Exploring the politics of impeachment in Nigeria's presidential system : insights from selected states in the fourth republic, 1990-2007.
Fagbadebo, Cmololu Michael.
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This study, through extensive empirical fieldwork research through interviews, interrogates the politics associated with the exercise of the power by the legislature to remove heads of the executive branch of government in the Nigerian presidential system. The study draws insights from the cases of impeachment in some selected states from 1999-2007. Through the frameworks of structural functionalism, elite and legislative role theories, the study analyzed the behaviors, attitudes and dispositions of the Nigerian political elite towards the exercise of requisite constitutional powers. The findings of the study show that external influence weakens the institutional capacity of the legislature to effectively exercise its oversight power over the executive. The prevalence of patron-client politics encouraged a selective application of impeachment provisions as an instrument of political vendetta and harassment. This has weakened the oversight power of the legislature thereby engendering accountability problems. It also deepens the crisis of governance because of the failure of the relevant institutional framework to tame unethical behaviour exercised by the political elite. Additionally, the Nigerian presidential system is unable to deliver public goods through an integrated institutional process. Policy outputs run contrary to the institutional framework that is supposed to provide the requisite capacity for the promotion of good governance in their exercise of political power, the political elite exploit institutional structures and processes at the expense of the public. This has evolved into a political culture that undermines good governance. The study therefore recommends the need for multiple measures of accountability, a truly independent judiciary, legislative independence and a reorientation of the people’s perception of political power.