Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, CON, LL.D (Lond.), FNSE, FCIArb, FNIALS

Being the text of a lecture delivered at the NBA Annual Law Week

Lecture on 5th July, 2019 at the Afe Babalola Bar Centre, Ado-Ekiti

I wish to express my appreciation to the Planning Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ado-Ekiti branch for inviting me to address you on the critically important topic to wit: RELEVANCE OF SEPARATION OF POWERS AND ITS APPLICATION TO NIGERIA

I accept to do so in spite of my heavy work load because of the profound interest I have in the law profession which is very dear to me as I have benefitted from it more than most.


The principle of law is that one cannot give that which he does not have. This principle is derived from the latin maxim – nemo dat non habet. It is upon this threshold that modern state constitutions acknowledge and embody the doctrine of separation of powers in the delineation of governmental powers to institutions and functionaries of government in such a manner that each circuit of governmental powers namely, legislative, executive and judiciary are administered by separate and distinct individuals.

Legislative Arm of government is empowered to make, amend or even repeal laws.

Executive Arm of government is empowered to execute the constitution (laws), formulate policies and maintain law and order.

Judicial powers of government are vested in court of law duly established or recognized by the constitution.

This delineation of powers among the three organs is a safeguard against over-concentration of powers in an organ which may lead to abuse of power. It also constitutes checks and balances on the use of these powers by the three organs of government. In practice each organ is constitutionally barred from encroaching on the boundaries of another organ[1]. The above is the contextual background of this paper.


The topic of this lecture which is, “Relevance of separation of powers and its application to Nigeria” will be discussed under seven heads to wit: (1) definition, (2) historical development of the doctrine of separation of powers, (3) relevance of separation of powers and its application to Nigeria, (4) Nigeria recent democratic experience, (5) when is a Judge free to deliver judgment without fear or favour, (6) the role of lawyers (7) and conclusion.

1. Definition

The doctrine of the separation of powers is a model for the governance of a state. Under this model, the government of a state is divided into branches, each with separate, distinct and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with the powers assigned to and associated with the other branches.

Separation of powers therefore refers to the division of responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another. The purposive and teleological intent of the doctrine of separation of powers is to prevent the concentration of untrammeled and unchecked power by providing for “checks” and balances” to avoid autocracy, over-reaching by one branch over another, and the attending efficiency of governing by one actor without need for negotiation and compromise with any other.

The separation of powers interacts with both the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution; and the independence of the judiciary ensures that the executive will be kept within the legal powers conferred by the constitution, and thus, simultaneously upholding the rule of law and constitutional supremacy.

 2. Historical Development of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers

Various writers are associated with the doctrine of separation of powers in its classical form. Aristotle who lived between 384 BC to  322 BC identified the three elements of the constitution in his famous work “The Politics”. Aristotle postulated that:

“There are elements in each constitution in respect of  which  every serious lawgiver must look for what is advantageous to it …If these are well arranged, the constitution is bound to be well arranged….

The three are; first, the deliberative, which discusses everything of common importance; second,   the officials; and third, the   judicial element[2].

It is beyond any doubt that the constitutional seeds of the doctrine of separation of powers were sown several centuries ago and indeed as far back as 300 years before Christ, emphasizing the need for government to act according to and under the law, a requirement made possible by separation of functions between the three institutions of the state. The constitutional historian F .W Maitland traces the doctrine of separation of powers in England to the reign of Edward I, when he posited that:

In Edward’s day all becomes definite, there is the parliament of the three estates, there is the king’s crown, and there are the well-known courts of law[3].

Viscount Henry similarly advanced the doctrine of separation of powers. He was concerned with the necessary balances of powers within a constitution, arguing that the protection of liberty and security within the state depended upon achieving and maintaining some equilibrium with the crown, parliament and the people. Addressing the respective powers of the king and Parliaments, Bolingbroke observed that:

Since this division of powers and these different privileges constitute and maintain our government. It follows that the confusion of them tends to destroy it. The proposition is therefore true; that in a constitution like ours, the safety of the whole depends on the balances of the parts[4].

