Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution with fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy citizenship fundamental human rights arms of government federal capital territory (FCT) and general supplementary provision

Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution
Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution

Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution with fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy citizenship fundamental human rights arms of government federal capital territory (FCT) and general supplementary provision


The Nigerian executive arm of government is provided for in the Constitution. It is saddled with functions which basically revolve around executing the laws made by the legislature. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 made provision for Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, under its Chapter Two. These objectives merely provide a guide to any government in power in Nigeria and contain essential needs of the people in Nigeria on political, economic, social, educational, foreign policy, environmental, cultural, media, national ethics matters and duties of citizens.

These objectives and principles2, if turned into human rights, would lead to a new Nigeria devoid of the majority of the setbacks currently witnessed in the present Nigeria which manifest in the form of socio-economic problems like unemployment, lack of basic amenities at a significant level, low level of social welfare and disunity as evidenced in the current religious, political or tribal disturbances or clashes. Another gain of immense magnitude is that there would be a better rapport between the government and the governed in the social contract underlying the relations in a modern state.

The Social Contract theory of the school of jurisprudence opines that the masses in a given society surrender their freedom to the state for the latter to protect their interests. Difficulties in that relationship should be recognized and confronted rather than ignored3. Again, development plans shall be made based on the recognized needs or difficulties and it has been stated that clarity of development plans is a panacea for underdevelopment.


Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution with fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy citizenship fundamental human rights arms of government federal capital territory (FCT) and general supplementary provision

The Concept of Duty without Liability

The 1999 Constitution provides that it shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this chapter14 of this Constitution15.

The above provision made it a duty on the part of all persons to observe and apply the Directive Principles and Fundamental Objectives of State Policy. However, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has interpreted the above provision to apply not only to those exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers but also applied to private individuals16.

The word ‘duty’, 21. Settlement here means payment of money illegally demanded by natives before a developer is allowed to carryout any development on his or her land despite the fact that such developer must have paid all the necessary fees to the legitimate authorities leading to approval of his or her building plans. According to Black’s Law Dictionary17, is a human action which is exactly conformable to the laws which require us to obey them. In other words, all organs of governments, all authorities and persons of the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government should make their actions conformable to principles and directives of the Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution.

The Nigerian ideals are reflected in the 1999 Constitution as Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress18. By the prescription of the basic law in Nigeria, national integration is encouraged on one hand and discrimination which is one of the bedrocks of national disintegration is eschewed. To this end, government is expected to provide adequate facilities for free mobility of people, goods and services; secure full residential sights for citizens in all parts of the Federation; encourage inter-marriage among Nigerians of different ethnic, linguistic, religions or other background and the formation of broad based associations that would accommodate Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or language.

It is therefore, the duty of government to introduce mass transit programme which would enhance free motality19. This in addition would be accentuated vigorously where a good network of motorable roads are put in place in every part of the Federation; bad roads lead to bad consequences with regard to mass transit and any form of mass transit without an adequate attention to the construction and maintenance of asphalted roads would be an exercise in futility.

Moreover, the objective of securing full residential rights20 cannot be effectively implemented by government where it looks away from the activities of some of the natives who insist that before a non-natives Nigerian carried out any developmental project for residential or other purposes in their state, the developer must ‘settle’,21 them first. This illegality if allowed to thrive would soon permeate the fabrics of the socio-political lives of all federating units in Nigeria otherwise known as states. The result of this could be growing lawlessness which in turn affects the national economy negatively.

The objective of encouraging inter-marriage22 among persons from different places of origin, religion, ethnic or linguistic association and that of giving promotion or encouragement to the formation of associations23 that cut across ethnic, linguistic, religious or other sectional barriers provide a good foundation for a healthy social interaction that promotes peace, unity, stability and facilitates a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various people of the Federation24.

Section 16(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides in paragraph (a) that: The State shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this constitution harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy.

The above provision is a beautiful representation of the dreamed Nigeria green pasture that the average citizen is waiting to be taken to. A situation where the pasture is greener for the rich and brown for the poor is not within the contemplation of the Constitution. The document-the 1999 Constitution – is willing to bequeath wealth to Nigerians but the will power to bring it into reality is just simply lacking or inadequate.

Other directives contained in the 1999 Constitution relate to equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law and other social objectives;25 the protection improvement and safeguard of the Nigerian environment26 with regard to water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria; promotion of national interest,27 African integration and support for African Unity, integration cooperation as regards consolidation of universal peace and elimination of all forms of discrimination; and the protection, preservation and promotion of the Nigerian cultures28 which enhance dignity and agree with the fundamental objectives.

