Power and Authority in Nigerian Political System: A Philosophical Appraisal

  • Maraizu Elechi Rivers State University, Port Harcourt
  • Ibifuro R. Jaja
Keywords: Keywords: authority, development, morality, philosophy, power.


The concepts of power and authority are central in political systems and to
governments. In Nigeria, these concepts are frequently used by politicians in their
political discourses without an adequate understanding of their proper meaning
and application. Many scholars and philosophers often use power and authority
interchangeably as though they are synonymous. In fact, in Nigeria, power seems
to be confused with authority. The inability to clearly and adequately understand
the meaning, theoretical and practical demands of the concepts as well as their
underlying differences, seems to be responsible for their improper exercise and
abuses in our clime. This paper, therefore, examines the concepts of power and
authority in order to establish their differences as well as their demands on those
that seek to wield and exercise them. The research exposes the acquisition of
power and authority, their usage in Nigeria as well as their influences on the
development of the country. It highlights certain practices in the Nigerian polity
that fosters the abuse of power and authority and insists that political power must
be exercised within the bounds of morality otherwise it will be a deadly weapon in
the hands of rulers against the ruled. In conclusion, the paper proposes that
anyone in authority must show tremendous responsibility and be aware of the
boundaries of their authority in order not to exceed such limits.


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