Key questions this article answers:

  1. What is the historical relationship between the legislature and executive in the 4th Republic?

  2. The relationship between the Legislature and the Executive arms of government has a significant impact on lawmaking. Considering President Tinubu’s plans, what can we expect from the 10th Assembly?

Nigerian lawmakers have a long history of snatching maces. One of the earlier examples of this was in June 2000, when trying to prevent his impeachment, then-Senate President Chuba Okadigbo sent the Senate on recess for six weeks and took home the mace. 

Police officers surrounded his home before 6 am on Friday, June 2nd, 2000, acting on orders to retrieve the stolen mace. Okadigbo told them they would only do so over his dead body. The Senate reconvened in July. He was impeached in August. He passed on in September 2003. 

The relationship between the executive and legislative branches is governed by the principle of separation of powers, where each branch of the government (the judiciary included) has specific powers and responsibilities assigned to it. Due to this separation of powers, checks and balances are required to prevent overreach by any branch, especially the executive arm, i.e. the Presidency and Cabinet ministers.

In countries like Nigeria, with a powerful presidency, the relationship between the executive and legislative branches is tricky. This is because even while preventing overreach, there is the need to work together to implement laws that move the country forward and deliver prosperity. It is a cooperative, contentious relationship that employs compromise while not being afraid to be combative.

The new president has already been inaugurated, and the new National Assembly will take their place, barring any hiccups, on June 13th. Before we look at how both arms of government could interact in this latest iteration, let us examine the composition of Nigeria’s 10th National Assembly.

The turnover in both houses remains very high in this