The French writer, Baron Montesquieu, while addressing the issue of separation of powers, stressed the importance of the independence of the judiciary in the following terms.

When the Legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty….

Again, there is no liberty if the power of judging is not separated from the Legislative and executive, if it were joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control for the judge would then be the Legislator. If it were joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression. There would be an end to everything, if the same man, or the same body, whether of the nobles or the people, were to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing public affairs, and that of trying crimes or individual cases[5].

Although Montesquieu had some fundamental misconceptions about the true nature of the English Constitutional system,6 in reality, he referred to “distribution” of powers[6].

Montesquieu’s approach was to present and defend a form of government which was not excessively centralized in all its powers to a single monarch or similar ruler or a form of government known then as “aristocracy”. He based this model on the constitution of the Roman Republic.

The foregoing underscores the far-reaching importance and significance of the operation of the doctrine of separation of powers in modern states and goes to show the inevitable dangerous consequences of its negation by governments in any modern state, since it is trite and axiomatic aphorism that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and that the arrogance of power is the worst form of arrogance ever known to man, among all the forms of arrogance to which man is susceptible.

Furthermore, it can be seen from the postulations of these writers and jurists mentioned above that the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary can veritably be said to be the twin pillars on which modern states and all normative governments are based. Thus, the entire edifice or superstructure of all modern states and governments ought to be established on the three pillars of separation of powers in executive, legislature and judiciary. The imperative for separation of powers was beautifully summarised by Roy Moore who stated The basic premise of the Constitution was a separation of powers and a system of checks and balances because man was perceived as a fallen creature and would always yearn for more power[7]

3. The Relevance of Separation of Powers and Its Application to Nigeria

Nigeria as presently constituted is a creation of our colonial master, the Great Britain, which had suzerainty over what is Nigeria today from 1855-1960 , and shortly after the Berlin conference, which dealt with the partition of Africa by the European Colonial powers. Great Britain acquired control over different entities comprising the present- day Nigeria at different point in time, culminating in the amalgamation of southern and northern protectorates in 1914 and to which independence was granted in 1960.

Lord Lugard of the Royal Niger Company introduced some sort of governmental system for the new colony and the colony went through various constitutional phases ranging from indirect rule to the Clifford Constitution of 1922, Richard Constitution of 1946, the MacPherson Constitution of 1951, and to the Littleton constitution of 1954, and the Nigeria independence constitution of 1960. During these eras, few eminent Nigerians like Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikikwe, and Mallam Aminu Kano agitated for independence and self-determination from the Colonial Master, the Great Britain, which culminated in Nigeria being eventually granted independence on October 1, 1960.

Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been able to achieve sustainable democracy since her independence, owing to an array of factors that “held her back” and prevented the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

Juan J Linz and Alfred Stephan (1996) succinctly put it thus:

There are a variety of different forms of authoritarians that fundamentally constrain any democratic transition in characteristic ways and systematically create obstacle to affect democratic consolidation. Different authoritarianism regimes affect the subsequent trajectory of transition effort toward democratization in systematic ways[8].

The Nigerian state has been enmeshed in different kinds of authoritarianism right from the colonial era to this present day. Nigerian state is engaged in fierce struggle to break loose from all forms of undemocratic governance.

It is unfortunate that since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the state has been wallowing in the abyss of misrule and has been struggling tenaciously to sustain genuine democracy and the judiciary has been saddled with the role of stabilizing Nigeria democracy.

When we look at our political system of government, the performance of the three arms of government, the electoral crisis and the post electoral crisis in Nigeria, one will arrive at the reluctant and bitter realization that the masses and electorates are not strong enough, united enough, courageous enough, or enlightened enough to cause the three arms of government to adhere strictly to the age long principle of separation of power. The abuse of state power mentioned here could not have thrived in Nigeria if the doctrine of separation of powers and rule of law and independence of the judiciary are strictly observed and religiously adhered to, and requisite checks and balance of state powers stringently maintained and respected. Assuming that these principles were rigorously adhered to in our country, Nigeria, the practice of democratic governance would have been well entrenched in our nation.

