Andrew Ogbochie

Andrew Ogbochie

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Stemming Impunity in Appointments in Nigeria: A Case of the Sack of Service Chiefs

Stemming Impunity in Appointments in Nigeria: A Case of the Sack of Service Chiefs

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Abstract The term rule of law and constitutionalism echoed into the subconscious of ordinary Nigerians under the fourteen years of democracy simply because of assaults of the paradigm of law and contempt for the laws, just as the term dictatorship assumed wider popularity when military heads of state held sway, more especially under late General Sani Abacha. What exactly are the rule of law and constitutionalism and what do they guarantee for the society that upholds these concepts were explained in a thematic form by identifying their major features. These concepts were put into text on Monday, 1st July, 2013 by Justice Adamu Bello of an Abuja Federal High Court when his judgement sent shocking waves around the polity when he ruled that the unilateral appointment of service chiefs by the president is unconstitutional and by implication nullified the appointments of those appointed as same. The honourable justice gave the verdict while delivering judgement on a five year old suit instituted by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo. Keyemo had sued the administration of the late president Umaru Yar’Adua for failing to get the consent of the Senate before appointing the service chiefs. The late president Yar’Adua, had followed the stead of his predecessor, chief Olusegun Obasanjo, by appointing service chiefs, including chief of Army staff, chief of naval staff, chief of Air staff, and Director of the State Security Service without recourse to the National Assembly. This nullification brought with it a lot of reactions. While some applauded the judgement as one of the best springs to lift-up democratic governance and the rule of law in the polity, others have knocked it down, positing that is capable of chaos and undermining the presidency, particularly as it affects security. Others yet viewed it as a double-edged sword empowering democracy and also capable of doing damage to the military establishment. The big questions, however, are: is the judgement actually incongruity? What are its political and security implications? This paper seeks to address these issues. The author goes on to use the major indices of the rule of law and constitutionalism to evaluate their practice in Nigeria using specific instances to add currency to this position. Patron-client politics of elite theory swerves as its theoretical perspective. The article concludes by positing that the rule of law and constitutionalism are ideals in Nigeria which are difficult to attain in their totality.

 
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The Legal/constitution Basis of Political Party Defection in Nigeria

The Legal/constitution Basis of Political Party Defection in Nigeria

Uploaded by Andrew Ogbochie

Abstract Politicians in Nigeria have continued to lay claims to their fundamental rights to freedom of association as a means of moving in and out of political groups at will, a development, though not alien to the nation’s political system, which is however gradually assuming a frivolous status, thus raising concerns in the build-up to the 2015 general elections. Provisions were made in the 2010 Electoral Act as safeguard against indiscriminate crosscarpeting from one political party to another, which spelt out conditions under which an elected officer can defect, but the inherent loopholes in the safeguards were today still being exploited by politicians. The sixth National Assembly also made attempts at stopping the distasteful practice through Constitution amendment, but the particular clause which sought to strip members of the National Assembly and House of Assembly of their seats on defection could not get the required two-third backing from the states. A similar move was made in 2012 when two members of the House of Representatives, Eddy Mbadiwe and Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Albet Sam-Tsokwa, re-introduced the bill. But it did not even scale second reading on the floor. Is the trend healthy for the political development of Nigeria? Does it portend stability for a political party? Does the law regulating political parties activities allow such defection? What actually is the position of the law on the subject matter? These questions are begging for answer and this paper seeks to provide answers to them.

 
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Executive-Legislature Feud in Nigeria: An Examination of Service Chiefs Confirmation, 1999-2014

Executive-Legislature Feud in Nigeria: An Examination of Service Chiefs Confirmation, 1999-2014

Uploaded by Andrew Ogbochie

Abstract Until not very long ago, the literature on legislative-executive relations was bifurcated. It had evolved into two separate and independent bodies of work. One thesis focused and the other on presidential systems, which were considered to represent two completely independent and alternative ways to organize the political world. Today a more integrated view of executive-legislative relations in democratic regimes exists. The emergence of this new perspective owes a great deal to the appearance of two seminal books, which, perhaps in a way unintended by the authors, questioned the premises upon which the bifurcated view of parliamentary democracy and presidential democracy rested. Kaare Strom’s Minority Government and Majority Rule (1990) demolished on empirical and theoretical grounds the basic office seeking assumption that informed studies of parliamentarism. John Huber’s Rationalizing Parliament (1996), in turn, questioned the appropriateness of the conflict model at the root of most thinking about executive-legislative relations in democracies. The specific contribution of each of these authors may be traced to studies of legislative politics that focused on the United States of America congress. As a consequence of these shifts, legislative organization came to the forefront of analyses of executive-legislative relations. In Nigeria, since the transition to civilian rule in May 29, 1999, the country has witnessed conflicts between the legislature and the executive over budget, oversight, and vote allocation matters. These conflicts are not only restricted to the federal level but also a common phenomenon at the state government level. This paper discusses the poor relationship over the confirmation of service chief’s matter and offers suggestions on how to improve the process. The paper concludes by positing that until strong democratic institutions are built and elected officials better understand their roles, the search for harmony between the executive and the legislature will continue to elude Nigeria. The new chiefs must put their best foot forward as they set forth to tackle the insecurity in the North-East zone of the country. This is not the time for rhetoric. They must frontally confront the security problems facing the country, especially the Boko Haram insurgency which President Jonathan recently described as the biggest challenge his administration has faced since inception.

 
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