“You begin to wonder, judging from different primaries conducted by political parties whether we are making progress in the advancement of our democracy”
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara has said with the outcome of the recent primary elections by political parties, to nominate candidates for the 2019 general election, Nigeria’s democracy does not seem to be advancing.
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Dogara stated this in Abuja, yesterday, when he delivered a goodwill message at the public presentation of the book; “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aids to the Interpretation of the Constitution, Statutes and Private Documents” authored by Justice R. N. Ukeje (retd).
The speaker said democracy can only thrive when there is adherence to the rule of law and due process.
“If you look at it very well, you begin to wonder, judging from different primaries conducted by political parties as to whether we are making progress in the advancement of our democracy.
“Democracy is all about laws, it is all about due process, about the rule of law. Therefore, the deeper your laws, the deeper your democracy. We can deepen our laws by deepening the interpretation of these laws to make them applicable to situations that may arise after the laws have been written. There are no better ways to deepen our democracy.”
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Dogara commended the author for writing the book and noted that “there is a yawning gap in this area of law, and thankfully, she has decided to make a concerted effort at plugging this gap. The issue of interpretation of statues, including the Constitution is absolutely important in the advancement of our democracy.
“I believe this wonderful endeavor is going to be very helpful; it’s going to be like a compass in the hands of a pilgrim, for the Legislature, drafters that we have in parliament and, most importantly, to the judges whose responsibility is to ensure justice, according to law.”
Furthermore, the speaker added that “if you look at the constitution, it is not something that was written on daily basis.
“The American Constitution for instance from where we borrowed ours has been in existence for hundreds of years that some people people still refer to it as the living document. Through inventive interpretation, the judges have ensured that the document crafted ages ago is still relevant to address the contemporary needs of the American society; likewise, ours, as well that was borrowed from theirs, through the creative and inventive interpretation of the constitution, by the Judiciary.
“We still make of it a living document that will remain relevant now and for ages to come. This can only be the rule of interpretation of legislations as they cannot give what they don’t have.”