LESSON NOTE ON GOVERNMENT – SSS 1
INTRODUCTION: Types and Characteristics of Government
The type of government of a state depends on the constitution of the state. There are about eight types of government; they are:
- I. Unitary government
- II. Federal government
- III. Presidential system
- IV. Parliamentary or cabinet system
- V. Confederal system
- VI. Monarchy system
- VII. Republican government
- VIII. Military government
A state may operate a combination of systems depending on the dictates of the constitution. For instance, Nigeria is a federal state with presidential system and the country is also a republic. United Kingdom operates a unitary government.
UNITARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Unitary government can be described as one in which the central government possesses all powers and authority for running a state. In other words, a unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may however create administrative divisions which exercise only the powers that the central power chooses to delegate to it. Examples of a unitary state include UK, Italy, etc.
FEATURES OF UNITARY GOVERNMENT
- All powers and authorities of the state rest with the central government
- The central government can delegate power and function to other components.
- There is a parliamentary supremacy.
- It usually has a flexible constitution.
- There is no constitutional division of powers to other units.
ADVANTAGES OF UNITARY STATE
- There is less bureaucracy which causes delayed actions.
- Unitary government costs less than the federal government.
- The government is usually very strong since all power is concentrated in one place.
- There is no wastage of human resources since only a few officials are in government.
- Constitutional amendment is easy since it is the flexible type. This facilitates quick action.
- Unitary government promotes unity in the country.
DISADVANTAGES OF UNITARY GOVERNMENT
- The government is far from the people in local areas.
- Unitary government encourages dictatorship.
- It can only work for a small and homogeneous state.
- Few duplication of functions may result in higher unemployment.
- Poor supervision of implementation because of the distance between the centres for decision and implementation.
- The centre may be overwhelmed with functions.
REASONS FOR ADOPTING THE UNITARY SYSTEM
- The following reasons account for why the unitary system of government may be adopted.
- Homogenous nature of the state. This is where there is no significant difference in the language, religion, culture and belief of the people.
- In order to ensure national consciousness and cohesion.
- A country that is small in size and population.
- A desire for coherent and efficient administration.
- Limited human and natural resources may also necessitate a unitary government.
- (a) List the types of government and indicate examples of countries practicing each.
- (b) Describe the unitary government.
- (c) State the advantages and the disadvantages of unitary government.
- (d) What are the features of unitary form of government?