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PROJECT TOPIC: EXECUTIVE-LEGISLATIVE RELATIONS AND DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION IN NIGERIA’S FOURTH REPUBLIC 2007-2017

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CHAPTER ONE 

INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Governance is imperative for the social, political and economic progress of every country and is indispensable for the achievement of the noble objectives of a state (Fabbrini, 1995; Oburota, 2003; Ogundiya, 2010). Governance is viewed in terms of process and structure. Thus, Gill (2002) views it as the processes, structures and organizational traditions that determine how power is exercised, how stakeholders have their say, how decisions are taken and how decision-makers are held to account. Ogundiya (2010) in a very concise and succinct manner sees governance as consisting as consisting of two essential elements of the state, namely, the structure of the state and the procedures of the legislative, judicial, executive and administrative bodies at all tiers of government.

       Today, democracy is the dominating form of government in the world, its rivals have “either disappeared, turned into eccentric survival, or retreated from the field to hunker down in their last strongholds” (Dahl, 1998).

Democracy originated more than 2,400 years ago in Ancient Greece. Democracy as a system of government is one in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives to form a governing body such as a parliament or in the case of Nigeria the National Assembly. It is sometimes referred to as the “the rule of the majority”. The principal purposes for the establishment of democracy by the people are the protection of their rights, interests and welfare. In a democracy there are usually three principal arms or organs of government which are the executive, legislature and the judiciary but we will limit this study to the executive and legislature and the relationship between them. In a democracy, the executive carries out or implements the laws made by the Legislature. Maduabuchi (2001) and Andre (1994) agree that while the executive as a form of government is responsible for policy formulation, evaluation and execution to realize set targets, the legislature enacts laws and make the same functional as instrument of cohesion in the society. The belief here is that all the levels of government, be they executive, legislature and judiciary, each of them may not necessarily subsist without the other meaning that each organ of government is mutually reinforcing and contingent upon the success or failure of the other. It goes further to say that there is no political moose in the practice of the specifications and injunctions of the Nigerian constitution just as there is no secret cow in the dispensation of justice in all its ramifications. The executive is therefore seen as the appendage and embodiment of the legislative arm just as the judiciary as the third arm is seen as the arbiter of the two (Ekhator, 2003; Bade, 2000).

The rancor and bickering in the First and Second Republic culminated into years of military interregnums and usurpation of the reins of governance from the arms of government especially the Executive and Legislature, and denied them the opportunity to grow and mature over time in their relationship together.

For a democracy to mature (expected to endure) the political actors must accept the legitimacy of democracy and no actor must seek to act outside democratic tenets, institutions etc. The political actors which we focus on here in this case are the executive and the legislature. The necessity of building a workable synergy and desirable relationship between forces of government at the levels of both executive and legislature lies at the heart of this research. The tendency however is to enhance good, cordial relationship in the executive and legislative arena so as to institutionalize the tradition of best international practices so as to engender democratic consolidation. However, it is interesting to note that the Nigerian political system since her independence in 1960 has grossly known no peace considering the high level of feud orchestrated by political figures in the country thereby either over-heating the already tensed system or at best, running the Nigerian entity more or less like a private estate. At the dawn of its political independence, international attention had shifted to Nigeria as a country that would possibly make giant strides toward sustainable democracy and good governance, development in Africa. Such hopes were not misplaced, given the human and natural resources abundant in the country. Paradoxically, Nigeria plunged into conflicts, which have rocked the foundation of the country since independence due to the foundations as well as consolidated deficient social, economic, political and developmental structures laid from the beginning, arising from the colonial origin of the Nigerian state. The parliamentary system of government that was in place in the First Republic Constitution bequeathed to Nigeria enthroned a system of shared power between the Prime Minister and President and no complete separation of power between the Executive and the Legislature (Dudley, 1982; Nwabueze, 1985; Momoh, 2000; Akinwumi, 2004).


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