• Impeachment as an accountability measure in a presidential system. Views from Nigeria's Fourth Republic

      Francis, Suzanne; Fagbadebo, Omololu; University of Chester; University of KwaZulu-Natal (University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of St Thomas, 2014-12-01)
      Extant provisions of Nigeria’s presidential constitution seek to promote a culture of accountability through a system of checks and balances. Since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in May 1999, promotion of good governance through accountability government continues to be a challenge. All indications point to a worsening governance crisis in the midst of abundant resources. Besides, Nigeria’s socio-economic performance and visible poor service delivery depict a deepening governance crisis occasioned by mismanagement of public resources. The data collected by means of documents and literature indicates that the presidential system has checks and balances as measures to prevent the abuse of power. Impeachment is the major institutionally recognised legislative mechanism to hold the executive accountable. The puzzle since the inception of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic is the failure of the legislature to appropriate this statutory authority to police the execution of public policies in a manner that will conform to the constitutional requirements. While there are requisite constitutional provisions that mandate the legislature to ascertain its power over the executive, indicating Nigeria’s commitment to the promotion of good governance, the legislature has failed to appropriate these instruments to stimulate a responsible government that is open to promoting good governance. Using the theories of structural functionalism and elites, this paper argues that this legislative failure to appropriate the instrument of impeachment to instil the culture of responsible executive in policy process engenders the prevailing governance crisis in Nigeria. The paper concludes that a political system where systemic corruption prevails will reduce impeachment to a mere instrument of political vendetta.