The Political System
Nigeria’s democracy is based on a federal form of government comprising the executive, legislature and judiciary as defined by the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (“the Constitution”). Executive powers are vested in the President who is the Head of State and presides over the Federal Executive Council, while legislative powers are vested in the National Assembly comprising a 109-seat Senate and a 360-seat House of Representatives. Judicial powers rest with the courts, the highest of which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The executive and legislative arms are elected by popular vote for a term of four years.
State governments consist of an elected governor and deputy governor, and a directly elected State House of Assembly. A minister, who is appointed by the President, heads the Federal Capital Territory.
At independence in 1960, Nigeria joined the United Nations (“UN”) and its affiliated agencies. It also joined the British Commonwealth of Nations (the “Commonwealth”) of which Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo is its current Chairman.
Nigeria is also a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”), the World Trade Organization (“WTO”), the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) and the World Bank. In September 1999, the World Bank Group was invited by the FGN to provide advisory transactional and financial assistance to the successful implementation of the privatisation and commercialisation programme. The IMF and the World Bank have also provided technical and financial assistance to the FGN in dealing with Nigeria’s large external debt.
A founding member of the Organization of African Unity (“OAU”), now the African Union (“AU”) of which Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo is its current Chairman. Nigeria is also the dominant partner in the Economic Community of West African States (“ECOWAS”) and a member of the African Development Bank and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.