EXECUTIVE , LEGISLATURE AND JUDICIARY RELATIONS IN NIGERIA DEMOCRACY UNDER BUHARI (2015-2019)
The principle of separation of powers and the doctrine of checks and balances are the two major mechanisms that define power relations among branches of government in presidential system. Essentially, the primacy of power in governance necessitates the need for institutional control measures to avert disproportionate exercise of power. The assumption of the culture of presidential system is the near absence of personalization of power. Nigeria’s presidential constitution incorporates these measures with essential provisions aimed at ensuring respect for the rule of law . In other words, power relations among the three branches of government are clearly defined to ensure the promotion of good governance. Nevertheless, residual and inherent powers of the executive tower above the other two branches of government. Uneven distribution of powers among the three major structures of government, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, in presidential system, to an extent, negates the primary essence of the system of checks and balance. Thus, the institutional safety valves will be ineffective in the face of primordial interests and other informal considerations among the political elites. This becomes more profound in divided societies in the developing countries like Nigeria, where corruption and impunity dominate the activities of the institutions of government. In this way, the structures of government constitutionally responsible for regulating powers against abuse gradually shrink in their capacities to maintain order. The outcome of this is the preponderance of governance crisis. Since institutional measures remain ineffective for the control of power, competition among political elites for political space endangers good governance.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Institutional conflicts have been a recurring decimal in Nigeria’s political history. It is a fact that such face-offs as experienced in Nigeria, is a common phenomenon in a democratic process (Nnelirk-Mmalive, 2005). However, the Nigerian experience has revealed that the struggle between these branches at some point had some semblance of personal dimensions, yet clothe in constitutionalism Ukase (2014). A critical examination of the relationship between the legislature, judiciary and the executive in Nigeria especially under the current democratic dispensation to have being highly conflictual with attendant implications on the entire democratic process Ukase (2014).
The three arms of government are very important political institutions in democratic regimes and they have a very critical task to play in promoting democratic governance. The achievement of this task however is dependent on whether the relationship that exists between these institutions is constructive or conflictive. In Nigeria’s Fourth Republic for example, the relationship between the arms of government has been characterized more by dysfunctional conflicts which often deadlocks the policy making and implementation process, ultimately inhibiting on democratic governance. More worrisome is the fact that even after thirteen years of democratization in Nigeria, the political players have refused to wean themselves off from the culture of impunity and flagrant disregard to the rule of law, which are the twin evil introduced into the country’s body politics by the military. These factors and others have remained the triggers of political conflicts in Nigeria .
There is the popular belief that the business of government usually suffers whenever the relationship between the 3 arms of government is strained. To observers in Nigeria, the constant feud between the critical organs of government usually affects the effectiveness of the government in its bid to deliver the dividends of democracy to the electorate. Besides, the constant conflict between the legislature, executive and judiciary could put the nation’s democracy in danger, if not properly tackled.
The conflictual nature of legislative-executive-judiciary relations in Nigeria, has over the years, been characterized by mutual suspicion, acrimony, budget process and political rivalry (Aiyede, 2005; Nwannekanma & Ogbodo, 2010). Legislative–executive –judiciary conflicts has been contributing to gridlock over public policy formulation and implementations, thus making government ineffective. The quest for good governance in Nigeria has been threatened more by the unending conflicts between the legislature, executive and judiciary who are often entangled in a constant battle for supremacy and control of the policy making and implementation process, thereby jettisoning the tenets of the principles of separation of powers which clearly states that the three arms of government namely, legislature, executive and judiciary shall be independent of the control of each other (Momodu & Matudi, 2013). There is impunity and flagrant disregard to the rule of law noticeable among members of the executives and parliaments both at the national and state levels in Nigeria since the commencement of the Fourth Republic which has negatively affected democratic governance. This has consequently heightened confrontations between these institutions, to such an extent that the quest for effective service delivery and good governance in the country has been affected negatively.
