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Basic Concepts in Government – Free JAMB Tutorial

This Government Tutorial will focus on the Basic Concepts in Government. At the end of the tutorial, you can download it for FREE. Please share this page with your friends who may need it.

A government is like a big organization that makes and enforces rules to help people live together in a society.

It’s in charge of making decisions for the country or community, such as creating laws, managing money, and providing services like schools and hospitals.

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The government is usually made up of leaders who are chosen by the people through elections or other processes. Its main goal is to ensure order, safety, and the well-being of the citizens.

In this tutorial, we are going to explain the basic concepts of government.

Specifically, we will discuss:

a) Power, Authority, legitimacy, Sovereignty,
b) Society, State, Nation, Nation-State;
c) Political Processes; Political Socialization, Political Participation, Political Culture.

At the end of this tutorial, we expect that you should be able to:
i. identify the fundamental concepts in governance;
ii. analyse various political processes;

Power

Power refers to the ability or capacity to influence or control the behavior of individuals or groups.

It’s like being in charge and having the ability to influence how things are done. The government has the power to create and enforce laws, manage resources, and make important choices for the well-being of the people it serves.

Authority

Imagine you’re playing a game with your friends, and everyone agrees that one person is going to be the leader or the captain. That person has authority. It means they get to make some decisions, like which game to play or how to organize the teams.

Authority in government refers to the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

Legitimacy

Legitimacy in government refers to the rightfulness, authority, or justification of a government’s actions or claims to power. It is the acceptance and recognition of a particular government or political system as having the right to govern and make decisions on behalf of its people. 

 Legitimacy can be derived from various sources, including the consent of the governed, the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and international recognition. A government’s legitimacy is essential to its ability to function effectively and maintain order.

Sovereignty

Imagine you have your own room, and you get to decide what happens in there. You pick the decorations, set the rules, and basically, it’s your own little kingdom. Now, let’s say your friend comes over. You might still be friends, but when they’re in your room, they follow your rules because it’s your space. That control and authority you have over your own room—that’s a bit like sovereignty in government.

In government, sovereignty means a country has the ultimate authority and control over its own affairs. It’s like saying, “This is our country, and we get to make the important decisions without interference from others.” Just like in your room, where you make the rules, countries with sovereignty make their own laws, decide on their own policies, and manage their own resources without having someone else tell them exactly what to do.

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Society

Society is like a big group of people who live together in a specific area and share a bunch of things in common. It’s not just a bunch of individuals; it’s all of us working and living together. In society, we have rules, traditions, and things we all agree on, like respecting each other and not taking each other’s stuff.

State

According to Pennsylvania State University (PSU), a State is an independent, sovereign government exercising control over a certain spatially defined and bounded area, whose borders are usually clearly defined and internationally recognized by other states.

Imagine you have your own room. The walls of your room are like borders that show where your space begins and ends. Now, pretend you’re in charge of your room, making all the decisions about what happens inside. You decide when to clean up, what games to play, and how things work.

Now, think of a state as a big room, but instead of just one person in charge, there’s a group of people called the government. This big room has clear borders, like the walls of your room, and everyone inside follows the rules made by the government. Other “rooms” or states around it recognize and respect these borders, just like people respect the walls of your room.

So, a state is like a big, organized group of people in a specific area, and the government is like the person or group in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly inside that area.

Nation

Imagine you and your friends in school. Now, think about how you all have something in common – maybe you all love a particular game, or you have a special tradition together. This shared connection makes you feel like a team or a group.

A nation is kind of like that but on a bigger scale. It’s a group of people who feel like they belong together because they share things like culture, history, and traditions. It’s not something that happens naturally like having brown eyes or black hair; instead, it’s something people create because they feel a strong connection.

So as PSU puts it, a nation is a group of people who see themselves as a cohesive and coherent unit based on shared cultural or historical criteria. Nations are socially constructed units, not given by nature. 

Nation-State

A nation-state is when you have a group of people (a nation) who live in a specific area and have their own rules and ways of doing things (a state).

A Nation-State is the idea of a homogenous nation governed by its own sovereign state—where each state contains one nation. This idea is almost never achieved.

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Political Processes

A political process refers to a series of activities, interactions, and events that occur within the realm of politics and governance. It encompasses various actions and mechanisms through which decisions are made, policies are formulated, and power is exercised within a political system. Political processes are fundamental to the functioning of societies and governments.

Political Socialization

Political socialization refers to the process through which individuals learn about politics, political ideologies, and practices in their society. This occurs from a young age and is influenced by family, school, media, and community. Political socialization shape people’s beliefs and attitudes towards the government and their role in the political system. This process also includes the development of political identity, affiliation, and participation. 

Political Participation

Political participation refers to the various ways in which individuals engage in the political process. It includes actions such as voting, joining political parties, participating in protests, running for office, and engaging in civic activities that contribute to the functioning of the political system.

Political Culture

Political culture refers to the shared beliefs, values, and attitudes that shape the political behavior and expectations of individuals within a society. It reflects the collective understanding of how political and social life should be organized.

