THE RULE OF LAW AND ITS APPLICABILITY IN NIGERIA: EXAMINATION OF ABUSES AND NON-OBEDIENCE
Rule of law and democracy are both legal and political issues which have gained attention not only in Nigeria but world over. In general, both form the basis of advocacy of most international bodies or institutions, with the intention of sustaining and maintaining world peace.
The rule of law is a principle which provides that no person is above the law, that no one can be punished by the state except for a breach of the law, and that no one can be convicted of breaching the law except in the manner set forth by the law itself . The rule of law stands in contrast to the idea that the leader is above the law – a feature of old Roman, Nazi , and certain other past law or legal systems .
Without the rule of law, societies will be in a perpetuate state of conflict. Just as one observes the rule of grammar in order to make sense in conversation, so a society must abide by rule of laws to maintain peace. The rule of law is therefore imperative for the maintenance of public order.
Political parties do canvass for votes during elections. An elected party by majority votes gains the legitimacy to govern according to the rule of law; anything contrary to this is not rule of law but rule of man tainted with whims and caprices that can never be in conformity with the true interest of the people. So any form of arbitrariness and impunity, such as we have witnessed in Nigeria before 1999 , creates the despondency leading to revolt as we have seen in part of North Africa and the Middle East .
Majority rule creates the legitimate legal basis for legislative governance of a state. Legislations, which seek to regulate the political, economic and social life of a state, are indispensible for the enthronement of the rule of law. The functions of law are therefore to create an ordered atmosphere in a polity, which enhance peaceful development of the state.