Define Constitution By Ten Different Scholars

Introduction

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Constitution is the source of power to constitute a legal framework of the Government; it describes sovereignty of the people and peoples powers to choose those to run the Government. The executive, legislature and the judiciary are created by the constitution; their authority is derived from the constitution. Constitution proceed from nothing but rather the will of the people to be governed, it is the exercise of the sovereignty of the people. It is the superlative law of the land, not the Government neither an individual can claim to be superior to the constitution. The context of the constitution should not be limited to legal document regulating the affairs of the state.

At large constitution provides a framework of rules that creates structure and functions of human organization not necessarily a state. Constitution is the corner stone to define the powers and composition of the organs of the state and inter connect the Government daily activities with the people. Constitution is the social contract between the rulers and the ruled, the ruled agreeing to be ruled subject to the extent that is provided in the constitution.

Conversely, this aspect of a constitution being a contract have been challenged by professor Issa G. Shivji who argues that, the fact that constitution is a contract between the rulers and the ruled is not correct either historically or legally, for there is no evidence that the rulers and the ruled sit together and negotiate a contract called constitution.

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Define Constitution By Ten Different Scholars

TEN DEFINITIONS OF CONSTITUTION FROM DIFFERENT AUTHORS

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(1)        Lord Bolingbroke (1733) According to the 1733 definition of Lord Bolingbroke (1678-1751), by constitution we mean, wherever we speak with propriety and Exactness that Assemblage of laws, institutions and Customs, derived from certain fixed principles of Reason, that compose the general system, according to which the community hath agreed to be governed.

(2)        B.O Nwabwezi (1974) In his book Presidentialism in Commonwealth Africa he contends that, the nature and importance of the constituent power need not be emphasized. It is a power to constitute a frame of government for a community, and constitution is a means by which this is done. It is a primordial power, the ultimate mark of the people’s sovereignty. Sovereignty has three elopements; the power to constitute a frame of the government, the power to choose those to run the government, and the powers involved in governing.

It is by means of the first, the constituent power that the last are conferred. Implementing a community’s constituent power, a constitution not only confers powers of government, but also defines the extent of those powers, and therefore their limits, in relation to individual members of the community.

(3)        W.E.F Ward (1976) Ward is the proponent of constitution as a social contract; he emphasizes that, we the people agree that, you rule us principally to the extent that is provided in the constitution while we shall enjoy the rights and privileges stated there in. Anything done in contravention of the rules in the constitution can be challenged and any changes of the rules can only proceed as we have agreed and stated therein. Constitution is the product of both the ruled and the rulers.

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(4)        Hood Philips (1987) Philips argues that, constitution can be perceived into two different senses namely; Abstract sense and Concrete sense. Within the context of Abstract sense a constitution is a system of laws, customs and conventions which define the composition and power of the organs of government of the state and regulate the relationship to one another and to private citizen.

While, in the concrete sense, constitution is the document in which the most important laws of the country are authoritatively ordained.

(5)       Anthony King (2000) The Anthony king’s working definition underline that, a constitution is the set of the most important rules that regulate the relations among different parts of the government of a given country and also the relations between parts of the government and the people of the country.

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Conclusion

It is acknowledged fact that, there is no definite definition of constitution; the approaches in defining constitution are not uniform, the definitions are highly based on social economic and political environment surrounding a given state jurisdiction. The focus in defining written constitution takes a different route from unwritten constitution and yet there still an ongoing debate on the absolute definition of constitution basing on written and unwritten constitution.

 

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