Practice Questions on Basic Concepts in Government

1. What does “sovereignty” in government refer to?
a. The ability to influence or control behavior
b. The shared beliefs and values in a society
c. The ultimate authority and control over a country’s affairs
d. The process of political socialization

2. How is political participation defined?
a. The shared culture and identity of a society
b. The process of influencing or controlling behavior
c. The various ways individuals engage in the political process
d. The legitimacy of government actions

3. What is the primary focus of political socialization?
a. The development of shared beliefs in a society
b. The transmission of political knowledge and culture
c. The enforcement of laws by the government
d. The formation of political parties

4. How does authority in government relate to a game where one person is the leader?
a. It is the shared culture among individuals
b. It refers to the rightfulness and justification of government actions
c. It involves the power to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience
d. It is the ability to influence or control behavior

5. What is the primary function of a state in government?
a. To develop political culture
b. To exercise sovereignty
c. To transmit political knowledge
d. To provide public services

6. According to the concept of a nation-state, what characterizes the state?
a. Homogeneous population
b. Shared cultural or historical criteria
c. Clear borders and government authority
d. A group of people with a strong connection

7. How does legitimacy in government differ from authority?
a. Legitimacy involves the power to give orders, while authority refers to rightfulness.
b. Authority is the acceptance and recognition of government actions, while legitimacy is the ability to enforce obedience.
c. Authority is derived from consent, while legitimacy is the justification of government actions.
d. Legitimacy refers to the shared beliefs in a society, while authority is the transmission of political knowledge.

8. What does political culture encompass?
a. The shared beliefs, values, and attitudes in a society
b. The ability to influence or control behavior
c. The process of policy formulation
d. The ultimate authority and control over a country’s affairs

9. In the context of a nation, what is socially constructed?
a. Sovereignty
b. Shared cultural or historical criteria
c. Political participation
d. The ultimate authority and control

10. What is the significance of political processes in a society?
a. They shape political culture
b. They enforce obedience
c. They provide public services
d. They transmit political knowledge

11. What is the primary role of governance in a political system?
a. To create and enforce laws
b. To shape political culture
c. To develop political socialization
d. To exercise sovereignty

12. How does a nation differ from a state?
a. A nation has clear borders, while a state has shared beliefs.
b. A nation has ultimate authority, while a state has cultural ties.
c. A nation is a political entity, while a state is a cultural concept.
d. A nation has shared culture, while a state has defined territory.

13. What does political change result from?
a. Shared beliefs
b. Socially constructed units
c. Shifts in public opinion
d. Ultimate authority

14. Which term refers to the acceptance and recognition of a government as having the right to govern?
a. Political culture
b. Legitimacy
c. Political participation
d. Authority

15. What is the primary focus of political socialization during formative years?
a. The development of shared beliefs
b. The exercise of sovereignty
c. The formation of political parties
d. The transmission of political knowledge

Answers to Practice Questions

NO CHEATING: Don’t check the answers if you haven’t attempted to answer the questions yourself.

  1. Answer: c. The ultimate authority and control over a country’s affairs.
    • Explanation: Sovereignty in government refers to a country having the ultimate authority and control over its own affairs within its borders.
  2. Answer: c. The various ways individuals engage in the political process.
    • Explanation: Political participation encompasses the different ways individuals get involved in the political process, such as voting, joining political parties, and engaging in civic activities.
  3. Answer: b. The transmission of political knowledge and culture.
    • Explanation: Political socialization involves the process of transmitting political knowledge, beliefs, and values from one generation to the next, shaping an individual’s understanding of politics.
  4. Answer: c. It involves the power to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
    • Explanation: Authority in government refers to the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience, similar to a leader in a game having the authority to make decisions.
  5. Answer: d. To provide public services.
    • Explanation: The primary function of a state in government includes providing public services, enforcing laws, and managing resources within its defined territory.
  6. Answer: c. Clear borders and government authority.
    • Explanation: A nation-state is characterized by a group of people (nation) living in a specific area with clear borders and government authority.
  7. Answer: c. Authority is derived from consent, while legitimacy is the justification of government actions.
    • Explanation: Authority is often based on consent, while legitimacy refers to the justification or rightfulness of government actions and claims to power.
  8. Answer: a. The shared beliefs, values, and attitudes in a society.
    • Explanation: Political culture encompasses the shared beliefs, values, and attitudes that shape the political behavior and expectations of individuals within a society.
  9. Answer: b. Shared cultural or historical criteria.
    • Explanation: In the context of a nation, it is the shared cultural or historical criteria that define the group of people as a cohesive unit.
  10. Answer: a. They shape political culture.
    • Explanation: Political processes play a significant role in shaping political culture by influencing how decisions are made and policies are formulated.
  11. Answer: a. To create and enforce laws.
    • Explanation: Governance involves the overall management and administration of a political entity, including the creation and enforcement of laws.
  12. Answer: d. A nation has shared culture, while a state has defined territory.
    • Explanation: A nation is characterized by shared culture, while a state is a political entity with defined territory, government, and sovereignty.
  13. Answer: c. Shifts in public opinion.
    • Explanation: Political change can result from shifts in public opinion, social movements, or external events that influence the political landscape.
  14. Answer: b. Legitimacy.
    • Explanation: Legitimacy in government refers to the acceptance and recognition of a particular government or political system as having the right to govern.
  15. Answer: a. The development of shared beliefs.
    • Explanation: Political socialization during formative years involves the development of shared beliefs, values, and attitudes about politics and government.

So how many did you get? Share it with us in the comment section below.

THINK & ACT : If we can give you this for FREE, imagine what we can give if you pay and join the ALLSCHOOL JAMB Online Lesson. In the lesson, our hardworking tutors ensure they only teach you things that will come out in JAMB, so you’ll score extremely high in JAMB. Click Here to join the ALLSCHOOL JAMB Online Lesson NOW.

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Wonuola

I got 11

Ogar Happiness

I got 9 out of 15

Favour

I scored 10/15

Princess

I got 11 questions and failed just four questions with the help of allschool cbt app and tutorial lessons

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