A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF LEGISLATIVE PROCESS AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA AND UNITED STATES, 1999-2014

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ABSTRACT

This study engaged in a comparative analysis of legislative process and democratic governance in Nigeria and United States. The difference in legislative process between Nigeria and United States which accounts for varying democratic governance in both countries necessitated this study. In order to achieve this onerous task, the research work was guided by the following research questions: does the process of legislation in Nigeria and United States explain the feasibility of democratic governance in these two countries? What are the factors that militates legislative institutions from promoting democratic governance in Nigeria and United States? Methodologically, the research adopted the Structural-Functional Analysis as the theory that best suits the study as well as the Ex-Post Facto research design. The research relied on the secondary sources of data and descriptive method of data analysis. The study revealed that the existence of legislature does not necessarily promote democratic governance. The United States Congress has an efficient committee system that reinforces public confidence and trust in the United States legislative process through robust check on the executive excesses and abuses, which is the hallmark of their democratic governance. This is not fully obtainable in Nigeria’s National Assembly and its democratic practice. The factors in the National Assembly which militates democratic governance in Nigeria include; institutional failures emanating from self-aggrandizement, certificate forgery, inflation of contract sum, bribery and abuse of procedure. Hence, the study recommended the following; national reorientation and civility of attitude among the political class, making popular plight and expectation priority in legislative agenda and functional and robust oversight functioning by the various legislative committee in curtailing executive excesses and abuses.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Objectives of the study
1.4 Significance of the study

CHAPTER TWO: Literature Review
2.1 Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: Methodology
3.1 Theoretical Framework
3.2 Hypotheses
3.3 Research Design
3.4 Method of Data Collection
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
3.6 Logical Data Framework

CHAPTER FOUR: PROCESS OF LEGISLATION AND THE FEASIBILITY OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA AND UNITED STATES
4.1 The United States Congress: The Structure, Process and Dynamics
4.2 The United States Congress and Feasibility of Democratic Governance
4.3 The Nigeria’s National Assembly: The Structure, Process and Dynamics
4.4 The Nigeria’s National Assembly and Feasibility of Democratic Governance

CHAPTER FIVE: THE FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN USA AND NIGERIA
5.1 The Limitations of the US Congress
5.2 The Limitations of Nigeria’s National Assembly
5.3 The Similarities and Differences between the US Congress and Nigeria’s National Assembly

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 Summary
6.2 Conclusion
6.3 Recommendations
            Bibliography

Chapter one
Introduction
1.1              Background of the study
Democracy and governance are the bedrock of sustainable development of any country. Hence, the two terms are inexplicable but related with conceptual polemics. However, scholars in spite of their diverse intellectual and ideological inclinations share the same views on its reflective attributes. On the history and concept of democracy, Madubuegwu, (2015) noted.
Democracy is a concept or historical antiquity. A popular and participatory system of mass driven government that enveloped and flourished in the vortex of Athenian imperelian and pericles (500-429 BC).This classical democratic form of governance was exemplified in Athenian Ecclesia and Spartan Appella which underscored the relevance of political liberty and equality (2015:53).

Invariably, democracy is therefore seen as one of the ultimate ideas that modern civilization strive to create or preserve. The word, “democracy” literally means “rule by the people” taken from Greek terms, demo (people) and Kratos (rule). It is a political concept and form of government where a people are supposed to have equal voices in shaping policy (typically expressed through a vote for representatives) (Awah 2013:8). The criticality of democratic process is accentuated by the practice of governance. Hence, governance is a process driven by institutions. This process is obviously driven by certain fundamental which reflects in the roles and characters of the political institutions or structures.These fundamentals otherwise known as the indices of good governance were implicitly enumerated by Okeke (2010).
(i)                 Accountability
(ii)               Inclusiveness
(iii)             Equity and social justice
(iv)             Observance of rule of law and due process
(v)               Effective institutions
(vi)             Purposeful leadership, security and order.
Instructively, these democratic ideals are ostensibly accentuated by the relevance of modern parliament in a representative democracy and governance.
Modern legislature is therefore an anchor of representative democracy. This is because, it provides avenue for the entrenchment of popular interests in governance through representation and legislation. Hence, modern legislature represents a platform for the articulation of interests in deference to public expectations and plights. Expressing the meaning and relevance of legislature, Anifowose and Enemuo (1999:179) noted:
No form of human organization can function effectively without any rules of behaviour. Legislatures are usually elected bodies which have the primary responsibility of making laws for the whole society. Although, practically every where, the universal duty of legislative bodies is law-making yet they do more than simply write laws (1999:179).

  In advanced democracies such as United States and other Western Countries, the legislature is the pillar of democratic governance with reference to its structure, behaviour and powers and functions. America is a liberal democracy where the principles of liberty and equality are enthroned in political governance and general administration of the state.And, this is more explicit in the structure and process of United States Congress.
Paleker (2009) shared this view.
“The American Constitution established a representative democracy. The political institutions of the USA are run by representatives who are chosen directly or indirectly by the voters”.

Therefore, the United States Congress is one of such institution that performs identical rules with other modern parliaments in other western democracies. However, there are instances of disparities as aptly observed by Appadoria (1975):
Some legislature, as in Switzerland and the U.S.S.R, has elective functions.The upper houses of some states (Britain, for instance) have judicial functions,both original and appellate. Some share in the executive functions. The consent of the senate is necessary in the U.S.A for the appointment of officers and the making of treaties.

Similarly, legislative involvement in lawmaking varies across different systems. In some countries (particularly systems, discussed below), legislative lawmaking merely legitimizes policy choices made by a prime minister, a central committee, a chancellor or some other chief Executive. The U.S Congress Operates in a presidential system, and has more real influence over basic policy decisions than most national legislatures, the more typical parliamentary system arrangement in Great Britain or Italy, for example is for a legislature to affirm decisions made by the Executive. A recent study of legislative influence in Germany and the Netherlands suggests that a parliamentary system is ruled by a coalition to form a government (Ethridge and Handelman, 2010).This indeed underscored the imperative of comparative analysis on legislative processes. Nigeria as a developing economy and polity grappling with the challenges of democratic consolidation has the existence of legislative institution and process.
In the proceeding chapters, the researcher explored the specificities of USA and Nigeria legislative process in the promotion of democratic governance. Thus, democratic governance is a function of viable and participatory legislative process.
1.2              Statement of the Problem
The modern parliament is the hallmark of democratic governance. It represents a platform for the expression of public interests and expectations in governance. On this premise, the modern legislature is an institution made up of persons elected on the mandate to serve and reinforce public confidence in governance.Similarly, “it is adduced that a powerful legislature is needed to engender a democracy in which people have some real decision making power over and above the formal consent of electoral choice” (Ake, 1996:132). In the same vein, Johnson and Nakamura (1999) pointed out, that effective legislature contributes to effective governance by performing important functions necessary to sustain democracy in complex and diverse societies...... 

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