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Government of Nigeria

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Title: Government of Nigeria  
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Government of Nigeria

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Nigeria is a Federal Republic modeled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president. The government of Nigeria is also influenced by the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. However, the President of Nigeria is the head of state, head of government, and head of a multi-party system. Nigerian politics takes place within a framework of a federal, presidential, representative democratic republic, in which Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is held by the government and the two chambers of the legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Together the two chambers make up the law-making body in Nigeria called the National Assembly, which serves as a check on the executive arm of government. The highest judiciary arm of government in Nigeria is the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Nigeria also practices Baron de Montesquieu's theory of the separation of powers.

Legal system

The law of Nigeria is based on the rule of law, the independence of the Judiciary, and British common law because of the long history of British colonial influence. The legal system is therefore similar to the common law systems used in England and Wales and in other Commonwealth countries. The constitutional framework for the legal system is provided by the Constitution of Nigeria.

There are however, four distinct systems of law in Nigeria:

  • Common law, (case law development since colonial independence);
  • Customary law, which is derived from indigenous traditional norms and practices;
  • Sharia law, used in the northern part of the country.

Like the United States, there is a Judicial branch with a Supreme Court regarded as the highest court of the land.

Executive branch

The president is elected through universal suffrage. He or she is both the chief of state and head of government, heading the Federal Executive Council, or cabinet.

The executive branch is divided into Federal Ministries, each headed by a minister appointed by the President. The president must include at least one member from each of the 36 states in his cabinet. The President's appointments are confirmed by the Senate of Nigeria. In some cases a Federal minister is responsible for more than one ministry (for example, Environment and Housing may be combined), or a minister may be assisted by one or more ministers of State.[1] Each ministry also has a Permanent Secretary, who is a senior civil servant.[2]

The ministries are responsible for various parastatals (government-owned corporations) such as universities, the National Broadcasting Commission, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. However, some parastatals are the responsibility of the Office of the Presidency, such as the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Federal Civil Service Commission.[3]

Legislative branch

The National Assembly of Nigeria has two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives is presided over by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It has 360 members, elected for four year terms in single-seat constituencies. The Senate, which has 109 members, is presided over by the President of the Senate. 108 members are elected for four year terms in 36 three-seat constituencies which correspond to the country's 36 states and one member is elected in the single-seat constituency of the federal capital.

President of the Senate David Mark 2007–present
Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal 2011–present

Judicial branch

The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeal, the High Courts, other trial courts such as the Magistrates', Customary, Sharia and some specialised courts.[4] The National Judicial Council serves as an independent executive body, insulating the judiciary from the executive arm of government.[5] The Supreme Court is presided upon by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and thirteen associate justices, who are appointed by the President of Nigeria on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. These justices are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Office Office holder Assumed office
Chief Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar[6] 16 July 2012
Associate Justice Sylvester Umaru Onu 1993
Associate Justice Umaru Atu Kalgo 1998
Associate Justice G. A. Oguntade 2004
Associate Justice Sunday A. Akintan 2004
Associate Justice Mahmud Mohammed 2005
Associate Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen 2005
Associate Justice Ikechi Francis Ogbuagu 2005
Associate Justice F. F. Tabai 1999
Associate Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad 2007

Political parties and elections

For other political parties see List of political parties in Nigeria. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Nigeria.
e • d Summary of the 1 April 2007 Nigerian presidential election results
Candidates – Parties Parties Votes %
Umaru Yar'Adua Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 24,638,063 69.82
Muhammadu Buhari All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) 6,605,299 18.72
Atiku Abubakar Action Congress (AC) 2,637,848 7.47
Orji Uzor Kalu Progressive Peoples Alliance 608,803 1.73
Attahiru Bafarawa Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) 289,324 0.82
Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu All Progressives Grand Alliance 155,947 0.44
Pere Ajuwa Alliance for Democracy (AD) 89,241 0.25
Chris Okotie Fresh Democratic Party 74,049 0.21
Patrick Utomi African Democratic Congress (ADC) 50,849 0.14
Ambrose Owuru Hope Democratic Party 28,519 0.08
Emmanuel Okereke African Liberation Party (ALP) 22,677 0.06
Lawrence Adedoyin African Political System (APS) 22,409 0.06
Habu Fari National Democratic Party 21,934 0.06
Maxi Okwu Citizens Popular Party (CPP) 14,027 0.04
Bartholomew Nnaji Better Nigeria Party 11,705 0.03
Emmanuel Obayuwana National Conscience Party 8,229 0.02
Olapade Agoro National Action Council 5,752 0.02
Mojisola Obasanjo Nigerian Masses Movement 4,309 0.01

Template:Nigerian legislative election, 2007

Administrative divisions

The federation is divided in 36 states and 1 territory*; Federal Capital Territory (Abuja)*, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara

Each state is further divided into Local Government Areas (LGAs). There are 774 LGAs in Nigeria.[7] For each state they are listed in the article for that state. Kano State has the largest number of LGAs at 44, and Bayelsa State has the fewest at 9. The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja has 6 LGAs.[7] The Local Government Areas replaced the Districts that were the third tier administrative unit under the British government.


Main article: Military of Nigeria

The military of Nigeria has played a major role in the country's history, often seizing control of the country and ruling it through major periods of its history. Its last period of rule ended in 1999 following the death of the leader of the previous military junta Sani Abacha in 1998.

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services is total approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), and the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards. It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia, former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian Navy (7,000) is equipped with frigates, fast attack craft, convettes, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, but most are currently not operational. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities. Nigeria has continued a strict policy of diversification in its military procurement from various countries. After the imposition of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria turned to the People's Republic of China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.

Foreign relations

Nigeria is currently in better foreign relations due to its current state of democracy though a fledging one. It is a member of the African Union and sits on that organization's Peace and Security Council. Since 1960 Nigeria has been a member of the UN and also joined the Commonwealth of Nations the same year, however they were briefly suspended between 1995 and 1999. Nigeria is member of ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, AU ECOWAS, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, EFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

See also

Nigeria portal
Politics portal


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