Constituted authority is a person or group of persons appointed under the constitution to act on behalf of the people. It is a responsibility conferred on a person or group of persons backed by law. Constituted authority also refers to powers which the Constitution of a particular place or state has established to govern its people, to cause the rights of the people to be respected and to maintain them.
The president of a country, governors of states, chairmen of local governments, ministers, commissioners, etc are examples of constituted authorities. They are officers elected and appointed under the Constitution of the land to act on behalf of that people.
Types of Constituted Authority Under Civic Education
Heads of organizations.
Traditional Rulers or leaders
This is a type of constituted authority in which the authority of the ruling regime is largely tied tradition. This means that the legitimacy of the authority comes from tradition. The traditional leaders in Yoruba land is called Oba, while the traditional ruler in Hausa land is called an Emir, in Igbo land Obi is the traditional leader and they must be respected. They are appointed and backed by the law. Today, traditional leaders are seen to be recognised by the government and are also in the government’s pay roll.
Religious leaders provide moral and spiritual guidance to their followers. They help and support the followers of their religion. Becoming a religious leaders is a serious commitment that can be seen as a calling. There are two main religions in Nigeria namely Christianity and Islam.
Christianity teaches that Jesus is the son of God, having become human and the saviour of man. The pastor is a constituted authority in the Christian religion and the followers are called Christians.
Islam teaches that prophet Mohammed is the last prophet of God. The Imam is a constituted authority in Islamic religion. The followers are called Muslims.
A political leader is an individual who is involved in the running of government and other state affairs including behaviour within civil government. Political leaders are involved in influencing public policy and decision-making positions in government. They include the president, vice president, ministers, governors, commissioners, chairman of local government etc. They get to these various leadership positions by election and appointment and are backed by law. These constituted authorities need to be obeyed and respected.
Importance of Constituted Authority
The importance of it can not be over emphasize but here are two major importance.
• Maintenance of law and order: Constituted authority are conferred with certain responsibility among which is the maintenance of law and order. For example, the police force are designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder or civil unrest, and the protection of the rights and dignity of members of community or organization.
• Representative of the People; constituted authority represents the people and act on thier behalf and is backed by law. For example, the chairman of a local government Act on behalf of the people in that local government.