A constitution means a set of rules and regulations that guides the behavior of the state and its citizens. It also means a set of laws, principles, rules and regulations which determines how a country is ruled or governed.

Every community, organisation or society has some rules and regulations that guide the activities/behaviours of their members. So also in the class, school, state and the country at large. However, all these rules are made by the people who come together to provide/make the law o as to make the society stable and also promote peace and development.


Sources of constitutions

The constitution of a country can originate from any of the following

  1. Judicial precedents or pronouncements – This is when a judgment is given on a particular case and it often used as a reference point for other future cases that are similar to it. E.g. the governorship election between Dr. Chris Ngige vs. Peter Obi in 2003, professor Osumbo vs. Adams Oshiomole in 2007
  2. Conventions and tradition – This is when certain rules of behaviours have been accepted by the people in a community or society which is now used as a constitutional practice.
  3. Constitutional National Conferences – This is when the government formed a group of people in the country to make laws for the country. All ethnic groups are represented. Examples of these conferences are the 1983 constitutional conference, 1989 and 2006 conferences.
  4. Historical Documents: These are the views of philosophers, eminent jurists, prominent politicians, experts (opinions) and historical in the writing/making of a constitution. E.g. The principle of rule of law by professor A.V Dicey and separation of power by Baron de Montesque are good example of great writing/works of experts in the making of laws.
  5. Treaties – These are agreement/laws or principles countries have with each other. Also among international organisation such as the United Nations (UN), Africa Union (AU), ECOWAS etc. some decisions of these organisations form parts of our constitution.

For example, the 1948, Universal declaration of Human Rights by the U.N.O is a chapter in the 1999 constitution.

  1. Parliamentary Statutes or Acts of the Parliament. These are laws made by the legislatures of a country and they are made based on the principles of the Nigerian constitution.
  2. Customs and Traditions: These are customary practices of the people in the country which have been generally accepted. These customary practices are parts of the Nigerian Constitutions.


Importance of a condition

  1. It helps to identify and protect the rights of people in the country
  2. It helps to prevent the abuse of powers by the rules/governing elite.
  3. It helps to guide people 9and institutions) behaviours.
  4. It also help to promote peace, stability and development in the country.
  5. It helps to provide easy reference by the individual, groups and other arms of government.



  • Define constitution
  • Mention five (5) sources of a constitution
  • State the importance of a constitution


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