what is government

Government and State


There are three definitions.

(1). As an institution of the State: 

Defining it as an institution of the State simply tells us that it is a body created by the State to manage and control the affairs of the State. It is a machinery established to see to the day by day action of the State. 

(2). An act of Governing: 

As an act of governing simply means that it is a body vested with supreme power to control and rule the country, they make laws, enact the laws and as well punish those who act against the law. 

(3). An academic field of study:

This involves learning the structures, it is the impartation of governmental values to scholars. 


Political power: Political power resides in the government which enables it to influence the citizens, through the power vested on them they make laws which the citizens must obey.

Law: laws are fundamental statement made by the Government to enable the control of affairs of the state. These laws are documented and called a Constitution, and when these laws are kept, it helps to avoid a situation of anarchy. 

Public support: This refers to the support given to the Government by the citizens such as voting them into power.

Revenue: It means a source of income, a Government is always in charge of a Nation’s Economy. One of the major source of income is through tax paying, Government can not do anything without revenue.

Periodic change: This is a change that occurs within a particular period of time, such as the the selection of new leaders into office through free and fair election. No Government is permanent.


a). Provision of social amenities for its Citizens such as good Road, good Education standard hospitals etc.

b). Allocation of fund for projects.

c). Provision of security for the protection of lives and properties of its Citizens, maintenance of law and order.


The State and Government work hand in hand, a State cannot exist without a Government, if there is no Government there will be anarchy(a state of lawlessness). 

Therefore a State is a cooperate organized body of people occupying a defined geographical area and free from external forces  e.g Nigeria.


(1). Sovereignty: This simply means that the State is not influenced by external forces.

(2). Ability to make and enforce laws.

(3). Governance.

Functions :- There are

(1). Functions peculiar to the state and they include:

a) Maintenance of justice, peace, etc.

b) The State fix up a minimum standard for decent living for its Citizens.

(2). Functions well adopted: These are functions which the Government can perform successfully than any other organization.

a) Conservation of natural resources such as forest, mineral resources, fishery, wild animals,  etc.

b) Provision of Education.

c) The State helps in developing science and art by building institution.

d) Provision of public parks, reciting parks, museum, etc.

(3). Functions which the State are incapable of performing.

a) The State cannot control my public opinion.

b) The State cannot change customs and culture.

c) The State cannot regulate the conduct of individuals.

d) The State cannot control the citizen’s social life.


Some students find it hard to differentiate between the two, in as much they seem a bit similar, here are the differences between the two:-

(1). Government comprises of a selected few from the State while the State is made up of the Government and the governed.

(2). Government is a feature of the State while the State is a politically organized body of people with an organized legitimate Government.

(3). The components of Government includes the Executive, Legislature and Judicial while the components of the State includes Sovereignty, Geographical Territory, Population, Government.

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