The Nigerian President – Qualifications, Powers And Limitations Under Constitutional Law


This book – The Nigerian President-Powers, and Limitations Under Constitutional Law – as the title imports, is a constitutional law text aimed at examining some of the most pertinent constitutional law principles that lay the basis for the actions and inactions of the executive arm of government as exemplified by the Nigerian President. It outlines the constitutional powers bestowed on the Nigerian Head of State and its limits.

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However, it must be conceded that this subject of constitutional law and the principles governing the powers and limitations of the president has been dealt with by various distinguished Constitutional Law scholars like professor Ben Nwabueze in several Constitutional law textbooks.  But all too often, the topics are discussed on a general note.

In consideration of this fact, this book is aimed at providing students and other persons who have an interest in constitutional law with a specialized text that deals squarely with the office of the presidency. That is the raison d’etre of this book.

This text addresses Nigeria’s presidency in the full range of its functions. It examines the presidential personality, decision-making machinery, and processes, as well as the president’s role in nation-building.

Other specific subjects touched include the election processes, issues of qualification, and disqualification of the President. There is also examined in this book the question of whether the Vice-President is a slave or an associate of the President.

This is very insightful given the events prior to the 2007 elections whereby the then President Olusegun Obasanjo had to declare the office of the Vice-President vacant because the occupier of the office at that time resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party under which they were both elected as president and Vice-President.

The Supreme Court in the case of A.G FEDERATION v. ATIKU ABUBAKAR [2007] 10 NWLR had to address the issue of whether having regard to the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or any law, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can declare vacant the office of the plaintiff as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The decision of the Supreme Court on this issue which has become the locus classicus on this matter is fully replicated in Appendix B of this book for ease of reference.  The constitutional principles upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its conclusion are also beautifully elucidated in chapter 3 of this book.

There are also the issues of tenure, removal, and the relationship between the President and the ministers of the government of the Federation.  The specific role of the President in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy is equally discussed and expatiated upon in chapter 6.  The national budgetary process and the specific roles of the President are also covered.

One other key aspect of the Presidency is the effective management of Executive-Legislative relations.  It has been observed by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) that ‘‘while the legislative role is universally recognized and established in most nations’ constitutions, it is a frequent source of friction and disagreement between legislatures and executive the world over. Creating a workable, mutually agreed-upon balance can be an extremely difficult task.

The relative balance of legislative-executive power in a country is a constantly evolving dynamic. The balance may ebb and flow as personalities, politics, current events, and public opinion alter the political landscape’’.  Thus, the President is expected to have a mastery of the management of this all-important relationship.’’

Indeed, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has clearly demarcated the functions of the executive arm of government from that of the legislature under the constitutional law principle of separation of powers. Yet it cannot be disputed that both organs of government still have a common link.

In chapter 7, this link has been carefully examined along with four suggested approaches to the management of executive-legislative relations in light of the Nigerian context.  These are:

  • Fox’ versus ‘Lion’
  • “Systematic” versus “Buckshot”
  • ‘Involved’ versus ‘Aloof’.
  • ‘Bipartisan’ versus ‘Partisan’.

Without an iota of doubt, this book will prove to be a useful resource for all students of Nigerian constitutional law and history. Practising lawyers, Journalists, legislators, civil servants and the general reading public will also find it to be a must-read.

This is a soft copy book. No hard copy is available at the moment.






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