CONSTITUTIONALISM

CONSTITUTIONALISM
This is where the government derives its powers and limits from laws known as constitution.

CONSTITUTION DEFINITION
This is a document of fundamental laws, customs, principles, regulations and rules according to which a state or organization operates.

FEATURES OF A CONSTITUTION
1) It has a preamble or introduction
2) It specifies the rights and duties of citizens
3) It specifies the type and characteristics of government
4) It can be amended
5) It specifies the party systems a state should operate

SOURCES OF CONSTITUTION
1) Conventions
2) International laws
3) Acts of parliament
4) Constitutional conferences
5) Historical documents
6) Past experiences.

TYPES OF CONSTITUTIONS
There are written, unwritten, flexible, federal, unitary and rigid constitutions. Some of these are discussed below.

WRITTEN CONSTITUTION: Here the constitution is documented. Countries like Nigeria, India, France and Ghana have written constitutions.

ADVANTAGES OF WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
1) It can be amended
2) It is easy for citizens to know their rights and duties
3) It removes complexities experienced by unwritten constitutions
4) It is available in a single document
5) It has easy references to cases of disputes

DISADVANTAGES OF WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
1) It has to be amended regularly
2) It has problems of interpretation
3) It may lead to constant litigation because it is easy to obtain
4) It is usually rigid and can create problems of amendment.

UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION: This is where the constitution is not documented. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have unwritten constitutions.

ADVANTAGES OF UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION
1) It makes for easy and quick decisions
2) It does not lead to constant litigation
3) It develops from many years of practical experience of people and government
4) It has a high degree of flexibility
5) It does not have problems of amendment

DISADVANTAGES OF UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION
1) Citizens do not know their rights and duties
2) It does not suite a Federal system of government
3) It is prone to abuse
4) It does not ensure stability in large countries
5) It can encourage dictatorship

RIGID CONSTITUTION
This is a constitution that cannot be easily amended due to the complex procedures involve in amendment. Countries like Nigeria, Ghana and USA have rigid constitutions.

ADVANTAGES OF RIGID CONSTITUTION
1) It prevents dictatorial leaders from amending it to favour them
2) It protects the interest of the minority
3) It ensures careful considerations before amendment
4) It allays fears of ethnic domination

DISADVANTAGES OF RIGID CONSTITUTION
1) Amendment is a tedious process
2) It does not allow for quick change in times of emergency
3) Amendment is an expensive process
4) It may not evolve or be amended fast enough to meet with challenges modern society.

FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION
This is a constitution that can be amended easily without tedious procedures. Countries like New Zealand and Italy have flexible constitutions.

ADVANTAGES OF FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION
1) It is up to date with challenges of modern society
2) It is easy to amend
3) It allows for quick action in time of emergency

DISADVANTAGES OF FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION
1) It encourages dictatorship
2) It is not ideal for Federal system of government
3) It is unclear
4) It can be amended hastily with mistakes.

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