Politics of Nigeria

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Nigeria

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 a 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[edit]

The law of Nigeria is based on the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, and British common law (due to the long history of British colonial influence). The legal system is similar to common-law systems used in England and Wales and 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 the Supreme Court regarded as the highest court of the land.

Executive branch[edit]

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[edit]

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, who are 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. One member is selected in the single-seat constituency of the federal capital.

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

Judicial branch[edit]

The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeals, the High Courts, and other trial courts such as the Magistrates', Customary, Sharia and other 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 over 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[edit]

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
e • d Summary of the 21 April 2007 Nigerian National Assembly election results
Parties House of Representatives Senate
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
People's Democratic Party 260 85
All Nigeria Peoples Party 62 16
Action Congress 32 6
Progressive Peoples Alliance 3 1
Labour Party 1
Accord 1
Total   360   109
Source: IPU Parline

Administrative divisions[edit]

Nigeria is divided into 36 states and 1 territory*. They are: 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, and Zamfara

Each state is further divided into Local Government Areas (LGAs). There are 774 LGAs in Nigeria.[7] 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] LGAs replaced the Districts that were the previous third-tier administrative unit under the British government.

Military[edit]

Main article: Military of Nigeria
Nigerian troops

The military of Nigeria has played a major role in the country's history, often seizing control of the country and ruling it for long periods of time. 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 totals approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel, deployed between 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, the 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 transports, trainers, helicopters, and fighter aircraft; however, most of their vehicles 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[edit]

Nigeria currently has better foreign relations with its neighbors, due to its current state of democracy. It is a member of the African Union and sits on that organization's Peace and Security Council. In 1960, Nigeria joined both the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations; however, they were briefly suspended between 1995 and 1999.

Nigeria is a member of the following organizations:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Government Ministries in Nigeria". Commonwealth of Nations. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  2. ^ "Permanent Secretaries". Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  3. ^ "BOARDS OF PARASTATALS". Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  4. ^ "Court System in Nigeria". The Beehive by One Economy Corporation. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Constitution". The National Judicial Council. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ "ALOMA MUKHTAR: Making of Nigeria’s Female CJN". P.M. News (Independent Communications Network Limited). July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "USAID Nigeria mission: Nigeria administrative divisions" October 2004