There is no where in the world where the institution of government is not in existence. Though it may take different forms, its activities remain almost the same in every society Government is needed, since it is a pre-requisite for the socio-economic and political development of every nation. Government organizes and regulates all forms of activities that take place within the society. Infact government can be seen as an instrument through which the society realizes its purposes. A society without government is a society without a sense of direction. Such a society can be termed as a stateless society, a society in which according to some scholars, life cari be characterized as nesty, brutal, short and poor, simply because it lacks the institution of government. Government therefore, is an important institution of power that can make and enforce law in the society.

Meaning of Government
The concept of government like any other social science concept has developed a number of definitions. In the first place, it has been defined as the agency of the State that is charged with the responsibility of exercising State powers on behalf of the whole member’s of the State (Okpanchi et al, 1996). Government is defined as a machinery for realizing the purposes of a State. Furthermore, government has been defined as a group of individual charged with the responsibilities of administering a State. Also government can be defined as a method or system of governing (Oxford dictionary).
From the above we can infer that government has to be organized into certain structures and institutions through which its members operate. Government therefore, create rules expectations, values and ethics on the basis of which it carries out its own daily activities.
Need for Government
In every society the institution of government is inevitable for peace and progress. Government regulates the behaviour of members of the society. This calls for establishment of institution of government to be charged with responsibilities of making rules and regulations for the entire members of the society.
Government is needed not only in the area of making rules and regulations, but in the execution of the laws made by the legislative body of government.
In a society w.ith diverse ethnic groups, the emergence of conflicts of interest among the various individuals or groups of individuals is inevitable. With this therefore, there is the need for the institution of government to assemble, assess and resolve all sorts of conflicting interests emanating from the general public..
We equally need the ‘institution of government for the protection of our life and property. This is guaranteed by the institution of government, and no one can be charged with the responsibility to protect life and property.
Government is equally needed because it provides employment opportunities to its people. The institution of government is also needed because it provides a number of essential services towards the socio-economic and political development of our nations.
With all these in mind, the need for the institution of government can never be over emphasized. Without the institution of government, there would never be an organized and developed society.

Forms of Government

Long in the history of human civilization the institution of government has continued to play an important role towards the socio-economic and political development of every nation. Though the pattern of government may differ from one country to another, the idea of government is universally accepted by every known human society be it capitalist, socialist, agriculturalist and industrialist, developed or under-developed. However, the individual freedom is to a large extent determined and shaped by the nature of government under which he lives. In other words, the individual freedom is obviously more ascertainable in purely democratic state than in a dictatorial state.
The institution of government irrespective of the pattern it may take is primarily charged with the responsibility of deciding and taking actions on matters that affect our daily lives. As already pointed out, institution of government is accepted, yet the form that it takes may differ from one country to another. Basically we have three major forms of government i.e, the Democracy, Monarchy and Aristocracy.
a.  Democracy
Democracy is one of the three major forms of government ascertainable in the world today. Just as one time American President ABRAHAM LINCOLN., said “Democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people” However, it is in a democratic State that decision of the popular masses (the majority) is determined, which affects all aspect of life. It is in the democratic State that the majority can exercise the governing power directly or indirectly through exercising their voting rights in determining who should hold the governmental position.
However, Democracy has a number of features, which make it different from all other forms of government. Democracy also allows for a periodic election in a purely democratic State, the will of the majority is supreme i.e, their decision is final. Democracy equally allows for political liberty i.e, the equal rights for the offices of executive, legislative and judiciary provided they satisfy the requirements for the given position. Other things include human freedom in line with speech, publication and association.
It is equally in a purely democratic state that there exists high regard for the principle of separation of powers between the three organs of go vernment. Finally, it is also in a democratic set-up that the politically minded individual devoted their time towards finding solutions to political problems. Those that are least politically minded can equally pass judgment on the roles of their political engineers. Example of countries with this pattern of government include the United States of America, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Niger Republic, etc.
b. Monarchy
Monarchy is yet another pattern of governance in today’s world. Like Democracy, Monarchy is equally about leadership or governance. But while democracy is determined by the opinion of the popular majority, the monarchy on the contrary is determined by the behaviour or opinion of an individual i.e, the monarch. Therefore, monarchy is said to be the government by one individual whose power has no any constitutional limitations. This is to say that the monarch does things based on his will without any legal limitations. However, the hereditary monarchy is the popular one in today’s world, but we now see the elective forms emerging. Whether elective or hereditary, the essence of monarch is the representation of the state power in the hand of a single individual.
Basically we have two types of monarchy i.e, the monarchy can either be an absolute monarchy, or it can be limited/constitutional monarchy (Appadorai 1968). In the absolute monarchy, the monarch leader is the head of the state powers both in name and in actions. But in the limited or popularly known as the constitutional monarchy, the power of the monarch leader has been limited in a number of ways i.e, that his power is being regulated by the constitution. In the limited or constitutional form of monarchy, the monarchy leader can only implement those policies, which are reached or agreed on by the members of the elected parliament.
However, when studying the limited or the constitutional monarchy, one tends to find it very difficult to see differences between the democratic government and the constitutional monarchy Limited monarchy is constitutional monarchy because the monarch leader cannot act or go contrary to the dictates of the constitution and that the monarch leader must based his actions on proper consultations with the parliamentary members who are supposed to be representatives of the general public. With these, one can argue that limited monarchy is more to democracy than the absolute form of monarchy.
c. Aristocracy
Aristocracy constitutes the third form of government in the series of our discussion. This is equally a pattern of leadership through which efficient and effective administration can be achieved. Aristocracy, therefore, simply means government by the best citizens. Aristocracy as a pattern of government gives the community or a state a ruling class that inherits and bequeath to its posterity high traditions of public service. This ruling class can be trusted to administer public affairs with a complete personal integrity and honour, because of its great position free or independent of politics.
However, it follows therefore, that the essence of Aristocracy relies so much on the respect given to Aristocrat by others, and that this respect must be enhanced more by deeds or actions than words. This pattern of governance seems to be a natural arrangement institutions in which the best should govern the affairs of many. Even Greek Philosopher ROUSSEAU, argued that “it is the best and most natural arrangement that the wisest should govern the many, when it is assured that it will govern for its profits and not for its own”. (Appadorai 1968). Aristocracy is giving out the best to the general public, rather than administering based on selfish interest.
Aristocracy has a problem i.e. the problem of locating the best citizen out of many citizens. Not only the fishing out of the best that is a problem with the system, but also the system itself is so rigid, while the society itself is not all that static it is indeed very dynamic.

