Publisher: Centre For Social Science Research, Enugu

Effecting Checks and Balances of Powers In The Local Government System In Nigeria: A Critical Discourse On The Experience and The Implications For Good Governance

Dr. Ugwuanyi, Bartholomew Ikechukwu, Nworji, Lucy Odiche (phd), Oruebuor, A. A.
KEYWORDS: Arms of government, checks and balances of powers, executives legislators, local government, separation of powers.


The existence of the doctrine of separation of powers is very much aspired for in contemporary democratic governance Desired even more is the operation of its corollary principle of checks and balances of powers. In Nigeria, there exists separation of powers among the three arms of government. However, the critical concern is on the extent to which the principle of checks and balances is achieved in reality. Against this background, the study generally discussed the need and requirements of the doctrine of separation of powers, critically and specifically examined the practical operation of checks and balances with special focus on the local government system and particularly as it should obtain between the executive and the legislative arms. Following the analysis in the study, the conclusion is that there is no significant operation of checks and balances of powers between the executive and legislative arms in the local government. This situation results to recklessness, abuse of power and general misgovernance characterized by flagrant unaccountability of public resources. The major constraints to the effective operation of checks and balances in the local government system include one party membership of the legislators and the executives, fraudulent election of people into the legislative and executive arms and the pervasive prebendal culture among the legislators and the executives. Key measures recommended to enhance effective checks on the executive powers include strengthening the capacity of the legislators for legislative duties through trainings and workshops, ensuring free and fair election into the legislative and executive political offices and the legislative arm ensuring that it maintains its independence from the executive arm with the latter too being less disinclined to control the former. The study in its method of data collection
relied mainly on secondary sources of information and consequently anchored its analysis, findings and conclusion on content analysis technique.

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