The relevance of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary can be fully appreciated in Nigeria if we recall that the successive military governments we have had in Nigeria had invariably arrogated onto themselves executive, legislative and judicial powers and consolidated that in one unified power structure which is not uncharacteristic of the military as a unified and centralized command structure. Here is the clearest imperative of the demand for a separation of state and governmental powers in any political and governmental system, and the desirability, if not indispensability of the doctrine of independence of the judiciary. Throughout history, there has been exhibited a tension between the doctrine of separation of powers and the need for balanced government, that is, an arrangement depending more on checks and balances within the system than on a formalistic separation of powers.

Checks and balance is the principle that each of the branches of government or state has the powers to limit or check the other two branches and this creates a balance between the three separate powers of the state. Checks and balances are designed to maintain the system of separation of powers keeping each branch in its place. This is based on the idea that it is not enough to separate the powers and guarantee their independence but to give the various branches the constitutional means to defend their own legitimate powers from encroachment of the other branches.

 4. Nigeria’s Recent Democratic Experience

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made the theory of separation of powers a fundamental principle of governance. The 1999 Constitution in different sections vested the powers of government in separate organs of government as follows: Section 4 deals with the Legislative powers; section 5 deals with Executive powers, while section 6 is concerned with judicial powers. This kind of separation of powers is known as the horizontal separation of powers. The importance of the theory of separation of powers in enhancing the role of judiciary in achieving sustainable democracy in Nigeria was succinctly stated by Ikenga Oraegbunam (2005):[9]

There is no gainsaying the fact that a government of separated powers is less likely to be tyrannical and more likely to follow the rule of law. A separation of power can also make a political system more democratic. The division of powers also prevents one branch of government from dominating the others or dictating the laws to the public.

After three decades of nearly continuous military rule, democratic government was restored in Nigeria in 1999 and Nigeria once again adopted the American style of presidential system of government albeit with a nominal federal constitution. We must first of all recognize that despite the over 50 years of independence, in which the British bequeathed a democratic system of governance and also had our own very first democratic experience (1979) and now from 1999 to the present dispensation, our democracy is still largely fledging and imperfect with heavy consequences on human right.

However, we cannot but recognize that we are gradually, albeit slowly, heading toward what a modern democratic society should be. There will be teething challenges, and we have them in abundance. Nigeria, as a nation has witnessed major events and milestones in her journey from colonial days through independence, the military rules and the interludes of civil rules.

The on- going democratic dispensation came into force on May 29, 1999, with a new constitution known as the 1999 constitution. Under this Constitution, there appears to be some degree of separation of powers as between the Executive, which is made up of the president, the Council of Minister, the Civil Service, Local Authorities, Police and Armed Forces on the one hand, and the Legislature, i.e. the National Assembly, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, on the other hand. Our Legislature is bicameral, that is to say, there are two Chambers, each exercising a legislative role – although not having equal powers – and each playing a part[10].

The judiciary is that branch of the state which adjudicates upon conflicts between state institutions and between individuals. The judiciary is independent of both legislature and the executive. Separation of power and independence of judiciary is indispensable to the maintenance and sustenance of democracy. Separation of powers ensures that each branch of state operates within its constitutionally allotted sphere of responsibility and independence of the judiciary ensures constitutionalism and guards against tyranny, despotism, dictatorship and totalitarianism.

Furthermore, it is this feature of judicial independence which is of prime importance both in relation to government according to law [11] and in the protection of the liberty of the citizen against the executive. Blackstone in his own recognition of the role of the judiciary in the above context has tersely observed that:

…. In this distinct and separate existence of the judicial power in a particular body of men, nominated indeed,” but not removable at pleasure by the crown”[12] consists  one  main preservative of the  public  liberty which cannot subsist long in any  state unless the   administration   of  common  justice  be   in   some   degree separated both from  the  legislative  and  from  the  executive power[13]. (the emphasis is mine).

It is clear from the above quotation from Blackstone that under the principle of separation of powers the Judiciary is made up of a body nominated but not removable at the pleasure of crown (i.e. the president).

