Government

What is Government? Definitions of Government

len Alfred Ajibola - Wed, 12th June, 2019 @ 17:01

Topics in Government

Arms of Government: Functions of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, First Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Second Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Third Term Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Party System Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-Party System Pressure Group: Types of Pressure Group Characteristics of Pressure Group Constitution - Types of Constitution Government - Scope of Government Government - Characteristics of Government Government - Importance of Government One-Party System explained Multi-Party System explained with its Characteristics Party System: Zero Party System Two-Party System explained with its Characteristics Democracy and Types of Democracy Democracy - Characteristics of Democracy Government - Types and Forms of Government Government - Functions of Government


Academic Questions in Government

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Democracy is defined as a government formed by the consent of the governed.

  • A. True

  • B. False

Which of the following is not a type of democracy?

  • A. Peripheral democracy

  • B. Direct democracy

  • C. Islamic democracy

  • D. Representative democracy

  • E. Participatory democracy

  • F. Authoritarian democracy

Which of the following is not a characteristics of democracy?

  • A. Kingdom supracy

  • B. Rule of law

  • C. Political equality

  • D. Separation of power

  • E. Freedom of expression

  • F. Popular sovereignty

The following are functions of government except _____.

  • A. To provide free money for her citizens

  • B. To make laws as contained in the constitution

  • C. To defend and protect the lives and properties of her citizens

  • D. To provide a justice system

  • E. To generate revenue for the country

  • F. To maintain law and order through the law enforcement agencies

Government may be defined as an agency or machinery or instrument that is established to manage the general welfare of the people that make up a country.

In the above statement, government is defined _____.

  • A. As a process

  • B. As an act of governing

  • C. As an institution of a state

  • D. As an academic field o study

  • E. As a political wheel

  • F. As a machine of movement

Which of the following statement is false regarding the constitution?

  • A. No one is above the constitution, even the president or prime minister of a country

  • B. A constitution can be written or unwritten

  • C. The constitution consists of the fundamental human rights of citizens of a nation

  • D. The constitution does not necessarily allocate power to the different arms of government

  • E. The constitution upholds the people's sovereignty

  • F. A good constitution is neither too rigid not too flexible

A form of government whereby each state that makes up a country has the power to govern itself and manage it's own resources is known as _____.

  • A. Democracy
  • B. Communism
  • C. Federalism
  • D. Meritocracy
  • E. Autocracy
  • F. Oligarchy

The following are examples of pressure group in Nigeria except _____.

  • A. End SARS

  • B. Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR)

  • C. Odua Peoples Congress (OPC)

  • D. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

  • E. Operation Feed the Nation (OFN)

  • H. National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

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What is Government?

Imagine a community comprised of both the rich and the poor. There are chances that some of the rich might oppress the poor; and this could even be made worse where there is absence of an institution or agency responsible towards defending the poor against the oppressive actions of the rich.

The above instance will also hold true in a society where we have the strong and the weak living together; and for this reason, the government was conceived.

The need for government (good governance) resulted because people of different status will always live together, interact together and work together.

Please read on the Importance of Government here.

Note: It is certain that disagreements, conflicts, crisis, abuse, crime and other bad stuffs would likely happen among various group of people living together.

Please read on Conflicts and Causes of Conflicts here.

In regards to conflicts and the other aformentioned vices, one of the reasons for the formation of a government is to put in place a policy that will direct, encourage and control people with justice, equity and fairness such that the poor can be protected from the oppression of the rich; and the weak from the might of the strong.

Please read on Your Fundamental Human Rights here.

 

Definitions of Government

Government may be defined under the following headings:

  • As an Institution of a State.
  • As a Process or "As an Act of Governing".
  • As an Academic Field of Study.

 

Definition of Government as an Institution of a State

Government is an institution or agency or machinery or instrument that is established to manage the affairs of the general welfare of the people that make up a state or country.

Please read on the Civic Responsibility and "Who is a Citizen?" here.

