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A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SECTION 144 OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION

ABSTRACT
Constitutional power, being the power fashioned out through the sovereign free will of the people, is basically meant to regulate the conduct of both the government and the governed. It is central to politics. The 1999 Nigerian Constitution vests executive powers in the President who is the Chief Executive. Similarly, the 1999 Constitution confers on the President, the power to assent to bills and modify existing laws. Even though there is provision for delegation of powers, such delegates act only for and on behalf of the President hence such acts are acts of the President. In a country like Nigeria, whose history, especially as regards executive Presidency dates back only to 1979, it is obviously difficult to attempt to imbibe the political model of the United States of America whose executive Presidency is centuries old, without obstacles. When such powers as are conferred by sections 5, 58 and 315 as well as other specifically granted powers in the Constitution are vested in one man called the President, without effective checks and balances, and without a clear frontier as in section 5(1)(b), the tendency is that such powers will be misused. Power, it is said, “tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”1. It is in the light of the foregoing that this thesis examines the gamut of the powers vested in the President, particularly as exercised since the coming into being of the 1999 Constitution.
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
TITLE PAGE DECLARATION CERTIFICATION DEDICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT
TABLE OF STATUTES TABLE OF CASES
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH
JUSTIFICATION
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
SCOPE/LIMITATION
LITERATURE REVIEW
ORGANISATIONAL LAYOUT
CHAPTER TWO
THE CONCEPT OF POLITICAL POWER 19
Normative View of Power 21
Post-Modern View of Power 21
Pragmatic View of Power 22
The Crux of Political Power 22
THE NATURE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS 23
Origin of Executive Presidency 23
The nature of executive power exercisable by the President 24
The Specific Grant Theory 25
The Residual Power Theory 27
The Inherent Power Theory 29
Power and Prospect of Arbitrariness: Checks and Balances 32
GENESIS OF THE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY IN THE 1999 CONSTITUTION 34
History of Executive Powers of the President 35
BASIC FEATURES OF THE 1999 NIGERIAN
CONSTITUTION 39
Basic Features of the Constitution 40
It is Presidential in Nature 40
Its Supremacy 41
Its Written and Rigid Nature 42
Its Republican Nature 43
Its Federal Nature 44
Separation of Powers 45
Rule of Law and Basic Rights 46
CHAPTER THREE
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS
UNDER THE 1999 NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION 48
POWER TO EXECUTE AND MAINTAIN THE
CONSTITUTION 48
SECURITY POWERS 53
POWER TO APPOINT AND REMOVE FROM OFFICE 55
Ministers and Special Advisers 55
Power to Appoint Federal Attorney-General 57
Civil Service of the Federation 60
Power Over Commissions and Councils 61
Judicial Appointments 64
POWER OVER PUBLIC REVENUE 65
PREROGATIVE OF MERCY 65
EMERGENCY POWERS 67
POWER OVER EXISTING LAWS 70
CHAPTER FOUR
A CRITIQUE OF THE EXERCISE OF EXECUTIVE POWERS IN THE 1999 CONSTITUTION
Power to act within the Ambit of the Constitution
Maintenance of Public Safety and Order
Power to Appoint and Remove from Office
Command and Operational use of the Armed Forces
Emergency Powers
Rule Making Power And The Separation Of Powers
4.6.1 Implications of Presidential Power under sections 58 and 315 of the Constitution
CHAPTER FIVE
SUMMARY
Powers of the President
OBSERVATIONS
RECOMMENDATIONS
Redefine the power of the President under section 5(1)(b)
Decentralise the Police Force
Strengthen National Defence Council
President should obtain concurrence before exercising emergency powers
Divest the President of Power to make rules
CONCLUSION
 

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