The Nigerian Constitution


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about the Nigerian constitution. Enjoy the class!

The Nigerian Constitution

The Nigerian Constitution

A constitution is a fundamental law written or unwritten, which establish the characters of a government. A constitution is also a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.

It is the basic principles, which all citizens must abide. It prescribes the extent and manner of the exercise of a nation’s sovereign power. It is the fundamental and entrenched rules governing the conduct of an organization or nation-state, establishing its concept, character, and structure. It is usually a short document, general in nature and embodying the aspirations and values of its writers and subjects.

Sources of the Nigerian constitution

The Nigerian Constitution can be sourced from the following:

  1. Conventions: Conventions are rules of practice that have been accepted because of their long usage.
  2. Common-Law: Law based on people’s customs and beliefs, which the courts also recognize is also a source of the Nigerian constitution
  3. Historical Documents: Documents containing historical records of people and their traditions
  4. Judicial Precedents: Law emanating from previous court judgements, usually from superior courts. They can also be called case laws.
  5. Act of Legislature: Laws made by the state and national assemblies

Features of the Nigerian constitution

The Nigerian Constitution  (1999) has eight different chapters; each of the chapters has subsections and parts.

  • The prelude to the chapters states:

We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved, to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-Africa solidarity, world peace, international cooperation and understanding, And to provide for a constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people, do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following constitution.

  • Chapter 1:

The supremacy of the constitution and the states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

  • Chapter II:

This chapter highlights the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy

  • Chapter III:

This chapter focuses on citizenship, it highlights issues relating to citizens

  • Chapter IV:

It Presents the fundamental Human Right

  • Chapter V:

It highlights how the legislature of the federal and state government will be established; how they will operate and function.

  • Chapter VI:

It makes provision for the federal Executives, It itemizes all the conditions attached to to the office of the president, election, tenure and disqualification.

  • Chapter VII:

This chapter provides the judicature i.e composition of the judicial arm of government; Supreme Court, the court of appeal, Sharia court of appeal pf the state and the Customary court of appeal

  • Chapter VIII:

This chapter makes provision for the federal capital territory, Abuja; presents other supplementary provisions.

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Promulgation) Decree

  • Chapter One: General Provisions
  • Chapter Two: Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Chapter three: Citizenship
  • Chapter Four: Fundamental Rights
  • Chapter Five: The Legislature
  • Chapter Six: The Executive
  • Chapter Seven: The Judicature
  • Chapter Eight: Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and General Supplementary Provisions
  • First Schedule: States of the Federation. Definition of Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
  • Second Schedule: Legislative Powers
  • Third Schedule: Federal Executive Bodies & State’s Executive Bodies
  • Fourth Schedule: Functions of a Local Government Council. Functions of a Local Government Council
  • Fifth Schedule: Code of Conduct for Public Officers Public Officers for the purposes of the Code of conduct
  • Sixth Schedule: Election Tribunals
  • Seventh Schedule: Oaths


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