Non-Justiciability of Fundamental Objectives: Paradox and Bane of Governance in Nigeria

Olaolu S. Opadere


The non-justiciability of fundamental objectives, outlined in chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, is by this discourse termed one of the several factors serving as substructure to poor and irresponsible governance in Nigeria.  The particular objectives contemplated by this study, derived from chapter II, are: the political, economic, social, educational, health, and environmental objectives.  This paper deliberates that abdication of these objectives could be regarded as crime against humanity; because the objectives represent the core values that give any human or group of people a sense of fulfillment of their humanity.  It further deliberates that non-justiciability of fundamental objectives is nothing but a paradox, mockery of constitutionalism, and bane of governance.  Unfortunately, by virtue of the leeway created by section 6(6)(c) of the Constitution, the Nigerian government cannot be held responsible for failing in these objectives that have been reduced to a mere non-justiciable component of the Nigerian Constitution.  Implicitly, a fallout of/follow-up to the non-justiciable element is the ‘untouchability’ of the President, vice President, Governors and their deputies, by virtue of the ‘immunity clause’ contained in section 308 of the Constitution.  The consequence of this is that when the tenure of a government fails in its responsibility to the people it governs, by the combined effect of the porous constitutional provisions, it can hardly be held accountable in the present or future.  Therefore, this paper, inter alia, considers and proposes the Judiciary as bastion of reparation and restoration; and so adjures it to rise to the occasion of rescuing Nigeria from the failure of the fundamental objectives and directive principle of State policy, like its Indian Counterpart.  By employing the doctrinal methodology, this paper explores the origin and rationale for the non-justiciability principle; its introduction into the Nigerian politics and Constitution; a comparison with India, in extracting helpful lessons; the paradox of non-justiciability of supposed fundamental objectives, being a bane of governance in Nigeria; among other pertinent issues.

Keywords: Non-Justiciability; Fundamental Objectives; Governance; Nigeria.

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