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Types and Characteristics of Government such as Unitary Government, the Federal system of Government, cabinet system of Government


What is a Unitary government (UNITARIANISM)

The unitary system of government is one in which all governmental powers are concentrated in the hands of a single authority or central government.

What are the features of the unitary government?

  • All governmental powers are concentrated in the hands of a single authority or central government.
  • It adopts a unitary constitution.
  • The central government creates areas or regions.
  • The legislature can alter the powers and boundaries of various unit and regions.
  • There is no constitutional division of power.
  • The central government is the only source of power.
  • The constitution need not necessarily be supreme.
  • The central government can delegate powers to subordinate bodies.
  • The constitution also need not necessarily be rigid.
  • No constitutional conflict between the central and the subordinate bodies.
  • The central government and the nation as a whole are strong.
  • There need not be any local legislature assemblies.
  • There is no need to have any final authority that resolves conflicts.
  • Parliamentary supremacy is a prominent feature.


What are the factors or condition that give rise to the adoption of the unitary Government

  • Size of the country
  • The absence of tribal differences
  • Lack of fear of denomination
  • Common language and culture
  • The absence of minority groups
  • Lack of marked economic inequalities
  • Political expediency
  • Strong loyalty to the government.


What are the Merits of unitary government

  • Stronger and stable government
  • Reduction in cost
  • Quicker decisions are made
  • it removes frictions
  • Fosters the spirit of oneness
  • No double loyalty
  • It has a flexible constitution
  • Uniformity in the level of development
  • It is simple to operate
  • It is less bureaucratic
  • Promotion of national unity
  • It avoids the waste of human and material resources.


What are the demerits of unitary government

  • It encourages dictatorship
  • It prevents local autonomy
  • It kills the local initiative
  • It causes dissatisfaction
  • The central government is overburdened
  • Its prone to political instability
  • Government is kept away from the people
  • It does not suit large territories
  • It leads to the domination of minority groups
  • It does not encourage wider representation
  • It does not create more employment opportunities.

What is the federal system of government (federalism)
A federal system of government is one in which governmental power exist in the country are shared between a central government that represent the whole country and the component regions or states so that each government is legally and constitutionally independent and autonomous.
What are the features of Federalism

  • Division of governmental powers between the central the component government of the region or state.
  • The different governments derive their powers from the constitution.
  • Adoption of a written constitution.
  • The supremacy of the constitution.
  • The supremacy of the central government.
  • Duplications of organs of government in all government.
  • The existence of the bicameral legislature.
  • Residual powers are reserved for the component region or state.
  • Constitutional repudiation of recession.
  • Matters in the exclusive list are reserved for the central government.


What are the reasons or circumstances or conditions conducive to the adoption of federalism or factors that give rise to federalism

  • Fear of domination
  • Tribal differences
  • The size of the country
  • Desire for union
  • for security reasons
  • Geographical proximity
  • To expand local market
  • The absence of marked inequalities
  • Protection of the interest of minority groups.
  • For rapid and even development.
  • To bring government nearer to the people.
  • For easy and effective government.
  • To create more employment opportunities.
  • For diverse laws to be made
  • For the preservation of local independence or autonomy.


What are the advantages of federalism

  • Political unity
  • Faster development.
  • It allays fear of domination.
  • It guarantees a wider consultation.
  • Local differences are catered for.
  • Guarantee nation’s security
  • Economy advantage.
  • It maintains political stability
  • Guarantees human right.
  • It leads to checks and balances.
  • Encouragement of healthy competition.
  • It brings government nearer to the people.
  • Prevention of the emergence of a dictator.
  • Protects the interest of the minority groups.
  • Greater participation of the people

What is the Monarchy
It is a form of government under the rule of a King, Queen or Emperor known as the monarch
What are the types of Monarchy

  • Absolute Monarchy: This is the type in which the monarch has unlimited powers and does not derive the powers from the constitution and rules by divine right.
  • Constitutional Monarchy: In this form, the monarch has limited powers because he or she derives his or her powers from the constitution

What is the Republican Government
A republican government is that which has an elected head of state by the people. That means that a sovereign state is referred to as a republic if the country has no traditional ruler or its representative as its head of state but with the one chosen by the people with a fixed time of office.
What are the features of a Republic

  1. The head of state known as the president is elected by the people.
  2. A republic must be politically independent.
  3. Members of the legislature are directly elected by the people.
  4. Government functions are performed by officials, not traditional rulers.
  5. A republican constitution is entirely homemade.
  6. There exist political and legal equality in a republic.

