The merits of a parliamentary system of government are numerous. As a matter of fact, the fusion of the executive and the legislative arms of government have several advantages as follows:
- It reduces friction and promotes co-operation between the two arms of government.
- It helps free-flow of information between the two arms of government and bridges gaps that may lead to misunderstanding.
- The fusion makes parliamentary approval of the policies and programmes of government fast and thereby helping quick decision and implementation of government policies and programmes.
- The fusion of the legislature and the executive means that less personnel and costs are required to run it.
- The fusion of the two arms enables daily or frequent scrutiny, questioning and criticism of the policies and programmes of the executive, leading to the discarding of bad decisions and ill- considered actions. This promotes good governance. The immediate individual and collective responsibility of the executive to parliament make all members of the cabinet to work hard for the successful administration of the country.
- The fusion of the executive and legislative arm enables parliamentarians to check the government in parliament. This ensures discipline in the cabinet as they are under the daily watch and close check of parliament.
Furthermore, the executive or cabinet being aware that parliament is watching and will not hesitate to pass a vote of “no confidence” on the executive and make it resign, will usually behave itself and discharge its functions efficiently. This normally translates into stability of the government and the political system.
The demerits of a cabinet system of government are several and include:
- Uncertainty of tenure of office, because the parliament by a vote of “no confidence” can dismiss the cabinet and elect a new party leader as prime minister or premier to form a new cabinet and government.
- The sudden and frequent change of government if not carefully managed, may lead to crisis and instability in a country.
- The fusion of the legislative and executive functions in the members of the cabinet may over burden the members of the cabinet with double functions and some ministers may not cope very well.
- A minister may lack specialization in the art of governance in one arm of government, thus leading to inefficiency in such regard.
- Furthermore, the fusion of executive and legislative powers in the members of the cabinet may make them too powerful, arrogant and likely to abuse power.
- Lastly, the prime Minster is not directly elected by the electorate, as he becomes Prime Minister by virtue of being the leader of his party. This may make him more loyal to his party than to his oath of office as Prime Minister.
To conclude, there are other systems of government which were not operated in Nigeria, such as confederation, collegiate or conventional systems of government, etc. Nigeria is presently operating the presidential system of government.
In this unit, we have considered the various systems of government that is operated in Nigeria. You should now be able to explain each one of them.
- Mention 20 items contained on the Exclusive Legislative List.
- Why do countries adopt a unitary system of government?