Relationship between Federal, State and Local government

Federal, State, and Local government in the United States

The relationship between the federal, state, and local governments in the United States is defined by a system known as federalism. Federalism is a principle that divides power and authority between the national government (federal government) and the individual state governments, allowing each level to have specific powers and responsibilities.

The United States Constitution outlines the powers and limits of the federal government while reserving all other powers to the states or the people. The federal government has specific enumerated powers, such as the authority to regulate interstate commerce, maintain a military, and coin money. It also has implied powers that enable it to carry out its responsibilities effectively.

On the other hand, state governments possess powers known as reserved powers. These include areas such as establishing schools, regulating intrastate commerce, and conducting elections. States also have the power to pass laws and regulations that are not in conflict with the U.S. Constitution or federal laws.

Local governments, such as cities, counties, and townships, derive their authority from the state government. They have the power to enact local laws and regulations within their jurisdiction. The specific powers and structure of local governments can vary from state to state, as they are defined by state law.

The relationship between these levels of government can be complex, with overlapping responsibilities and shared functions. However, the general principle is that the federal government has authority over matters of national concern, while states have authority over matters of state and local governments have authority over local affairs.

There is often collaboration and cooperation between the different levels of government to address common issues and provide services to the people. However, conflicts can arise when there are disagreements about the proper balance of power or the interpretation of the Constitution.

Overall, the relationship between the federal, state, and local governments in the United States is a dynamic interplay of powers, with each level having its own sphere of influence and responsibilities.

Federal, State and Local government in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are three tiers of government. These are: The federal government, the state government and the local government.

The relationship between the federal, state, and local governments in Nigeria is also based on the principle of federalism. Nigeria is a federal republic with a three-tiered system of government, consisting of the federal government, 36 state governments, and local government councils.

Nigeria Federal Government

The federal government is the central authority that represents the entire nation in external affairs and internal affairs of common interest. The Constitution of Nigeria delineates the powers and functions of each level of government. The federal government has authority over matters of national importance, such as defense, foreign affairs, currency, and national security. It is responsible for formulating and implementing policies and laws that affect the entire country.

Nigeria State Government

The head of the state is the governor. The state governor oversees the state councils of chiefs, state civil service commission and the local government services commission and so on.

The state governments in Nigeria have autonomy and exercise powers over certain areas that are not exclusively assigned to the federal government. They are responsible for matters such as agriculture, education, health, transportation, and internal security within their respective states. Each state has its own executive, legislative, and judicial branches, which function similarly to the federal level.

Nigeria Local Government

This is the third tier of government in Nigeria. It is head by Local Government Chairman. It also has its own legislative body which makes bye laws for her.  

Local government councils are the third tier of government in Nigeria. They exist within the states and are responsible for administering local affairs and delivering basic services to the grassroots level. Local governments are responsible for areas such as primary education, primary healthcare, water supply, local infrastructure, and waste management. Each state is further divided into local government areas (LGAs), and each LGA is headed by an elected chairman and councilors.

See also:


The Current Nigerian constitution

Planning for Results

Electoral Malpractice: Full Explanation


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