Political Science

The Doctrine of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances in the Nigerian Executive-Legislative Relationship

The Doctrine of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances in the Nigerian Executive-Legislative Relationship

Authors: Francisca Anyim-Ben, Samuel N Okereke, Ngozi Chijioke


Separation of powers and checks and balances is a theoretical framework for promoting and enhancing the autonomy of the arms of government in exercising their constitutional responsibilities. This framework is intimately bound with the practice of the culture of liberal democracy as it is being expressed in the near independent relationship between the different arms of government. For democracy and good governance to stand the taste of time, the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances among the arms of the government must be respected and entrenched particularly between the executive and legislature. Nigeria as a country has adopted the presidential system of government with the executive, legislative and judiciary collaborating to facilitate the harmonious interaction between them in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly outlined the duties of the three arms of government and how they are to checkmate each other. In practice however, one notices an aberration in the constitutional provisions and the Nigerian experience as regards separation of power and checks and balances. This paper therefore is an attempt to look into this constitutional relationship and examine how the executive and legislature have fared so far in the Nigerian context.

Keywords: Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, Executive, Legislative


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