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TYPES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF GOVERNMENT

Government (Secondary School)

UNITARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT

This can be defined as one in which all governmental powers and functions that exist in a state or country are concentrated in a single central government. There is no constitutional division of powers in the country. Examples of countries that adopts unitary system are; Britain, France, Italy and so on.

 

FEATURES OF A UNITARY GOVERNMENT

  1. There is no constitutional division of powers.
  2. All powers and functions are concentrated in the hands of the central government.
  3. It is suitable for homogenous states.
  4. The system is best practiced in a relatively small state or country.
  5. The constitution is flexible.
  6. The parliamentary is supreme in a unitary form of government.
  7. The central government may have the power to modify the constitution.
  8. There is no conflict of authority since the central government possess all the powers.

 

REASONS FOR THE ADOPTION OF A UNITARY GOVERNMENT

  1. For efficient administration.
  2. Small country; Unitary government is best practised in a small country.
  3. It is best practised in a homogenous state.
  4. To ensure effective control and accountability in government.
  5. To ensure rapid and even development.
  6. To enable the central government to adequately manage the resources of the state.

 

ADVANTAGES OF A UNITARY GOVERNMENT

  1. It is less expensive to operate.
  2. There is quick decision making.
  3. It promotes strong government.
  4. It promotes unity.
  5. There is no conflict of authority.
  6. The process of amending the constitution is relatively easy.
  7. It is suitable for emergency situation.

 

DISADVANTAGES OF A UNITARY GOVERNMENT

  1. It can lead to dictatorship.
  2. It is not suitable for a heterogeneous state.
  3. The central government is overloaded with functions.
  4. The interest of minority groups may not be protected.
  5. There may be high rate of unemployment as a result of low duplication of functions
  6. The system does not encourage local initiative.
  7. The government is too far from the people at the grassroot.
  1. It is not suitable for a large population.

 

EVALUATION

  1. Define unitary form of government.
  2. State five features of a unitary state.

 

FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

This can be defined as one in which all governmental powers and functions that exist in a country are shared between the central government and the component states or units. In this system, all levels of government derive their powers from the constitution. Examples of countries that practice federal system are; Nigeria, U.S.A, India, Russia and so on.

 

FEATURES

  1. There is constitutional division of powers.
  2. All levels of government derive their powers from the constitution.
  3. It is usually suitable for a large populated country.
  4. It is best practised in a heterogeneous state or country.
  5. It encourages local initiatives.
  6. The constitution is supreme.
  7. There is clear separation of powers.
  8. Each state or unit is allowed to develop at its own pace.

 

REASONS FOR THE ADOPTION OF A FEDERAL SYSTEM

  1. To bring the government closer to the people.
  2. Size of the country: It is best practised in a large country.
  3. To prevent the minority from being dominated by the majority.
  4. Heterogeneous nature of the country: It is best adopted in a country with diverse cultures.
  5. The nearness of states to each other can bring about the desire for a federal system of government.
  6. The need to pool resources together to form a stronger economy necessitates the adoption of a federal system of government.

 

MERITS OF A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  1. It brings government closer to the people.
  2. It prevents dictatorship.
  3. It reduces the work load of the central government.
  4. Employment opportunities are created with the duplication of functions.
  5. The constitution is supreme.
  6. It encourages grassroot participation in politics.
  7. The system protects the interest of the minorities.

 

DEMERITS OF A FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

  1. There is delay in decision making
  2. Threat of Secession: Some units may threaten to break away from the union.
  3. There is unhealthy rivalry among the component units
  4. Boundary disputes: Component units always fight over boundaries.
  5. The minorities are always afraid that the majority will dominate them .
  6. Problem of state creation: All the ethnic groups want to have their own state which is not possible
  7. It is very expensive to operate because of duplication of functions.
  8. There is no uniform development since each region is allowed to develop at its own pace.

 

EVALUATION

  1. Define federal system of government.
  2. Highlight 5 reasons fro the adoption of federalism.

 

GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS

  1. Give 4 reasons for the adoption of a unitary state.
  2. State 5 merits of a unitary state.
  3. Highlight 5 demerits of federalism.
  4. Explain the term ‘Federal Character’.

 

WEEKEND ASSIGNMENT

  1. A characteristic of a federal system of government is that power is (a) shared between the central and unit government (b) held by the state (c) shared between the component units of government.
  2. In a unitary system of government ____ is supreme (a) constitution (b) parliament

(c) the central government.

  1. The following are examples of states that adopts federal system of government except (a) Nigeria (b) India (c) France
  2. In a federal system of government, education and health are examples of (a) exclusive powers (b) concurrent powers (c) residual powers
  3. The following are features of a unitary state except (a) powers are shared between different levels of government (b) it is suitable for a small country (c) the parliament is supreme

 

THEORY

  1. Differentiate between federal and unitary system of government.
  2. Explain the problem of federal character as it affects federalism.

 

See also

BASIC CONCEPTS IN GOVERNMENT

BASIC CONCEPTS IN GOVERNMENT

BASIC CONCEPTS IN GOVERNMENT

BASIC CONCEPTS OF GOVERNMENT

BASIC CONCEPTS IN GOVERNMENT

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