The term “Constitution”
The term “Constitution” may be described in the following ways: Formal document having the force of law by which a society organizes a government for itself, defines and limits its powers, prescribes relations of its various organs inter se and with the citizens. Document (or a book) having a special legal sanctity which sets out the framework and the principal functions of the organs of government of a state and declares the principles of governing the operation of those organs (Wade & Bradley).
The means by which a people organize themselves into a political community and define the aims and objectives of their association, the condition of membership, the organs and powers necessary for the conduct of the affairs of the association and duties and responsibilities of those organs to the individuals (Nwabueze, B.). Organic Law or ground-norm of the people, formulation of all the laws from which the institutions of state derive their creation, legitimacy and very being; the unifying force into nation apportioning rights and imposing obligations on the people who are subject to its operation.
Very important composite document or a group of documents embodying a selection of the most important rules about political authority and power, the location, conferment, distribution, exercise
and limitation of authority and power among the organs of state or about the government of the country (de Smith). The rules which regulate the structure of the principal organs of government and their relationship to each other and determine their principal functions. Those laws and practices (as in unwritten Constitution) and the document containing those laws and practices (as in a written
constitution) which regulates the exercise and distribution of sovereign powering a state. –“fons et origo of the exercise of powers, the enjoyment of rights, discharge of obligation” (Karibi Whyte).
There is no hard and fast definition of the term ‘Constitution’. It is a lofty declaration of objectives, description of organs of government in terms of their import (devoid of enforceability), – a legal restraint on government and supreme law and bedrock of constitutionalism. It expressly states the aims and objectives of the people, abolishes the federal or state government, Controls the relationship between the tiers of government, defines and preserves personal liberties even though not justiciable and also makes provisions which enables the government to perpetuate itself. Thus, the constitution is a symbol and instrument of constitutionalism, an instrument of restraint on government and the fundamental law regulating the organization of government.