The State: Meaning, Essential Features And Functions

Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of State
2. Features Of A State
3. Functions Of The State
The word “State” is derived from the word politics, Politics came from Greek word “polis” which means “state”. A state can be defined as a politically organised body of people occupying a definite geographical territory with an organised government entirely free from external control and which has supreme power to enforce and regulate the conduct of its citizens. The state we refer here is not the administrative limitation of a country for the purpose of convenient governance. Examples: Abia state, Anambra State, Imo State, Lagos State (i.e The 36 state of nigeria) No, rather the state we refer here is the different countries with sovereign powers of their own. Example: Nigeria, Liberia, USA, Canada.
Essential Features Of A State
1. Population or people: For a state to exist, it must have a permanently president, people define as “Citizens” while there are other residents not regarded as citizens but called “alliens”. The number of people that can make up a state has no limit.
2. Territory: A state must occupy a definite territory which separate it from other states. The territory has no limit to its size. It must have clearly defined boundaries that must separate it from their states. Territory refers to hard surface of the earth as well as air space water, lake, mountains, natural resources and forest.
3. Government: A state must have a machinery called government for making and implementing laws to achieve the goals of the state. This government is very essential for the existence of the state.
4. Sovereignty: This refers to the supreme power. A state must have a supreme power over its own affairs to enable it make and implement or enforce laws.
5. Permanence: The state must have continuos existence. A state must not exist today and die tomorrow. There is not time limit on its activities. Government come and goes, but the state remains permanent.
6. Recognition: A state must be recognised by other state. (ie state is recognised internationally).
7. Nationalism: In a state, the citizens of the state must be loyal to the aspiration and hopes of the state and also have love for the state always.
Functions Of The State
1. Provision Of Social Amenities: The state ensures, there is adequate provision of social amenities to her citizens to enable them live good and better life such as water supply, primary health care, building of schools etc.
2. Construction Of Roads: The state as a government must make sure that there is good road in the state.
3. Provision Of Employment Opportunities: The government must make sure that, there is enough employment opportunities in the state for their citizen’s.

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