What are the duties and responsibility, functions and constitutional powers of an Executive President

  • The president is both the head of state and also head of government.
  • He is the commander in chief of the armed forces.
  • He prepares and presents the annual budget to the national assembly.
  • He appoints ministers and other members of the cabinet.
  • He bestows or awards national honours to deserving citizens.
  • He approves the appointment of Ambassadors and others.
  • He has the right to declare a state of emergency when the need arises.
  • He receives the representatives of other countries to his country.
  • He has the constitutional right to grant a pardon.
  • The president assent to bills.
  • He appoints the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • He approves the formation and the execution of foreign policies.

What is the Cabinet of a parliamentary system of government
This is a system of government in which the head of state is different from the head of government and where there is no strict separation of power between the executive and the legislature.
What are the features of a cabinet system of government

  • The head of state is different from the head of government.
  • There is no strict separation of powers.
  • The prime minister is the head of government while the queen or the king or the president is the head of state.
  • The prime minister exercises real executive powers.
  • The head of state performs the ceremonial functions.
  • The prime minister and all cabinet ministers are chosen from the legislature.
  • The executive arm of government derives its authority from the legislature arm.
  • The prime minister and all cabinet ministers are also members of the parliament or legislature.
  • The executive is directly responsible to the legislature.
  • The party having the majority in the legislature controls both the legislature and the executive.
  • The prime minister is also the parliamentary leader of the party in power.
  • The system operates on collective responsibility.
  • There is an official opposition party in the parliament.
  • The prime minister stays in office as long as his party controls majority seats in the parliament.
  • A vote of “no confidence” by the parliament can force the prime minister and his cabinet members to resign embolic.

What are the Advantages of the cabinet system of government

  • Reduction of dictatorial tendencies.
  • It fosters cooperation.
  • The system is less expensive
  • Makes for good governance.
  • The absence of frequent frictions.
  • Collective responsibility.
  • It ensures discipline.
  • Quick policies are made.
  • There is a free flow of information.
  • The existence of a friendly atmosphere.
  • It ensures the efficiency of the executive.
  • The executive is closely checked.
  • It ensures the stability of the government.

What are the Disadvantages of a cabinet system

  • It encourages mediocrity.
  • Difficulty to apportion blame.
  • It is less democratic.
  • No personal accountability.
  • It encourages dictatorship.
  • Uncertain tenure of service
  • It encourages arbitrary dismissal.
  • It does not facilitate decision making.
  • Members of the executives are prone to distraction.
  • It leads to frequent changes.
  • The system faces a coalition government.
  • Fusions of powers do not encourage specialization.

What is Collective responsibility
This term used in the parliamentary system of government means that all members of the cabinet are collectively responsible for all the decisions and actions taken by the cabinet.
What are the duties, responsibilities, function and constitutional powers of the Prime Minister

  • The prime minister is the head of government.
  • He exercises real executive powers.
  • He is the head of the ruling party.
  • The prime minister is also the parliamentary leader.
  • He nominates the ministers from the members of his party who are parliamentarians.
  • He has the power to reshuffle his cabinet.
  • The prime minister has the power to dismiss any minister of his cabinet.
  • He represents the country in international conferences.
  • He presides over the executives and the cabinet meetings.
  • He is the link between the cabinet and the head of state.
  • He recommends citizens to be awarded national honours.

Differences between the presidential and parliamentary systems of government

There is a clear separation.No separation but fusion.
The president is both the head of state and head of government.The head of state is different from the head of government.
The president is elected by the electorate.The prime minister is chosen by the legislature.
The president and his ministers are not members of the legislature.The prime minister and his ministers are members of the legislature.
The principle of collective responsibility does not apply.The principle of collective responsibility applies.
The principle of check and balances apply.The principle of check and balances does not apply.
The constitution is supremeThe parliament is supreme.
The executive and the legislature can be controlled by different political parties.The executive and the legislature can be controlled by one party or coalition party.
The president and his ministers are responsible to the constitution.The prime ministers and his ministers are responsible to the legislature.
There is no official opposition party.There is an official opposition party.
Non- legislature can be appointed ministers.Non-legislature cannot be appointed ministers.
The tenure of office of the president is limited to a fixed termThe tenure of office of the prime minister is not limited to a fixed term.
The president can be removed from office through impeachment.The prime minister can be removed through a vote of no confidence.

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