Compare Critically the Government Organ and Structure That Saddled the Tasks of Government in Nigeria and the Great British

Compare Critically the Government Organ and Structure That Saddled the Tasks of Government in Nigeria and the Great British
Compare Critically the Government Organ and Structure That Saddled the Tasks of Government in Nigeria and the Great British

Compare Critically the Government Organ and Structure That Saddled the Tasks of Government in Nigeria and the Great British



In all political systems, the state is run by government, which has three principal organs, namely the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislative organ of government makes the laws, the executive implements and enforces the laws while the judicial organ of government interprets the law and dispenses punishment to those who violate the law. Thus, a law is made by the government to reflect the will of the state. The constitution, as the contractual instrument between governmental organs and the people, clearly expresses the desire and will of the people as to the powers granted the organs.

In the Great Britain, under the doctrine of separation of powers, the governance of a state is traditionally divided into three branches each with separate and independent powers and responsibilities: an executive, a legislature and a judiciary. The distribution of power in this way is intended to prevent any one branch or person from being supreme and to introduce ‘checks and balances’ through which one branch may limit another. According to a strict interpretation of the separation of powers, none of the three branches may exercise the power of the other, nor should any person be a member of more than one of the branches.

The Federal government of Nigeria is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the constitution of Nigeria in the national assembly, the president, and the federal courts, including the supreme court, respectively.


In practice, however, many countries do not aim for a strict separation of powers, but opt for a compromise, where some functions are shared between the institutions of state. This is the case in the United Kingdom. For UK, as a whole, the executive comprises the Crown and the UK Government, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. The executive formulates and implements policy. The legislature, the UK Parliament, comprises the Crown, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The judiciary comprises the judges and other officers of the courts and tribunals of the three UK legal jurisdictions, overseen by the Supreme Court. Senior judicial appointments are made by the Crown.



The executive branch of government is charged with the function of implementing or executing the law. This is the core of government as observed by Heywood (2019), noting political systems can operate without constitutions, assemblies, judiciaries and even parties, but they cannot survive without an executive branch to formulate policy and ensure that it is implemented. The executive is the source of political leadership. On the other hand, in the broadest sense, the executive is the branch of government responsible for the implementation of laws and policies made by the legislature.

The executive branch extends from the head of government to members of the enforcement agencies such as the police and the military, and includes ministers and civil servants (Heywood, 2019). More commonly, the term is used in a narrow sense to describe the smaller body of decision- makers who take overall responsibility for the direction and co-ordination of government policy.

Nigeria is a federal republic, with executive power exercised by the president. The president is the head of state, the head of government, and the head of a multi-party system. The Federal Executive level is headed by the president. He is the head of state and the main commander of the army. President takes this position for 4 years after the nationwide election. To win, a candidate must gain a simple majority and receive support from at least 1/4 of voters in 2/3 of the states and the federal capital of Abuja.

In Great Britain, the executive comprises:

  • the Prime Minister, who generally leads the political party with the largest number of seats in Parliament
  • the Cabinet, which is selected by the Prime Minister and consists of about 20 ministers, usually heads of the government departments
  • government departments and their agencies, responsible for putting government policy into practice and staffed by the civil service. Some UK government departments cover the whole of the UK; others do not. Information on the responsibilities of the ministerial departments is available.  Other regulatory and inspection functions are delivered by non-ministerial government departments reporting directly to Parliament.


Within a political system, the ‘legislature’ is the elected or selected body that makes laws for a state. Legislatures (sometimes called parliament, senate or congress) perform three key roles: representation of the people, passing effective legislation, and oversight of government.

The legislature occupies an important position in the machinery of government. The will of the state is formulated and expressed through the legislature. The legislature is treated with special respect and status as it is composed of people who represent the general population. The legislature In a democratic country, The legislature enacts the general rules of society in the form of laws.