The Constitution requires that any infraction by judges should first be investigated and resolved by NJC to the exclusion of any other body or authority and that the removal requires approval by 2/3 of the Senate.

(5)     When is a judge free to deliver judgment without fear or favour?

The independence of the Judiciary as enshrined in the principle of separation of powers implies that the Judiciary should be independent of the two other Arms of Government i.e. the Executive and the Legislature.

The whole essence of this is to ensure that those who man the Judiciary i.e. the Judges at all levels from the Magistrates to the Justices of the Appellate Courts would be able to carry out their duties without fear or favour to enable them deliver judgements in all matters before them .

The import of the place of judgeship is perhaps better appreciated in the words of R. Ekpu when he said: “When you look at the courts today and you find judges who are willing to turn the law topsy-turvy in order to serve interests other than those of justice, then the courage of the few, who realise that they are sitting on the throne of God and that the only expectation is that they should do justice to all manner of men, strikes you deeply.  For indeed the seat of a judge is the Throne of God”. 

“If a man has the power of life and death over another man, what more can he ask for except the humility to approach his job with reverence, and if one may borrow the lingo of the law, to do justice to all who bow before the throne, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

“Judges ought to earn respect from all corners – from the men at the Bar, from those on the Bench, from the parties that bow before them and from those who watch from the sidelines. They ought to be able, in their interpretation of the law, to remedy equities that have been wronged, and to strive to make inequality equal.  They ought to carry themselves with grace, dignity and integrity for those are the ornaments of their hallowed office, knowing full well that one false sentence can do great harm to a nation or a generation”.

But under what circumstances can a Judge give judgment against the President, members of the National Assembly, the Police, the Army without fear or favour, bearing in mind the conditions under which they serve?

It is my view that the conditions of service including salaries, provision of vehicle, maintenance and fuel, personal assistant, hardship allowance, domestic staff, entertainment, utilities, outfit, leave allowance and newspapers, must be attractive and satisfactory.

Today, there are judges and magistrates living in rented apartments, there are also others or those without personal/ official car as a result of which they are compelled to use public transport.

Imagine the case of a chief magistrate who wanted to board a public transport, a passenger in the same vehicle told him “sorry my Lord, I have paid your transport fare”. However, it turned out that the generous passenger was in fact standing trial before him. The embarrassment could have been avoided if the Judge had his personal car.

Imagine another case where a judge was living in a rented house owned by an absentee Landlord. A case came before him where his absentee landlord was charged with a criminal matter. In the course of proceeding, he found out that the person charged was infact his Landlord. He could have been saved the embarrassment if he was living in a government quarters.

Again salary wise, the total emolument of Judges of Supreme Court in Nigeria is N10,899,284.00 while that of his counterpart in England is £257,121 which is equivalent to N128,560,500 i.e less than 10%.

In the past, Judges were invited to the Bench based on their competence and integrity of having been successful practising lawyers. In 1976, I was invited to the Bench by the well-respected Chief Judge of Western Region, Hon. Justice Oyemade, but I politely turned it down because I thought I needed more time at the Bar to practice to make more money before taking an appointment on the Bench.

Unfortunately, the likes of Hon. Justice Taslim Olawale Elias, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Adewale Thomson and Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola were removed by the military through Radio announcements without a hearing. That was a classic example of misuse of power and disrespect for the doctrine of separation of powers.

Consequently, I refused to accept any appointment to the Bench. Indeed, no brilliant, comfortable and successful legal practitioner would want to go to the Bench where the Executive can summarily dismiss him and this has had the effect of many brilliant lawyers not going to the Bench.


In the early hours of Saturday, 8th October, 2016, Nigerians awoke to reports of the invasion of the houses of several judicial officers by officers of the State Security Service or Directorate of State Services (DSS). In the course of the said invasions, the homes of the judges were searched and some of them arrested. It was also reported that the search led to the discovery of huge sums of money in local and foreign currency.

