Features of The 1999 Constitution

The 1999 constitution serves various functions, encompassing key aspects of governance in Nigeria. These functions can be delineated as follows:   Preamble: The constitution commences with a preamble, articulating its aspirations.   Political Structure: It outlines the governmental structure, discerning between unitary and federal systems, while elucidating the distribution of powers among the state’s component […]

The 1999 constitution serves various functions, encompassing key aspects of governance in Nigeria. These functions can be delineated as follows:

 

Preamble:

The constitution commences with a preamble, articulating its aspirations.

 

Political Structure:

It outlines the governmental structure, discerning between unitary and federal systems, while elucidating the distribution of powers among the state’s component units.

 

Political Institutions:

The constitution delineates the powers and functions of political institutions such as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, emphasizing the separation of powers.

 

Party System:

It dictates the preferred party system—whether one-party, two-party, or multi-party systems.

 

Fundamental Human Rights:

The Constitution defines citizens’ rights, duties, and obligations to the state.

 

Tenure of Office:

It stipulates the duration of a government’s term, specifying a four-year tenure.

 

Functions:

  1. Facilitates proper documentation and entrenchment of fundamental human rights.
  2. Mitigates fears of majority domination over minority groups.
  3. Clearly outlines the amendment procedure with a requirement for a 2/3 majority in both houses.
  4. Serves as a reference for judges in law courts.
  5. Ensures political stability.
  6. Maintains the executive presidential system with a clear separation of powers.

 

Under the 1999 constitution:

  1. Executive powers are vested in the state governor, exercised directly or through designated officials.
  2. Judicial powers are vested in federal and state courts, with the Supreme Court as the highest appellate court.
  3. The National Assembly remains bicameral with specific membership allocations.

Other provisions include a comprehensive list of local government functions, educational qualification requirements for officeholders, and emphasis on checks and balances in governance.

 

Demerits:

  1. Imposed by military leaders.
  2. Rigid amendment process.
  3. Suspected bias towards specific military figures.
  4. Concentration of power in the presidency and federal government.
  5. Over-centralization of the judiciary, contradicting federalist principles.

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