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Monday, 14 July 2014


The rule of law is a political theory that was popularize in the 19th Century by a British Jurist called A.V Dicey. The principle of rule of law emphasis the supremacy of the law over every citizen, both the government and the governed. According to the principle, law should govern a nation and not individual government officials. I.e. the law should have the greatest influence over the behavior of every citizen both government officials and the general public. The principle went further to state that every citizen no matter his/her social strata, should be subject to the law including those that made the law.
                Even before A.V Dicey popularized the principle of the rule of law, many philosophers had advocated for the supremacy of the law over everybody in a state. According to Plato, the Greek philosopher, “Where law is subject to some other authority, and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and then all the blessings that the gods shower on a state”
He was not the only note able philosopher that advocated for the law to be more powerful, Aristotle, another Greek philosopher also contributed when he said “It is more proper that the law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the law”
Now, haven seen the picture of what rule of law should be or look like, let’s relate it with our political system here in Nigeria since we claim to be operating a democratic government that goes in consonance with the rule of law.
In Nigeria, the law is first before any other thing, like I said in my article last Monday, a cane in the hands of the rich, to whip the poor or those who are not on the same page with them politically. Here, the government is bigger than the law that’s why you’ll always see government officials disobeying traffic rules where ever they go with their convoys that most times cause accidents on our ever congested roads. If you would remember, just last year, one of Nigeria’s most respected professor died in an accident that was said to have been caused by a governor’s convoy in Kogi state.
In this part of the world, laws are made to suit individual interests or political interest. Take for example, the current outrageous pension laws that have been made in many states across Nigeria where billions of naira is spent yearly to take care of ex-governors and their family members whereas the civil servants who serve the country or state for 35 year can barely afford three square meal after retirement.
A governor will just wake up one morning and declare public holiday just because he/she does not want a particular group or opposition party to hold a rally. In fact, the law has been relegated up to the point that corruption is no longer a crime but a game.
The law is now like a toothless bulldog in Nigeria. Our lawmakers have developed a culture of collecting heavy salaries and allowances only to turn the assembly chamber into a boxing ring. New laws are made almost on daily basis yet our lawmakers don’t obey court orders.
If you visit any prison in Nigeria today, 99 percent of the inmates {both those that have been convicted and those that are awaiting trial} are the poor. Is it that only the poor commit crime or what?
We are still a young democracy, and we are evolving. But, if we want to progress in the right direction as a nation, we must make every citizen to be equal before the law; the law should rule and not the wishes of individuals.     


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