The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic located in West Africa. It shares borders with Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. In the south, its coast is in the Gulf of Guinea. The Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba are the largest ethnic groups.
In Nigeria, approximately half are Muslim and half Christian. A small minority practice indigenous religions.
The federal government of Nigeria is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the Constitution of Nigeria in the National Assembly, the President, and the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, respectively.
In Nigeria, the constitution gives the president excutive power. The president is the head of state, the head of government, and the head of a multi-party system. Nigerian politics takes place within a framework of a federal, presidential, representative democratic republic, in which executive power is exercised by the government.
Legislative power is held by the real government and the two chambers of the legislature: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Together, the two chambers make up the law-making body in Nigeria, called the National Assembly, which serves as a check on the executive arm of government.
The highest judiciary an arm of government in Nigeria is the Supreme Court of Nigeria which was created after independence and also practices Baron de Montesquieu’s theory of the separation of powers based on the United States system and also practices checks and balances.
From the overview, the principle of separation of powers and rule of law, which entails that nobody is above the law becomes the core basis of any democratic system of government.
According to the dictionary definition, democracy “is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. For this reason, it is possible to identify the time-tested fundamentals of constitutional government, human rights, and equality before the law that any society must possess to be properly called democratic.
Given the political realities and happenstances in Nigeria today, one can say that, ‘Nigeria is not practicing a democratic system of government”.
Taking into the record the recent outrage of court evasion by the operatives of Department of State Security (DSS) on the case of Sowore, the convener Revolution Now, Violation of series of court orders by the federal government and it’s agencies, illegal arrest, and detention which has tripled in recent times are all matters of serious concern.
Furthermore, the cases of election rigs and degrees of court verdicts pose a negative threat to our democracy as more elections contenders are using the court lapses to further their cause, this is a detriment to any democratic setting.
The incessant killing, abduction, and rise of terror attacks in the country which the federal government has failed to tackle and take decisive actions about by biding to the people’s cry are questionable and not an offshoot of democracy.
In conclusion, let me use the words of Alexis de Tocqueville as cited by Nigeria Tribune (29/5/2001), “Democracy does not provide people with the most skillful governments, but it does that
which the most skillful governments often cannot do. It spreads throughout the social body, a restless activity, superabundant force, and energy never found elsewhere, which, however little favored by circumstances can do wonders. Those are its true advantages”.
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