The Nigerian Constitution is the supreme law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It provides the framework for the governance and administration of the country, establishing the powers and responsibilities of the government institutions, as well as the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.
The current Nigerian Constitution was adopted on May 29, 1999, and it is the fourth constitution since Nigeria gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960. It replaced the previous constitution, which had been in effect since 1979. The 1999 Constitution was promulgated following several years of military rule and marked the return to democratic governance in Nigeria.
Key Features of the Nigerian Constitution:
1. Federal System: Nigeria operates a federal system of government, with power divided between the central government and the 36 states. Each level of government has its own areas of jurisdiction and responsibilities.
2. Separation of Powers: The Constitution establishes three branches of government—the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary—with distinct functions and powers. This ensures a system of checks and balances.
3. Fundamental Human Rights: The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all Nigerian citizens, such as the right to life, dignity, equality before the law, freedom of expression, religion, and association.
4. Citizenship: The Constitution defines who is considered a Nigerian citizen and outlines the procedures for acquiring and renouncing citizenship.
5. Government Institutions: The Constitution establishes the structure and functions of the government institutions, including the President, the National Assembly (comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives), and the Judiciary.
6. Independent Electoral Commission: The Constitution provides for the establishment of an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) responsible for conducting elections at all levels of government in Nigeria.
7. State and Local Governments: The Constitution outlines the powers and responsibilities of state governments and provides for the creation of local government councils within each state.
8. Amendment Process: The Constitution can be amended through a defined process, involving the approval of the National Assembly and the consent of at least two-thirds of the state houses of assembly.
It is important to note that this summary provides a general overview of the Nigerian Constitution. The full document contains more detailed provisions covering various aspects of governance, rights, and responsibilities.
The Constitution is the Fundamental law of the land. The constitution also states the rights, duties and obligations of the citizens e.g. The 1999 constitution in Nigeria.
SOURCES OF THE CONSTITUTION
- History of the People
The history of the people had to be consulted in enacting a constitution past political developments do form a part of their history
- Acts of Parliaments
The laws made by the parliament form the constitutional frame work.
- Customs and Traditions.
In a plural society like ours, customs and Traditions, beliefs, norms and values are important when preparing a constitution.
- Past constitutions of the United States of America served as a model of the 1979 constitution.
- Books written by Chief Obafemi; Awolowo, Path to Nigeria Freedom also served as a guide in the constitution. Others include Books written by Nnamdi Azikiwe, Myodyssey and Chiefy Anthony Enahoro among others.
Evaluation: See Akwa Past Questions papers for more practice