Understanding The Constitution Will Strengthen Democracy In Nigeria -Dogara



jurist and constitutional lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabueze SAN, has
showered encomiums on Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, describing him as an impressive leader and a great hope
for leadership in Nigeria.

at the public presentation of his new book titled “Save Our
Constitutional Democracy From Emasculation’, in Abuja, Professor
Nwabueze, said that each time he sees and listens to the Speaker
presiding in the House, it gives him hope that all is not lost in
 listened to your speeches, comments and the way you preside over the
House, I am very impressed. It gives me hope that all is not lost in
Nigeria.  We still have people who can be entrusted with the affairs of
Nigeria”, Prof Nwabueze said. 
his part, Speaker Dogara, noted that for democracy to succeed in
Nigeria, politicians, players and stakeholders must study the
Constitution of the Federal  Republic of Nigeria to understand the
limits of their powers.
Speaker argued that governance in Nigeria will be more effective when
every player in the three arms of government are clear on what powers
the Constitution grants to their offices and where those powers end.
be candid, majority of us do not even know what constitutional
democracy means or entails.  Some of us in the system have not even
studied the Constitution,” the Speaker stated.
alluding to the ongoing debate over the power of the legislature to
input projects in the Appropriation Bill,  Speaker Dogara said that
there should be proper understanding of the provisions of the
Constitution, which was drafted along the lines of that of the United
States. Stressing that the concept of limited government and limited
powers must be understood by all the arms of government. 
come to Nigeria, where, for instance, the executive, or the President
determines the priority of the nation or of his government but
parliament can say no as representatives of the people,
Mr Dogara
continued, “And we have seen some of these contradictions played out in
a country like the United States. We borrowed almost everything in our
Constitution from the United States but there, the President ran for
election on the premise that he was going to build a wall, it was one of
his cardinal promises. As a matter of fact it was one of the basis for
which he had appeal.
On the Healthcare bill introduced in Congress,
 most members said, well, that may be the priority of your government
but we don’t think that is the priority of our people, and it stalled.
And he promised that from day one, he will repeal and replace ObamaCare,
if not the same day, if not the same hour after taking office but
Congress sat and said no, that may be the priority of your government
but it isn’t the priority of the people we represent, and the bill has
not been passed. If it were in Nigeria, imagine the kind of discussion
it would have generated such as parliament is frustrating the President,
they don’t want him to succeed and so on and so forth.”
Mr Dogara
commented on one of the main issues in the book, the Amaechi case and
described it as a situation where the judiciary elected a Governor who
did not participate in the elections. He posed the question, ” Who can
save our constitutional democracy from emasculation. Is it the Executive
or Legislature or the Juduciary?”
urged people to read the book, ‘Save Our Constitutional Democracy From
Emasculation’, to understand constitutional roles each arm of government
has to play in a constitutional democracy.
answering Speaker Dogara’s question, the renowned jurist, Prof Ben
Nwabueze, SAN, stressed that the National Assembly is the only
institution that can save constitutional democracy from emasculation in
Nigeria, adding that due to the tendency of the Supreme Court to have
‘special interests’, the Judiciary can no longer be trusted with that
urged the National Assembly to tighten the loopholes exploited by the
Supreme Court to disregard section 141 of the Electoral Act that sought
to remedy the decision in Amaechi’s case

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