The Power of Judicial Review in the Promotion of Constitutionalism in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects

Imo J. Udofa


The judiciary, as the guardian of constitutionalism, ensures that the organs of government do not stray into the sphere of each other, and that powers and authority are exercised within prescribed constitutional boundaries.  Accordingly, the judiciary acts as a watchdog over the other organs of government and ensures their fidelity to the doctrine of separation of powers and respect for the supremacy of the Constitution.  This Article assesses the exercise of the power of judicial review of executive and legislative actions by the Nigerian courts.   Lessons are also drawn from other jurisdictions, such as the United States of America, Ghana and South Africa.  While the performance of the judiciary in Nigeria has so far been commendable, several factors continue to impede its attainment of optimal performance.  These include lack of judicial independence, impact of corruption and judicial philosophy of supporting the executive, amongst others.    These problems must be addressed through proper selection and appointment of people of integrity as judicial officers, training and re-training of judicial officers, improved conditions of service and effective control of the performance of judicial officers, amongst others; in order to enhance the utilisation of the power of judicial review in the promotion of constitutionalism in Nigeria.

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