Good governance: Dogara emphasizes adherence to rule of law

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, emphasized strict adherence to the rule of law for good governance and sustenance of the social contract between the state and the governed.

Because of the problem that may arise as a result of strict insistence on legal formalism, he, however, said some forms of derogation are allowed within the legal norms to ensure that the rule of law remains potent.

Dogara, in a message to a summit, themed “Strengthening the Rule of Law Through Technology”, organised by the Law Students Association of Nigeria held in Abuja said everybody is equal before the Law.

“The idea that no one is above the law, though foreign, is now a foundational principle of our jurisprudence, even if its implementation remains more aspirational than actual,” Dogara stated and stressed the need for separation of powers for the judiciary to be independent and impartial as the mouthpiece of the law without being distracted or influenced by the other two organs of government.

Represented by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Gaza Jonathan, the former speaker said the rule of law is one of the fulcrum of democracy and good governance as opposed to authoritarian or arbitrary government.

In his words, “it is always a delicate issue to balance the demand of national security and public interest. While the state would like to promulgate legislation and adopt policies that will continue to curtail individual rights, citizens will rely on the personal liberty provisions within the constitution and international instruments to put the state in check.

“The judiciary is saddled with the responsibility of mediating between the state and the individuals to determine the appropriate province of the rule of law within the legal system.”

Earlier in his remarks, the convener of the summit, Mr Blessing Agbomere, said Section 1(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended states that the law is Supreme and should be obeyed by all.

He said there will be anarchy in a country where there is no adherence to the rule of law, which, he noted remains an instrument of good governance.

Agbomere, who observed that Nigeria has fantastic laws, however, lamented that enforcement and implementation of the laws has remained the problem in the country.

“As a way of advancing the rule of law, we came up with an idea, which developed into an application, which will soon be launched to make it easy for a poor citizen of the country to have access to justice,” he said.


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