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EFFECTS OF LEGISLATIVE-EXECUTIVE CONFLICTS ON DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AT THE GRASSROOT IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The rudiments of a true democracy are good governance, fair and legitimate elections, justice, equity, accountability, transparency, responsible leadership, political education of the masses, respect for the rule of law and importantly corporation among the different branches of government. Regrettably, the practice of the so-called democracy in the 21st Century Nigeria is intrinsically characterized by legislative cum executive conflicts (Obidimma & Obidimma, 2015). This study appraised the effects of legislative-executive conflicts on democratic governance in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic with some special references to Lagos State. Descriptive Survey Design was adopted in the study. A total of ninety three (93) copies of questionnaire were administered to respondents during the field survey, while ninety (90) were properly filled and returned to the researcher. Data analysis was undertaken using simple percentage and frequency distribution tables. Spearman’s Rank Correlations was used to test all the stated hypotheses with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0). The objectives of the study were to evaluate the cause and effect factors underlying democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic; vis-à-vis legislative-executive feud, conflicts and face off. The data analysis and test of the stated hypothesis revealed thatthere is a significant relationship between legislative-executive conflicts and democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic. The study also showed thatlegislative-executive conflicts is a significant predictor of the political stability in Lagos State, service delivery as well as the budgeting process.  Both the executive and legislature should respect and strictly adhere to the tenets of the principles of separation of powers. They should also try to collaborate in necessary areas that would promote good governance and democracy in the Fourth Republic.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background of the Study

A true democracy is a sine qua non for the development of all sectors of any country’s economy. However, democracy incorporates the exploitative and allienative tendencies often demonstrated by the capitalists against the downtrodden. Democracy, from an empirical view point could mean “a socioeconomic and political formation that grants the hoi polloi (common people) the irreducible instrument of determining and participating effectively in the day-to-day smooth governance of their country”. That is, the general transformative and re-structuring powers of that state are vested in the hands of the electorates (Golden, 2010).

The rudiments of a true democracy are good governance, fair and legitimate elections, justice, equity, accountability, transparency, responsible leadership, political education of the masses, respect for the rule of law and importantly corporation among the different branches of government. Regrettably, the practice of the so-called democracy in the 21st Century Nigeria is intrinsically characterized by legislative cum executive conflicts (Obidimma & Obidimma, 2015).

One of the major factors threatening Nigeria’s democracy in the current fourth republic is conflict between the executive and legislative arms of government. Contemporary development at the federal, state and local government levels proved that the relationship between the legislature and executive branch is not harmonious. Success and failure of government, as well as governmental policies, programmes and projects are all considered in many quarters as consequences of the nature of relationship existing between the executive and legislature (Bassey, Raphael & Omono, 2013).

During the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, there were several attempts to muzzle the legislature. But the attempt to assert the independence of the legislature, considering its constitutional role in the political arrangement, invariably brought it on collision with the executive. This led to frequent frictions between the two arms of government. The protracted face-off took a life of notoriety with the removal of three Senate Presidents in three years. In the circumstances that led to the removal of Senators Evan(s) Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo or Adolphus Wabara, as senate presidents, the connivance, collusion or involvement of the executive arm of government was always alleged. Most National Assembly watchers at the time saw the Presidency as the unseen hand behind the crisis of confidence that almost wrecked the Senate (Eme & Ogbochie, 2014).

It is important to note that, the legislature performs the all-important function of law-making, one of three limbs of the doctrine of separation of powers. And without doubt, legislation is the most far-reaching and crucial power of the government of a society. As succinctly put by a most learned constitutional scholar, legislative power is the “distinctive mark of a country’s sovereignty, and the index of its status as an independent state” (Nwabueze, 2003). The executive on the other hand, performs the function inter alia of execution and maintenance of the laws made by the legislature. Laws validly made by the legislature are the predominant source of executive powers, and without such laws, the executive function cannot be performed (Obidimma & Obidimma, 2015).

