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1.1 Background of Study

Impeachment or removal of the President or Vice President from office by the National Assembly is a strong political weapon and solution to political problems that may arise in the presidency either in the discharge of the constitutional functions or conduct of the personality involved.[1] A similar instance is obvious under impeachment of a Governor or Deputy Governor by a state House of Assembly. 

 Again, the process of removal of the President or the Vice President; Governor or Deputy Governor, through impeachment by the National Assembly or State House of the Assembly, as the case may be, must be in accordance with the provisions of sections 143 and 188 of the 1999 Constitution, respectively. Any infraction from the constitutional provision renders the purported impeachment invalid and void. 

 In the light of the foregoing, this paper principally examines some impeachment cases in Nigeria with a view to determining if such impeachment complied with the constitutional provisions. The cases examined reveal the role and relevance of the judiciary in the sustenance of democracy and rule of law.

 Elected political officers enjoy and exercise immense power, just as they, in certain cases, enjoy constitutional protection and immunity from legal process in the exercise of these powers[2]. Unfortunately, the latitude afforded by the constitution has been used, and wantonly so as a blind for its abuse. Public office holders have trampled on law with a touch of impunity, while deploying the machinery of government to perpetuate massive financial corruption and cover over patent infraction.

Our discussion in this work will be centered around what has now become one of the most engaging issues in the constitutional history of Nigeria – the impeachment and/or removal of erring public office holders for violation of law or breach of public trust in the discharge of their duties.  

Whereas the tenure of office of the affected officers[3] is prescribed and described under the constitution,3 an examination of situations under which these may be lawfully truncated is desirable.

The removal in recent past of at least six state governor’s[4] three senate president,[5] several speakers of the state Houses of Assembly[6] and some deputy Governors[7] cannot be ascribed to chance.

The relative ease with which proceedings that eventually culminated in the removal of these office holders were conducted has given rise to process of impeachment.

1.2 Statement of Problem

 Since independence, Nigeria never experienced a long uninterrupted democratic rule as we are witnessing in the Fourth Republic which commenced in 1999. Before 1999, Nigerian democracy had been disrupted and interrupted from time to time by the military incursion into politics. As a result of this, Nigeria has been in search of the opportunity to develop to a very large extent her democracy. Democracy is a form of government that gets improved and developed as it is being continuously practiced. Nigerian democracy has faced a lot of challenges over the years but the area which has not received reasonable and adequate attention in the literature is the issue of impeachment and issues surrounding it in Nigeria hence the reason for embarking on this research. There is the provision in the 1999 Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended for the impeachment of chief executive of federal, State and local government by the legislative arm of government with a proviso that certain processes and procedures must be followed before impeachments can be said to have been carried out. But sometimes these provisions are often observed in the breach

1.3 Research Objectives

The objective of this endeavour is

1.To appraise the impeachment procedures according to the 1999 Constitution

2.To determine the role of legislature in impeachment proceedings in 1999 constitutions

3.To appraise Sections 143 and 188 of the 1999 Constitution for adequacy and express views that will hopefully be useful in the application and invocation of the process.

1.4 Research Questions

1.What the impeachment procedures according to the 1999 Constitution

2.What are the role of legislature in impeachment proceedings in 1999 constitutions

3.How does Sections 143 and 188 of the 1999 Constitution be used in application of the impeachment procedures.

1.5 Significance of Study

The nature and manner the Democratic Institutions function is essential to not only the survival but also the democratic consolidation in Nigeria and this also has implication on governance. Therefore, a study of this nature no doubt would bring about the exposure of the modus operandi of the democratic institutions with a bid to bringing about suggestions and recommendations that would make them to function more efficiently and effectively. The findings and recommendations of this study will go a long way in assisting the legislators to be able to carry out their duties in line with the provisions of the Constitution without resorting to external influence. Finally, this work is a major contribution to the existing body of knowledge in the field of Political Science and Public Administration in particular and social and management sciences in general.

1.6 Scope of Study

The study will be aim at appraisal of the impeachment procedure of the federal republic of Nigeria with particular reference to the 1999 constitution.

[1] A.G. Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1041) 1 at 125.

[2]  Ekengba, O. F. Impeachment proceedings under the 1999 Constitution: A Shield or Sword”?  (unpublished) 2009, p.1.

[3]  We shall limit ourselves to the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors under      Sections 143 and 188. 3   These officers are expected, other things being equal to hold office for a period of 4 years each in the      first instance.  They are eligible for re- election for another tenure of 4 years after their first term.                

[4]  Rasheed Ladoja of Oyo State, Peter Obi of Anambra State, DSP Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State(who is now back as Governor), Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and most recently Muritala Nyako of Adamawa State. Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa and Adams Oshiomole of Edo state survived the onslaught. 

[5]  The Late Evans Enwerem, the Late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and Adolphus Wabara.

[6]   For example, the Speaker of the House of Ebonyi State and most recently, the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly who was removed by a minority of its members. 

[7]  For instance Alhaji Abdullahi Argungu, of Kebbi State, Sunday Onyebuchi of Enugu State and Alhaji Mohammed Garba Gardi of Bauchi State.

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