The Second Republican Constitution Of 1979

Historical Background In 1975, General Murtala Mohammed assumed power, promising to end the long period of military rule that began on January 15, 1966. Although he did not live to fulfill this commitment, his deputy, Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo, actualized the promise. The Constitution Drafting Committee, comprising 49 members, was established in 1975 to initiate […]

Historical Background

In 1975, General Murtala Mohammed assumed power, promising to end the long period of military rule that began on January 15, 1966. Although he did not live to fulfill this commitment, his deputy, Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo, actualized the promise. The Constitution Drafting Committee, comprising 49 members, was established in 1975 to initiate this transition.

 

Key Features Of The 1979 Second Republican Constitution

  1. Abandonment of the Parliamentary System in favor of the Presidential System.
  2. Introduction of an executive president, serving as both head of state and government.
  3. Direct election of the president by the electorate.
  4. Appointment of ministers by the president, subject to confirmation by the senate.
  5. Impeachment as a mechanism for the removal of the president and vice president.
  6. Emphasis on the separation of powers among the three branches of government.
  7. State-level governance with governors, deputy governors, and commissioners.
  8. Presidential and gubernatorial terms limited to four years with a maximum of two terms.
  9. President designated as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
  10. Allowance for lobbying but prohibition of carpet crossing.
  11. Empowerment of the judiciary to interpret the law.
  12. A bicameral National Assembly consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives.

 

Advantages Of The 1979 Constitution

  1. Separation of powers prevents executive interference in the legislature.
  2. The executive president, being popularly elected, remains accountable to the electorate.
  3. Fixed terms of office prevent the perpetuation of power by a leader or party.
  4. Supremacy of the Constitution ensures obedience from authorities and citizens.
  5. Elaboration and guarantee of fundamental human rights.
  6. Establishment of a new Federal Capital Territory.
  7. President’s autonomy in ministerial appointments for optimal governance oversight.

 

Disadvantages Of The 1979 Constitution

  1. Operational expenses increase due to duplicated functions.
  2. Impeachment clause may be misused for political motives.
  3. Concentration of powers in the president’s hands.
  4. Potential delays in government program execution due to separation of powers.
  5. Federal character may be compromised in appointments to federal establishments.
  6. Possibility of conflicts between the executive and legislature.

 

Differences Between 1963 And 1979 Constitutions

  1. The 1963 Constitution was based on the British Parliamentary System, while the 1979 Constitution adopted the American presidential system.
  2. In 1963, the Prime Minister served as the head of government, while the 1979 executive president assumed both head of state and government roles.
  3. The 1963 Constitution tied the prime minister to the majority party in parliament, while the 1979 president could be from a different party.
  4. Clear separation of powers was established in the 1979 Constitution, unlike the fused organs in the 1963 Constitution.
  5. Ministerial appointments in 1963 were limited to the majority party, while the 1979 Constitution allowed the president to appoint ministers outside the party.
  6. In 1963, ministers were both parliamentary and executive members, while in 1979, ministers belonged solely to the executive.
  7. The 1963 Constitution recognized an official opposition, unlike the 1979 Constitution.
  8. Collective responsibility was absent in the 1979 Constitution, unlike the 1963 Constitution.
  9. The 1963 Constitution upheld parliamentary supremacy, whereas the 1979 Constitution emphasized the supremacy of the constitution.
  10. The 1979 Constitution allowed for the president’s removal through impeachment, while the 1963 Constitution provided for the prime minister’s removal via a vote of no confidence.

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