Compare and Contrast the Political System of Nigeria and the Uk

9 September 2016

A brief history of the political system of the UK in the eleventh century shows that it has not always been the way it presently is. The monarchy was all powerful, absolute and ruled without a representative of the people, chosen by the people. This gradually came to an end with an evolution that started in the year ‘1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta which involved him sharing power with the barons. This is regarded as the first statement of citizen rights in the world’ (Darlington, 2013). The first model of parliament was formed by King Edward the 1st in 1295.

And in 1341the present day bi-cameral (House of Lords and Commons) style of parliament was formed, making the UK a kind of Democracy (Ibid). For this reason, the Monarch in the British system of government does not have political powers. The Queen is the head of state with a prime minister as the head of government, making it a constitutional monarchy. As a constitutional monarchy, the government in power governs in the name of her majesty. Officials that constitute this government are placed into power through elections apart from the members of the House of Lords.

Compare and Contrast the Political System of Nigeria and the Uk Essay Example

The members of the House of Lords, are people of royal breeding who have either inherited their position, had been appointed by the Queen. ‘Since 1999, the UK government has shared executive powers with the devolved governments of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly’ (Orange,2009). The United Kingdom even though a democracy, is one of the few nations without a written constitution. There are three types of members of the House of Lords; ‘Bishops from the Church of England, nobility (British honours system) and Law Lords (Judges).

Its members are not elected and appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister’ (Ibid). The party system in the UK can be dated back to the eighteenth century with the emergence of the conservative party. There are three main political parties in the UK: the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats which was the product of the merging of the liberal party and the social democratic party. Some of the not so popular parties are: ‘the Plaid Cymru (founded in Wales in 1925) and the Scottish National Party (founded in 1934). In Northern Ireland there are a number of parties.

They include the Ulster Unionist Party, formed in the early part of this century; the Democratic Unionist Party, founded in 1971 by a group which broke away from the Ulster Unionists; and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, founded in 1970’ (britannia. com/Gov. /). Elections in the UK are held every five years although it is subsequent to change with the emergence of a new government as the UK has no written constituting. The present coalition government is motioning for the election of some members of the House of Lords. The leader of the party with the most seats in the house of parliament becomes the leader of that government i. . the prime minister. Other than the house of parliament which is in Westminster, London, there are three other assemblies. They are: The Scottish Parliament, The Welsh Assembly and The Northern Ireland Assembly. Apart from Wales which has the same legal system as England so cannot make any judicial decisions, the other two countries can (Darlington, 2013). Nigeria being an ex-colony of the United Kingdom did not have democracy even after she gained her independence from the UK. The ideology of democracy started in the year 1999 after the end of the military regime.

There was a general election and former President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected executive president. Although he was not the first civilian president of the country, he was the first after the over throw of the military regime. Even though the country was colonised by the British, she copied the American system of government which is the Federal system and has a written constitution. The Nigerian party system is a multi-party system. There are 63 registered political parties in Nigeria of which the ruling and most popular party is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) (www. nairaland. com).

This party has been the ruling party for over a decade. Not because all elections has been won by it, but because the opposition parties are divided and weak. Elections are held every four years for Presidential, Governorship, House of Assembly and House of Representatives. Similar to the American system, the Nigerian political system is three tiered; the Federal, State and Local Governments. Local government elections are held at a three year interval unlike the state and federal elections. Elected government officials can only serve two tenures. There was an attempt to increase it to three or more tenures, but it failed massively.

The political system in Nigeria is one in which majority of the masses has lost faith in due to constant political corruption. Especially in the electoral process where there has been persistent instances of rigging. This has led to the failure of the success of the ideology of democracy in the country. Democracy in plain words is supposed to be the government of the people, for the people and by the people (Solon, 559 B. C) which is obviously not the case in the Nigerian political system. These systems are similar in some ways but very different in many ways. The Nigerian system like that of the UK is bi-cameral but in different ways.

Members of both houses of the Nigerian legislature are elected by the electorate while in the British system; only the members of the House of Commons are elected by the electorate. The British System is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the head of state and the prime minister as the head of government. On the other hand the Nigerian system is a federal system with the president acting as both head of state and head of government. Power is focused at the centre in both political systems i. e. Westminster and Abuja are where the most important decisions are made.

In conclusion, both political systems claim to be democratic but after critically observing them, we find that the term democracy is just an ideology. The political system of any nation, determines the governing style of the country or leaders of the country. Nigeria being an ex -colony of the UK still has several hiccups in her political system, most of which were not discussed in this essay but are known to every Nigerian. The UK being an older nation, has a more organised and developed political system. Reference List: Anonymous, 2004 . The British Government: The Political Party System [Available at http://britannia. om/gov/gov9. html] [assessed on the 06/05/2012] Anonymous 2013 [http://www. nairaland. com/584400/63-registered-political-parties-nigeria] [assessed on the 06/05/2012] Orange, P. 2009 The political system of the United Kingdom Darlington, R. , 2013 [http://www. expatica. co. uk/essentials_moving_to/country_facts/Political-union-and-the-British-system-_14550. html] [assessed on the 06/05/2012] Hanson, S. Nigeria’s Creaky Political System: Stephanie Council on Foreign Relations April 12, 2007 [http://www. cfr. org/nigeria/nigerias-creaky-political-system/p13079][ assessed on the 06/05/2012] Word count:1,259

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