This development naturally attracted immense attention from the public. While some praised the development, viewing it as a step in the right direction by the current administration which had always made known its intention to tackle corruption, others condemned the action on the grounds that not only did the DSS lack the statutory powers to act as it did, but also that the raids amounted to a denigration of the judiciary as an institution. While the DSS stuck to its narrative that it was compelled to act owing to the failure of the National Judicial Council (NJC), the body saddled with the duty of enforcing discipline in the judiciary, to investigate reported cases of corruption within the judiciary, the NJC itself insisted that it was not subject to the supervision of any authority or individual. Not unsurprisingly, Lawyers were themselves sharply divided with some arguing in favour of the conduct of the DSS while others condemned it.

On my part, I issued a statement in which I expressed concern at the allegations made against the Judicial Officers while at the same, I expressed serious reservations about the conduct of the DSS particularly the effect of its actions on the independence of the Judiciary. See Afe Babalola on DSS MIDNIGHT ARREST OF JUDGES: LEGAL ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS published in the Vanguard Newspaper of November 9, 2016.

Whichever way one looks at it, it is clear that this type of action has inhibiting effect on judges.

6. The role of Lawyers in maintaining the Independence of the Judiciary

Before I conclude, I wish to address the role of lawyers in maintaining the independence of the judiciary.

The independence of the judiciary is critical to the maintenance of rule of law. Lawyers should see themselves as the defenders of rule of law.

It is with pride that I recall that when I was invited by late Gen. Sanni Abacha to take over the post of A.G of the Federation in 1993, I declined because I saw the take-over of the government by the military as an assault on the rule of law and an aberration to our democracy.

It is my opinion that the legal advisers to the government at different levels and political parties are supposed to demonstrate professional candour and ethical rectitude expected of the office. I recall the good old days when late Kehinde Sofola, SAN of blessed memory tendered his resignation as Attorney General of the Federation because the government refused to accept his opinion and legal advice. His conduct was not only commendable but it demonstrated, a high degree of professional uprightness and ethical rectitude. I commend to you the warning of Francis Bacon[14] to wit:  “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us”.

Tai Solarin, the Chairman of Public Complaints Commission in 1970s resigned because he was unable to produce his vehicle license after he was stopped by the police on routine check. He felt that we should live by example.

 The South Korea Example

The resignation of South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won amid criticism of the government’s handling of the sinking of a passenger ferry has provided a contrasting example for Nigerians about the attitude of government officials to responsibilities they are saddled with.

In turning in his resignation, Mr. Hong-Won had indicated that the “cries of the families of those missing still keep me up at night”.

The Seoul ferry with 476 people on board – most of them students and teachers – sank on 16 April. 187 passengers of the ferry have been confirmed dead, while many others are missing, presumed drowned.

Prime Minister Hong-Won, along with the Coast Guard chief, was in charge of the rescue operation. “The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign as a person who is in charge of the cabinet. On behalf of the government, I apologise for many problems, from the prevention of the accident to the early handling of the disaster,” Chung said in a brief televised statement. “There have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong. I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again,” he added.

Also, the country’s president, Park Geun-Hye, apologised to her countrymen over the disaster.

 The Willy Brandt Example

In 1974, Willy Brandt, a former Chancellor of the defunct Federal Republic of Germany, resigned after it was discovered that one of his personal assistants, Günter Guillaume, was a spy for the East German intelligence services.

 Democracy cannot survive let alone thrive in any country without lawyers particularly those in government and those serving political parties upholding the sanctity of rule of law. A proactive bar that is alive to its inherent responsibilities as a watchdog is a panacea to executive lawlessness. Unfortunately, we seemed to have a paucity of that kind of lawyers these days. Rather, we now seem to have transactional lawyers whose main motive and sole motivation is materialism. This is in line with the thought of Caroline Kennnedy[15] “The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decision independent of the political winds that are blowing”.

