ORGANS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
The following are the organs of the Commonwealth of Nations and their functions.
- The Prime Minister’s Conference; The prime minister’s conference is the highest organ of the Commonwealth. This organ is composed of the Heads of State and government of member-states or their accredited representatives.
- Approval of Budget: It is the sole responsibility of the Prime Minister’s of member-states to receive and approve the budget of the organization.
- Appointment of the Secretary-General: It is the body that appoints the Secretary-General of the organization.
- Discussion of Problems: The Prime ministers of member-states discuss issues, problems as they affect member states and give recommendations or solutions for such problems.
- Power of Sanction: The Prime minster of member-states has the power to sanction any member that does not adhere to the aims and objectives upon which the organization was established for example, Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1995 for the violation of human right i.e the killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and other 8 Ogoni citizen.
- Receives Reports: The organ receives reports and endorsed the report of the organization submitted to it by the secretariat.
- The Secretariat: The secretariat of the Commonwealth was established in 1965. The secretariat is headed by a Secretary General and is located in London. The first Secretary General of the Common wealth is Arnold Smith (1965-1975) and he is from Canada and was followed by Sir Shridath Ramphal (1975-1990) from Guyeana. He was succeeded by Chief Emeka Anyaoku from Nigeria (1990-2000).
Functions of the Secretariat
- It organizes conferences of heads of state and government of member states.
- It prepares the report of the organization.
- The secretariat performs administrative functions
- It prepares the annual report on the activities of the organization.
- It provides facilities for all the meetings of the organization.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS
- Common wealth award scholarship to deserving students within member state countries
- Member states of commonwealth help one another to discuss common problems and also profer solutions to such problems.
- Member states of commonwealth speaks the same language, which is English language. This makes communication easy.
- Member states engage in sporting activities every four years, this helps to strengthen the relationship among them.
- The rich countries help the poor ones by granting of loans or financial assistance.
PROBLEMS OF COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS
- Foreign Policies: One of the problems facing Commonwealth is that its member-nations pursue different foreign policies.
- Problem of South Africa: South Africa’s apartheid policy is still a problem that is threatening to divide member-nations of the Commonwealth.
- No Common Currency: Member-nations no longer have a common currency, as it use to be tied to British pound sterling.
- Compliance with Decision: Another major problem facing Commonwealth is that it has no power to compel its member-nations to comply with its decision and implement its resolution.
- Restriction of Movement: Members of Commonwealth no longer have free movement to immigrants from Commonwealth countries. For example, Nigerians traveling to Britain should require a visa.
- Charter: Commonwealth has no charter like UNO and OAU. Therefore, there are no formal rules governing it.
- Political Instability: Most of the member-nations especially the developing ones are constantly faced with political instability e.g. Military intervention in the political system.
- The Issue of EEC: One of the problems facing Commonwealth is the fact that its member-nations belong to many different other organizations which make them to have divided interest and loyalty to commonwealth e.g. the OAU, ECOWAS, EEC etc.
- Secession: Another problem is that member states can easily secede or pull out of the body.
How can foreign policy constitute a problem to Commonwealth?
GENERAL EVALUATION/ REVISION QUESTIONS
- Explain the meaning and features of the French policy of assimilation.
- Discuss the factors that contributed to the failure of the policy of assimilation in the former French West African colonies
- Make a comparison of the British and French system of colonial administration in West Africa.
Essential government by C.C. Dibie pages 246-247
- The secretariat of the Commonwealth was established in____ (a) 1963 (b) 1965 (c)1957 (d) 1960
- The first Secretary General of Commonwealth is (a) Arnold Smith (b) Emeka Anyaoku (c) Sir Shridath Ramphal (d) Tony Blair
- The following are the functions of the Prime Minister’s Conference except (a) budget approval (b) appointment of secretary general (c) preparation of annual report (d) discussion of problems
- One of the following is a problem of Commonwealth (a) no charter (b) promotion of unity (c) Common language (d) political assistance.
- E.E.C stands for (a) European Economic Cooperation (b) European Economic Community (c) European Economic Composition (d) European Economic Corps.
- State the problems faced by the Commonwealth
- Explain what you know about the Secretariat of the Commonwealth.
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