George-Ikoli urges legislature to maintain Separation of Powers

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Anthony George-Ikoli SAN

As the new government continues to unfold, a senior lawyer, Chief Anthony George-Ikoli SAN, has called on the National Assembly to enshrine the constitutional principles of Separation of  Powers as to sustain multiparty democracy in Nigeria.

George-Ikoli, the first SAN from Bayelsa State, and a former Attorney General of the state opined that the Nigerian Senate, apart from fulfilling its duty “as a law making sentinel”,  should also take seriously its duty as an institution “consciously organized by society as a bar check or deterrent on the dictatorial or monarchical propensities dispositions or incorrigible appetites of the politicians that populate the executive branch”. 

He said that what Nigeria possesses presently is in reality a rogue senate that acts like the precursor to the return of and emplacement of a one party state, warning that ‘this government, this dispensation will and shall be the death of multi party democracy in Nigeria’.

He said further: “We are in very dangerous times and what is “unfurling”, bodes the extirpation of the commonwealth as currently known and being striven to. 

2023 is perhaps the year of the last election ever to be held under the pretense that we are practicing multi-party democracy”. 

 Going back in history, Ikoli reminisces on the wind of intolerance and dictatorship that blew over Africa in the First Republic that eventually led to military interventions across Africa.  “After Harold Wilson’s prescient “the wind of change is blowing across the continent”, speech heralded the independence decade of the 1960’s, our founding fathers (Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Hoiphet Boigny, Keneth Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta, even the Mwalimu, Julius Nyerere) all struggled with the concept of pluralism in political thoughts and consequently multiparty politics;

Finding dissent an intolerable dissonance in the emerging post colonial “mere geographical constructs “; they harangued their opponents, jailed the vocal, killed the implacable and exiled the fortunate ones; however, these excursions on the wild side of intoxicating power and as a consequence of which, that corollary intolerance of the opposition birthed the revolt of the military barracks of the mid 1960s to 1980s;

That fad, an aberration it was dubbed, faded away when the capitalist system decided to stop supporting subversive activities, a development, itself aided by the atomization of the world from an ideologically bipolar world into a triumphalist unipolar fiefdom of the single superpower; but then, even that was only for a while; the ogre of the one party state was never fully slain; it was just smoldering, and since it never did die, it was only but a matter of time before it became resurrected: welcome to today; the longed for future of our yesterdays and yesteryears”.

According to him, Military is gradually finding its feet again in West Africa. “In our region, democracy is struggling; from Guinea to Mali, the barracks are restive again and this, because the supposedly slain incubus of political intolerance is resurgent, turning political actors into mere annoying adventurers and ultimately scoundrels in power;

This senate and its “wingman”, the House of Representative is but one with the executive; and it is not more than dangerous wishful thinking to expect our halls of congress or Houses of Parliament will insist that all the appointments that would and shall be made be based not on the “base”considerations of nepotism and favoritism, but on some alien and alienating ideas of meritocracy and altruism;

Yes, a Senate can insist, but will this senate? I doubt, not because it is doubtful that it is aware of its historical origins as a countervailing force against the allure that seduces the executive branch to authoritarianism, but because this senate is but a clone of the executive branch itself, so it cannot check itself: think class suicide, if it were to so dare. The axe that is being wielded now with such dexterity to chop down the nepotism and provincialism of the Buhari years is the very same axe that will be wielded to chop down democracy, human rights and personal freedoms in the fullness of time; 

I wish our blinkers would be removed early too. It is, as they say;”Not yet Uhuru”.

May these times never lead to a time when we would wish Buhari was back on the throne; but the auguries (as I am looking at all the ongoing song and dance) point to that.

The civilian equivalent of a coup has occurred and usually from the experience of history, whenever such happens, the great and baying unwashed are fed the entrails of the displaced regime (read Buhari here), and when that is done; the new sheriff begins an orgy of feeding on and ingesting the people as food”, he concluded.

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