Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of Nigeria


Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy
of Nigeria

The 1979 and 1999 Constitutions differ from their forerunners in one particular respect. This is in relation to their chapter 2 which deals with fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy. Prior to its inclusion in the constitution, this idea generated a lot of controversy (The Great Debate 1979:2 – 3). For example, in relation to the nonjusticiability of the chapter, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had this to say:

“the quality of the social objectives are reduced to worthless platitudes…..and hollow admonitions which should have no place in a constitution which is, first and last, a legal document whose provisions must ipso facto be justiciable and legally enforceable” (The Great Debate, 1979:3).

In the opinion of Ojo,

“most, if not all, the matters provided for in the Objectives and Directives section belong to the area of party politics.”

  1. Sani (Great Debate, 1979:3) sarcastically describes the arrangement as a “half-hearted” and “ostrich-like” approach to constitution making. Notwithstanding the above views and the ideological dimension introduced into it, it could be asserted that chapter 2 of the Constitution is part and parcel of the document called the Constitution; 1979 – 1999. The definition of the expression fundamental objectives and directive principles has been given in the report of the Constitution Drafting Committee (Vol. 1:4) in the following terms:

“By Fundamental Objectives we refer to the identification of the ultimate objectives of the Nation whilst Directive Principles of State Policy indicate the paths which lead to those objectives. Fundamental Objectives are ideal towards which the Nation is expected to strive whilst Directive Principles lay down the policies which are expected to be pursued in the efforts of the nation to realise the national ideals.”

Ideological dimension has been given to the above definition. Thus it is taken to mean that the government of the nation at any level is bound to ensure the achievement of the above defined aims since they have been identified in the constitution but this ideological stance is defeated by provisions in the chapter tending to show that the nation has not adopted any ideology. For example in respect of economic objectives, the nation has adopted a mixed economy



  • To understand the definition of the fundamental objectives and directive principle of state policy and their functions in the state
  • To classify the fundamental principle and directive principle of state policy.
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  • This topic contains:
  • Chapter 1-5
  • Abstract
  • References
  • Appendix/If applicable