A State or country cannot exist peacefully without the presence of the government. The government is as vital as the State itself due to the responsibilities which it performs.
A State can exist without the government but such state will be lawless and chaotic as there won’t be anyone or institution to organize it except the government. This brings us to the question, what are the responsibilities of the government?
Before we answer the question above, it is important to note that the duties or responsibilities of the government are defined by the Constitution. In other words, the Constitution and not the people directs the government on what to do. The only way the people can play vital part in deciding the duties of the government is to influence the amendment of the Constitution if they feel the present one is working hardships on them.
Furthermore, whether the functions stipulated by the Constitution are wrong or right, it still precides untill it is repealed or amended. To that effect, the Constitution is supreme and stipulates strictly, the responsibilities of the government.
In this post, we shall discuss these responsibilities in details. We shall also answer other questions pertaining to this topic as we proceed. Keep reading!
What are the Constitutional Functions of the government?
Protection of lives and property
It is the sole responsibility of the government to ensure the protection of lives and property of its citizens. This duty is taken up by a branch of the government called the Executive arm.
The executive arm of government uses the the military forces ( The Police, Army) and the paramilitary (Road Safety Corps and so on) to execute this function. The armed forces and the paramilitaries are under the executive arm of government. So, the Head of executive at the Federal level (The President) or the Head of Executive at the State level (Governor) use them as tools or agencies to work and ensure the security of citizens.
Protection of fundamental human rights
The fundamental human rights is one of the most important things a Constitution talks about and it will frown at it if no protection is granted to it. For this reason, the Constitution mandsates the government to ensure that the rights of citizens are safe.
The government performs this function through an arm of government called the judiciary. This arm administers justice by way of judgement. When a person feels his rights have been infringed upon the first place he goes is the court. He obtains justice after the court looks into his grievances.
Moreso, the judiciary does justice according to the Constitution. So, anything done outside the dictates of the Constitution can be challenged.
Law making is another function of the government. It is one of the major functions and it is done by the Legislative arm of government.
Laws are made to favour the people and for the food of all the citizens. Again, the laws must go in line with the Constitution and any law which goes against the dictates of the Constitution is void. It cannot stand.
If any law works hardships on the people, such law will either be repealed or amended.
Provision of social amenities
The government provides social amenities such as schools, bore holes, recreational areas, good roads, etc. All these are for the good of the people.
Maintenance of law and order
Another crucial duty of the government is to maintain the already made laws and order in the society. It is one thing to make laws and it is another thing to uphold it. The only way to maintain the law and order is by implementing those laws. If the government makes laws without implementing them, of what essence is the law?
Importantly, the implementation of the law is the function of the executive arm of government.
Defence of the Country
The government defends the country from every external aggression from other countries.
The government cannot stand and watch the citizens ravaged on an attack. All they have to do is to deploy armed forces such as the army to combat against those external forces.
The armed forces on their own part cannot embark on any combat. It must be commanded by the Executive and approved by the Legislative House.
Provision of Employment
The government creates employment for the citizens. They do this by creating factories, sectors, industries, etc.
They also help people create employment for themselves by giving them grants, loans, agricultural equipments, etc to start their own businesses. The essence of this whole thing is to improve the standard of living of the citizens.
Promotion of economic activities
The economy is in the hands of the government. The government controls it while Individuals participate in the economic activities.
The government encourages these activities by issuing grants, loans and encouraging investors.
They also do so building infrastructures such as good roads, railways and airports.
Overseer of external affairs
Every country has a relationship with one country or the other and no country can survive without such relationships. That is why countries come together to form International Communities like the UNO, UNICEF, etc.
However, no one else manages these relationships except the government. In a country, the Minister of External Affairs manages these relationships on behalf of the country.
Way forward if the Government fails in her duty
The government may not perform all these functions for the people and that is why in most countries bad governance exists. In some cases where the failure of the government results to hardship on the people, the only way out is to embark on peaceful protest against the government.
Secondly, the people can remove such government by voting. Voting, in most democratic countries, take place every 4 years. So, in any election year, the people can vote in another government to handle their affairs.
In addition, it is worthy of note that people also have their own responsibilities to perform to the government. One of these functions include protecting public property, whistle blowing, enrolling into the military and joining in protecting the country.
All these may not be compulsory for the people to perform but the law expects that as the government performs its own functions, the people should also perform theirs because the rights that they enjoy also come with corresponding duties.
Do well to drop your contribution below in the comment section.