Government

Types of Constitution

len Alfred Ajibola -31st December, 2019 @ 12:48 PM

Topics in Government

One-party system explained with its advantages and disadvantages What is Democracy? Definitions of Democracy Types of 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 What are pressure groups? Types of pressure group Characteristics of Pressure Group Types of Constitution Scope of Government Characteristics of Government Importance of Government One-party system explained with its types and characteristics Multi-party system explained with its characteristics Party System: Zero Party System Two-Party System explained with its Characteristics Types of Democracy explained


Academic Questions in Government

Please click here to see all Questions and Answers

A type of democracy whereby shura is practiced is termed _____ democracy

  • A. Direct

  • B. Indirect

  • C. Constitutional

  • D. Islamic

  • E. Authoritarian

  • F. Participatory

A type of democracy whereby the people vote a bill into law is termed _____ democracy

  • A. Direct

  • B. Indirect

  • C. Constitutional

  • D. Islamic

  • E. Authoritarian

  • F. Participatory

In democracy, every citizen has got the right to vote and be vote for. Also, the principle one man one vote in this regard refers to which characteristic of democracy?

  • A. Separation of power

  • B. Freedom of expression

  • C. Constitutional supremacy

  • D. Rule of Law

  • E. Political equality

  • F. Popular sovereignty

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


Types of Constitution:

Constitution is the supreme law in a country or state. It specifies how such nation, country or state should be governed.

Please read an introduction to constitution here.

The constitution can be put into various types based on the following headings:


1. A constitution can be written or unwritten.


  • Written Constitution

A written constitution will contain a document or series of documents merged into a book.

The written constitution is enacted by a constituent assembly and can be amended based on the stipulation of the amendment process as defined in the constitution itself.

Meanwhile, understand that the constituent assembly that put forth the constitution will usually comprise of the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government.

Please read on the arms of government here.


Written constitutions are codified. This implies that the constitutional document reigns supreme in the land and can only be amended or judged by a constitutional court through the judiciary.

Countries like Nigeria, United States of America and France all utilizes a written constitution.


  • Unwritten Constitution

An unwritten constitution is uncodified, meaning that its foundation and evolution is based on historical laws and concepts on the countries in which they govern.

Unwritten constitution is not written into a book nor enacted by a constituent assembly. The people of the country know their constitution and have come to embrace it.


It is noteworthy to state that some parts of an unwritten constitution are actually written in a book. However, such books may not be considered to be a legal document.

The United Kingdom makes use of an unwritten constitution.

Please read on the concept of government here

 

2. A constitution can be flexible or inflexible (rigid).


The flexibility of a constitution determines the level of ease at which such constitution can be amended. For example, the constitution of Nigeria and United States of America are considered as inflexible (or rigid) since it can be quite difficult to make changes on it.


  • Inflexible or Rigid Constitution

To amend a rigid constitution, the legislature will first need to pass the amendment bill, usually with the approval of 2/3rd majority of its constituent members.

The people of the nation may influence the passing of the amendment bill. As a result, the rigid constitution is often considered to reflect the will of the people.

Please read on democracy here


Advantages of an inflexible constitution

  1. It is stable for an administration’s continuity.
  2. It works effectively for a federation, that is, the federal form of government.
    Please read the forms of government here.
  3. It prevents dictatorship by any of the arms of government.
  4. A political party in power cannot easily manipulate the constitution for their political gains.
    Please read on multi-party system here.

Disadvantages of an inflexible constitution

  1. It cannot keep up with a constant changing environment.
  2. Due to its amendment difficulty, the people may eventually revolt regarding its slow amendment.
    Please read on pressure groups here.
  3. It may hinder developmental progress because of its difficulty in amendment.
    You can read on the importance of government here.

 

  • Flexible Constitution

A flexible constitution can be easily amended because it does not require complex procedures.

The british constitution is an example of a flexible constitution. With a simple majority, the british parliament can make or amend the laws of the constitution.


Advantages of a flexible constitution

  1. It can easily be modified with regards to the present political and social environment of a nation.
  2. It is constantly developed and always up to date.
  3. It decreases the chances of revolt by the people.
    Please read on the types of democracy here.

Disadvantages of a flexible constitution

  • It is unstable.
  • The frequent amendment of a constitution is not good for a federation.

 

3. A constitution can be presidential, parliamentary, federal or unitary.


  • Presidential Constitution

In a presidential constitution, the president is the head of the executive arm of government. The president is also considered as the head of all states present within the country. In this regard, the president is appropriately regarded as the head of states.

Meanwhile, understand that the president is neither a member of the judiciary, senate nor house of representative.


  • Parliamentary Constitution

In a parliamentary constitution, the prime minister is the head of the executive arm of government; and the members of the legislative arm of government are accountable to him or her.

Please read on the characteristics of government here.


  • Federal Constitution

The federal constitution is seen in countries like Nigeria and United States of America. In this form of constitution, there exists a central government alongside various state governments. The president heads the central government while the respective governors head each of their state within the country.

This type of constitution provides for the legislative competence under the central and state governments.


  • Unitary Constitution

The unitary constitution is practiced by the United Kingdom. The nations involved are centrally governed.

At present, it appears to be shifting into the federal type of constitution because some power are gradually tilting into the hands of the other constituents’ nations of the United Kingdom which comprises of Wales, Northern Island and Scotland respectively.

 

4. Other types of constitution are the evolved and enacted constitutions.

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Amazing facts in Government

Abraham Lincoln, the great human emancipator, freedom fighter and 16th American president was popular for the saying:

Government of the people, by the people and for the people

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America was a professional wrestler before he assumed the office of the American President. Interesting, he was only defeated once in his wrestling career


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