Lesson One: Definition and Scope of Government

Definition and Scope of Government
Government can be defined an institution put in place to organise, manage and administer the affairs of the State.
It can also be defined as a process of governing which regulates the various activities of the citizens of the State.
Government is also a field of study which seeks to understand and analyse the dynamics of the State, its agencies and institutions.

Government as an Institution of the State
Government exists where there is an organisation with the aims of controlling and exerting authority. The State is an example of an organisation with such aims. Government, therefore, is an institution of authority and control. As an institution of control, government is empowered to regulate, control and protect every citizen of the State; it does this by enacting and enforcing laws to regulate activities within its territories.

Government as a Process of Governing
More than an organisation, government is the practical activity of making the processes involved in State organisation and management to function effectively.

The practical activity includes taking and implementing decisions, selecting those to govern and how they must be governed. All these acts are based on the political process. The primary responsibility of the government centres on organising coordinating and managing the affairs of the State in order to maintain peace, security and stability.

To effectively carry out its primary assignment, government share its powers among its three organs which are independent but mutually complimentary in their functions. The three organs of government, i.e. the executive, legislative and judiciary employ public servants to carry out their duties.

Government as an Academic Field of Study
Government as a field of academic study is referred to as the political science that studies the dynamics of governing a state. It. also studies the relationship between States, international organisations and the conditions for international relations of the individual State.

Functions of Government
The following are some of the major functions of government:
(i) Enactment and enforcement of laws.
(ii) Ensuring the defence and security of the State.
(ii) Stimulating and promoting economic activities within the State through the provision of infrastructure and policy formulation.
(iv) Regulating social, political, economic and cultural activities of the State through policies and institutions.
(v) Controlling and regulating emigration and immigration in the State territories. (vi) Protecting citizens rights and privileges through policies, institutions and
access to justice.
(vi) Maintaining diplomatic relations with other States through the Ministry of External Affairs.
(vii) Providing employment and guaranteeing the employability of its citizens.

Importance of Government as a Subject
The study of government Is important in the following ways: It
(i) stimulates the interest of the citizens in government activities, thus encouraging increased participation in government;
(ii) increases political awareness by making provision for the political education of the citizens;
(iii) helps to prepare the younger generation for professional political career; (iv) helps to inform the citizens about their rights and duties, thus checking government excesses;
(v) helps to foster the spirit of brotherhood of nations.

Scroll Down to Select Page 3 for the next topic – Lesson Two: Definition of Basic Concepts

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