Political System: Nigeria is a federal republic with a presidential system. The constitution provides for separation of powers among the three branches of government.
Constitution: Nigeria’s current constitution, the fourth since independence, went into effect on May 29, 1999. Modeled after the U.S. Constitution, it provides for separation of powers among a strong executive, an elected legislature, and an independent judiciary.
Branches of Government: Executive power is vested in the president, who is simultaneously chief of state and head of government. The president is eligible for two four-year terms. The president’s Federal Executive Council, or cabinet, includes representatives from all 36 states. The National Assembly, consisting of a 109-member Senate and a 360-member House of Representatives, constitutes the country’s legislative branch. Three senators represent each of Nigeria’s 36 states, and one additional senator represents the capital city of Abuja. Seats in the House of Representatives are allocated according to population. Therefore, the number of House members from each state differs. The judicial branch comprises the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, and, on the state level, high courts, sharia courts, and customary courts. The president appoints members of the Supreme Court, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Administrative Divisions: Nigeria is divided administratively into the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) and 36 states, which are organized into the following six geo-political zones: South-West Zone—Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Oshun, and Oyo; South-South Zone—Akwa, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ibom, and Rivers; South-East Zone—Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo; North-West Zone—Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara; North-Central Zone—Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, and Plateau; and North-East Zone—Adamawa, Bauchi, Bornue, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.
Provincial and Local Government: Each of Nigeria’s 36 states has an elected governor and a House of Assembly. The governor is elected to a maximum of two four-year terms. The number of delegates to the House of Assembly is based on population (three to four times the number of delegates each state sends to the Federal House of Representatives) and therefore varies from state to state within the range of 24 to 40. Nigeria’s states are subdivided into 774 local government areas, each of which is governed by a council that is responsible for supplying basic needs.
Judicial and Legal System: Nigeria’s legal system is based on a combination of statutory (legislative) law, English common law, customary law, and, in the north, Islamic law (sharia). Nigeria’s federal and state courts apply statutory and English common law, whereas local courts recognize the legitimacy of customary and Islamic law.
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