At independence, Nigeria adopted the Westminster system copied from her erstwhile colonial master, Britain. In January 1966, the military overthrew the democratic government and took over the reign of power, paving way for an interregnum of twenty nine years. In 1999 civil rule was restored and Nigeria adopted the presidential system of government taking after the United States of America, with a bicameral legislature, National Assembly comprising of a 109-member Senate and 360-member House of Representatives. There are houses of assembly at the state level, one in each of the 36 states in the country. Nigeria has been a multiparty republic since 1999, after decades of military rule, and has experienced democratic governance since 1999. In 2015, Nigeria experienced its first electoral transfer of power between parties with the election of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Muhammadu Buhari won re-election in 2019, and the country is preparing for its next election in 2023. Nigeria’s return to democratic rule has been marked by developments such as the implementation of reforms to address perceived economic problems and corruption.
For the sustenance of a functional democracy, Nigeria strictly adheres to the principles of Separation of Powers. While this is not always absolute in our ever-evolving democracy, the general ideology is respected. Accordingly, the Legislative branch is responsible for enacting the laws of the State and appropriating necessary funds to fund the Government. The Executive branch headed by the President, is responsible for implementing and administering the public policy enacted and funded by the money appropriated by the legislative branch. The Judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the constitution and laws and applying their interpretations to controversies brought before it. The same system is replicated at the lower tiers of government in the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Executive arm of government is made up of the President, Vice President, cabinet ministers, other officials of the federal executive council, and civil servants. At the state level we have the Governor, Deputy Governor, commissioners and other officials of the state executive council, as well as state civil servants. Similarly at the local government level there are chairmen, their deputies and councilors who form the executive council at this lowest tier of government. The President and Governors, their deputies, members of the legislative arms of government at all levels are elected, as prescribed by the constitution. They hold their respective offices for a period of four years that are renewable for a second term through the next election.