What Is Federal System Of Government? Definition, Meaning, Advantages And Disadvantages

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Federal System Of Government
2. Features Of Federal System
3. Advantages Of Federal System Of Government
4. Disadvantages Of Federal System Of Government
5. Reasons For The Adoption Of Federal System Of Government

Meaning Of Federal System Of Government

A Federal System of Government is the type of government where authority and power are shared shared between two levels of government namely the Central or National government and the component state government.

A federal system is one in which there is constitutional division of powers among different levels or three tiers of government (Federal, State/Region, And Local Government).

In a federal system, the federal or central authority represents the whole and acts on behalf of all in certain matters, especially defence, external affairs, currency, national revenue e.t.c and any other areas considered to be of common interests.

These also exists in states/regions or local authorities with powers or legislation and administration within constitutional limits. It should be observed as well as that, In this system the supremacy of the constitution is not only respected or upheld out but also responsible. For the divisions of powers among the tiers of government.

i. A central government is supreme with respect to all matters of common importance to the whole federal state.

ii. Every state and local government has its own government. However, state and local governments are referred to as three tiers of government in a federal set up. In federalism or federal system, authority and power are shared into:

1. Exclusive Lists: Powers and functions listed here are mainly for the central government alone to exercise. For examples Currency, defence, power, external affairs, aviation, immigration, customs, mining e.t.c.

2. Concurrent Lists: All the powers and functions in the concurrent list are exercised by the same time. Items which usually appears in the concurrent list includes: Cloths, Education, Agriculture, Roads, Communication etc. In the event of any conflict in the exercise of current power, the decision of the federal government would be outlined that of the state government.

3. Residual List: Functions listed here are for the local government to exercise. Some of the functions or duties are in the craws of primary education, health or maternity library, market, motor parks etc. Examples of federal states are Nigeria, U.S.A, India, Russia e.t.c.

Features Of A Federal System Of Government

1. Constitutional Decision Or Power: This is a notable features in a federal system of government. Powers are constitutionally shared between the central authority and other subordinate units. Examples: State and Local Government.

2. Powers Derived From The Constitution: The central state and local governments derived their powers from the constitution.

3. Supremacy Of The Constitution: The constitution of a federal state is powerful and supreme.

4. Bicameral Legislature: Most of the federal constitution have bicameral legislature, For example: In Nigeria, there are the senates and the house of representatives.

5. Autonomy Of Units: The autonomy of each tier of government is guaranteed by the constitution.

6. Equal Representation: Everybody interest group is recognised and represented in a federal states.

Advantages Of Federal System Of Government

1. Reduction In Work Load: The burden of the central government is reduced because functions are divided.

2. Employment Opportunities: Since functions are duplicated, Employment opportunities are created for more people to be employed in the system.

3. Division Of Functions: Division of functions has made it possible for matters of local interest to be allocated to the state or local government.

4. Integration Of Different Groups: A federal system brings together different ethnic groups within a system. Federalism brings unity within different groups.

5. The Issue Of Autonomy: It allows each unit to be autonomous and affords them the opportunity to develop at their own place. For example, In Second Republic In Nigeria (1979-1983) U.P.N states adopted free education.

6. Federalism Brings Government Closer: Government is brought closer to the people and it increases the sense of belonging and participation. Government programme and authorities are made more relevant to the people.

Disadvantages Of Federal System Of Government

1. Statism/Regionalism: Individuals prepare to be more legal to their states and this can affect national unity.

2. Costly To Run: Large number of department and personnel are needed or created in a state, Thereby making it costly venture.

3. Uneven Development: Federalism accommodates the freedom of each unit to develop at it’s own peace which leads to uneven development.

4. Duplication Of Functions: Duplication of function can create redundancy which affects productivity.

5. Rigid Constitution: Federal constitution are usually rigid, this means that the constitution cannot easily be amended to reglet the changing time.

6. The autonomy granted the units create imbalances and differences in the area of administration of a federal state.

Reasons For The Adoption Of Federal System Of Government

1. Common Political Association: A long period of historical and political association among people living in contiguous state is conductive for a federal union. For example, the experience of people in the former British and French Colonel In Africa is a good example.

2. Geographical Constituency: It is advantageous for state which are to form a federation not to be widely separated geographically. The nearness of such state to one another union.

3. Economic Factor: The need to pull resources together to form a stronger economy, E.g Nigeria, U.S.A.

4. Common Historical Background: For example, Britain imposed a federal system in Nigeria by dividing the territory into regions and ruled them separately.

5. The Size Of The Country Is Too Large: This may hinder the effective control from the centre. Therefore, a federal structure is the best bet.

6. Security: Some countries adopt a federal system in order to have military might or power to face a common external enemy.

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