Category Archives: Government Studies

This section is created on OldNaija to support students studying government/ political science in various institutions in their academics and prepare them for international and local examinations like WAEC, NECO, UTME, POST UTME, NABTEB and so on.

Concepts of Government- Power And Authority

Political Power and Authority

Power

What is power?
Power is defined as the ability to affect someone’s behaviour through some sanctions.
(According to C. C Dibie’s Essential Government, “Power is the capacity to affect another’s behaviour by the threat of sanction. The sanctions may be negative or positive. Thus, a political leader may have the ability to control the actions of others by promising those who support him wealth or honours, or he may threaten to deny such rewards to those who oppose him. However, sanctions are used if there is non-compliance”.)

Continue reading Concepts of Government- Power And Authority

Pre-Colonial Political Administration of the Benin Empire

Pre-colonial administration of the Benin empire

The Edos of Benin inhabit the south western part of modern day Nigeria and are close neighbors of the Yorubas with whom they claim the same origin. The Benin pre-colonial system of government, like the Yorubas was monarchical. The Oba (a title used for the king of Benin) was the theoretical and political leader of the empire with absolute authority no one dares to challenge. Unlike a Yoruba king, he was not bounded by the constitution or laws of the land. He solely wielded the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of the empire. Howbeit, he was assisted in the administering the empire by a many councils and officials. The highest of the councils were the Uzama who advised the King on important matters concerning the affairs of the empire. But unlike a Yoruba king, he was not subjected to their advice and decisions; he could heed to them and dispose them at will. Besides advising the King, the Uzama were also saddled with the responsibility of crowning a new king (the eldest surviving son of the previous king).

Apart from the Uzama, there were a number of officials who helped the Oba in administering the empire. These included officials like ‘Unwagwe’ and ‘Eribo’ who were in charge of the empire’s trade. They monitored the flow of goods in the empire and advice the king on how the economy of the empire can be improved. There were also the gold and brass-smiths that took care of the empire’s craft and industry. Other notable and important officials were the ‘Ezomo’, ‘Ebohon’, ‘Iyasere’ and the ‘Ologbosere’, the chief priest. All these officials had specific roles they played in the administration of the empire.

Furthermore, the Benin Empire was divided into two classes; they were the nobles and the commoners. Traditional chiefs and administrative officials were mostly chosen from the noble class. These included: the ‘Iwebo’ who were in charge of the regalia; the ‘Ibiwe’ who supervised the king’s harem and the ‘Iwagwe’ who provided the king with personal attendants. On the other hand, the commoners were not involved in the administration of the empire. Their main concern was providing food for their communities. Each of the commoners owns a piece of land he/she cultivated. They were also hired by the nobles to work on their farms for a period of time in return for money, a piece of land or sometimes cancellation of debts.

 

References:

  • Ola Abiola; A Textbook of West African History; 3rd ed.; Ado-Ekiti; Omolayo Standard Press & Bookshops co. (Nig.) Ltd.; 1984

Definition, Characteristics and Types of Sovereignty

Government Studies on OldNaija

Definition of Sovereignty

What is Sovereignty?
Sovereignty is derived from the Latin word “Superanus” which means supreme or paramount.

Sovereignty is the supreme authority and power of a state to make and enforce laws/policies within its area of jurisdiction. The state exercise its power and authority in any way it can [either De facto or De Jure (they will be explained below)] without any means of external interference or control. The French philosopher, Jean Bodin (1530-1590), propounded the idea of sovereignty his publication of “The Republic” in 1576.

