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Judicial Review And Judicial Supremacy: A Paradigm of Constitutionalism in Nigeria



This paper examines judicial review and judicial power in Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution in relation to the constitution itself and in relation to the political branches of government. Th is is essentially to locate where lays supremacy between the branches and the judiciary particularly the Supreme Court with its final appellate jurisdiction. Judicial review and supremacy of the judiciary had been of recurring academic discuss in some jurisdictions with written Constitutions, particularly the United States from where Nigeria largely borrowed its presidential constitutionalism. This thus suggests that there is a need to examine the controversy within the context of Nigeria’s experience; is it really in the Constitution that creates branches of the government and that is proclaimed to be supreme over all authorities including the judiciary? Is it in the judiciary whose oversight function cuts across the political branches and whose interpretative decisions are binding on the constitution itself and the other branches? Is it in the executive that appoints and removes Justices of the court subject to confirmation by the Senate, or is it in the legislature? The paper argues that the overriding effect of the judicial power of the Supreme Court over all persons and authorities including the Constitution puts the judiciary in supreme position, that being the natural consequence of the power so vested in the judiciary by the “People Themselves.”