Responsible Governance: A Constitutional Liability

The word liability is explained in Alexander Marine Management and ors.

  1. Koda International Limited29 as follows:

The word “liability derived from adjective “liable” connotes or denotes legally bound as to make good any loss or damage. In other words, it is almost every character of hazard or responsibility, absolute, contingent or lively – all character of debts and obligations either absolute or contingent express or implied, conditions which create a duty to perform an act immediately or in the future, duty bound to pay money or perform some other service.

The debt the ‘governors’ of Nigeria both at federal, state and local government levels which is the vertical axis of governance or the legislative, executive and judiciary, the horizontal axis of governance owes Nigerians is principally to govern with a sense of responsibility which is practically reflected in carrying out people oriented projects, and programmes.

Making the fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State policy justiceable would create an absolute duty on government to go for their realization both immediately and in the future. This will in turn give rise to an era of responsible government.

Moreover, this is the best way not just to fight, but to cage corruption in any nation with such a noble design because governance will now be less attractive to election riggers, do-or-die politicians, political thugs, god fatherism, money launders and investors in politics who hope to reap a significant portion of the financial fortunes of the states of their beneficiaries when such persons win election(s).

Without making the realization of these objectives legally binding on the government the governed will continue to suffer gross neglect by those in government. There are two major areas of emphasis in order to let people get the best from government:

  1. a) defining the fundamental objects and Directives Principles of State Policy to mean our green pasture, that is the Nigerian green pasture and making the objectives and principles legally binding on the Nigerian government;
  2. b) getting shepherds, not hirelings, to lead the nation to our “green pasture”.

Revenue Allocation and Constitutional/Constituency Projects

The Constitution proves as it relates to constitutional revenue, as follows:

The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigerian Police Force, the Ministry or Department of Government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the Residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.44

The above provision on revenue mobilization in Nigeria is a clear indication that generation of fund for use by the whole tiers45 of Government in Nigeria is a constitutional concern. It has been observed that:

The issue of revenue sharing in Nigeria came to a strong focus under the Richard’s Constitution of 1946, which granted internal autonomy to the Regions. This was necessary to enable the national and regional governments to undertake their functions and responsibilities. Subsequently, Nigeria witnessed the setting up of various ad-hoc revenue allocation commissions/committees to determine and recommend acceptable principles and formula for revenue sharing in the country to reflect exigencies in the Federation46.

The revenue allocation commissions/committees that have existed in Nigeria before the coming into force of the 1999 Constitution have been chronologically listed as the Phillipson Commission47; Hicks-Phillipson Commission48; Chicks Commission49; Raisman Commission 196450, Dinna Interim Review Committee51,Aboyade Technical Committee52 and Okigbo Commission53.

Presently, the 1999 Constitution provides54 for the establishment of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission which is saddled with responsibilities which include the monitoring of revenue accruals into and disbursement from the Federation Account55; preparing a new revenue allocation formula56; fixing remuneration of political office holders57; advising Federal and State Governments on fiscal efficiency and revenue generation58.

The Constitution of Nigeria in its present form has painstakingly laid a solid revenue generation foundation for the government of Nigeria at whatever level: Federal, State or Local Government. However, it has adversely failed to promote the culture of responsibility whereby the governments by way of being directed by it provides certain essential amenities to the people to whom belongs the sovereignty59. Leaving such essential provisions to the whims and caprices of whosoever is in authority to decide on whether or not those essential amenities should be provided leaves out a lacuna which accommodates corrupt practices in all the three arms of government.

Discuss the general provision of the current Nigerian constitution with fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy citizenship fundamental human rights arms of government federal capital territory (FCT) and general supplementary provision


The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria on one hand laid a duty on the shoulders of all organs of government and all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of the Constitution on the Fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy in Nigeria; on the other hand, by the provisions of section 6, sub-section (6) paragraph (c) removed the legal responsibility that is correlative of the legal duty. This constitutional stroke is the cause of irresponsibility and corruption in governance.

It is self-contradictory for a legal document to empower organs of government to collect revenue from a common pool known as the Federation Account but fails to state that expenditure of the revenue will include the categorization of major projects so essential to the people that without them government will mean little or nothing to the people with whom government has entered into a social contract.

Failure in carrying out a duty amounts to liability which could be remedied by payment of compensation or an act of specific performance.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.