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