Government | Definition & Origin of Government in Nigeria

Government is defined as the organization of state into departmental structures for the development of the interest of the state. Government also could be seen as machinery or an agency of the state through which people could be governed. Government is the machinery that makes and enforces laws in any given state.

Government is not simply a person or body of persons with statutory power to perform certain important functions, nor is it simply a number of departments or institutions performing public functions. It is essentially, machinery for running the affairs of a country or for performing function of the state which involves lawmaking, law enforcement and settlement of disputes

Government could be looked at as an institution of the state, as an art of governing the people or an academic field of study in the University.

Government could be seen as an organization, machinery, an agency or an institution through which the state exercises authority and performs its function for the order and welfare of citizens and other interests. Government is seen as an organization in that it is made up of administrative and other functional personnel structures or association that work in harmony for the objectives of the state collective interest.

In every society, people requires services such as building of schools, universities, roads, hospitals, provision of electricity and drinking water, posting of letters, transportation of people, goods and services by roads, sea, air and rail, passing of laws and maintenance of law and order and settlement of disputes.

The above functions cannot be carried out if there is no generally accepted method of doing so, established by the state. The generally accepted method of carrying such functions is done by government, government therefore regulate not only the internal affairs of the society but also relate with other states or organizations within the international community.

Origin of Government in Nigeria

The origin of government is traceable to origin of man and society. The origin of man and civilization as we know today is identified with Africa. The various ethnic groups that make up Nigeria had their own socio-political system of government that helps the people in governing themselves.

In Benin, the people developed a highly complex system of government in which the Oba was the king and the Uzama the council of state. The Iyase, Eghaevbonogbe and Eghaevbonore played significant functions in the government of Benin Kingdom.

In Yoruba area of Nigeria, the king was known as Alafin of Oyo. The Ooni of Ife was a spiritual leader. The Obas occupied serious executive position in the government of Yoruba Kingdom. The Oyomesi played the same role as the Uzama in Benin while the Bashorun acted as a Prime Minister in Oyo. The Igala people had their king known as Ata and Igala-mela as the council of state.

The Jukun had the Aku as the king while the Nupe had the Etsu as a king. The Hausa state came under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto. Before colonial rule came into force in Nigeria, the ethnic groups of Nigeria had one form of government or the other.

Colonial rule brought in a new spirit and style of government with its attached democratic principles, values and machinery of government. A new form of government was thus established in Nigeria with the representatives of Queen at the head.

The arm of government like the executives, the legislatives and the judiciary were established. The Parliamentary system of government used in colonial era was adopted at independence with little modification. This system of government at independence was later thrown away for American presidential system of government.

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