Law and Politics in Nigeria: The Political Functioning of the Judiciary in Colonial Nigeria, 1940 – 1960

Maurice Ayodele Coker


The relationship between law and politics are sometimes taken for granted. In Nigeria during the period under study, law and particularly the courts largely underlie the arena in which politics were played. Indeed, legal decisions more or less were determined by political considerations than the legal interpretations and guidance. A survey of extant literature and documents on the subject was adopted to examine the relation of the organisation of the judiciary to the policy problems of political order and economic development. The study assumed and confirmed that the politics of establishing the sovereignty of a particular interest group resulted in: (i) the emergence of conflict between the British authority on the one hand and the Nigerian interest group on the other; (ii) the conflict between and within the Nigerian interest groups for the control of political power, by overthrowing the British political class necessitated the intervention of the Colonial Authorities; and, (iii) the assumption of political power by collaborating group brought into view two responsibilities, namely: (a) the replacement of the British political elites, using the inherited colonial institutions for the maintenance of political control; and, (b) the usage of the inherited colonial institutions to develop some sort of ESPIRIT DE CORP among the emergent comprador bourgeoisie.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2084

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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