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The Legislature, the Rule of Law, and the Politics of Impeachment in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

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The Legislature in Nigeria’s Presidential Democracy of the Fourth Republic

Abstract

The efficacy of an impeachment campaign in political and power contestations underscores the centrality of the rule of law in representative government. An extensive survey reveals both vertical and horizontal intra- and inter-institutional impeachment campaigns between 1999 and 2015. Speakers and their deputies were impeached for overbearing tendencies, financial misconduct, technical incompetence, and abuse of office. It spilled to state governors and their deputies keeping executives on their toes, curtailing their excesses and inordinate pursuits while in office and capable of sanitizing the entire political system if well-conceived and faithfully prosecuted. Abuses were however rife, negating the letters and spirit of the constitution. Sittings were held outside legislative chambers with reported attempts to an actual compromise of the judiciary. Cases abound of missing mace from assembly chambers. Lawmakers reportedly courted zealots who occasionally invade assembly chambers at will while intra-party crises were also exploited in some scenarios. State Assemblies particularly disregarded due process, as executive officials were arbitrarily removed from office on the recommendation of controversial panels credited to external influences. In controversial circumstances, panels of the investigation were set up in quick succession against constitutional provisions. This paper establishes a nexus between power contestation and constitutional breaches in impeachment campaigns. Power theory and prebendalism constitute the theoretical framework. The paper relies largely on the case study and content analyses. Observable high frequency, geographical spread, and attendant judicial reviews questioning the validity of the impeachment tool attest to the popularity and ease of its deployment largely for reasons of political expediency and power contestations that threatens the Consolidation of Representative Government.

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Muheeb, I.O. (2023). The Legislature, the Rule of Law, and the Politics of Impeachment in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. In: Fagbadebo, O., Alabi, M.O.A. (eds) The Legislature in Nigeria’s Presidential Democracy of the Fourth Republic. Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-24695-1_15

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