Speaker Yakubu Dogara says the just concluded primaries by political parties ahead of the 2019 general election do not show that Nigeria’s democracy is advancing.
Speaking at the public presentation of the book; “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aids to the Interpretation of the Constitution, Statutes and Private Documents” authored by Hon Justice R. N. Ukeje in Abuja on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, Dogara, argued that democracy is all about adherence to rule of law and due process.
“If you look at it very well you begin to wonder judging from different primaries conducted by political party as to whether we are making progress in the advancement of our democracy,” he queried.
“Democracy is all about laws, it’s 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.”
While commending Hon Justice Ukeje for the book, the Speaker noted that interpretation of statues including the constitution is important in the advancement of Nigeria’s democracy.
Dogara described the book as a noble effort by the former chief judge of the federal high court to improve our democratic process.
The Speaker maintained that judges perform an overall duty of giving effect to the law adding that the book would act as a compass in the hands of a pilgrim, for the legislature, drafters in the parliament, and judges whose responsibility it is to ensure justice according to law.
“If you look at the Constitution, it is not something that is 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 rules of interpretation of legislations as they cannot give what they don’t have,” the Speaker added.