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What is Constitution?

In every government we have rules and regulations referred to as the Constitution. All governments operate within the framework of the constitution. Government is so necessary and if we are to avoid anarchy in a society, there is need for a constitution.

Therefore, in what may be referred to as the social contract, the people entered into a covenant relationship with the state. Consequently, the people surrendered their powers to the will of the state while the state will in turn protect them and provide essential services. This relationship gives rise to the constitution.

We can therefore define a constitution as the sum total of rules, conventions and practices of the society. It involves formal rules and other information regulations and even the belief system of the society. The constitution therefore, provides answers to the question of how people can be governed. In the words of Professor Nwabueze, the constitution has the force of law by which a society organises itself, defines and limits its power and prescribes the relationship between the various organs of government and with the citizen. We can therefore identify four components of any constitution.

(i) How should government be selected? How should political leaders behave in office? How can they be changed?
(ii) It spells out the relationship between the various organs of government,
(iii) It proposes what should be the pattern of relationship between the government and the citizens, as well as specifies the citizen’s rights and obligations.
(iv) It also shows how we can relate to any other citizen within the framework of the law.