Centralization of power is defined as the process by which political power is located in a single central decision-making body. The highest degree of centralization is achieved where all powers of government are vested in a central authority.
The degree of centralization is highest in a unitary state. Britain, France, etc. are centralized states. In some political systems, they may see the need for some degree of centralization of power.
REASON FOR THE ADOPTION OF CENTRALIZATION OF POWER
1. Best practiced in a homogenous state: This system is best practiced where there are no sharp differences in religion, language beliefs, etc.
2. Small country: It 1s easy to practice in a relatively small country where the government has representatives from every ethnic group in society.
3. Delegation of functions: The central government can delegate powers and functions to other component units.
4. Power concentration: All the powers and authorities of the state are concentrated in the hands of the central government.
5. Flexibility: The constitution of a centralized state is flexible.
6. Power to modify the constitution: The central government may have the power to modify the constitution in the same process used to pass laws. Britain adopts this method.
7. No constitutional division of power: There is no constitutional division of power between the central government other component units.
8. Strong central government: This is because it has all the powers of the state and the people gives support to it only.
9. No conflict of authority: Since all the powers are in the hands of the central government, conflict in the exercise of these
functions will not arise.
ADVANTAGES OF CENTRALIZATION OF POWER
1. Decision-making powers: Sometimes, there may be the need to withdraw decision-making powers from subordinate units to
make for a more coherent and efficient administration.
2. Cost: The cost of running a centralized administration is relatively lower than the decentralized administration. The reason is that functions are not duplicated.
3. It makes for quick action: Quick action is made in the areas of decision making and implementation. The central government
alone makes a decision.
4. Flexible constitution: The method of amending the constitution is relatively easy because the constitution is flexible.
5. Makes for a strong government: A centralized state is stronger than a decentralized one because all the powers
are concentrated in the hands of a single central authority.
6. No conflict of authority: There can be no conflict of authority or confusion regarding responsibility for work to be done.
7. Coordination of functions: Centralization makes for effective coordination of functions in both human and material resources.
8. Prevention of waste: It prevents waste, inefficiency, and a high level of indiscipline in both civil and public services.
9. Less bureaucratic: Centralization is less bureaucratic and simple to operate.
DISADVANTAGES OF CENTRALIZATION OF POWER
1. Remoteness: It makes for the remoteness of the decision – making center from where the decisions are to be implemented.
2. Rigidity and inflexible response: It may lead to rigidity and inflexible response to local needs and problems.
3. Stagnation: Centralized government may also make for stagnation at the local level because of the center cannot quickly respond to the problems.
4. Dictatorship: Centralization may encourage dictatorship in the system.
5. Small territories: It is only workable in small territories. This system may not work in countries like Nigeria and U.S.A.
6. Homogenous society: Centralization can also work only in a homogenous society, where differences in culture, tribes, etc, are
not well pronounced.
7. Interest groups: Centralization can’t accommodate every interest group in the system.
8. Amendment of the constitution: The central government alone can easily amend the constitution for selfish purposes.
9. Political participation and decision-making: The people are not politically active and adequately involved in the decision-making process of the country.
10. Secession: The concentration of power may favor a particular tribe or group and this may create bad blood in the system. The result of this could be secession or break
away of a part.
Also, read the meaning of the decentralization of power.
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