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A constitution is an official document that contains provisions that determine the structure of the government and of the country’s political institutions, and that sets out regulations and limits for government and citizens WHILE Constitutionalism is a principle that recognizes the need to limit the power of the central government, in order to protect basic right and freedoms of the population.

(i) Popular sovereignty:
The power of the people is supreme in a constitutional democracy. Popular sovereignty means that the power and authority to govern originates from the electorate. Without popular consent and the mandate from the voters , any group of people that assumes political office is considered illegitimate. Such a group lacks both legit right and moral right to rule.

(ii) The Rule of law:
A limited government is one of the cardinal principles of constitutional government. The rule of law is the practice whereby the exercise of power is limited to only what is authorized by the basic law of the state, the constitution. Thus, the rule of law is a means for protecting the fundamental human rights of the citizens in the state.

(iii) Separation of powers:
Another important principle of constitutional government is the separation of powers. To avoid the abuse of power, therefore, the powers of government are separated in terms of both personnel and function. This is to say that power should not be concentrated in one person or institution.

(iv) Accountability:
Accountability is among the features of constitutional government. Those elected to political office are required to account for their stewardship to the electorate. There are various forms of popular control of the government. Examples are elections, referenda, public opinion, consultation and Judicial review.

(v) Justice and fairness:
It is the duty of a constitutional government to work to promote social and economic justice for all. Ensuring the independence of the judiciary is one key means of safeguarding the interests of all individuals within the State.


(i) Maintenance of Law And Order:
It is the duty of the government to maintain law, peace and order. It is in a bid to carry out this function that the Police Force and Law Courts are established and equipped

(ii) Defence of The Country:
Government establishes and equips a standing armed forces in order to defend the country from external aggression or internal insurrection and to maintain the territorial integrity of the state.

(iii) Provision of employment Opportunities:
It is the duty of the government to provide employment opportunities to its citizens, this is one of the reasons why some countries pay unemployment allowance to the citizens where government failed to provide gainful employment.

(iv) Political functions:
Political functions of the government include conduction of periodic free and fair elections to ensure smooth and peaceful change of government, maintenance of stable political atmosphere, regulation of political activities etc.

(v) Protection of Lives And Property:
Apart from maintaining law and order and defending the country, it is also the duty of the government to protect lives and property of its citizens. The Police Force and Law Courts carry out this function of protection of lives and property of not only the citizens but all those living in the country.

(i) A democratic state holds periodic elections to elect representatives into the various legislative houses.

(ii) It provides equal opportunity for citizens to participate in the decisions of the government.

(iii) Under democratic dispensation, fundamental human rights are guaranteed.

(iv) The rights of the minority are also guaranteed.

(v) There is provision of special procedures to amend parts of the constitution, e.g. creation of new states, impeachment of the president etc.


The repeated ballot is an electoral system in which voters vote continuously with intervals for discussions and negotiations until a winner emerges. A typical example is when a new pope is to be elected by a body of cardinals. The system is used in nominating the American presidential candidate at the party's convention/primary.

The second ballot is an electoral system in which the two candidates who secured the highest number of votes are made to face the electorate at a later date. Voters who supported the less successful candidates are able to switch their support to either of the two leading candidates until a candidate secures the majority votes and wins. It is also known as ' run-off.-election'.

Simple plurality system is an electoral system in which the candidate with the highest number of votes even though he may not have secured the majority of the votes is declared the winner of the election. It is also called the first-past-the-post system. It is common in the commonwealth countries and United, States of America.

Primaries is an electoral system used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election. It is an electoral process where members of a political party can indicate their preference for a candidate in an upcoming general election or by-election, thus narrowing the field of candidates.


Political participation involves a voluntary participation of individuals or citizens in the political activities of their country. It is a situation process where the citizens have the opportunity of electing their political leaders and taking part in the decision making in their country.

The following are ways in which a citizen can participate in politics:

(i) Contesting elections: This is one form of political participation. The individual or a citizen can stand as a candidate for an elective post to represent his party.

(ii) Joining and belonging to political parties: The individual is actively involved in politics. He takes part in all activities e.g. campaigns, rallies, etc.

(iii) Holding of public offices: The citizen participates in politics by holding public office and this affords him the opportunity of contributing to the decision - making process of his country.

(iv) Sponsoring of political parties: A wealthy individual may not be active politically, but may sponsor a political party and this makes him participate politically.

(v) Partial participation: A citizen may be active politically by attending or taking part in political activities e.g. rallies, conventions, etc. Some also write on political issues in the newspapers.

(vi) Observatory posture: Here, the individual is an observer. He may not belong to any political party but may have interest in politics only by listening to discussions on political issues.

(vii) As a voter: Voting in elections makes an individual to be involved or to participate in politics.

(viii) As a polling agent: A citizen representing his party at the polls is actively involved in politics.

(ix) Demonstration: When citizens take part in demonstration on national issues, they participate in politics.



(i) There was a breakdown of the existing links between them and their people when the former became appendages of an alien government.

(ii) The introduction of wage earning gave their subjects economic independence.

(iii) The impact of Western education led to the breakdown of traditional norms and values of the society.

(iv) The influence of foreign religion scaled down the power of the traditional rulers as the spiritual authority of their people.

(v) Establishment of Law Courts by the colonialists eroded their judicial powers.

(vii) Establishment of Legislative Councils reduced their law making powers.

(vii) Establishment of Police Force by the colonialists.

(viii) The establishment of the Public Treasury removed taxation powers from the traditional rulers.

(ix) Emergence of political parties after World War II led to the decline of powers of the traditional rulers.

(x) Forced labour and conscription by the colonialists reduced the man power available to the traditional rulers.


(i) The NYM had a congress/Convention as part of its organizational structure

(ii) A national executive was also in place headed by a president.

(iii) It also had branches established in some urban areas throughout Nigeria and a committee of twelve to prepare for the 1938 elections.

(iv) Its national headquarters was in Lagos.

(i) There was internal wrangling within the movement. founding of the Daily Service as the official mouthpiece of the party did not go down well with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the publisher of the West African Pilot.

(ii) The inherent internal weaknesses of the NYM structure could not solve the movement's problems.

(iii) The movement was riven by Ethnic/tribal conflicts which pitched the leaders/supporters against one another.

(iv) The eventual resignation of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and Samuel Akinsanya virtually destroyed the limited national character of the NYM.



(i) The constitution introduced elective principles which for the first time allowed Nigerians to elect their representatives to the legislative council

(ii) It spurred the formation of parties with the interests of Nigerians and increased Nationalism.

(iii) It created room for the development of the mass media to circulate information.

(iv) It established a constitutional government in Nigeria as opposed to government by statutory instrument or orders.

(v) It increased political awareness through political education during political campaigns.

(i) The constitution isolated the northern province of Nigeria

(ii) Majority of Nigerian unofficial members that were nominated in the Legislative Council were illiterates.

(iii) The constitution excluded Nigerian officials or non-official in the executive council.

(iv) The constitution made the legislative council subordinate to the European monopolized and controlled executive council.

(v) The constitution vested too much political political power on the governor including the power to legislate for the North.

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