Legislation And Good Governance In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Legislation And Good Governance In Nigeria


Legislation and good governance are indispensable in a democratic system to enhance social, political and economic development of society. Lack of legislation and good governance in a nation could pose as a major problem. The systemic approach as a theoretical framework of analysis is adopted. This research instrument used for the collection of data is the secondary source of data. The research reviewed that democracy and good governance of 7th assembly, to some extent brought about good governance to the people of the state. The manifestations of this can be seen in the enhancement of the education sector, provision of infrastructure like electricity, roads, water supply etc however, some problems which constituted a cog in the wheel of good revealed by the study include lack of transparency in some sectors, corruption and mismanagement of government resources. Recommendations are also provided on how to improve on democracy and good governance in order to move political, social and economical development of the state forwards.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The co-ordination of the system, people, and the polity is the responsibility of government who is the custodian of the sovereignty of the entire citizenry which collectively and willingly they have submitted to it in return for peaceful and meaningful co-existence propelled by law and good government. It is therefore pertinent to say that the responsibility of the government is to provide effective and efficient framework and enabling environment to enhance the social, physical, financial and general well-being of the populace or efforts of the components of the state especially human beings are effectively and efficiently galvanized towards productive activities and in the best interest of the state and the citizens determines the extent of the “goodness” or otherwise of its government. It is again not dubitable that a critical instrument for the organization of the state is law which government relies on day in, day out to ensure societal equilibrium.

Legislation which is a product of institutionalized law-making process is by far the most important arsenal from which government derives its laws. The foregoing, therefore, lends credence to the avowed roles and responsibilities of legislation as a source of law in any society and by implication, on the Legislature which is wholly and constitutionally responsible for making these laws. The task of this research is to examine the extent to which legislation can promote good governance and sustainable development and to analyze, against the idiosyncrasies of the law, the constitution and constitutionalism in Nigeria, the extent to which good governance had been promoted through legislation. This task, as daunting and challenging as it may appear, is best navigated by citing concrete illustrations from Nigerian jurisprudence.

Good governance involves far more than the power of the state or the strength of political will. The rule of law, transparency, and accountability are not merely technical questions of administrative procedure or institutional design. They are outcomes of democratizing processes driven not only by committed leadership, but also by the participation of, and contention among, groups and interests in societal processes that are most effective when sustained and restrained by legitimate, effective institutions. Never have these concerns been linked to more momentous opportunities. In the Fall of 2002 the 191 Member States of the United Nations committed themselves to eight Millennium Development Goals: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development. 1 As daunting as these goals are in technical and resource terms, they are no less challenging to Member States’ abilities to mobilize people and resources, to make and implement difficult policy choices, and to involve their citizens in initiatives that will shape their futures.

In this paper I suggest that good governance, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability embody partnerships between state and society, and among citizens— partnerships sustained not by good intentions alone but by lasting, converging incentives and strong legislative institutions. Governments provide the legal and policy frameworks that are necessary for successful and sustainable natural resource and landscape management programmes. Community-based approaches can only be effective if the institutional setting in a given location has in place policies, laws, regulations and fire management agencies that provide a contextual framework for participatory approaches, rights and benefits.

The successful implementation of any program, including CBFM, often requires changes to the supporting policy, rules and regulations at three distinct levels of administration: the national level, the local/district level and the intermediate/provincial level. At the national level, policies and supporting legislation need to create an environment that enables CBFM and makes it attractive to local communities. At the provincial level a model of decentralized natural resource management needs to be promoted that is most likely to work under the relevant political circumstances (Treue and Nathan, 2007). In Cambodia, for example, government policy, laws and regulations all influence villagers regarding their use of fire. According to the Cambodia Forest Sector Review (2004), government field staff, specifically cantonment (district) offices of the national Forestry Administration (FA) often enforce specific laws at the district and commune levels. As a result, the government and its policies are seen to be explicitly linked to traditional fire use and, in broader terms, to the socio-economic situation in many rural villages.

Community involvement in natural resource management is also a priority in Mozambique’s existing policy on forestry and wildlife resources. This focus is reflected in the government’s efforts to manage natural resources in partnership with rural communities and the private sector. This approach represents a policy shift both in Mozambique’s agricultural and natural resource sectors, which results in the potential for significant impact in economic development (Nhantumbo, Dent and Kowero, 2001). The development and the eventual implementation of relevant policy and supporting legislation require, at a minimum, good governance. The term “governance” is used extensively and in many contexts, but is difficult to capture in a simple definition. In a natural resource context, governance is used to refer to the body of formal and informal policies, and the arrangements developed between relevant stakeholders, to manage and to make decisions about a particular resource. Governance provides the framework by which groups, such as communities, define their interests, rights, responsibilities and the ways in which they will interact with each other and with institutions of authority to manage a particular resource.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Good governance and legislation goes in pari passu. If according to barron de Montesquieu in his principle of separation of power if the legislature were free from executive influence and lobby by politicians and other stake holders in the polity. In Nigeria 7th assembly, the problem of legislation has been hampered by the imposition of legislature who sometimes are not qualified to, thereby breeding ineffective legislation and incompetency among the legislatures.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the role of legislation in good governance, this is because there is no government without laws, and this laws are made by qualified persons called legislature, and the laws are legislation. However, the study seeks to ascertain:

