Structure Of Nigeria's Federalism

Nigeria operates a Presidential system, with three separate independent arms of Government, namely; the Executive, the Legislature (National Assembly) comprising of the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and the Judiciary.

Nigeria’s Federal system has a three-tier governmental structure comprising, the Federal Government; 36 State Governments and a Federal Capital Territory; and 774 Local Government Administrations, with the functions of each enshrined in the current (1999) Constitution.

Nigeria Constitution and Cabinet:


The legislative powers of the Federation are vested in the National Assembly, comprising a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 109-member Senate consists of three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory, who are elected for a term of four years. The House of Representatives comprises 360 members, representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible, who are elected for a four-year term. The Senate has a president and a deputy president, while the House of Representatives has a speaker and a deputy speaker, who are elected by the senators and the members of the House from among themselves. Legislation may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, and having been approved by the House in which it originated by a two-thirds majority, will be submitted to the other House for approval, and subsequently presented to the President for assent. Should the President withhold his assent, and the bill returned to the National Assembly and again approved by each House by a two-third majority, the bill will become law. The legislative powers of a State of the Federation is vested in the House of Assembly of the State. The House of Assembly of a State consists of three or four times the number of seats that the State holds in the House of Representatives (comprising not less than 24 and not more than 40 members).

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The executive powers of the Federation are vested in the President, who is the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation. The President is elected for a term of four years and must receive not less than one-quarter of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of all the states in the federation and Federal Capital Territory. The President nominates a candidate as his associate from the same political party to occupy the office of Vice-President. The President, subject to confirmation by the senate, nominates the Ministers of the Government of the Federation. Federal executive bodies include the Council of State, which advises the President in the exercise of his powers. The executive powers of a State are vested in the Governor of that State, who is elected for a four-year term and must receive not less than one-quarter of votes cast in at least two-third of all local government areas in the State.

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The judicial powers of the Federation are vested in the courts established for the Federation, and the judicial powers of a State in the courts established for the State. The Federation has a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal and a Federal High Court. Each State has High Court, a Sharia Court of Appeal and a Customary Court of Appeal. Chief Judges are nominated on the recommendation of a National Judicial Council.

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Local Government

The States are divided into 768 local government areas. The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is guaranteed, and the Government of each State will ensure their existence. Each local government council within the State will participate in the economic planning and development of the area over which it exercises authority.

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