 

Continue reading Definition, Characteristics and Types of Sovereignty

Pre-Colonial Political System in Igboland

Igbo pre-colonial administration

The Igbo pre-colonial political system was described by many scholars as an ‘acephalous political system‘ which can be translated as ‘a leaderless or chiefless political system’. This term is suitable for describing the Igbo pre-colonial political system because it was decentralized and based on village and direct democracy where everyone in the village has the authority to contribute in decision making. Each Igbo village was seen as a political unit inhabited by related families who were bounded by common beliefs and origin. Each family head in the village held the ‘Ofo‘ title and altogether formed the council of elders. The council of elders presided over important issues on the village’s welfare, safety, development and so on. Among the council of elders, one was recognized as the most senior to others. He was the ‘Okpara‘. He could call for and adjourn a meeting, and could also give judgements as well.  Continue reading Pre-Colonial Political System in Igboland

Concepts of Government- Legitimacy

Government Studies on OldNaija

Definition of Legitimacy

The word legitimacy is coined from the Latin word “legitimus” which means according to law. Therefore, legitimacy can be defined as the recognition and acceptance which the citizens give their leaders to rule them. For a government to rule successfully in a state, it must enjoy the full support and popular acceptance of the electorates or citizens. This is the reason why legitimacy/ political legitimacy remain an important features of a government. A legitimate government comes to power through the consent of the people by voting it in. Many people believe that legitimacy cannot be found in a coercive government (military government). However, the military can enjoy legitimacy by making popular government policies. In a legitimate government, obedience is not based on fear of sanctions but on loyalty to the ruler and the state.

Continue reading Concepts of Government- Legitimacy

Characteristics And Functions Of Government

 

Below are the major Characteristics/Features and Functions of the Government in a State

Characteristics of Government

1. Constitution– This is a major characteristic of a government. The government make a set of agreed rules which guides it in the administration of the state.

2. Periodic Change– A government is meant to change after a specific period of time. No government is permanent, particularly a democratic or elective government which changes through periodic election.

3. Legitimacy– A government must enjoy the support of the people.

4. Revenue– The government make revenue in different ways to enhance its administration

5. Political Power– The government must posses political power which is a tool of rooting orderliness in a state. Continue reading Characteristics And Functions Of Government

The Definitions of Government

Government Studies on OldNaija

 

The Three Definitions Of Government

*Government As An Institution Of The State

Government as an institution of the state can be defined as a “machinery” set up by the state, to keep the state organised, run its affairs and administer its various functions and duties.
The coming together of people to live in a society arouse the need to form a body (government) which will handle the administration of the society. If a state should exist without this kind of body (government), anarchy is said to be reigning in such a state. Continue reading The Definitions of Government

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 Continue reading Definition And Features of a State

Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

Government Studies on OldNaija

Click here to read the Clifford Constitution of 1922 and its features

Like every other constitution of a state, the Clifford Constitution has its advantages/merits and disadvantages/demerits.

Here are the merits of Clifford Constitution of 1922
Continue reading Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

The Ibadan All-Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1950

Nigerian Map

On the 9th of January, 1950, delegates from the northern, eastern and western regions of Nigeria met as a body in Ibadan to discuss issues on the new constitution Sir Macpherson was drafting (Macpherson constitution of 1951). Continue reading The Ibadan All-Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1950

The Richards Constitution of 1946

Constitution Of Nigeria

Governor Bernard Bourdilloun succeeded Sir Hugh Clifford as the Governor General of Nigeria in 1939 and later left the office in 1945. In 1939, while still in power, he turned the Northern and Southern Protectorates into provinces and divided the Southern province into Eastern and Western provinces, while the Northern province remained untouched. Continue reading The Richards Constitution of 1946

Berlin Conference And The Partition of West Africa

Berlin Conference

In the due course to get a share of the African continent, all European nations participating in the struggle to have a colony in Africa had lost their decency and orderliness in the run. The tension and clashes among these competitors was boiling at its hottest degree. It was at that time that Otto Von Bismarck, a German Chancellor, convened a meeting at Berlin (Berlin Conference) with the purpose of resolving the disputes among the competitors without the use of arms. Continue reading Berlin Conference And The Partition of West Africa

The West African Students’ Union (WASU, 1925)

WASU

The West African Sudents’ Union (WASU) was founded on August 7 1925, in London, by a group of twenty one law students led by Ladipo Solanke and Herbert Bankole Bright.
WASU was an association of London- based students from West African countries with the purpose of promoting political research and uniting West Africans overseas. The main aims of WASU was to fight for the independence of West African countries and to put an end to racial discrimination  which as at then was climbing its peak.

