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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This study examines the Nigerian democratic experience and governance in the First and the Second Republics. The First Republic began in 1960 with a parliamentary constitution bequeathed to the country by Britain. Despite the euphoria of independence, the inability of the political elites to manage the inherited system and maintain inter- and intraparty harmony as well as interethnic understanding led to the democratic reversal of 1966. The military and the political elites reached a consensus between 1976 and 1979 on the need to adopt a presidential system which they considered to have the elements to achieve stability. However, the Second Republic which began with the presidential constitution of 1979 collapsed in 1983. This chapter discusses the legislative politics, executive-legislative relations, and the reasons for the collapse of the republics. It argues that the adversarial politics of the ruling elites undermined both the parliamentary and presidential constitutions of the republics respectively.

Keywords: legislature, bicameral, constitution, parliamentary, elections, representation, constitution

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