• 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.
    • Oil Corrupts Elections: The Political Economy of Vote-Buying in Nigeria

      Francis, Suzanne; Onapajo, Hakeem; Uzodike, Ufo; University of Chester; University of KwaZulu-Natal (University of Florida, Center for African Studies, 2015-03)
      The extant perspectives on vote-buying have produced three central arguments around its causes, which are the factors of poverty, the electoral/voting system, and the nature of politics in the state. Going beyond these perspectives, this study presents the argument that vote-buying can also be explained by considering the nature of the political economy of a state, especially when the state is oil-‑dependent. The Nigerian case study demonstrates this argument. We employ the “oil-impedes-democracy” framework, which is a strand of the resource curse theory, to argue that the incidence of vote‑buying in Nigeria’s contemporary elections is prevalent because of the oil wealth associated with politics and elections in the state. This is because abundant oil wealth intensifies elite competition, which explains the use of all strategies to win elections including vote-buying. This is also facilitated by the fact that the political elite, especially the incumbent, have adequate access to oil wealth and spend it to “buy” elections and hold on to power. Voters, on their part, also prefer to sell their votes during elections to have a share of the “national cake” given their perception of the wealth associated with politics in Nigeria and the poor service delivery by politicians after assuming state offices.
    • Power relations among institutions in Nigeria's Presidential System: Issues and Contentions

      Francis, Suzanne; Fagbadebo, Omololu; University of Chester; University of KwaZulu-Natal (International Journal of Politics and Good Governance, 2016)
      The principle of separation of powers and the doctrine of checks and balances are the two major mechanisms that define power relations among branches of government in presidential system. These institutional control measures are meant to avert disproportionate exercise of power. The assumption of the culture of presidential system is the near absence of personalization of power. In Nigeria, power relations among the three branches of government are clearly defined to ensure the promotion of good governance. Nevertheless, residual and inherent powers of the executive tower above the other two branches of government. This paper discovered that the uneven distribution of powers among the arms of government hampers the operation of a system of checks and balances. Thus, the institutional safety valves become ineffective in the face a rising culture of corruption and impunity. The outcome is the preponderance of governance crisis and abuse of state power. Competition for power among political elites endangers good governance. The paper submits that an informed public capable of enforcing accountability is a sine qua non for a redirection of the culture of accountability in Nigeria’s presidential system.