The West African Students’ Union came into existence from the activities of earlier student organizations such as the Union of Students of African Descent, Gold Coast Students’ Association and the Nigerian Progressive Union founded by Ladipo Solanke and Amy Ashwood Garvey in July 1924 in London.

Ladipo Solanke was the founder and secretary-general of WASU while J.B. Danquah served as the first president of the union. Joseph Ephraim Casley Hayford, the pioneer of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA), was made the patron of WASU, and with his post he promoted African nationalism among West Africans.

In 1926, WASU began the publication of a journal known as ‘WASU’ which circulated round Europe and Africa as well. The union also published a lot of other pamphlets which had great influence on West Africans abroad and at home.

In 1929, with the support of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), WASU was able to successfully stop the project of an African village exhibition in Newcastle on the ground that it will lead to the exploitation of some African communities.

Ladipo Solanke established more than 25 branches of WASU in Nigeria, Gold Coast (Ghana), Sierra Leone and other West African Countries. The West African Students’ Union also succeeded in given birth to some unions and movements in Africa, such as, The Gold Coast Youth Conference and the National Union of Nigerian Students and so on. Some members of WASU were also prominent members and administrators of The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), a political party founded in 1935.

In 1949, Ladipo Solanke stepped down as the secretary general of WASU due to some misunderstandings that erupted among the members of the union. WASU however existed and remained active till the 1960s.

CONTRIBUTIONS/ ACHIEVEMENTS OF WASU

1. WASU strived hard in promoting racial equality and self determination among the people.

2. WASU served as an intermediary or a link between the parliament in Britain and West African leaders.

3. The union succeeded in uniting West Africans in the United Kingdom.

4. The West African Students’ Union arouse nationalism among West Africans.

5. WASU proved itself to be a training ground for West African leaders and intellectuals. E.g Kwame Nkruma of Ghana

A WASU project (www.wasuproject.org.uk) is currently going on which included the production of a film documenting the history of West Africans in Britain.

Image Credit: wasuproject.org.uk

The Clifford Constitution of 1922

Sir hugh clifford

 

Click here to read the Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

 

The Clifford Constitution of 1922 disposed the Nigerian Council of Lord Lugard (1914) and set up a new legislative council for the Southern Protectorate. The membership of the Clifford legislative council was 46. Twenty- seven out of the 46 members were officials while 19 were unofficial members. Ten out of the 19 unofficial members were Nigerians and out of the 10 unofficial Nigerians, 4 were elected, 3 from Lagos and 1 from Calabar. Continue reading The Clifford Constitution of 1922

Political Parties in the Second Republic of Nigeria

 

Unity Party of NigeriaThe presidential system of government practiced in the Second Republic of Nigeria (1979-1983) favored the existence of a multi-party system. The then Electoral commission of Nigeria, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), registered five political parties out of about 52 parties that showed up for the 1979 general elections which was to usher in the second Republic in Nigeria. The five political parties registered for the 1979 general elections were: Continue reading Political Parties in the Second Republic of Nigeria

Indirect Rule in Nigeria

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Lord Lugard

Let us begin with the definition of the indirect rule system. What is indirect rule? It is a system of administration used by the British colonial government to govern the people through the use of traditional rulers and traditional political institutions. The indirect rule system was introduced into to Nigeria by Continue reading Indirect Rule in Nigeria

The Nigerian Independence Constitution of 1960

 

Nigeria Independence Constitution

Let us begin with the definition of a constitution- A constitution is a set or body of agreed rules that guides a state or country in its administration. Before Nigeria became independent in 1960, series of constitutions had been used in administering the country, e.g. the Clifford constitution of 1922, the Richards constitution of 1946, the Macpherson constitution of 1951 and the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954. Each of these constitutions has its own features though they are related or linked to each other in one way or the other. Continue reading The Nigerian Independence Constitution of 1960

The National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA)

ncbwa

The National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) was formed in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1920 by the educated elites from English-speaking West African colonies led by Mr. Joseph Casely Ephraim Hayford of Ghana and Dr. Akinwande Savage of Nigeria. The NCBWA’s first meeting was held at Continue reading The National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA)