The conflicts at the federal and state levels have profound negative and positive impacts on good governance in the country. Essentially, the relationship that exists between the legislature, executive and judiciary is very crucial for facilitating good governance in any democratic regimes. This makes cooperation preferable to conflict in Legislative–executive –judiciary relations. As Remington (2004) avers that for legislators to be able to play their role of representation, oversight, and legislation, “there is need to be a certain degree of cooperation between the branches (legislature and executive) in policy making (each side must be willing to bargain and compromise in order to get some policy benefits), the legislature must have some capacity to monitor the executive, and the executive needs to be willing to comply with legislative enactments.” It is incumbent therefore on the legislature to make laws that would set the agenda for good governance and it must also ensure through its oversight function that the executive and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) delivers on their policy mandates to the citizens at large. It is also important that both institutions should base their relationship on mutual respect, understanding and adhering strictly to the tenets of separation of powers. This, according to Taylor (1996) will assist in ‘re-establishing the proper balance between parliament and the executive’- implying that both the legislature, executive and judiciary should balance the risks and benefits resulting from the frictions in their relationships for the primary purpose of running the state efficiently.
The Executive , judiciary and Legislative relationship in Nigeria is of great benefit to the citizenry and could yield more benefits if the doctrine of separation of powers is promoted to ensure the independence of each arm and then backed up by the principle of checks and balances to promote interdependency. Executive, judiciary and Legislative conflict prevent and demote national development. The rate of successful political development will depend on the healthy executive, judiciary and legislative relationship based on the principle of democratic ethics. The political and legal framework must be in place to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Divergent interests which sometimes characterize a heterogeneous society like Nigeria accounts for the Executive and Legislative conflict especially in a nascent democracy as Nigeria. The quest for political power by both the executive judiciary and the legislative must be sorted out in the manner in which the political environment of the country is structured in its constitution. It, therefore, means that when political power is achieved, it becomes less lucrative to the occupiers (Legislature, executive and judiciary) who will channel communication and policy programs of government to the total liberation of the plights of the masses and other developmental needs of the country.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The inability of the executive, judiciary and the legislature to truly and genuinely democratize and provide the pillars for political stability and good governance through harmonious relationship between branches of government is one of the banes democratic governance in Nigeria. This is a paradox of the Nigerian state because effective budget formulation and implementation is at crossroads due to persistent conflicts and contradictions between the executive and the legislature with attendant socio-political and economic implications on the polity.
Legislative, judiciary and executive conflicts slow down the pace of democratic governance. It creates suspicion and hostility between the three organs. Encourages bad governance, public resources are deployed by executive to create factions in the legislature, which undermines the unity of the legislature; creates division between the legislature, executive and judiciary; creates distraction to the process of governance; creates tension and political instability; and encourages the culture of impunity and disregard for the rule of law among the political class .Legislative–executive –judiciary conflicts have profound consequences on the policy making and implementation process to the extent that it affects the smooth running of the affairs of the state. But a prompt and efficient management of Legislative–executive –judiciary conflict can assist in averting its dysfunctional consequences. From the economic perspective, the implications of the conflicts are even more glaring. Conflicts associated with the passage of Bills that have direct bearing on the economic well-being of the generality of the masses of the people leaves much to be desired. For instance, Nigeria has experienced serious disagreement and delay in the passing of appropriation Bills. As observed by Ayua (2003), series of confrontations between the executive, judiciary and the legislature have led to stalemate in government business, especially in national budgeting on which the welfare of the nation depends. It also has implication for rapid inflow and influx of foreign investors into the nation’s economy.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to investigate Executive , Legislature And Judiciary Relations In Nigeria Democracy from 2015-2019
Other specific objectives include:
- To examine the Failed Oversight Function Of The Legislature Over The Executive Under 2015-2019
2. To investigate the excess of Executives power Against The Judiciary In The Buhari Dispensation
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Having made a feasibility evaluation on the research topic, and in order to save time, resources and to have more accurate and reliable data, the research will focus the on Legislative–executive –judiciary relations on democratic governance in Nigeria. Therefore, the study considers Legislative, judiciary and executive relations from 2015 -2019. In view of the limitations of this study various factors contributed in affecting the researcher’s comprehensiveness in carrying out the study. The National Assembly as an institution has been one of the most unsteady institutions of government in Nigeria. As a result, there is paucity of data and/or information and Literature on the workings of the National Assembly which indeed has not had the opportunity for growth and research. However, the Researcher being an insider was able to acquire the available data. Among other factors are scarcities to access relevant materials on the issue, financial constraints and other task of campus engagements. Despite, the aforementioned short comings and hindrances, the research study no doubt turned out to be successful.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Until recently, executive, judiciary and legislative relations is one critical area in Governance and Public Administration in Nigeria that has attracted little attention in the academics and development experts. Thus, literatures on executive, judiciary and legislative conflict and its implications on democratic governance are scanty, hence the few reviewed concentrated more on general, relationship of the Legislative Arm of Government with the Executive and judiciary Arm. Hence the overriding significance of this study is to add up to the growing literature on conflict and relations. Thus the study is, therefore, both timely and significant. A detailed analysis of this phenomenon will reduce the dearth of knowledge in this area. In addition, the suggestions and recommendations proffered in this study will help improve inter-branch relationships. Finally, this work will be useful to scholars and students who may wish to carry out further research on the relationship between the executive and the legislature in Nigeria.
