The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was promulgated on 5th May 1999, and entered into force on 31st May 1999. The main provisions are summarized below;
Nigeria is one indivisible sovereign state, to be known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, comprising of 36 states and a Federal capital territory. The constitution includes provisions for the creation of new states and for boundary adjustments of existing states.


The Executive powers of the Federation are vested in the President, who is the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation.

The President is elected for a term of four years and must be elected by at least 25% of the total votes cast in 24 states of the Federation and must also receive not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the Federal Capital Territory. The President nominates a candidate from the same political party as his associate to occupy the office of Vice-President.

The President, subject to confirmation by the Senate, nominates the Ministers of the Government of the Federation who form the Federal Executive Council, with the President as the Chairman. This body initiates the policies and programmes of the Federal Government and ensures that they are properly implemented after being passed into law by the legislature. Besides the Federal Executive Council, there are also a number of other executive bodies at the Federal level. These include;

  • Code of Conduct Bureau
  • Council of States
  • National Defence Council
  • Federal Civil Service Commission
  • Independent National Electoral Commission
  • National Judicial Council
  • Federal Council of Traditional Rulers
  • Federal Judicial Service Commission
  • National Economic Council
  • National Population Commission
  • National Security Council
  • Nigerian Police Council
  • Police Service Commission
  • Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission
  • Public Complaints Commission
  • National Mass Media Commission
  • Judicial Service of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja
  • National Assets Investigation Panel


The legislative powers of the Federal Government are vested in the National Assembly, comprising a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 109-member Senate consists of three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory, who are elected for a term of four years.

The House of Representatives comprises 360 members, representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible, who are elected for a four-year term. The Senate and House of Representatives each have a Speaker and Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members of the House from among themselves. Legislation may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, and having been approved by the House in which it originated by a two-thirds majority, will be submitted to the other House for approval, and subsequently presented to the President for assent.

Should the President withhold his assent, and the bill returned to the National Assembly and again approved by each House by a two-third majority, the bill will become law. While at the State level, the legislative powers of the State are vested in the House of Assembly of the State. The House of Assembly of that Stateconsists of three or four times the number of seats that the State holds in the House of Representatives (comprising not less than 24 and not more than 40 members).


The judiciary powers of the Federation are vested in the courts established for the Federation, while the judicial powers of a State is vested in the courts established for the State.

The Federation has a Supreme Court, which consist of the Chief Justice and 15 Justices. The Judges are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial council, a 23 member independent body of the federal and state judicial officials; judges’ appointments require the confirmation of the Senate and they serve until they are 70 years.

Other courts are the Court of Appeal and a Federal High Court. Each State has a High Court, a Sharia Court of Appeal and a Customary Court of Appeal. Chief Judges are nominated on the recommendation of National Judicial Council.

Local Government

The States are divided into a combined total of 774 local government areas. The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is guaranteed under the constitution, and the Government of each State will ensure their existence. Each local government council within the State will participate in the economic planning and development of the area over which it exercises authority.