At the Federal level, the Government is headed by an elected President. As provided for by the Constitution, the President is the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He is also the Head of the Executive arm in the tripartite.
The office of the President is, undoubtedly, a concentration of considerable powers and a repository of vast responsibilities. As Head of State, the President is the ceremonial head of the Nigerian government. As the Chief Executive, he/she bears ultimate responsibility for the smooth and effective running of the government on a day-to-day basis and must accept the ultimate blame for any failures or shortcomings that may occur therein. As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he/she is responsible for how those forces are organised, trained and equipped and is accountable for how they are deployed to ward off external aggression and guarantee internal security. As the position is paramount in the making of foreign policy, he/she is also the country's chief diplomat.
Furthermore, although not explicitly specified in the Constitution, the President must share responsibility with the National Assembly in the making of laws for good governance of the Federation and the public looks up to him as the leading formulator and expounder of public opinion in the country. In the same vein, the public looks up to him/her as the overall manager of the nation's economy, in which capacity he may claim credit in times of prosperity but must surely suffer unsparing criticism for any failures of economic performance.
The President is not a member of the National Assembly (the legislature). But he may attend any session of the Assembly either to deliver an address on major national issues, including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of crucial national importance. The office of the President is an elective one and no President is allowed to hold office for more than two terms of four years each.
A Vice President assists the President. The Vice President is nominated by the presidential candate as his running mate for election to the office of President. This nominated presidential associate, or running mate, automatically becomes the Vice President if the President is elected. The Vice President's tenure of office is concurrent with that of the President. He assumes the office of President if that office becomes vacant before the expiration of their term, by reason of death or resignation or the removal of the President from office on the terms provided for in the Constitution.
The President is empowered by the Constitution to appoint Ministers after due screening and confirmation of the list of nominees by the Senate, and to assign to them responsibilities for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of that government. The Constitution enjoins the President to appoint his ministers from all the 36 States of the Federation. No Minister appointed to the Federal Executive Council or Cabinet from a Legislative post is allowed to serve concurrently as a member of the National Assembly. Where a member of the National Assembly is appointed a Minister, he or she is deemed to have resigned his membership of any of the Assemblies on his taking the oat of office as a Minster.
The President and his miniters form the Federal Executive Council, with the President as the Chairman. This body initiates the policies and programmes of the Federal Government and ensures that they are properly implemented after they may have been passed into law by the legislature. Besides the Federal Executive Council, there are also a number of other executive bodies at the Federal level, namely;
a. Code of Conduct Bureau
b. Council of States
c. National Defence Council
d. Federal Civil Service Commission
e. Independent National Electoral Commission
f. National Judicial Council
g. Federal Character Commission
h. Federal Council of Traditional flulers
I. Federal Judicial Service Commission
j. National Economic Council
k. National Population Commission
L. National Security Council
m. Nigerian Police Council
n. Police Service Commission
o. Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission
p. Public Complaints Commission
q. National Mass Media Commission
r. Judicial Service of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and
s. National Assets Investigation Panel
The Constitution vests on the President varying decrees of authority in the composition and operation of these councils and commissions.
- The Structure of The Nigerian Government
- The Federal Legislature
- The Judiciary
- The State Government
- The Local Government
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