15 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob15 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                     www iste.org
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)                                                       -t
Vol.15, 2013                                                                                       IISt

    Study of Oversight Functions Mechanism of the Legislature of

 Cross River State, Nigeria: Focus on Public Funds Appropriation

                                            and Usage

                   C. C. Ikeji, Okpo. Ojah, Paul. Utulu, Joseph I. Bah, Emmanuel I. Akpan
                     Institution of Public Policy & Administration University of Calabar.

This study focused on oversight functions mechanism of Cross River State legislature on public funds. Sample
size of 900 was adopted for the purpose of the study. Stratified random sampling was used in the study.
Stratification was done on the basis of geopolitical zone, political party affiliation and educational status of the
respondents. 900 political party members evenly distributed (300 apiece) among the three leading political
parties in the last general elections were used as respondents for the purpose of the study. Each respondent has at
least an SSCE/WASC educational qualification. 300 respondents were interviewed in each of the geopolitical
zones (i.e. South, Central and North). Two hypotheses were tested. Results showed that the political class
themselves perceive the Cross River Legislature as not carrying out its oversight function over the state's Fund
Appropriation and usage significantly.
KeyWords: Appropriation, Mechanism, Public Fund, Oversight, Usage

        Democracy is a global phenomenon which almost every nation professes commitment to. The
democratic crave is lately sweeping across the whole World, from the nation states in the former Soviet Union
and Eastern Europe to Africa and Asia. This momentum across the globe is arguably as a result of its immense
advantages, and by implication, because of its capacity to check the negative consequences of bad governance
(Bello-Imam, 2004). Consequently, democratic pressures all over the World is, among other things, an insistence
on expression of the will of the people. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, made the choice to align
itself with the rest of the world on the democratic crave (Idada and Uhunmwuangho, 2012).
        In order for democracy to be meaningful it must arguably be characterized or underlined by the
principles of openness, representation, accountability, transparency and the defense, protection and preservation
of individual and group rights (Vanhanem 1990). According to Lafenwa (2009), democratization project is
facing a lot of challenges in Africa. Democratic reversal rather than democratic consolidation is imminent in
most African states. With the coups in Guinea, Mauritanian and Madagascar; flawed electoral processes in
Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, conflicts in Congo Democratic Republic, Sudan, Cote D'Ivoire as well as
political repression and social dilemmas in Cameroon; the fluctuating fortunes of democracy in Africa cannot be
doubted. Besides, there are crises of legitimacy, constitutionalism, security, national question, and dwindling
international image. These attributes have contributed to the diminishing quality of human life in most of these
countries. Recently, over 70% of Nigerians are reported to be living below $2 per day and the 2009 Global
Corruption Barometer released by Transparency International listed Nigeria among the most politically corrupt
nations in the world. The pertinent question at this point is: Will democracy survive in the wake of electoral
fraud and violence, unrest and instability, poverty and squalor as well as gradual erosion of democratic standards
in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular? This question becomes more pressing in the face of failure of most
safe-guard mechanisms such as legislative oversight function.
        The legislature is the engine of democratic governance, as laws made by it set the agenda for the
government and regulate the conduct of the people. Besides, its oversight and representational duties are critical
to sustainable development which is considered as one of the ends of democracy. This study investigates the
oversight mechanism of the Legislature over the Executive in resolving challenges facing democratization
project in Cross River State, Nigeria. Most of the studies on consolidation of democratic governance in
developing countries place less prominence on the significance of the legislature in addressing challenges of
democracy. This may be due to the perceived increasing dominance of the executive arm and the declining
significance of this institution in politics. Although legislatures in Nigeria have been variously described as
Irump' assemblies, theatres of illusion, or even mere rubber-stamp chambers, they remain a veritable instrument
for the democratic process.
        Most state legislatures in Nigeria are generally believed not to be living up to their constitutional
responsibilities. This defeats the principle of Checks and Balances which is a core one in democracy. The
existence of a viable and functional legislature undoubtedly ensures that the core principles of 'checks and
balances', separation of powers, adequate representation (when compared to their counterparts in the executive,

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