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An Analysis of the Judicial Review of the Impeachment Procedures in Anambra, Oyo, and Plateau in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

Omololu Fagbadebo, Nirmala Dorasamy


Background: The Nigeria’s presidentialism recognises the interdependence of the three branches of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, in a system of separated but shared powers. In furtherance of its oversight role, the Constitution grants the legislature the power, through a prescribed procedure, to remove the heads of the executive guilty of gross misconduct while in office. However, some state legislatures removed their governors in violation of the constitutional requirements. This prompted judicial intervention in interpreting the actions of the legislatures vis a vis the constitutional provisions. This paper reviews the intervention of the judiciary in the cases of impeachment of the governors of Anambra, Oyo and plateau States, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This is a qualitative study with primary and secondary data generated from court judgments, public and archival materials, key informants’ interviews and extant literature. Result: Upon judicial review of the three cases, the judiciary declared the legislative process that led to the removal of the governors unconstitutional and ordered their restoration. However, the decisions of the courts were based on the violation of the constitutional procedures rather than on the merits of the allegations of gross misconduct. The Constitution ousts the jurisdiction of the courts to inquire into the allegations of gross misconduct. The paper discovered that while the judicial review gave reprieve to the governors, the pronouncements were indication that the legislature could rebound and exercise their power according to the set rules. Conclusion: The paper concluded that the breach of the constitutional procedure by the legislature was an indication that the lawmakers were not originally interested in the effective exercise of the oversight power of impeachment to advance accountability. The lawmakers were motivated by the pursuit of self-interest rather than desire for the public good. The indictment of the legislature by the outcomes of judicial review was an indication that the members of the legislature were not independent minded as envisaged by the constitution to make decisions in the interest of the public.


Judiciary, Corruption, Accountability, Legislature, Oversight, Impeachment.

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