Thursday, January 18, 2007

What's going on in Nigeria? The President declared that the Vice-President must lose his position because he switched parties? Well, regardless of what the drama is, I am happy it's happening for one very good reason - the development of Constitutional Law in Nigeria.

Here's the backstory:

According to a BBC article, please see link below, V.P. Atiku chose to become the presidential nominee for another party. President Obasanjo then declared that by changing parties, Atiku had violated the constitution because apparently, the constitution required that both President and Vice-President be members of the same party. The relevant laws upon which the President based his decision were section 36 (1) of 1999 constitution and Article 16 of the PDP's constitution.

An appeals court in Abuja recently decided that Atiku did not violate the constitution and therefore was to be returned to his position. As noted above, all this political wrangling makes me excited. As long as it stays in the courts and no one gets killed, I foresee the continued development of the rule of law in a nation that is known for chaos in all areas - political, economical, social e.t.c.

I take no sides on this matter. As a lawyer who has always seen the legal system as a means to the achievement of stability, I am only interested in the legal consequences. I believe that more cases like this are necessary to reinforce the importance of the rule of law and hopefully create a system upon which all can depend, regardless of religion, tribe or political affiliation.

BBC story on Obasanjo vs. Atiku - NIGERIA COURT RESTORES VP PERKS (01/12/2007)>

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