138197-369082-1-SM.pdf - JILJ 2010 THE RULE OF LAW IN...

This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 15 pages.

187 | P a g e JILJ 2010 THE RULE OF LAW IN GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA * Abstract The rule of law is a liberty centred constitutional concept which stipulates that everything must be done in accordance with the law. It encapsulates such ideals as government according to the law, equality before the law and the independence, and autonomy of the judiciary among others. The rule of law is fundamental and prerequisite in a democratic system of government. It is the pillar of constitutional democracy. It serves as a blueprint for designing an ideal legal system. There is almost the absence of the rule of law in military rule. Military rule is marked with autocracy and rule by force. The people are denied civil liberties which conflict with the dictator’s will. The decree is the supreme law of the land in military dispensation. However, in democratic dispensation constitutionalism and rule of law is supposed to been umero uno. This article will examine the ideal place of rule of law in governance vis- à-vis the Nigerian experience both under democratic and military governance. Introduction The concept of the rule of law is one of the prominent and important constitutional concepts. It is fundamental principle accepted as a standard not only for judging the performance of government, but also for determining which is beneficial or destructive to humanity. This concept is the bedrock of our system of justice. Being the bedrock of our system of justice, it is of great importance, so as to justify the legal order and legitimize the system of a given society. The rule of law collectively symbolizes the most important features of democratic governance such as government of the people, by the people and for the people; separation of power and checks and balances; representative democracy and substantive limits of governmental actions against the individuals (the protection of human freedom and dignity); limited government; and the review by an independent judiciary as a central mechanism for constitutional enforcement. 1 Hence, the rule of law is a hydra-headed concept that encapsulates very many issues in law, the polity and so ciety. To Ojo, it is “a nebulous concept whose meaning and content vary from place to place.” 2 Meaning of the Rule of Law The rule of law being a constitutional concept remains the cornerstone of governance in any given polity. It means that everything must be done according to the law. This implies that both the government and the governed must always justify their actions in law. And that government should be conducted within the framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict discretiona ry power, which Coke colourfully spoke of as “golden and straight netwand of law as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion.” 3 Government business should be done to avoid dictatorial tendencies, because if discretionary powers are allowed, those in government would use such to the detriment of the less priviledged members of the society.
Image of page 1

Subscribe to view the full document.

Image of page 2
  • Summer '16
  • jane murungi
  • Law, The Court

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern