Types Of Government In Nigeria And Their Functions (2023)

To go into the types of government in Nigeria, we need to know the form of rule. Nigeria runs a federal system of government. In this system, there are three tiers of government often referred to as levels of government and three arms(branches) of government. In this system, the tiers of government are the Federal, the State, and the Local Governments.

All 3 tiers of government work together for the growth and development of the country. The arms of government are the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The roles of the arms and tiers of government are different and these are explained below.

Types Of Government In Nigeria And Their Functions

Tiers Of Government

The Federal Government

The federal government is the most senior level of government. The president is the head of government and he also heads the Executive arm of the federal government. He is assisted by a Vice-president. The legislative arm of the federal government is headed by the Senate president who is also the chairman of the National Assembly. The Chief Judge of the Federation heads the judiciary arm of the federal government. The federal government structure includes bodies such as:

  • The federal executive council,
  • The national economic council,
  • The National Defense Council,
  • The National Mass Media Commission, and
  • The National Security Council.

The Federal Capital Territory is controlled and administered by the federal government.
The president appoints his ministers and special advisers. They make up his cabinet.

Functions OF The Federal Government

  1. Defense: It is the duty of the federal government to protect the territorial integrity of the country as well as the internal security of its citizens. The federal government controls the military and the police as well as other defense setups in order for it to carry out its constitutional duty. Nigerian customs ensure goods coming into the country are those allowed in by the laws of the land while the Immigration is charged with controlling the movement of people in and out of the country.
  2. Education: The federal government regulates the education sector by setting minimum education standards. It carries out this duty through government agencies such as the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board(JAMB), National examinations council(NECO), Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and several others. It also caters for the education of its citizens by establishing institutions charged with educating Nigerians at different levels.
  3. Telecommunications: This tier of government also regulates the telecommunications sector through the National communications commission (NCC).
  4. International trade: The federal government regulates, monitors and controls trade between Nigeria and other countries. The federal government also ensures that goods coming into the country conform to international standards and are safe for use and consumption of citizens.
  5. Interstate trade: The federal government also oversees trades between different states in the country.
  6. Interstate roads: The federal government is charged with the duty of building, maintenance and repair of interstate roads. They are commonly called federal roads. This duty is carried out through the Federal Ministry of Works and agencies such as the Federal road maintenance agency (FERMA).
  7. Aviation: The federal government controls the aviation sector. It is responsible for maintaining the air integrity of the Nigerian airspace. It regulates the sector and ensures that the safety of air travelers in Nigeria is protected.
  8. Railways: The Railway system is also controlled by the federal government.
  9. Mining and Solid minerals: It is the prerogative of the federal government to regulate and control the mining sector of the country.
  10. Water resources: Water resources of the country is controlled by the federal government. Protection of waterways and control of resources in our national waters lies with this tier of government.
  11. Policy formulation: The policies that govern the country cutting across the states to the lowest level of government are formed at the federal level.
  12. Revenue Generation: The federal government is a key stakeholder in revenue generation.
  13. National laws: Laws that govern the country are passed and approved at the national level by the legislative and executive arms of the federal government.
  14. The judiciary has the prerogative to interpret laws with the Supreme Court as the highest level of the judiciary in the land.
  15. Health: The federal government is a key player in the health sector to ensure the health of its citizens are well taken care of by building and equipping hospitals, training health personnel, purchase and supply of drugs and also carrying out sensitization programs for citizens on health issues such as infant and maternal mortality as well as vaccination programmes for infants against diseases such as polio.

Intergovernmental collaboration exists between the federal government and state governments on health care and social welfare, antiquities and monuments, statistics and surveys, scientific and technological research, industrial, commercial and agricultural development and electricity.

The State Government

At this tier of government, the country is divided into 36 states and a federal territory. Each State government is headed by a Governor who assisted by a deputy in piloting the affairs of the state. The governor has the power to appoint the rest of his cabinet, which are the commissioners and advisers (unlike the federal level where they are called ministers). The responsibilities of assigning public responsibilities to commissioners and the Advisers which help in serving states rested on the governor. The state executive council is made of the commissioners, the Deputy Governor, and the Governor. The legislative arm of the state government is headed by the Speaker while the Chief Justice of the state heads the Judiciary.

Functions Of The State Governments

The setup of state governments is similar to that of the federal government only that the scale is smaller. State governments are charged with carrying out duties that ensure quality living for people living in their states. They carry out duties such as road construction, they are stakeholders in the education sector, internal trade between states, agriculture, social welfare, health, surveys, electricity and even internal security. State governors are referred to as chief security officers of their states. They also generate revenues within their states.
State and local governments collaborate on issues related to the development of agriculture and non-mineral natural resources, health services and primary, adult and vocational education.

The Local Government

The  3rd level which also is the last level of the types of government in Nigeria is the local government. It is the level of government that is closest to the people and is within the people. Each state of the federation is divided into smaller units called local government areas. Currently, there are 774 local governments in the area. {{{Kano has the highest number which is 44 while Bayelsa has the smallest number of 9.}}} The local government council governs the local government area in the state. This LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL comprises of the local government chairman, who is in control of the council, his Councilors, and other elected members. All these function hands in hands to see to the perfect running of the council and also see to people getting their dividends across the grassroots area.

Functions Of Local Governments

  1. Registration of birth, issuance of death and marriage certificates.
  2. The naming of roads, streets, and numbering of houses.
  3. Provision of homes for destitute and infirm, cemeteries and burial grounds.
  4. Construction and maintenance of roads, street drains, street lighting, parks, open spaces, and other public highways.
  5. Establishment, maintenance, and regulation of markets, motor parks, etc.
  6. Provision and maintenance of public conveniences, and refuse disposal.
  7. Control and regulation of shops, restaurants, kiosks, and other venues for sales of food.
  8. Economic planning and development.

Funding Of The Tiers Of Government In Nigeria

All the 3 arms are always financed by the federal government. A certain percentage of the monthly allocation goes to states and the local governments. States and local governments presently have a joint account. This means states disburse funds to local governments under them. The states and local governments also look inwards within themselves to generate more funds to finance their activities.

Arms And Types Of Government In Nigeria

We can see the arms in the light of types of Government in Nigeria. There are 3 branches in the government of Nigeria and these are;

  • The Executive branch
  • The Legislative branch and
  • The Judiciary branches


  • The Executive Branch

The arms of government in Nigeria are set up in such a way that is designed to enforce the law, see to the running of the nation and other responsibilities. It is headed by an executive president. This branch of government is divided into several federal ministries that are headed by ministers appointed by the president. The ministries which are the federal civil service departments are saddled with responsibilities of different government functions. Ministers are appointed from all states of the federation in line with the principle of federal character. In each of these ministries, they have their senior civil servant and the permanent secretary.

  • The Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of the Nigerian government structure is the lawmaking body of the country. At the state level, Nigeria operates a form of the Unicameral legislature and at the federal level, Nigeria operates a Bicameral legislature.

  • The Bicameral Legislature

National Assembly is the federal legislature Nigeria operates at the federal level. And at this level, we have 2 chambers the lower chamber and the upper chamber.

  • The Upper Chamber

The Senate which is otherwise known as the upper chamber has 109 Senators who are the members of the Assembly. Each state has 3 senatorial districts with a senator representing each district while the federal capital territory supplies a lone senator. The upper chamber is under the leadership of the senate president that is always elected as a result of the consensus voting among the senators. The Senate president is the third in the line of succession to the presidential seat. The deputy senate president assists the Senate president in terms of proceedings and other duties that relate to the Plenary.

  • The Lower Chamber

This Chamber is known as the House of Representatives. This chamber is under the leadership of the speaker of the house. This speaker is always aided by the deputy speaker of the Assembly. The House of Representatives is made of 360 members who are elected in single-member constituencies from all states of the federation. The House of  Representatives seats is not evenly distributed among the states, unlike the Senate seats.

Functions Of The Federal Legislature

The National Assembly serves as a check on the executive arm of the government. The National Assembly is also responsible for the approval or disapproval of bills passed to the house. Appointments made by the president are subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

  • The Unicameral Legislature

The legislative branch at the state level of the Nigerian government is called the state House of Assembly. The Representatives of all the local government area within the states are what makes up the House of Assembly. This body stands to check mat the excesses of the states and also make laws to see to the orderliness of the state. This body functions in the same way the National House of Assembly. The House of Assembly of each state consists of 3 times the total number of seats that state has in the House of Representatives.

  • The Judiciary Branch

The judiciary branch of the Nigerian government is saddled with the responsibility of interpreting laws as well as ensuring compliance with these laws. This body is to see looking into check and balances of Nigeria. The judiciary comprises of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which presides over the Federal Courts (the court of appeal, the Sharia court of appeal of FCT, the federal high court, the customary court of appeal and the high court of the FCT), State Courts (the Sharia court of appeal, and the customary court of appeal the high court), and Election Tribunals.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria presides over the Supreme Court and he is assisted by 13 associate justices. The Supreme Court is the apex court in Nigeria and its judgment or decision is final. The Chief Justice of Nigeria also presides over the National Judicial Council, an executive body established by the Nigerian federal government to protect the judiciary branch from the influence of the executive branch. The President appoints the Chief Justice of the federation and once appointed, he cannot be removed from office except by death, retirement (at age 70), or by impeachment by the Senate. The Chief Judge of each state is appointed by the governor of that state on the advice of the National Judicial Council and the State House of Assembly.


Conclusion On The Types Of Government In Nigeria

We have been able to look at all the arms of governments and the tiers, sit back and digest.