The Doctrine of Separation of Powers

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CHAPTER TWO 2.1 INTRODUCTION In this chapter, the writer attempts to focus resolutely on the functional separation of powers in its “pure form”. Retracing its historical antecedents,, the chapter aims to examine the general backgrounds of the theories of John Locke and Baron De Montesquieu and integrate them in analyzing the modern world scenario and the Nigerian case in relation to the distinct integrity of each of the separated institutions—judiciary, legislature, and administration. This chapter dwells on the principle in details and its working and practice in Nigeria, specifically speaking. It then further aims to point out the working and dormancy of the principle in military regime Nigeria. HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT TO THE CONCEPT OF SEPARATION OF POWERS The theory of separation of powers means that, a different body of persons is to administer each of the three departments of government (The legislative, executive and judiciary). And that, no one of them is to have a controlling power over either of the others. Such separation is necessary for the purpose of preserving the liberty of the individual and for avoiding tyranny. Separation of powers is the division of government powers into the three branches of legislative, executive and judiciary, to act as a check and balance on one another and prevent the excesses and abuse of powers. It is basically a preventive measure against abuse of power, which will occur if the three powers are exercised by the same person or group of people. The principle may be basically linked to the works of the eminent economist, Adam Smith on the theory of division of labour. The school would argue that there should be division of powers for specialization and expertise and so as to ensure greater efficiency in government. The actual separation of powers amongst different branches of
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