  1. The challenges of effective legislation
  2. To ascertain how independent and efficient are the legislation made by the legislature
  3. To evaluate the relationship between legislation and good governance
  4. To proffer solution to the lapses if any in the 7th assembly

1.4 Research Question

In other to achieve the objective of the study and proffering solution to problem of study, the following research question were formulated:

  1. What are the challenges to effective legislation?
  2. How effective are the legislation made by the 7th assembly?
  3. What is the relationship between legislation and good governance?
  4. What are the lapses experienced by the 7th assembly legislation in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is conceived that at the completion of this studies, the findings will be beneficial to the employee of the National assembly and the legislatures who are responsible for law making.

The study will be of benefit to the media who will evaluate the effectiveness of the legislation in other to ensure good governance and appraise the performance of the government of the day, and criticize when necessary for better governance.

It is also conceived that the study will be beneficial to the teachers, lecturers, academia, students and researchers

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study covers legislation and good governance with emphasis on the 7th assembly, however the study has some limitations which include:

a) Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher have to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

Finance is a major constrain to the scope of the research as available fund does not permit further expansion of the scope of the study.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Legislation is defined as the making of laws, the process of writing and passing laws. However, a common and also more acceptable meaning refers to it as a laws passed by an official body especially a government assembly. According to the Black law Dictionary, legislation is the act of giving or enacting laws, the power to make laws, the act of legislating, preparation and enactment of laws, laws enacted by law-making body. Thus, legislation either refers to the process of making laws or the laws that emanate from such process. An important feature of it is that it must have emanated from a government body known to the laws of that society and this body is known as the legislature

Good Governance

The term “Good Governance”, no doubt, has very wide connotations. 6 In its widest connotation, it can be described as governance that meets or satisfies the yearnings or needs of the people in terms of development and good life. Governance that institutionalizes procedure for guaranteeing and protecting the rights of the citizens at all times within the framework of the constitution. Governance that promotes self-actualization and abhors poverty. Governance that recognizes the inalienable rights of the citizens to education, good health, constant and uninterrupted electricity, good water system, e.t.c.

Rule of law:

The exercise of state power using, and guided by, published written standards that embody widely-supported social values, avoid particularism, and enjoy broad-based public support


Official business conducted in such a way that substantive and procedural information is available to, and broadly understandable by, people and groups in society, subject to reasonable limits protecting security and privacy


Procedures requiring officials and those who seek to influence them to follow established rules defining acceptable processes and outcomes, and to demonstrate that they have followed those procedures

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, and definition of term.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study it’s based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

The chapter concludes the study. It provides a summary of the capacities of the two Legislatures as expounded in the study to promote good governance. Recommendations, based on the identified weaknesses, are made. Principally the chapter compares the practices of the two Legislatures with the hypotheses set down at chapter one.

5.2 Conclusion

When good governance and legislation functions in the above ways, it breeds social capital, in the form of networks and associations that draw people together in relations of trust reciprocity and voluntary cooperation for common ends. The deeper a country’s reservoirs of social capital and the more these are based on horizontal and vertical relations emanating from both government and public realms, the more formidable is the entire body polity. The benefits accruing to this not only enhances good governance in the Fourth Republic, it also transcends beyond the unknown in our overall national life.

5.3 Recommendations

5.3.1 Legal Framework
(a) Budgetary Process

The budgetary process in any Legislature is an important tool. It is a fundamentally crucial moment in the lifespan of governments, which brings the full scope of the legislative oversight role to bear on government’s priorities. Both Legislatures do not currently effectively participate in the budget process. It is recommended that the LSA activates its constitutional budgetary role by enacting the legislation envisaged in section 77 (2) of the Constitution. The LG will also have to enact legislation in terms of article 179(7) to prescribe the procedure for the presentation of Appropriation Bills to the House. It will also have to enact legislation to compel the executive to enforce sanctions recommended by the Auditor-General.

(b) Budget Committee

The study recommends the setting up of a Standing Committee on Budget on the enactment of the above legislation. This committee will not only enhance effective legislative capacity to scrutinize budgets but also oversee implementation of all government’s agencies. The legal framework might consider the requirement of mid-year reports of all MDAs to the Budget Committee. A major role the Budget Committee shall play is to monitor and control unbridled expenditure of MDAs, a factor which has negative monetary policy implications.

(c) Transparency

The continued existence in Nigeria of official secrecy legislations, and the non-existence of legislation that promotes the free access to information, undermine transparency in the budgetary process. This affects the LG’s oversight role over organs of government. Nigeria needs to repeal the State Secrets Act, Act 101 and to establish the appropriate legal framework that guarantees public access to state-held information.

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