FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE ARM OF GOVERNMENT
When it comes to the concept of separation of power, every unit of government is given a role or perhaps undertakes a role to help not only the Government to function well but also the country as a whole. Separation of power, just like the name implies, allows power to be distributed across all the arms of government so that one doesn’t have too much power and another doesn’t even have as much power. With the concept, all units of government is able to play a role in the functioning of the government and the country while also working together to achieve this unique goal.
It is well known that in Nigeria, there are three arms of government. The Executive, Judiciary, and the Legislature. Under each arm, there are certain bodies or category of people there to make sure that the function of that arm of government is well carried out and also to make sure that they help in the running of the country’s government. For the different arms, one makes the law, another interprets and the the last one enforces the law, hence making sure that power is well seperated with these split roles for them. The body or arm of government that makes the law is the Legislative arm, the arm that interprets it is the Judiciary, and finally the one that enforces it is the Executive arm.
First up, the Legislature The main goal of this arm is strictly to make laws. Whenever there is a new law to be considered or brought forward by the President or leader of a state, the Legislative sits down to discuss and decide whether the law should be accepted or rejected after a number of sittings. All laws made in the country is totally the business of the legislature. In Nigeria, the National Assembly represents this arm of government. It is then divided into two; the Senate House as the upper chamber and the House of Representatives as the lower chamber. There are 109 senators in the senate house while the House of representatives consists of 360 representatives who help with making laws and also approving the laws that have been advised by other parties in government.
Next is the Judiciary. The primary goal of this arm of government is to interpret the law. Basically, they are there to interpret and make sure the laws made by the legislature are well complied with in accordance with the rule of law. The Supreme Court is the highest body in the judicial system of the country and it is lead by the Chief Justice of the Federation. All other courts and associate judges fall under this judiciary arm of government and they help in upholding the law and interpreting it as it should be.
And to the final and the main course of the article, the Executive. This arm of government typically deals in the enforcement of the law. It’s the primary goal and the main aim of the executive. The law has already been made by the legislature, it has been interpreted by the judiciary and now, to ensure that those laws work, the executive is there to enforce the law and make sure citizens and individuals in the country are abiding by the set rules governing the country. This arm of government is led by the President of the country. It could also be by the Head of State or the Prime Minister. The Governors of states and Chairmen of the Local Governments also fall under this category as they are supposed to enforce and make sure the laws are obeyed by the people under their Jurisdiction.
According to Wikipedia, The executive is the branch of government that is responsible for the day-to-day management of the state. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the executive is not supposed to make laws (role of the legislature), nor to interpret them (role of the judiciary). The executive is supposed to put the laws into action. The executive is led by the head of Government. The Head of Government is assisted by a number of ministers, who usually have responsibilities for particular areas (e.g. health, education, foreign affairs), and by many government employees or civil servants.
In the next sub heads. I’ll be discussing some of the popular functions of the executive and a brief example wherever they apply.
- ENFORCING THE LAW
As it has been mentioned earlier, the primary aim of the executive arm of government is to enforce the law. They have no business in making laws or interpreting them as that is allocated for other arms of the government though the executive can come up with strategies or plans which will then be put forward to the legislative arm for consideration after which it can then be decided whether or not the law or proposition will be made. For instance taking Nigeria as an example, if the President of the country decides to propose a law, he/she has to run it through the National Assembly. The National Assembly then sits over to decide whether or not to consider. Once the law or proposed idea is made, a bill is passed and then the President becomes the chief enforcer of that law. Of course, he/she doesn’t do this alone but with the help of individuals who they will appoint in several places.
- INCHARGE OF APPOINTMENTS
Just like I just mentioned, even though the President is the chief enforcer and the leader of the executive, whose aim is to ensure that the laws made are abided by, they don’t carry out this activity all by themselves. They set up a cabinet of ministers who will help them in different aspects or sectors of the economy. In Nigeria, there are several ministers appointed to different positions. For example, there are Ministers for Petroleum, Education, Environment, Power, Labour, Youth and Sports, Health as well as many others. Though individuals are put in these positions, they are there to help the executive led by the President to ensure that all things are in order and the country is run adequately.
- SIGNING DEALS AND FORMING ALLIANCES
It is also the duty of the executive to engage in alliances with other countries to benefit the country in one way or another. The President of the Country is the one that signs whatever deals that might arise to bring benefits to citizens and the country as a whole. He/she also ensures that they have a good relationship with neighbouring countries and other countries outside the continent to bring about good rewards and trade deals for the country. These deals that will be signed might still need to be taken up to the legislature for approval but the executive holds the true power in these kind of situations.
- ENSURING SECURITY OF CITIZENS AND MAINTAINING ORDER
The executive can sometimes be regarded as the chief security officer of the country, state or any place in their jurisdiction. They are to ensure the good well-being of the citizens and ensure that they’re not under any form of security threat and if they are, they seek to help out and maintain order in the country. In carrying out this function, the government sets up the police to help with protecting lives and property in the country and also maintaining order where necessary. For example, in Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force Is the policing unit responsible for this and it is under the supervision of the executive in that jurisdiction or the President for the whole country.
- PREPARING BUDGET AND OTHER FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS
One other thing that can be considered a function of the executive arm of government is the preparing of the budget that contains all financial needs of the country over a certain period of time. The budget is only prepared by the executive and is still due for acceptance from the legislative arm of government. In cases where a country also needs to borrow or take loans, it is the executive that is in charge of it though it is still under pending judgement for the legistive arm as well. In Nigeria, a budget is always prepared yearly by the President of the country and it is then tabled to the National assembly for consideration.