Basic Concepts Of Government

Power Power is the capacity to influence and direct the actions of others, regardless of their desires. It involves the ability to enforce decisions or commands through the possession of means of sanctions, compelling individuals to adhere to established rules. Sanctions or punishments are often administered for non-compliance.   Forms Of Power Political Power: This […]

Power

Power is the capacity to influence and direct the actions of others, regardless of their desires. It involves the ability to enforce decisions or commands through the possession of means of sanctions, compelling individuals to adhere to established rules. Sanctions or punishments are often administered for non-compliance.

 

Forms Of Power

Political Power: This type of power is wielded by the government in managing state affairs. Decisions made through political power are binding on the state, residing in the three branches of government and derived from the constitution.

Physical Power: Referred to as naked power, this involves the use of force, often by entities like the police or security services, to compel obedience. It may result in pain, injury, or death.

Military Power: Utilized to forcefully change governments, suppress unrest, and defend a state’s internal and external territories.

Economic Power: Involves leveraging economic resources to control others’ actions. Wealthy individuals may influence government policies to serve their interests, exercising economic power over the less affluent.

 

Sources Of Power

Constitution: In democratic states, power is conferred through the constitution, and individuals gain authority through the ballot box.

Inheritance: In many societies, power is inherited, with those born into royal families having the right to ascend to power.

Coercion/Force: Obtained through the use of force, such as military interventions, as seen in coup d’états in some African countries.

Charisma: Some individuals gain power through personal qualities and influence, exemplified by leaders like Nelson Mandela, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Kwame Nkrumah.

Position of Authority: Expert knowledge in various domains grants power, but it diminishes when the person vacates the relevant position.

Wealth: Control of economic resources provides an advantage in acquiring power, aligning with the principle of economic determinism.

 

Authority

Authority refers to the right to command, direct others, and enforce obedience, deriving power from one’s office and the people’s consent.

Even military governments seek to legitimize their authority by obtaining the people’s consent in democratic societies.

 

Sources Of Political Authority

Max Weber identified three sources of political authority:

  1. Traditional Authority: Based on customs and traditions, hereditary, and rooted in the norms of a society, granting power to figures like Obas, Emirs, and Obis.
  2. Legal Authority: Derived from the rules and regulations governing a society, whether written or unwritten.
  3. Charismatic Authority: Arises from extraordinary qualities that enable a person to lead others, rooted in charisma.

 

Types Of Authority

  1. Political Authority: The right of political office holders to command, make, and enforce policies conferred by the constitution.
  2. Military Authority: The right of the armed forces to use force for maintaining law and order and ensuring security.
  3. Traditional Authority: Legitimized by customs and tradition, acquired through inheritance.
  4. Delegated Authority: Authority conferred on a subordinate for specific powers on specified matters.
  5. Technical Authority: Accepted based on expertise in a recognized field.
  6. Judicial Authority: The authority of courts and judges to issue fines or punishments.

7. Administrative Authority: The right of professionals like civil servants and managers to make decisions in their respective offices and secure obedience

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