Well, grab affordable flight tickets to Nigeria and come with me to explore the governance system and role of government in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and where political outclassing never seem to cease. Welcome to Naira land! Over the years and of all African countries, Nigeria remains a beehive of activities that run from Muslim dominated Northern states to the Southern Parts which are largely inhabited by those of the Christian faith. Nonetheless, with these religious diversities, a blend of cultures in this part of the world far much outweighs those of equally culturally rich countries on the continent combined. So, what does this say of Nigeria? Well, forget about the fact that Nigeria is Africa’s largest democracy with a population exceeding a hundred million and look closer to the government of the day. Over the decades, there has been an effort to form an inclusive government that can cater to people’s needs right from the heart of Lagos, through Abuja, Maiduguri, Kano to Enugu and other states.
- Expansive yet relatively successful nation on Africa’s soil
Fundamentally, Nigeria is built on the federal system of governance and this is premised on the belief and in fact, on practical experiences from other federal states around the world that the system works better for expansive countries. But how do Nigerians themselves view this form of governance? Has it helped realize the dreams of all tribes such as the Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Hausa and among others? Further, is the system representative of all the ethnic tribes of Nigeria, in which case, larger and smaller tribes are catered for in government appointments? Interestingly, Nigeria has hardly been divided by negative ethnicity but rather, along religious clashes which have notwithstanding seen rise in terror related activities in the North. Maiduguri has been worst hit in recent memory by Boko Haram, a terrorist grouping with links to Al Qaeda. This has cast the government of the day into limelight, and particularly the role it plays in bringing about normalcy to Africa’s largest democracy. In fact, defeat of the incumbent in the previous election was hugely determined by its failure to curb the threat posed by the terror group rather than the successes it achieved.
- So, what does the constitution say…?
The Nigeria’s constitution is a powerful document in which the roles of government and its arms are enshrined. Upon landing here after acquiring flight tickets to Nigeria should then see you grab a copy of this very important document and have a close scrutiny of its contents. Being a federal republic, the critiques have poked holes on the constitution for giving too much powers to the federal government and too little to the states. All religious mannerisms including practise of Sharia laws are enshrined in the constitution. Further, Universal suffrage is practised, something which gives Nigeria’s citizens, the freedom to choose leaders of their choice in every election.
- Liquid Gold inspired conflicts…..
But are conflicts in this country solely related to extremist activities? Known as one of the largest oil producing countries in Africa, Delta states in Nigeria, from where oil well springs, have been an epicentre of rivalries pitting the ruling elite against industrialists and wealthy businessmen. The oil wells have been a target whenever there are conflicts as is always seen in Delta Oil Well fires. This is however a topic for another day.
- The Government of Nigeria and what it does
To better understand how government in this part of Africa works, it is prudent to narrow down to its very branches which includes the executive, the legislature and an independent Judiciary. While these work together to achieve greater success in governance which translate to the common good for the populace, a policy of non-interference and separation of powers is always in places to ensure independence of each when it comes to dispensation of responsibilities. The Judiciary for example should not bow to influence stemming from the executive when it comes to the rule of the law and so is the legislature which should stick to its guns and not be bent by the powerful executive to serve the latter’s interests but of the people.
- The executive branch of Nigeria’s government and its roles
Usually, people elect a government so that it can cater to their needs and improve their living conditions. This is no different in Nigeria where every election year, an elected president together with his cabinet are expected to attend to the needs of the people through policy formulation and implementation. Policies vary from one president to another and it is how they are implemented by the government of the day that matters. Ostensibly, people will always want a government of the people, for the people and by the people. This boils down to whether Nigeria’s government represents and takes care of the interest of electorates or not. For Nigerians, when a new executive comes into place, one of the things they always look forward to and which the government works tooth and nail to achieve is reduction of crime rates and terrorism. This is because the President, who is also the head of the cabinet, is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is charged with the responsibility of keeping Nigeria safe. Education policies that can make the system viable to better healthcare are also the role of executive and are executed by the minister for education.
- The role of the parliament
While the federal states operate independently and as subsidiary systems, parliament in general is charged with responsibility of making laws. For instance, radical amendments that give the presidency more powers to deal with terrorism and those which enable the citizens to participate in decision making are solely decided upon by the parliament.
- The Judiciary
This is an equally important branch of Nigeria’s government charged with the responsibility of administering justice to the offended and offenders. An independent judiciary is what they citizens expect so that cases are heard and decided on without external influence from another arm of the government. Judiciary being an arm of the government also ensures that laws made by parliament are respected and practiced accordingly.