We previously wrote on the structure of Nigeria’s Federalism where we talked on Federalism in Nigeria. This time we are going to look at the presidential system of government as practiced by Nigeria and the United States of America.
In Nigeria, the presidential system of government is the type of political organization in which the President is the Head of state, in person and in reality. Here, the president is both head of state and head of government. The President forms his government by selecting the members of his cabinet either within or outside his political party.
All presidential nominees are subject to the approval of the Senate. There is individual rather than collective responsibility. Here, the ministers are accountable to the president only and neither the legislature nor the judiciary has any right to question presidential decision on matters of ministerial responsibility.
Features/Characteristics of the Nigerian Presidential System of Government
1. Separation of power is clearly distinct
2. The president is removed by impeachment
3. The president and the legislature are responsible to the electorate
4. No official opposition is recognized
5. The constitution in this system of government is supreme because government is based on a written constitution
6. Ministers are individually responsible to the president
7. Members of the executive cannot be members of the legislative
8. The president can reject or veto a legislative bill for a given time after which the bill can be passed into law with or without presidential approval.
9. The president is the head of state and government
Advantages of the Presidential System of Government in Nigeria
1. Freedom from legislative interruption will promote efficiency
2. It allows the use of efficient members of the public rather than inefficient party loyalists
3. The constitution guides the actions of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
4. There is no collective responsibility; decisions are quickly and easily taken.
5. The system allows the use of experts in the government for instance the medical Doctor; an engineer could be appointed minister of health and works respectively.
6. Unnecessary party influence and sentiment are avoided because the President is not duty bound to select party loyalists in his cabinet.
7. It allows strict application of ‘separation of power’ and ‘checks and balances’ ensure good governance.
Disadvantages of the Nigerian Presidential System of Governance
1. Lobbying is often associated with ‘tips’ to gain undue advantage
2. Lobbying which is a polite word to substitute for corruption is a dangerous presidential instrument.
3. The ministers who are often handpicked are also often arbitrarily dismissed.
4. The system is often too expensive to operate because of large number of ministers and advisers that are involved.
5. The combination of the functions of the Head of State and Head of Government can make president to be too powerful