Government » Legitimacy And Sovereignty

Legitimacy And Sovereignty

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Legitimacy : is derived from the latin word “legitimus” meaning lawful or according to law, so simply, legitimacy means a situation of being lawful, it can also be define as the general acceptance of the political system as the most appropriate and being in line with the laws of the land.
Legitimacy means acceptance of a political system or an administration because it is in compliance with the laid down rules and regulations.
Therefore, a legitimate government is  the one that is constitutionally elected and is acceptable to the↑

Factors That Determine Or Affect Legitimacy

1] Popular participation : for a political system to be accorded legitimacy, the various interest groups such as political parties, pressure groups, etc, must be allowe to take part.
Such participation of the various interest groups will give the system the required acceptance by the populace.

2] Popular support : A government is said to be legitimate if it receives the popular support of the citizens.
In a democratic system, the party that receives the greatest support in an election forms the legitimate government.

3] Foreign diplomacy : The foreign policies adopted by a government of a country determine the legitimacy that the other nations will accord to such↑

4] Leadership : a leader that performs creditably in office make people to accept his regime as a legitimate one.

5] Common National symbols and heroes : existence of common national symbols like National passport, National anthem, National flag, Pledge and coat of arms, etc. Make people to accept a government as a legitimate one and also the acceptance of common heroes and heroines determine legitimacy.

6] Good government : people accept and agree legitimacy to a government which meets up their expectations of good governance.
That is the reason why some military administration seek to legitimize their government by trying to implement good↑

7] Peaceful means of setting disputes : Existence of means of peaceful settlement of disputes without constant resort to violent , also application of coercion affects legitimacy.

8] Historical experience : long historical contact and colonial experience make people to accept their government as a legitimate one especially in Africa and Latin America countries.

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Sovereignty : is defined as the absolute power of the state to exercise supreme legal authority over its own affairs within its territory without any form of external control.
A sovereign state hence has absolute power to make and enforce laws within its territory without any external influence.
sovereign is the person or a body of persons exercising the power of state sovereignty.
The modern theory of sovereignty was first introduced by a French political philosopher Jean Bodin in 1530 to 1596 which is now be converted to political theory by political scientists, Hobbies, Grotius, Locke, Bentham, Rousseau, John Austin and many↑

Characteristics Of Sovereignty

1] Permanence : a permanent sovereignty exists so long as the state exists.
The Government and its officials may change but sovereignty does not change.

2] Indivisibility : The power of sovereignty which are supreme, absolute, final and coercive cannot be divided or share.

3] Inalienabilitt : The power of Sovereignty cannot be given away or transferred because if a sovereign power is transferred, it cannot be regained.

4] Absoluteness : the power of a sovereign state has no restriction, the modern sovereign state issues orders which are binding on all citizens and association within the territory and receive orders from none. This characteristics is also known as↑

5] Absence of foreign control : The power of a sovereign state is supreme within its territorial jurisdiction without any foreign control.

6] Comprehensiveness : the power of sovereignty is wide in scope and all-embracing which is binding on all persons or groups within the territorial jurisdiction.

Types Of Sovereignty

a] Political sovereignty : this type of sovereignty is the supreme power vested in the people to form a government of their choice.
The people exercise this power through the ballot box by voting for those they want to delegate the power to.
Political sovereignty is also known as popular↑

b] Legal sovereignty : this is the type of power used to make and enforce laws in a given state.
The body that makes and enforce these laws of the state is known as the legal sovereign.

c] External sovereignty : this is the supreme power of the state to conduct affairs without foreign interference. It also empowers a state to conduct its international relations on equality and unanimity basis.

d] Internal sovereignty : this is the supreme power of the state to make and enforce laws within its territorial area of↑

e] De Facto sovereignty : this is the type of sovereignty that is acquired through the use of coercion.
De facto sovereignty is a body of persons that displace a legitimate sovereign through invasion or revolution and hence uses force to ensure compliance to its wll. E.g Armed Forces Ruling Council ( A.F.R.C) of Nigeria.

f] De jure sovereignty : this is the type of sovereignty that is acquired in accordance with laws of the land as opposed to the use of force.

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Location Of Sovereignty In A State

location of sovereignty : means the repository of sovereign power or simply who wields the sovereign↑

1] Location in the electorate : According to professor A.V Dicey, the electorate constitutes the political sovereignty because every administration and political system tends to derive its legitimacy from the people that decide who wields the state power.

2] Location in a federal state : in a federal system of government, sovereign power is constitutionally shared between the central and provincial or state governments.
Since power is shared in a federation, and since the central and state governments that share power can only act in accordance with the terms of the constitution, hence ultimate sovereign power in a federation therefore resides in the written↑

3] In a unitary government : in a unitary system of government, it is possible to locate sovereignty in the central government or authority because the central government wields supreme power over all other bodies of the state.
However, in some states like Belgium, the central and provincial governments share power.

4] Location in a military regime : in a military regime, for example Nigeria, sovereignty can be located in the Armed Forces Ruling Council (A.F.R.C) presided over by the President.
The power of AFRC is supreme and it acts as both the executive and the legislative organs of government.

5] Location in monarch : for example, in Britain, sovereignty can be located in the Queen parliament, hence, the Queen parliament wields the ultimate sovereign↑

Limitations To The Sovereignty Of The State

1] The influence of powerful nations : Powerful nations like U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. have a lot of influence on the external sovereignty of the smaller and weaker nations.
External policies of these smaller and weaker sovereign nations are carefully made in order not to conflict with the whims and caprices of these “Lord” nations.

2] International laws : International laws tend to limit the sovereignty of states.
The only reason why states abide with international laws is to make peace.

3] Membership of international organizations : The existence of international organizations of which many nations belong, has seriously reduced sovereignty of a nation.
Examples of such international organizations are : Common Wealth Of Nations, O.P.E.C., U.N.O., E.C.O.W.A.S. , E.E.C., etc.
These external sovereignty of member-nations has been weakened and limited by the policies and regulations of these↑

4] External assistance : asking for assistance from external nation limited the sovereign power of such nation. Such assistance include, military assistance, technical assistance, loans and resources, etc.

5] Complexities of modern government : the complex nature of modern government has made it imperative for powers to be delegated to subordinate bodies.
This delegation of power has reduced the extent powers that are concentrated in one body which leads to reduction of their unlimited↑

6] The supreme of the constitution : No matter the body in which sovereignty is located, the power of such body is limited by the constitution of the state.
Nobody is above the laws of the land no matter the position or the power that the person may wields.

7] The electorate : The electorate can check the excesses of the government through elections.

8] Public opinion : Local and international public opinion may prevent or control a country or state from taking an action. E.g fear of sanctions and embargoes.

9] Customs and traditions : The customs and tradition of the people impose serious limitation on the sovereignty of the state.
The State hence, puts these customs and tradition of the people into consideration when exercising its sovereign↑

10] Type of government power : unitary government is the best government for sovereignty than federal and confederal government.

11] Coup D’etat : forceful takeover of government through military coups limit the sovereignty of the state.
Constitution is normally suspended when military coups takeover the government.

12] Influence of pressure groups : pressure groups are the groups that perform the function of checks and balances.
Hence, they prevent any individual or bodies that wield power in the state from having or exercising absolute and unlimited↑

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