Definition And Features of a State

What is a state? Or
What is the definition of a state?

“A state may be defined as a politically organised body of people inhabiting a defined geographical entity with an organized legitimate government”.
(Essential Government, C. C. Dibie, August 2008)

A state must be free from all forms of external control to exercise its sovereignty within its area of jurisdiction. It must be noted that a state differs from a kingdom and empire. Nigeria is an example of a state, while Owu is a good example of a kingdom and Oyo, an empire. In order for a state to exist, it must have the following features.

Features Of A State

1. Population- Without people, there is nothing like a state because people are the ones who make up the state.

2. Boundaries/Defined Territory- A state must have specific boundaries separating it from other states.

3. Permanence- The state stays permanent unlike the government which changes periodically.

4. Recognition- A state must be officially recognised internationally and locally for it to participate in nationwide activities like international trade, global summits, Olympics, etc.

5. Sovereignty- A state must be able to make and enforce policies on its citizens without any form of external control.
(Sovereignty will be treated as a different topic)

6. Government- The last but not the least. A state must have a government even though it is not permanent. Like we said in a previous post (Definitions of Government), anarchy will reign in a state without a government.

Please, kindly drop a comment below if you find this helpful or you have a question.


* (Essential Government, C. C. Dibie, August 2008)

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