The legislature is the law making body of the government. It is also responsible for voting of money, approving of budget and carrying out over sight function. The legislators are the representative of the people and are generally regarded as the policy maker. The legislature also amends the constitution, controls the executive officials, carryout impeachment and disciplinary actions on public servants. The legislature also approves appointment of important state officials like ministers and ambassadors. They also approve treaties.

The legislature is usually unicameral or bicameral. A unicameral legislature is one with only one chamber of the legislature while a bicameral legislature is one with two chambers of the legislature.

Nigeria operates a bicameral legislature in which there is the upper house (senate) and the lower house (House of Representatives) both house are generally regarded as the national assembly.

Whereas, In Great British, Parliament is the legislature and the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law. Parliament consists of: the sovereign in Parliament. The appointed or hereditary House of Lords. Most Members of Parliament (MPs) represent political parties. They are elected from a choice of candidates by a simple majority system in which each person casts one vote. The candidate with the most votes then becomes the MP for that constituency. Generally, a political party must win an overall majority in a general election in order to form a government and have its leader become Prime Minister. There are 650 seats in total. An overall majority is more than half the seats in the House of Commons (326 or more).

General elections must be held every five years on the first Thursday in May, as required by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011. There are two provisions that can trigger an election other than at five-year intervals:

  • A motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by a simple majority in the House of Commons, and 14 days elapses without the House passing a confidence motion in any new Government formed.
  • A motion for a general election is agreed by two-thirds of the total number of seats in the House of Commons.

The House of Lords is the second chamber or upper house of the UK Parliament. There are two types of Lord in the House of Lords:

  • Spiritual Lords who are members of the clergy
  • Temporal Lords, who are hereditary or life peers
  • Hereditary peers are those whose title is inherited
  • Life peers, who form the biggest proportion of the House of Lords, are appointed by the sovereign on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, or by an independent body – the House of Lords Appointment Commission. Their title cannot be inherited.


The judiciary is the branch of government which administers justice according to law. The term refers broadly to the courts, the judges, magistrates, adjudicators and other support personnel who run the judicial system. The courts apply the law, and settle disputes and punish lawbreakers according to the dictates of the law. The judicial system is a key aspect of the democratic system. It upholds peace, order and good government.

Citizens rely on the judiciary to uphold their rights and governments look to the courts to interpret laws. The judiciary must act without fear of powerful interests, and without favouring individual parties. A court’s ability to deliver justice depends on its power to enforce its rulings. Only a superior court of appeal can overturn the ruling of a lower court.

In Nigeria, The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeals, the High Courts, and other trial courts such as the Magistrates’, Customary, Sharia and other specialised courts.

In Great Britain, the judiciary comprises the judges in the courts of law, those who hold judicial office in tribunals, and the lay magistrates who staff magistrates’ courts. Senior judicial appointments are made by the Crown (monarch). The judiciary has been subject to constitutional change; an independent supreme court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and the judicial powers previously held by the House of Lords transferred to this body from 1 October 2009.



In both Nigeria and Great Britain, the three-level structure implies that the life of society is managed on various levels. Such a division into levels makes it possible to divide responsibilities, and it allows the government to manage the country more efficiently. Without separation of powers and an appropriate, effective system, there can be no rule of law.


Heywood, A. (2019). Politics. Palgrave MacMillan Press Limited: London Krent. H. J. (2008). “From a Unitary to a Unilateral Executive” 88 B.U. L. REV. 523, 523.

 Lapalombara, J. (1974). Politics Within Nations, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliff, New Jersey, 1974, Ch. 6.

Oni, E. O. (2014). “Democracy and the Challenges of Consolidation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic.” Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 2, September.

Ranny, A. (1975). The Governing of Men Hinsdale, Illinios, The Dryden Press, Ch. 16;

USAID, (2002). Guidance for Promoting Judicial Independence and Impartiality, Office for Democracy and Governance Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Washington, DC 20523-3100, Revised Edition, January, pp.5.

Whaley, J. (2000). “Strengthening Legislative Capacity in Legislative-Executive Relations,” Legislative Research Series, prepared by National Democratic Institute, NW; Washington.

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