This paper examines the legal perspectives of Presidential system of government and democratic governance in the second to fourth Republics of Nigeria. It reviews the legal concepts of Presidential system, democracy, governance and civil rule. The features of presidential system and democratic governance, the characteristics of the system, advantages and disadvantages of presidential and parliamentary systems are examined. Experiences of presidential system of government across the globe are examined with a view to assessing its suitability for Nigeria. The paper also examines the adoption of presidential system in Nigeria in preference to parliamentary democracy of the first Republic and the rationale behind such preference. The paper looks at all other organs of government under the presidential system to see how far they functioned and continue to function in it. The paper concludes that the system of government is not synonymous with the practice of democracy, rather democratic governance is imbibed in culture of the people. Democratic governance must be seen through its tenets which are yet to take root in Nigeria. Nigeria has only had uninterrupted civil rule since 1999 with Presidential system. The paper recommends that for presidential system and democratic governance to thrive in Nigeria both the government and the citizens must entrench democratic culture and adhere to the tenets of democracy. These are only possible where the constitution is supreme and rule of law prevails.
Keywords: Presidential system, democracy, governance, legal perspective, Nigeria