1.2   Statement of the Problem

There is the popular belief that the business of government usually suffers whenever the relationship between the executive and the legislature is strained. The constant conflict between the two critical organs of government usually affects the effectiveness of the government in its bid to deliver the dividends of democracy to the electorate. Besides, the constant face-off between the executive and legislature could put the nation’s democracy in danger, if not properly tackled (Eme & Ogbochie, 2014).

The nature of legislature-executive relations in the current fourth republic in Nigeria has over the years, attracted wide variety of viewpoints both about conflict and cooperation, whether one or the other dominates, and whether benefits or liabilities result from either. While some see legislature-executive conflict as a necessary and beneficial precondition to limiting and controlling government (Madison, 1992; Oji, Nwachukwu, & Eme, 2014), others view it as contributing to gridlock over major public policy decisions, thus making democratic governance ineffective (King, 1976; Kopecky, 2004).

The relationship between the legislature and the executive in Nigeria has been characterized by mutual suspicion, acrimony and political rivalry (Nwannekanma & Ogbodo, 2010). Despite the unequivocal provisions of the 1999 Constitution aimed at rectifying the problems identified with legislature-executive relations in the preceding republics, managing executive-legislature relations has been the single most problematic issue both at the centre and the state level since the beginning of the fourth republic.

The principle of separation of powers is one unique feature of presidential democracy. At the same time, the branches are expected to serve as checks on each other as a preventive measure against absolute or abuse of power. Consequently, Nigeria leaders, when adopting the presidential system in 1979, had envisaged a strengthened legislature that can function as an effective check on the executive as well as an active, vigorous partner in the making of public policy. The singular nature of the office of the chief executive and his responsibility of managing the machinery of government have however, been argued to give him the opportunities and competitive advantage over the legislature and hence continues to exert executive dominance which most a times are seen as the result of conflicts between these two all-important arms of government (Eme & Ogbochie, 2014; Ariye, Ogbomah, Ebipre & Eric, 2012).

Many scholars and researchers on the home front like Olaoye (2014), Igbokwe-Ibeto & Anazodo (2015) and Obidimma & Obidimma (2015) have at different times carried out studies on legislative-executive relations and its bearing on governance in Nigeria; but none of these studies have attempted to address legislative-executive conflicts on democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic vis-à-vis budgeting process, political stability, socio-economic development, service delivery, policy making and implementation. Hence, this research is being carried out to appraise the effects of legislative-executive conflicts on democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic with some special references to Lagos State.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to examine the effects of legislative-executive conflicts on democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic with some special references to Lagos State. Following this goal, the specific objectives are to:

1)      To examine the effects of legislative-executive feud on political stability in Lagos State.

2)      To explore the effect of legislative-Executive rivalry on budgeting process in Lagos State.

3)      To investigate the relationship between legislative-executive face off and service delivery.

4)      To examine the implications of legislative-executive conflicts on economic development in Nigeria.

1.4    Research Questions

The questions that this study seeks to address are:

1)      Will legislative-executive feud have effect on political stability in Lagos State?

2)      Is legislative-executive rivalry related to budgeting process in Lagos State?

3)      To what extent does legislative-executive conflict affect service delivery in Lagos State?

4)      Will legislative-executive conflicts have any effect on economic development in Nigeria?

1.5    Research Hypotheses

The researcher tends to test the following hypotheses in the course of the study;

Hypothesis One

Ho:      There is no significant relationship between Legislative-Executive feud and political stability in Lagos State.

Hi:       There is a significant relationship between Legislative-Executive feud and political stability in Lagos State.

Hypothesis Two

Ho:      Legislative-Executive rivalry is not related to budgeting process.

Hi:       Legislative-Executive rivalry is related to budgeting process.

Hypothesis Three

Ho:      There is no significant relationship between legislative-executive conflicts and service delivery.

Hi:       There is a significant relationship between legislative-executive conflicts and service delivery.

Hypothesis Four

Ho:      There is no significant relationship between legislative-executive conflicts and economic development in Nigeria.

Hi:       There is a significant relationship between legislative-executive conflicts and economic development in Nigeria.


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