Pre-colonial Political Administration In Yorubaland

Political administration of the Oyo Empire

Before the advent of the British in Yoruba land, Yoruba kingdoms maintained an orderly and unified political system which is still in effect till today. A Yoruba kingdom (e.g. the Oyo kingdom) was made up of a headquarter (i.e. Olu-Ilu) and other local towns and villages. However, its political administration consisted of a central level and subordinate units. Continue reading Pre-colonial Political Administration In Yorubaland

History of Nigerian Federalism

Governor Bernard Bourdillion
Governor Bernard Bourdillion

The history of Federalism in Nigeria can be traced to the division of the country into three provinces (Northern Province, Western Province and Eastern Province) by Governor Bernard Bourdillion in 1939. Governor Bernard Bourdillion (1935 – 1943) recommended the replacement of the provinces by regions which Arthur Richard’s Constitution later implemented in 1946. It was the idea of the Richard’s constitution that brought in a Federal structure but which it didn’t accomplish to the end. However, in 1953, Governor Macpherson’s constitution improved on that of Richard’s by creating House of Rep. with powers to make law for the country and Regional Houses of Assembly to make law for the regions. Later, in 1954, the Lyttleton constitution came in with a Federal system of government for the country. This was as a result of the constitutional conference that was held in London in 1953 (1953 London Constitutional Conference) where it was decided that Nigeria should become a Federal State.
Federalism is a system of government whereby power is constitutionally shared between the central government and other component units e.g. State/region and local government, but in 1954 there were only the central and regional government in Nigeria. Their powers and functions were shared to them by the constitution. Exclusive legislative functions were meant for the central government while concurrent legislative functions were meant for both the central and regional government and residual legislative functions were meant for the regions.

Here are some reasons why Federalism was introduced into Nigeria.

* Cultural diversity
* Fear of domination by the minorities
* The size of the country
* Geographical factor
* Bringing government nearer to the
people
*British colonial policy
* Economic factor
* Effective administration.

Reference:
* C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; 3rd edition; Lagos; Tonad Publishers; 2008

Image Credit:
* wikipedia.org

The Kano riot of 1953

Kano Riot of 1953

In March 1953, a member of Action Group (AG) in the House of Representatives, Chief Anthony Enahoro, moved a motion, requesting that Nigeria should be granted self government in 1956. Continue reading The Kano riot of 1953

Aburi Accord- The Meeting of Two Elephants

Aburi accord The Aburi Accord (agreement) was reached in 1967 at a meeting in Aburi, Accra, Ghana, by the Supreme Military Council (The Federal Government delegates) and the Eastern region delegates, led by Colonel Ojukwu, the leader of the Eastern Region. The meeting took place between Continue reading Aburi Accord- The Meeting of Two Elephants

Aba Women’s Riot (1929)

 

Aba women riotThe “riots” or the war, led by women in the provinces of Calabar and Owerri in southeastern Nigeria in November and December of 1929, became known as the “Aba Women’s Riots of 1929” in British colonial history, or as the “Women’s War” in Igbo history. Thousands of Igbo women organized a massive revolt against the policies imposed by British colonial administrators in Continue reading Aba Women’s Riot (1929)

Pre-colonial Political Administration In Hausaland

Pre- colonial political administration in Hausaland

After the great Jihad war (1804-1810) led by Usman Dan Fodio, the former fourteen Hausa states were merged and then divided into two caliphates. The eastern caliphate which included states like Yola, Gombe, Kano, Zaria and Katsina had Sokoto as its capital while the western caliphate, including Ilorin, Argungun and Kontagora had Gwandu as its capital. Usman Dan Fodio became the head (Sarkin Muslim) of the whole Hausaland while the control of Sokoto (eastern) and Gwandu (western) caliphates went to Bello, Usman Dan Fodio’s son and Abdullah, Usman Dan Fodio’s brother respectively. Continue reading Pre-colonial Political Administration In Hausaland