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Legislative - makes law


This is the law making or law writing arm of government. In Nigeria, the Legislative is made up of the two houses of the National Assembly. The National Assembly consists of two groups of leaders, elected by Nigerians to make laws, they are the 360 members of the House of Representatives  and the  109 members of the Senate. The leader of the House of Representatives is called the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the leader of the Senate is called the Senate president. The legislative arm  makes the laws which the Executive arm will implement.

Executive - implements law


This is led by the President who is the Chief of State and Head of the Government. It includes the Vice President, his second in command and his Cabinet of ministers (helpers).  The executive arm is responsible for implementing the law and taking care of the day to day running of the country. The President and his cabinet are the federal executive, while at the state and local government levels the governor and the Chairman respectively are the executive arms of government.


Judiciary - evaluates law


The judiciary in Nigeria is comprised of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court,  each State High Court (one for each of the 36 States), Magistrate Courts, Sharia Courts, and Customary Courts. The judiciary are responsible for ensuring the rule of law is upheld and for interpreting the laws created by the legislative. 

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Nigeria's constitution states that running Nigeria should be handled on three levels. It also provides for each of these teams to have its own funding  and says how the people who run  them should be chosen:

Federal Government

The Federal government is in charge of the entire nation of Nigeria and it is led by the President. The President is supported by the Vice President and his  Cabinet, which is made up of a group of individuals called ministers, who support and help the President.


State Government

The State governments are in charge of running their states. Each of Nigeria's 36 states has a state government led by a Governor. Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory is not quite a state and so it has a minister, who does the same job as a governor would in other states. Typically a governor is supported by Deputy Governor and a team of Commissioners, who do the same job helping the governor as a minister does for the President. 

Local Government

Nigeria has 774 local governments spread out across the 36 states. Each of these local governments is led by a Chairman, who makes decisions about his local government area and is supported in his job by a group of people called councillors.


  • Why do you think it is necessary to share the power between the legislative, executive and judiciary instead of having one arm do all three jobs?

  • Why do you think the constitution doesn't ask the federal leaders to do all the jobs the state and local government leaders are doing?

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