Types of Government

len Alfred Ajibola - 24th June, 2022 @ 02:34 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

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Which of the following is not a characteristic of the two-party system?

  • A. It is democratic in nature

  • B. There isn't a third party

  • C. The two parties are always dominant in the political terrain

  • D. The president must emerge from one of both parties

  • E. It encourages freedom of expression at the press

  • F. It presents a choice of candidates to the people

In a two-party system,  only 2 political parties are present in countries where they are practised.

  • A. True

  • B. False

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

Types of Government:

Government is defined as an established institution that manages the affairs and general welfare of the people making up a country or state. Government may also be defined as the processes and methods involved in the formulation, administration and implementation of public policies from a procedure specifically spelt out in the constitution of a country or state.

Please read more on the concept of government here.

Government can exist in different types or forms. As an instance, Nigeria as a country once practiced dictatorship as its form of government. Dictatorship in Nigeria came to an end after the death of general Sani Abacha. However, at the point of writing this article (2022), Nigeria as a nation practices the democratic system of government.

From the above instance, we can categorically state that Nigeria as a nation has practiced two forms of government. Meanwhile, understand that the forms of government may also be termed as 'types' of government'. Below are the types of government:

  1. Dictatorship

  2. Democracy

  3. Meritocracy

  4. Oligarchy

  5. Colonialism

  6. Monarchy

  7. Communism

  8. Federalism

  9. Autocracy

  10. Theocracy

  11. Ecclesiocracy

You can read on pressure groups in Nigeria here.

  • Dictatorship

Dictatorship can either exist in the forms of military or civilian rule.

In military dictatorship, there is no form of election and the nation involved is ruled by the absolute power of one man whom may be referred to as the head of state.

The dictator of a military regime assumes power by coup d'etat which is usually bloody (as lives are lost), although some may be bloodless in certain instances.

The militaty dictator must be a military personnel (an army officer), and will normally defend their rise to power under the claims of corruption by the previous military dictator or democratically elected leader. In this regard, the courts do not exercise their powers in military dictatorship because the leader seems to be above the law.

Please read on the arms of government here.

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.

In June 1998, General Abdusalam Abubakar became the last military head of state in Nigeria after the death of General Sani Abacha from food poisoning.

General Abdusalam Abubakar honorably handed the mantle of leadership to a democratic system of government in 1999.

Please read on the types of democracy here.

Dictatorship can also be civilian. In this case, absolute power is vested in the hands of a single civilian who may be elected into office.

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


  • Democracy

Democracy is a form of government where the power of choosing a leader is vested on the people. According to Abraham Lincoln, it represents a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Please read more on democracy here.

In democracy, the citizens have the right to vote and be voted for. The citizens are mandated to choose their preferred candidate by voting for them through their political party. In fact, this voting process is considered as one of the fundamental human rights and civic responsibility of every citizen.

Please read on the fundamental human rights here.

No one is above the rule of law in a democratic system. If the election outcome does not reflect the mandate of the people, a court of competent jurisdiction can nullify such election.

Democracy is practiced in Nigeria, United States of America, India and South Africa.


  • Meritocracy

This form of government requires that power is vested on individuals who have academic achievements, professional statuses and leadership experience.

In meritocracy, it is assumed that whoever the leaders are, they must be credible and deserving of their office.

In this rule, one who has a doctorate degree in English cannot become the minister of power. This is so because his or her doctorate degree in English has very little or no correlation with electricity and power; rather such person can become the minister of education or something related to their achievement.

Please read on the illiteracy here.

To some extent, meritocracy is practiced in Singapore and it seems to have produced some positive results in the country.


  • Oligarchy

Oligarchy is a form of government where the privileged, wealthy, elite and noble men rule over those of lower classes or statuses.

The few wealthy men in oligarchy will often transfer the power to rule unto their children, while the poor continue to serve them.

It is noteworthy that the wealthy, elite and noble men are typically educated and are viewed in high esteem by the common masses.

Please read on self-esteem here.

Aristocracy is sometimes considered to be a type of oligarchy. In aristocracy, the nobles rule the people.

Other types of oligarchy include:

  • Plutocracy: The wealthy rule the people.
  • Technocracy: Technical experts and the educated rule the people.
  • Timocracy: Those with honors rule the people.

  • Theocracy

Theocracy is a type of government whereby God (or gods) is considered as the ruler of the land. An instance of theocracy was practiced by the Israelites in the old testament of the bible. However, the people of Israel (Israelites) requested another form of government by demanding a human king as their ruler; and God indeed honored their request. In this regard, the Israelites moved from a theocratic form of government into monarchy which happens to be another form of government.

In an ideal theocracy, there is always a civil leader who has a very close and personal connection with God (or gods) of their land. A typical example is seen in the book of exodus when Moses, a great leader of the Israelites and under the direct guidance from Yahweh (God), led the people out of Egypt into their promised land. Another instance of theocracy is seen when Prophet Muhammad led and directed the early muslims with prophecies and guidance from Allah himself.

It is noteworthy to state that theocracy is quite different from ecclesiocracy. In summary, a theocratic government requires a personal connection between God and a human leader. The former works through the latter to govern his people.

Please read on colonialism, monarchy, communism, federalism, autocracy and ecclesiocracy here.

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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. Interestingly, he was only defeated once in his wrestling career


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