Government as an Institution has the following characteristics:

  1. Power: Power enables the government to influence the citizens and execute its policies. Power is a basic tool for maintaining law and order.
  2. Law: This refers to the body of rules that regulate the conduct of the people. It is called the constitution. It defines the rights and obligations of the citizens and functions of the government.
  3. Revenue: Government has to generate funds to carry out its policies. This is done by imposition of import duties and collection of taxes.
  4. Personnel: This refers to the able-bodied men and women who help the government to run its affairs. They include the public servants, judges, police, etc.
  5. Public support: No government can survive without public support. The government needs the support of the public to function properly as public support confers legitimacy and right to rule on government.
  6. Welfare services: Government has the responsibility of providing social amenities like good roads, pipe-borne water, electricity etc for its citizens in order to justify its existence.


Highlight 5 features of government


  1. Lawmaking: government makes laws to regulate the behavior of its citizens.
  2. Maintenance of law and order: the primary and most important function of the government is to maintain law and order in a state. This is done through the enforcement agencies such as the police force.
  3. Defense of the country: it is the duty of the government to protect the citizens from external attack. This is done by the armed forces such as Army, Navy and Air force.
  4. Protection of lives and properties: it is the function of the government to protect its citizens. The police and the law courts have the responsibility of protecting not only the citizens but also those living in the country.
  5. To administer justice: it is the duty of the law court, which is the judicial arm of government to settle disputes and administer justice. Prisons are built for the punishment of offenders and criminals.
  6. Provision of social services: it is also the duty of the government to provide hospitals, good roads, electricity, pipe borne water etc to citizens through taxes, which the citizens pay.
  7. Provision of employment opportunities: government has the task of providing employment opportunities to its citizens. This makes them economically independent.
  8. Economic functions: government through its economic policies regulates economic activities in order to protect the economy thereby ensuring economic growth. This is done through careful economic planning and execution.
  9. Political functions: such political functions of the government include conducting periodic free and fair elections to ensure smooth and peaceful change of government and maintain a stable political atmosphere.
  10. Maintaining external relations: one important function of the government is to establish and maintain external relations with friendly nations. This relation could be based on trade, politics, health etc. This is why nations establish embassies and high commissions with high commissioners and ambassadors appointed in charge of them.


There are many reasons why we study government. Such reasons are:

  1. Political Education: the study of government gives political education and equips the learner with basic ideas on how to take active part in the government of our country.
  2. The study of government helps us to know our rights, duties and obligations as citizens and on how best to defend them.
  3. Government helps us to understand better the system of government adopted in our country and the implication of such system of government.
  4. The knowledge of government helps us to have the spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
  5. The study of government liberates us from political ignorance and explains why government of countries belong to some international organizations.
  6. Government widens our political horizon and stimulates the interest of citizens in the activities of government thereby preventing the emergence of tyranny and dictatorship.
  7. The ultimate aim of government is to make us political scientists and make us assess the performance of a leader of a political party.
  8.  Finally, the study of government supports the practice of democracy and the rule of law.



  1. State five functions of government.
  2. How can the government maintain law and order.



  1. Why are you a student of government?
  2. Why do we study government?
  3. What is the ultimate aim of studying government?
  4. Of what benefit is government to the society?



  1. Which of these is not a feature of government?
  1. a) Personnel b) Revenue c) legislature
  1. The organ of government responsible for law making is the ____
  1. a) Executive b) judiciary c) legislature
  1. One major function of government is _____
  1. a) Law making b) road maintenance c) electioneering
  1. The knowledge of government helps us to have the spirit of ____
  1. a) Hooliganism b) patriotism c) atheism
  1. The ultimate aim of government is to make us
  1. a) thugs b) political scientists c) rebel leaders



  1. Explain five reasons why you study government.
  2. Write out any six functions of government.


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