A PHILOSOPHICAL EVALUATION OF CHARLES DE MONTESQUIEU’S THEORY OF SEPARATION OF POWERS VIS- AVIS THE PRACTICE OF DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY

AUTHOR: OZARA SLY-TODDY

DEPARTMENT : PHILOSOPHY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY AWKA

The theory of separation of powers, according to Charles De Montesquieu, is founded on the desire for political liberty for the citizens in a state. For this reason he advocates that the three powers of the organs of government – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary should be manned by different persons and their functions properly co-coordinated such that liberty is achieved without any of the powers subsumed in the other. They must maintain their autonomy to achieve their purpose. But the exercise of delegated authority seems to forestall the total implementation of Montesquieu’s theory of separation of powers in modern government operations. The act of law-making, which is the sole function of the legislature, is also exercised by the executive organ of government, which is responsible for the implementation of the laws made by the legislature. Through a critical analysis, it has become the case that there has to be a fusion of functions and co-operation among the organs of government if state objectives must be achieved. It is therefore the case that an absolute or complete separation of powers is not possible if liberty, progress, peace, tranquility, order, is to be achieved in modern governments and if emergency situations must be responded to accordingly and effectively. There is the need to institute checks and balances in the operations of the three organs of government to forestall abuse of powers since total separation is not possible. The practice of Party politics has even made the idea of separation of powers an illusion. Through a comparative analysis, it is discovered that in the United States of America, Britain and Nigeria, freedom and liberty for citizens is not as a result of separation of powers but because of the provision of Fundamental Human Rights and the protection of these rights by an independent Judiciary.

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