THE MEANING AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT

GOVERNMENT AS AN INSTITUTION OF THE STATE

Human beings in their relationships with one another tend to have diverse and conflicting interests in their existence in the society. The need to regulate the conflict of interest in man and the desire to set up a peaceful society led to the formation of government. If there were no agencies or a body to regulate people’s activities, the society would become what Thomas Hobbes referred to as a primitive society. This is a society where life is solitary, poor, wicked and short.

In order to prevent confusion and disorder in a society, people will have to surrender their natural rights to a body or an agency of the state called government. The absence of government in a state will lead to anarchy, that is, a state of disorder and lawlessness where might is right.

 

Government therefore refers to the body of persons and institutions that make and enforce laws in a state. It is the instrument through which the purpose of the state is formulated, expressed and attained. It is also an agency established by the political community to promote the general welfare of the people.

 

EVALUATION QUESTION

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1.      Explain the term Government as an Academic Field of Study

2.      Why do we study government?

 

GOVERNMENT AS A PROCESS OR ART OF GOVERNING

Government as a process or art of governing may be defined as the involvement of organs of government vested with power and authority for maintaining peace and security and also for making and enforcing laws. Through the formulation and implementation of policies in the state, government as a process of governing regulates the activities of the citizens and conducts the affairs of the state.

 

In order for the art of governing to be much easier and effective, government is not vested in one organ but divided into three organs. These organs are powerful and perform different but complimentary functions. They are the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

 

The Legislature (House of Assembly) makes the laws and passes the bills to the Executive arm for implementation. The Executive arm executes the laws while the Judiciary interprets the laws and punishes offenders.

 

GOVERNMENT AS AN ACADEMIC FIELD OF STUDY

Government as a school subject deals with the whole process and structure of political institution. The study helps us to understand the arm of government involved in the running of the affairs of the state.

 

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It also studies international organizations which a state has membership with and relationship between the states in the world. This study is called political science.

 

EVALUATION QUESTION

  1. Explain the term government as an Academic Field of Study?
  2. Why is government referred to as an Academic Field of Study?

 

GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS

  1. How is government an art of governing?
  2. How would the world have been without governments?
  3. Can only one organ of government run a state?
  4. How is government an academic field of study?

 

WEEKEND ASSINGMENT

  1. The study of government helps us to —————-
  2. a) Know our rights b) evade tax c) disobey government
  3. The THEORY of a primitive society was initiated by ______
  4. a) Nelson Mandela b) Thomas Hobbes c) Nnamdi Azikiwe
  5. The fourth organ of government is the ___________
  6. a) High court b) electoral commission c)  none of the above
  7. The absence of government in a state leads to _______
  8. a) Peaceful existence b) anarchy c) communism
  9. One basic principle of government is _________
  10. a) State and nation b) authority c) separation of power

 

THEORY

  1. Describe the functions of the organs of government.
  2. Why is government necessary in a state?

 

See also

FRENCH COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION

INDIRECT RULE

COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION

PRE-COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION/POLITICAL SYSTEM IN NIGERIA

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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