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Separation of Power: A Panacea To Democracy

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has said that separation of power is a panacea to the country’s nascent democracy. He made this remark while delivering a lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria to Cource 26 participants. He emphasized that the NDC is an important institution in the nation’s security architecture and crucible in training the best of our military, paramilitary and allied officers.


The Senate President said the invitation extended to him to speak on the lecture entitled ‘Separation of Powers and National Security in Nigeria: An Appraisal’.           The Senate President emphasized during the lecture that the Legislature is a co-equal of the Executive and the Judiciary. Senator Saraki further expressed the unassailable position that the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature are subordinate to the other. He added that, as former Senate President Ken Nnamani once opined, “The Legislature and the Executive are co-managers of the economy.” Senator Bukola further buttressed that the objective of separation of power is not to set the basis for rivalry between the three arms of government but to ensure accountability which becomes the basis for the democratic principles of Separation of Powers.   He therefore, advised that every individual in government should uphold the core principles of Separation of Powers and its implications for leadership, governance, democracy and national security because our development, peace and security depend on it. He also added that it is not about the individual; it is about the institution if we are to ensure the survival of our democracy


In furtherance, he commented, that Separation of Powers and the concomitant Checks and Balances enable the Legislature to ensure that national security is properly maintained for peace and development and for the public good.

While delivering the lecture he said that adherence to the Rule of Law is a fundamental pre-condition for the realization of development in all sectors whereas absence of the Rule of Law continues to constrain market development, public confidence in the legal sector, security and general well-being of the people.


In another development, the Senate President recalled the line in John Donne’s famous poem that says, ‘No man is an island entire of itself’. He therefore said that, power does not reside in its entirety in any one person or arm of government. This was informed by the fundamental notion that every man is equal under the law and no one is above the law; therefore, each organ of government could only act within the ambit allowed by the Constitution to ensure accountability, prevent autocracy and dictatorship and to uphold freedoms. For where there is autocracy or dictatorship, there would not be freedom.


The Commandant NDC while making his remarks commended the Senate President not for the fact that the audience has not heard the subject matter on separation of power before, but for the fact that the presentation was erudite and that the Senate President added his wealth of political prowess and experiences in delivering the lecture amidst his busy official engagements. He reiterated that the lecture was part of the Strategy, Statecraft and National Security Block of NDC Course 26; and that participants were drawn from the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force, Strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as participants from 16 counties of the armed forces across the African continent and beyond, namely; Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire, Congo, Ghana and Germany. Others are India, Malawi, Mali ,Niger , Rwanda , Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The Commandant however, concluded that Separation of Powers gives room for efficient conflict resolution.

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