THE CONCEPTUALIZATION OF POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION: BETWEEN SYMBOLISM AND REALISM
Keywords:Popular Sovereignty, Nigerian Constitution, Fiction, Fact, non-justiciability
The people are the reason government exists, hence, without any equivocation; the people are the principal while the government is a mere agent. This underscores the reason for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), 1999 (as altered) declaring that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through it derives all its powers and authority. In this paper, it is argued that, in practice, popular sovereignty termed as the consent, will, and participation of the people has no similarity with the exact popular will and participation expressed by the Constitution. The accentuation of this assertion is predicated on the notion of the general will of the people as reflected in the spirit of the Constitution. Thus, this paper aims at deconstructing the theoretical principle of popular sovereignty and its impact on Nigerian polity as well as investigating the relationship between it and the Constitution. While adopting the doctrinal approach, this paper found that the express mention of the people as the ultimate authority by the Constitution is a welcome idea, but this is nonetheless respected by the Government except perhaps during elections. To strengthen this provision, a full fledge autochthonous Constitution that reflects the will and aspirations of the various nationalities is recommended.