The institutions through which the government carries out its purpose in the above definition are referred to as the arms or organs or branches of government.

We have 3 ARMS of Government. These are:

  1. The Executive
  2. The Legislature
  3. The Judiciary
  4. Please read on the Organs/Arms/Branches of Government here.

 

Definition of Government as "a Process" or "an Act of Governing"

Government is the various processes and methods that are involved in the formulation, administration and implementation of public policies from a procedure which had been specifically spelt out in the constitution of a country or state.

Please read more on Constitution here

 

Definition of Government as an Academic Field of Study

Government is the study of institutions, theories, ideas, values and doctrines as relating to the acquisition and use of political power for the welfare of the people.

Please read on the Characteristics of Government here

At the tertiary level, the term government is synonymous to Political Science (which is a discipline under the social sciences).

Please read more on the Scopes of Government here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.


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Amazing facts in Government


NOTABLE POINTS IN Government

The organs of government (also referred to as arms of government or branches of government) are:

  1. Executive

  2. Legislature

  3. Judiciary

These three arms of government serves as a separation of power.

Separation of Power implies that they carry out their distinct (separate) functions and responsibilities in accordance to the nation's constitution.

The president (who is number one citizen of a country and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces) is the head of the executive arm of government. It is the responsibility of the executive to enforce or execute the law.

 

The legislature is a group of elected persons who are required to make law.

In Nigeria, the legislature consist of the bicameral National Assembly which are:

  1. The upper house or chamber (Senate)
  2. The lower house or chamber (House of Representative)

 

The judiciary is an independent arm of government whose power is enforced in the courts.

Like the Executive and Legislature, they function under the guidance of the constitution.

Please read more on the organs of government here

Below are some functions of the executive arm of government:

  1. They ensure the security of the citizens in a country.

  2. The executive cannot pass laws into the constitution. Instead, they can forward bills to the legislature (or parliament) which will deliberate upon it. (Think of 'bill' as a proposal to be made into law; which will be submitted to the parliament in the form of a draft act).

  3. It is the president's responsibility to provide quality healthcare system, education, good roads (transport system), power, labour and finance through his ministers. For instance, the minister of agriculture oversees the affairs of agriculture in a nation. The ministers may also be accountable to the national assembly with regards to how they go about their ministries.

  4. They bring about maintenance of law and order in a country through the National Security Agencies (NSA) like the police, army, navy and air force.

  5. They prepare and execute the nation’s budget.

  6. The president approves the law into the constitution.

Plesse read more on the functions of executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government here

No one is above the constitution, even the president or prime minister.

  • The constitution is the supreme law in a country, nation or state.

  • The constitution specifies how the nation or state should be governed.

  • The constitution gives power to the different organs of government; (that is,  the executive, judiciary and legislature).

  • The constitution consists of all the fundamental human rights of the people.

Juxtaposing the above points, below is a definition for the term constitution:

Constitution is a supreme law that specifies the government of a nation, the distribution of powers to the different organs of government within that nation and the fundamental rights of all her citizens.

Please read more on the constitution here

Below are some qualities or characteristics of a constitution

  • It is neither too rigid nor too flexible.

  • It accounts for the rule of law, de-centralization of power, an independent Judiciary system and processes of election transparency.

  • It accounts for the fundament human rights of the people.

  • It allocates power to the different arms of government.

  • It must uphold the people’s sovereignty.

  • It is written systematically.

You can read on the Types of Constitution here.

Dictatorship is one of the forms of Government. It can exist either as:

  1. Military Dictatorship
  2. Civilian Dictatorship

In 1966, Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi became the first military Head of State in Nigeria after he overthrew a democratic and constitutional government (headed by the prime minister; Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa)

The above instance is a military form of dictatorship.

A typical example of a civilian dictatorship is Adolf Hitler of Germany and Joseph Stalin of Russia and Georgia

You can read more on dictatorship here