The Principle of Separation of Power in a Nut-shell

Democracy is arguably the best form of governance today, in that it grants great credence to the vital position that the people are regarded as the bearers of supreme power and the basic element in the conduct of the business of governance.

Representative democracy is a strand of democracy that allows for the emergence of few individuals to protect the interests of the larger society in the decision making center of government. This representation occurs across the various levels of government—federal, state, and local.

As a matter of fact, the three arms of government are constitutionally empowered to perform certain duties in line with the fundamental principles of governance and the stated functions of government for the overall benefit of the citizenry.

We must understand, however, that there seems to be a needless fusion that has continued to characterize the conduct of the business of governance, in that the citizenry seems to place the delivery of infrastructure at the doorstep of legislators, who are actually supposed to be preoccupied with the business of lawmaking, legislative oversights, as well as being a watchdog over the executive.

One thing that we are yet to appreciate in the role of the legislature and legislators is that of advocacy and agenda-setting for the executive, as well as ensuring that the executive acts along acceptable paradigms and international best practices. Rather than distracting the legislators with projects implementation like construction of roads, empowerment programmes, etc.

A clear point of divergence clearly exists between the three arms of government, and that is the main onus of the principle of separation of power as postulated by Montesquieu.

Writer: Adedamola Benard, Adedejo.

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