Functions of Government

Government as a machinery for realizing the purposes of the State has a number of roles to play towards the entire development of the society. The following are some of these roles:
1. Government makes laws and order: The government is therefore, charged with the responsibility of formulating rules and regulations in the society. Individual in the society are expected to obey the laws of the land as there are some measures that the government take to punish those who violate the laws of the land. Therefore, government makes laws in it’s attempt to ensure the smooth and orderly running of the society.
2 Government plans and manages the nation’s economy:- It is the responsibility of government to determine which model (economic model) is to be adopted in the society, i.e, either the capitalist economic model, the socialist economic model, or the mixed economic model. Even though the natural as well as the social environmental factors can to a large extent, determine the nations economic model, the government determines the appropriate model to adopt.
3. Government provides essential services:- Due to the fact that the people’s demands are so many, a number of their demands are beyond their ability, there is the need for government to provide them with some of these essential amenities. Government contributes to the enhancement of the welfare of the general public by providing it with good road networks, good water supply, electricity, hospitals schools and many other related supports.
4. Protection of Life and property: Government through the activities of its coercive institutions protects the life and properties of its citizens. This is so because every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty (1999, constitution).
5. Government provides employment opportunities:-  This is through the government’s large number of ministries, companies, parastatals, and industries etc, which need the services of both the skilled and unskilled labour. This labour  force   is  usually  citizens   of the  country. Government, therefore, is the largest employer of labour, and that such act of providing employment opportunities to a reasonable percentage of our youth has succeeded in reducing the rate of criminal activities among the youth.
6. Government also protects its citizens against external
aggression:- Government has power on the basis of which it has established the institutions of the army which has as part of its primary roles the protection of the country against external attack.
7.  Government  Maintains diplomatic  relations:  The
government ensures that the country maintain friendly
and good diplomatic relationship with other countries.
Some of our domestic problems are such that their
solutions   transcend  the  national  boundaries   and,
therefore, require international unity as a prerequisite for
solving them. In an attempt to facilitate and concretize
international relationship and cooperation, Nigeria, for
instance has a lot of its embassies in other countries of the world.
8. Government is charged with the responsibility of resolving conflict among individuals:- Government achieves this through the institutions of judiciary and other related bodies
The nature of the socio-economic and political background of a nation can determine its form of government i.e, while democracy is operational in the United States of America, monarchy on the other hand is equally operational in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others. Though, a particular form of government may not be generally accepted, yet the activities of government can said to be universally accepted in every known human society. Government is needed, because it performs a number of roles towards the overall societal development, i.e, Government protects life an property, maintains law and order, and it provides essential services etc.
Appodorai A. (1968); The Substance of Politics Madras Oxford University Press.
Dunner J. (Ed), (1970): Dictionary of Political Science. L. Adams and Co.
Leed, C. A. (1975): Political Studies, 2nd EditionM. andE. Handbook Series Evans Limited.
Okpanachi, M, A. et al (1996): Reading in the Social Sciences Citizenship Education Vol. II Gaorick Visual Production.

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