7.  Conclusion

The doctrine of separation of powers does not insist that there should be three institution of government each operating in isolation from each other. As previously mentioned, such an arrangement would be  unworkable in modern time as it is essential that there be a sufficient interplay between each institution of the state and that there should be checks to ensure that no institution encroaches significantly upon the function of the other. Arbitrary and blatant interference by the executive or usurpation of the functions of the other institution by the other could result in legal and constitutional deadlock. Thus, one organ of the government should not interfere with any other organs of government. For example, the executive should not interfere in the administration of justice by the courts. The judiciary must not embark upon  usurpation of executive or legislative function etc. in addition to this the principle of separation of powers mainly serves as a limitation  on the scope of administrative law, by making court not to question the substance of administrative action, but only its legality. As far as a decision is taken by an agency, which is within its confines of power, courts should refrain themselves from reviewing that decision. Administrative action that is not beyond the limits of powers conferred on the decision maker is not the proper sphere for courts to intervene. If they intervene, it will be a violation of the powers since they are in effect, encroaching on the powers of the executive.

It can be strongly emphasized that the American presidential system, the model of which we seem to have adopted in Nigeria, is firmly based on the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.

In this regard, one cannot fail to appreciate that the concept of separation of powers offers the judiciary a protective device both for the protection of the independence of the judiciary and against allegation of judiciary intrusion into matters more appropriate to the legislature or the executive.

Accordingly, to deny the relevance and utility of  some forms of separation of powers in any modern state that subscribes to universally recognized democratic principles and values, would be to misconstrue the evidence. There can be no gainsaying the point that the separation of powers is a veritable principle respected under the constitution of modern democratic states which exerts its influence on each of the fundamental institutions of the state.

Besides, we must acutely appreciate the wisdom in the aphorism that states that if men were angels, no government would be necessary; and if angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls of government would be necessary.

To accentuate and underscore the veracity of the foregoing, James Madison[16], in his The Federalist Papers No 51, has observed that:

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is no doubt, the primary control of the government, but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. This policy is supplying, by opposite and rival interest the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distribution of powers where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other, that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the state.

Therein lies the inherent justification of the over aching principles of check and balance which are veritably designed to maintain the system of separation of powers, keeping each branch in its place. This is based on the idea that it is not enough to separate the powers and guarantee their independence to give the various branches the constitutional means to defend their own legitimate powers from the encroachments of the other branches. In essence, they guarantee the powers of state to have the same weight (i.e. co-equal), that is, to be balanced, so that they can limit each other, avoiding the abuse of state powers, and in turn, the arrogance of power, which as we previously said, is the worst form of arrogance ever known to man, among the all kinds of arrogance that plague mankind.

Finally, whether you are a private practitioner of law or a political party adviser or you are holding any political post, please see yourself first as a lawyer and a watchdog of the independence of the judiciary. That is the only way to prevent any of the three arms of government from trampling on the powers of the other arm and indeed the only way to guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

Thank you for listening, I wish you success in all your endeavours. I pray for a nation Nigeria to evolve from the country Nigeria which in large measure still remains a mere geographical expression.




[1] Abdulazeez, Hamza Okene, et al, An appraisal of the Concept of Delegation of Power within the Ambit of the Doctrine of Separation of Power etc Readings In Law and Contemporary Issues, A Publication of Faculty Of Law Rivers State University, Port Harcourt (2018), p. 371-380.

[2]  Aristotle, The Politics, 1962, Sinclair TA (trans), London, Penguin, BK w, xviv, 1297.

[4] Bolingbroke, H, Remarks on the History of England, 1908 Cambridge: CUP, P.20, Pp. 80-83.

[5] Montesquieu, C, de I’ Esprit des Lois (17487 1989) Cambridge CUP.

[6]  It has been remarked that Montesquieu’s observations on the English Constitution were inaccurate at the time, representing more a description of an idealized state than reality. Vile, MJC, Constitutionalism and the Separation of powers, 1q967, Oxford: Clarendon, pp. 84-85.

[9] This was only true to some extent in so far as Nigeria became a Republic but still maintained a parliamentary system of government until 1966 when the military overthrow the government and took over power


[10]  A.A Gordon and D.L. Gordon, Understanding Contemporary Africa, 2nd Ed. (Lynne Renner Publisher, 1996).

[11] The Rule of Law.

[12] Blackstone, W (Sir) Commentaries on the laws of England (1765-69). Chicago UP. P.50

[13] B Blackstone, W (Sir) op. Cit fm 16 Vol, p69