Global Journal of Politics and Law Research (GJPLR)

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A Contemporary Legal Overview of Party Switching of Elected Legislators of the National and State Assemblies Under the Nigerian Constitutional System


The 1999 Nigerian Fundamental law came into effect on May 29 1999. It provides that an elected legislator in the National and State Assemblies shall vacate his legislative seat if he switches from the sponsoring political party to another political party during his tenure in the legislative house, save on the ground of division or factionalisation in the sponsoring party. The Constitution is, nevertheless, mute on the issue, regarding political executives, including a governor. The relevant statutory provisions, that is sub-section (1)(g) of sections 68 and 109 of the Constitution above have been abused, as some Nigerian courts have utilised them to sack elected legislators above for party switching of the same during their tenure in the legislative houses despite their constitutional rights, including the equal protection of the law and not to be discriminated against right, as enunciated in section 42(1) of the Constitution above. The article undertakes a contemporary legal overview of party switching of elected legislators of the assemblies above against the backdrop of relevant case-law and statutory provisions. The research methodology used by the authors is fundamentally doctrinal analysis of relevant primary as well as secondary sources. The article finds that the sacking of elected legislators above by some Nigerian courts on account of party switching as indicated above is unconstitutional. The article suggests that Nigeria should expunge from its Constitution the said relevant statutory provisions in tune with what obtains in other countries such as the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Canada and Australia.

Keywords: 1999 Nigerian constitution, Nigeria, legislator, party switching, political party

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