An Appraisal Of The Court And Constitutionalism In Nigeria; A Decade Of Democratic Governance

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An Appraisal Of The Court And Constitutionalism In Nigeria; A Decade Of Democratic Governance


Democracy is undoubtedly the commonest system of government mostly practiced in virtually all the countries of the world because it ensures the observance of peopleโ€Ÿs rights and freedom. It is however basically characterized by three independent arms of government namely; the Legislative, Executive and the Judicial arm of government. While the Legislature is responsible for making laws and the Executive is charged with the implementation of such law, the Judiciary is responsible for the interpretation of the law in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. In line with the doctrine of separation of powers, which is a cardinal feature of a democratic system, the Nigerian Constitution guarantees the independence of the Judiciary. The Judiciary as an arm of government owes an essential duty to interpret the provisions of the law when they are in question, thus the court (judiciary) is referred to as the last hope of the common man.

Be that as it may, the idea of constitutionalism is yet another concept that primarily operates in a democratic setting. Constitutionalism however connotes the belief in a democratic government where the affairs of the state are operated according to the provisions of the law. Basically, this work will adopt a purposeful effort to scrutinize the liberal constitutionalism and capture its salient features not merely as an imposition of limitation on exercise of powers, but also as a mechanism for accountable and developmental exercise of powers. Although some Critics had severally argued that the principle of constitutionalism is rarely observed in this part of the world.

From the foregoing, the object of this work is principally in two folds. Firstly, to appraise the judiciary as an arm of government, vis-ร -vis the Nigerian legal system. It is a common knowledge that the function of the judiciary is to provide judicial justice to the people where the circumstances so demand. Secondly, this work will make a deliberate attempt to properly examine the concept of Constitutionalism in our contemporary society. To this end, it is apposite to bring to the fore some concepts which are intricately intertwined with the principle of Rule of Law and how the courts had reacted to them in the last ten years.

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