Constitutionalism: Definition, Factors And Features

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Constitutionalism
2. Features Of Constitutionalism
3. Factors That Promote Constitutionalism

Meaning Of Constitutionalism

Constitutionalism is the tendency to attain to the political life of the people and the state in line with the dictates of the constitution.

In more simple terms, constitutionalism means the adherence to the rules and provisions of the constitution.

A good example of constitutionalism is a situation where political awareness in Nigeria attains such enviable height that the government no longer preaches to the people before they go to the polls and cast their votes, pay their taxes, clean their environment or perform their civil responsibilities on the other hand, The government should recognise the people’s basic needs such as food, shelter, right to left and enjoy good education, freedom of speech and association according to the constitution.

Features Of Constitutionalism

1. Periodic change of government in accordance with constitutional provisions.

2. Constitutional limitations of power of organs of government.

3. Due process of law in dealing with policies and issues of government.

4. Strict adherence to constitutional provisions.

5. Respect for the rights of the individuals in a state.

6. Independent judiciary.

7. Separation of powers and checks and balances.

8. Adoption of a democratic political system.

Factors That Promote Constitutionalism

Some factors that promote constitutionalism are:

1. Independence of the judiciary.

2. Supremacy of law over everybody in the land.

3. The government should rule in accordance with the laws of the land nor arbitrarily.

4. Due process of law in dealing with people who offend the law of the land.

5. Strict adherence to rights of the individual.

6. Government ability to meet the basic needs of the peoples as well as being able to meet their electoral promises according to the manifesto.

7. Democratic ideas and principles.

Relationship Between Constitution And Constitutionalism

1. Constitutionalism limits government and individuals and actions and activities according to the tenacts of the constitution.

2. A constitution specifies the organs of government, functions and their relationship while constitutionalism implies strict adherence to the constitutional provisions.

3. Another relationship is that the principles of constitutionalism empowers the judiciary to declare any action that conflicts with the constitutional provisions and void and ultravizes.

4. A constitution grants individuals the right to challenge any government action viewed as unconstitutional in the law court, Constitutionalism enforces this awareness.

5. The constitution states the rights and obligations of the citizens whereas constitutionalism is the attachment of such rights.

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