROOT IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

A true democracy is a sine qua non for the development of all sectors of any country’s economy. However, democracy incorporates the exploitative and allienative tendencies often demonstrated by the capitalists against the downtrodden. Democracy, from an empirical view point could mean “a socioeconomic and political formation that grants the hoi polloi (common people) the irreducible instrument of determining and participating effectively in the day-to-day smooth governance of their country”. That is, the general transformative and re-structuring powers of that state are vested in the hands of the electorates (Golden, 2010). The rudiments of a true democracy are good governance, fair and legitimate elections, justice, equity, accountability, transparency, responsible leadership, political education of the masses, respect for the rule of law and importantly corporation among the different branches of government.

Regrettably, the practice of the so-called democracy in the 21st Century Nigeria is intrinsically characterized by legislative cum executive conflicts ( Obidimma & Obidimma, 2015). One of the major factors threatening Nigeria’s democracy in the current fourth republic is conflict between the executive and legislative arms of government. Contemporary development at the federal, state and local government levels proved that the relationship between the legislature and executive branch is not harmonious. Success and failure of government, as well as governmental policies, programmes and projects are all considered in many quarters as consequences of the nature of relationship existing between the executive and legislature (Bassey, Raphael & Omono, 2013).

During the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, there were several attempts to muzzle the legislature. But the attempt to assert the independence of the legislature, considering its constitutional role in the political arrangement, invariably brought it on collision with the executive. This led to frequent frictions between the two arms of government. The protracted face-off took a life of notoriety with the removal of three Senate Presidents in three years. In the circumstances that led to the removal of Senators Evan(s) Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo or Adolphus Wabara, as senate presidents, the connivance, collusion or involvement of the executive arm of government was always alleged. Most National Assembly watchers at the time saw the Presidency as the unseen hand behind the crisis of confidence that almost wrecked the Senate (Eme & Ogbochie, 2014).

It is important to note that, the legislature performs the all-important function of law-making, one of three limbs of the doctrine of separation of powers. And without doubt, legislation is the most far-reaching and crucial power of the government of a society. As succinctly put by a most learned constitutional scholar, legislative power is the “distinctive mark of a country’s sovereignty, and the index of its status as an independent state” (Nwabueze, 2003). The executive on the other hand, performs the function inter alia of execution and maintenance of the laws made by the legislature. Laws validly made by the legislature are the predominant source of executive powers, and without such laws, the executive function cannot be performed ( Obidimma & Obidimma, 2015).

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EFFECTS OF LEGISLATIVE-EXECUTIVE CONFLICTS ON DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AT THE GRASSROOT IN NIGERIA