1.6 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
The idea of conceptual clarification stems from the necessity to understand some terms as used in this study. Osumah and Ikelegbe (2009) assert that the essence of conceptualization is to give operational definitions to some important terms used in the discourse. Conceptual clarification helps specify what we mean when we use particular terms for purposes of facilitating their contextual operationalization and comprehension (Rubbin & Babbie, 1989). This is because this study involves a social investigation, and it is therefore necessary to clarify basic concepts to avoid ambiguity in the use of terms. As rightly observed by Chafe (1994), the primary requirement for debating anything is to understand first and foremost the actual thing being discussed. Thus, clarifying some concepts used in this study helps remove ambiguity and cultural contextualization. In this regard, the following terms are defined
Conflict: Conflict is inherent in all societies and arises when two or more groups believe their interests are incompatible. Conflict simply means a state of disagreement, controversy or opposition. Conflict is a behaviour by a person or group that inhibits the attainment of goals by another person or group it could also be describe as a struggle, a clash between contradictory wishes, to be incompatible, to oppose. That is, it is opposing interest that occurs in relationship.
Democratic Governance: Democratic governance involves promoting the sustainability of democracy which includes an enduring capacity for: the separation of powers and independence of the branches of government; the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law; the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and, the transparency and accountability of a responsible civil service, functioning at both the national and locallevels.
Judiciary; is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary can also be thought of as the mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
Executive: It occupies a very crucial position in the administration of the state. Executive is the implementation organ of government. Executive are the irreducible core of government. Executive is the organ of government which bears the responsibility of putting into effect the laws enacted by the legislature subject, however, to the judgment and orders of the judiciary. The executive is the arm of government responsible for applying the authoritative rules and policies of a society. The executive may also be defined as the arm of government which carries out or executes the people’s will as enacted in the constitution.
Legislative Oversight: The process by which the legislative bodies take active role in understanding and monitoring the performance of the executive arm of government and apply such knowledge to its primary functions of: law making and public policy; budget setting; and revenue generations. A Legislature must know and understand the operations of government in order to make informed decisions on the laws to pass and the financial decisions to make.
National Assembly: The National Assembly is the two legislative houses at the federal level with members drawn from all states of the federation. The members of the House of Representatives’ are drawn from all federal constituencies based on the principle of population, while the members of the Senate are drawn from all states based on the principle of ‘equality of states.
1.7 STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
Every undertaken scientific study or research is conventionally presented in chapters for quick perusal and the digestion of the ideas therein. Therefore, this study is going to be composed of five (5) chapters.
Chapter one gives a general introduction of the study by giving out the statement of the research problem, scope and limitations of the study, objective of the study, significance of the study, research propositions, and definition of key concepts, research methodology and plan of the study.
The second chapter is entirely devoted to “Literature Review and theoretical frame work” where evaluated scholarly literature relevant or germane to the research problem would be systematically revised.
Chapter three bothered on issues such asLegislative-Executive Conflicts in Nigeria and its implications on democratic governance, Legislative and Executive Power Relations in Nigeria’s Politics, The Roles of Legislature, executive and judiciaryin Democratic Governance
Chapter four will deals with the reinterpretation and analysis of research proposition.
The final chapter, which is chapter five will summarize and conclude the study as well as give out relevant recommendations.