You are on page 1of 5

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: A

NIGERIAN SITUATION
BY
NWOKPORO EPHRAIM IFEDIRI
ephraimpramly@gmail.com
ABSTRACT
This thesis discuses and explains the relationship between Nigerian government
and politics. In this regard, understanding the politico-administrative synergy is
traced to the activities that determine the relation between the state and its
powers. These activities are referred as politics, and an attempt to answer this
question will prone one in explaining the dichotomy between politics and
(public) administration in Nigeria.
Keywords: government, politics, polity and political system.
INTRODUCTION
Nigerian politics takes place within a framework of a federal, presidential,
representative democraticrepublic, in which executive power is exercised by the
government. Legislative power is held by the not real government and the two
chambers of the legislature: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Together, the two chambers make up the law-making body in Nigeria, called the
National Assembly, which serves as a check on the executive arm of
government. The highest judiciary arm of government in Nigeria is the Supreme
Court of Nigeria. Nigeria also practices Baron de Montesquieu's theory of the
separation of powers based on the United States system.

DEFINITION OF TERMS
Government:Government refers to organization, machinery or agency, through
which a political unit exercises its authority, controls and administers public

policy, and directs and controls the actions of its members or subjects. It is the
machinery through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed and
realized.
The term government has been viewed from different angles; some see it as an
institution of the state, as a process or the art of governing and as an academic
field of study. Government as institution of the state refers to the machinery
established by the state to organize the state, manage its affairs and administer
its functions and duties.
As an art of governing because it is a body vested with the supreme power over
the affairs of a state, that is, a government is vested with the power of
maintaining peace and security by putting in place machinery for that purpose.
The efficiency of government in the process of administration is based on the
principle of separation of powers, where the organs of government the
executive, the legislature and the judiciary have their powers distinctly
separated both in functions and in personnel.
As an academic field of study involves the study of political institutions in the
state, ideas, values and doctrines about politics, the view of political thinkers on
what constitutes the welfare of the people.
Politics: The term `politics, is derived from the Greek word `Polis, which
means the city state according to Greek Philosophers, Politics is a subject which
dealt with all the activities and affairs of the city state. Their City States were
known as `Polis.
Politics in a very broad way could be defined as the adjustment efforts of human
beings attempting to coexist in an inter-dependent relationship. The word
politics comes up in every day thinking, conversation and reading. This
informed the famous Aristotelian observation that man is by nature a political
animal. By this Aristotle means that the essence of social existence is politics

and that when two or more men interact they are invariably involved in politics/
political relationship.
David Easton defined politics as the authoritative allocation of values; he was
pre-occupied with the distributive rather than the productive aspects of politics.
The other definition, popular but coming within the Aristotelian framework is
that of Harold Lasswell, which defines politics as who gets what, when and
how. Like that of Easton, the politics of distribution is the center-point of his
ideology on politics; while this definition might be more germane within the
third world context e.g. Nigeria.
Nnoli (2003:12), in an attempt to demarcate politics from other social activities
defined politics as all activities that are directly or indirectly associated with the
emergence, consolidation and the use of state power.
THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT
Nigeria is a nation born in optimism in 1960 at independence but has in its
55years lived in a state of doubt and uncertainty.Nigeria is a federal republic
currently under a strong presidential administration, a National Assembly made
up of 2 chambersa Senate and a House of Representativesand a judiciary.
The highest judiciary arm of government in Nigeria is the Supreme Court of
Nigeria. Nigeria also practices Baron de Montesquieu's theory of the separation
of powers based on the United States system.It has 36 administrative divisions
known as states. Each of the states is divided into local governments. Thus,
Nigeria has 3 tiers of government: national, state, and local.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: A
NIGERIAN CONDITION
Most people apply the concepts of government and politics interchangeable. It
is imperative to understand when one begins and where the other stops. The two
concepts are closely related but they are not the same.

If there is no government there is no politics, as such there is no good


government without politics. Politics is chiefly concerned with the process of
acquisition and management of political power while government is concerned
with the application of the legitimate power so acquired by the political actor
over other people. To study politics is in essence to study government, or more
broadly, to study the exercise of authority.Therefore, politics be it the governing
of men (Ranny1958), who gets what, when and how (Lasswell 1936),
authoritative allocation of values (Easton 1965), the art of government, struggle
for power or as a compromise and consensus, all activities that are directly or
indirectly associated with the emergence, consolidation and the use of state
power (Nnoli 2003) boils down to what takes place within a polity. A polity is a
society organized through exercise of political authority.
Politics and government is closely related in the study and view of politics as art
of government especially in Chancellor Bismarcks speech to the Reichstag. The
art Bismarck had in mind was the art of government, the exercise of control within
society through the making and enforcement of collective decisions.
Going by Eastons definition of politics as authoritative allocation of values
By this he meant that politics encompasses the various processes through which
government responds to pressures from the larger society, in particular by
allocating benefits, rewards or penalties.this values may include natural
resources, basic amenities, delegation of power and penalties to offenders etc,
and for this values to be allocated successfully the presence of an authority is
required which then is the government. Therefore, the governments with its
legitimate power of governance allocate resources like schools, bore-holes,
hospitals to different parts of its administration. For instance, During Goodlucks
administration, the nine new universities that was set up, which FUNAI is an
offspring of, dialogues over where they will be established was done, which is
the process of politicking. An authority was needed to allocate this value, and

then the government of Goodluck with its authority allocated these universities
to different areas of its administration. Therefore, from the above argument and
instance one can empirically deduce that the difference between government
and politics is Legitimacyand while everybody is allowed to participate in
politics, participation in government is restricted.
Also from the conceptualization of politics as compromise and consensus,
politics is seen as a particular means of resolving conflict, namely by compromise,
conciliation and negotiation, rather than through a resort to force and naked
power. Government also through its agencies and the judiciary resolves conflict,
engages in negotiation and gives its units of administration a share in power
proportion to their welfare and the survival of the whole community.
This in Nigerian situation can be explained in the Nigerian government and Niger
Delta crises. Conflict being inevitable in human society, the government of
Nigeria was able to reach to a compromise and consensus to the Niger Delta
militants instead of resorting to naked force and power.

References
1. Nweke E. and Nkwachukwu O 2009, A handbook of political science,
Department of political science Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki,
Ebonyi state.
2. Heywood, A. Political Theory: An Introduction. London: Palgrave, Ch. 3.
3.

Easton, D. (1981) The Political System. Chicago: Chicago University


Press.