WAEC Syllabus for Government & Recommended Textbooks 2024/2025

The WAEC syllabus for Government is the topic you must study to sit for the examination. It contains the aims and objectives, notes and format for the Government exam.

Studying the Government syllabus is necessary for your exam preparation. It will serve as a guide for you to know the topics to read. There are also notes on concepts you should pay attention to learning.

Exam preparations without using the Government syllabus are like going to the farm without your agricultural tools. You will end up not being productive.

Ensure you begin your exam preparations using the syllabus.

This post contains the Government syllabus and recommended textbooks of the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

WAEC Government Syllabus

Aims and Objectives

This syllabus aims at assessing the candidates’ ability to

(a) define the concepts of Government and show their understanding of its principles, institutions and processes.

(b) recognize their role as an informed citizens and their contributions towards the achievement of national development.

(c) evaluate the successes, failures and problems of governments in West Africa.

(d) analyse the constitutional developments and processes of colonial and post – independent government.

(e) appreciate the role of their country as a member of the international community.

Scheme of the Examinations

There will be two papers – Paper 1 and Paper 2, both of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be composite and will be taken at one sitting.

PAPER 1: This will consist of fifty multiple-choice objective questions drawn from the entire syllabus. Candidates will be required to answer all the questions in 1 hour for 40 marks.

PAPER 2: This will be a 2-hour essay type test consisting of two sections, Sections A and B as follows:

Section A: Elements of Government 

Shall contain five questions out of which candidates shall be required to attempt any two.

Section B: Political and Constitutional Developments in West Africa and International Relations 

Shall contain sets of five questions each; one set for one member country.  Each candidate is to answer two questions chosen from the set on the country in which he/she is taking the examination.

The paper shall carry 60 marks.  

Section A: Elements of Government

Meaning and Scope of the Subject Matter – Government

  • Government as an institution of the state
  • Definition of state, features, structure and functions.
  • Government as a process or art or governing.
  • Government as an academic field of study – reasons for studying government.

Basic Concepts and Principles of Government

  • Basic concepts – State, *Society, *Nation, Power, Authority, Legitimacy, Sovereignty, Democracy, Political Culture and Socialization, Communalism, Feudalism and oligarchy, *Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, Fascism, Aristocracy, Totalitarianism.

Meaning and features.

  • Basic principles – Rule of Law, Fundamental Human Rights, Separation of  Powers/Checks and Balances, Constitutionalism, Political participation, Representative Government, Centralization and Decentralization – (Delegated Legislation, Devolution and Decentralization).


  • Definition and Sources  
  • Functions
  • Types and Features, (Written and Unwritten, Rigid and Flexible).

Organs of Government

The Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – Judicial Independence. (Types, Structure, Composition/membership; Functions; powers and limitations).

State Structure and Characteristics of Government

  1. Types – Unitary, Federal, Confederal, Presidential or Non-parliamentary, Parliamentary or Cabinet, Monarchical and Republican.
  2. Meaning, types, features, merits and demerits.


Meaning, mode of acquisition, rights, duties and obligations of individuals in the state. Means of safeguarding rights of citizens.

Political Parties and Party Systems

  • Political Parties – definition, organization/structure, and functions.
  • Party Systems – definition, types, merits and demerits.

Pressure Groups, Public Opinion and Mass Media

  • Pressure Groups – definition, types,  mode of operation and functions;
  •  Public opinion – definition, formation, Measurement and importance;
  • Mass Media – definition, roles and impact.

The Electoral Systems, Processes and Electoral Management Body

  1. Electoral Systems and Processes
    • Election- Meaning and purpose of elections.  
    • Franchise – meaning, and limitations.
    • Types, advantages and disadvantages of Electoral Systems.
  2. Electoral Management Body – definition, function, problems/constrains.                         

Public/Civil Service Administration

  • Public/Civil Service – Meaning, Structure, Characteristics and Functions.
  • Public/Civil Service Commission –meaning and Functions.
  • Public Corporations – definition, purposes, functions, control, challenges, need for commercialization and privatization.
  • Local Governments – Meaning, structure, Purposes, Functions, Sources of revenue, control and problems.

Section B: Political and Constitutional Developments in West Africa and International Relations


Pre-colonial Political System of Candidates Respective Countries

The Structural Organization of the following:

  • Nigeria          –   Hausa/Fulani, the Yoruba and the Igbo.
  • Ghana            –   The Akan and the Talensi.
  • Sierra Leone   –   The Mende and Temme.
  • The Gambia   –   The Wolof, Mandingo and Jola.
  • Liberia            –   The Vai and the Kru.

Colonial Administration

  • The Policy and Structure of the British Colonial Administration – Crown Colony, Protectorate and Indirect Rule.
  • The Policy of French Colonial Administration – Assimilation and Association (Loi Cadre).
  • Impact, Advantages and disadvantages of Colonial Rule.

Nationalism in Candidates respective Countries

  • Nationalism: Meaning, factors and effects.
  • Key Nationalist leaders/movements and their contributions.

Constitutional development in Candidates Respective Countries

(i)      Pre-Independence Constitutions –

  •   Nigeria (features)           –   Clifford 1922

                              Richards 1946

                              Macpherson 1951

                              Littleton 1954

  •   Ghana (features, merits and demerits)              –   Clifford 1916

                                     Guggisberg 1925

                                     Burns 1946

                                     Arden Clarke 1951

                                     Nkrumah  1954

  •   Sierra Leone (features, merits and demerits)    –   Slatter 1924

                                Stevenson 1947

                                 Beresford Stooke 1951                       The 1956 and 1958


            (d)   The Gambia (features, merits and demerits)      – The 1947, 1951,

                                                  1954, 1960, 1962 and 1963


(ii)       Post-Independence Constitutions – Features

(a) Nigeria – Independence Constitution, 1960

       Republican Constitution 1963

        The 1979 and 1989 Constitutions

1999 Constitution – Origin, features, strength and Weaknesses.              

                 (b) Ghana       –     Independence Constitution, 1957

                                            Republican Constitution 1960

                                             2nd Republican Constitution 1969

                                             3rd Republican Constitution 1979

4th Republican Constitutions 1992.

                 (c) Sierra Leone – Independence Constitution 1961

                              Republican Constitution 1971

                              The 1978 and 1991 Constitutions,

(d)   The Gambia –   Independence Constitution  1965

                                Republican Constitution 1970.

2nd Republican Constitution 1997

 (e)     Liberia        –     Independence/Republican Constitution 1947

                                2nd Republican Constitution 1985

Development of Major Political Parties in the Candidate’s Respective Countries

  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • The Gambia
  • Liberia

Formation, Objectives, Sources of Finance, Achievements and Failures

Military Rule in the Candidates’ Respective Countries

  •  Nigeria
  • Ghana;
  • Sierra Leone
  • The Gambia
  • Liberia

  Causes, effects and various military regimes.

Federal/Unitary Systems of Government in West Africa

  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • The Gambia
  • Liberia

              Origin, Factors, Structure, Features and Problems

Foreign Policies of the Candidates’ Respective Countries

  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • Sierra Leone
  • The Gambia
  • Liberia

Definitions, Factors, objectives, advantages and disadvantages.

International Organizations

  • The United Nations Organizations (UNO),
  • The Commonwealth of Nations,
  • African Union (AU) – NEPAD,
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • Origin, aims/objectives, achievements and problems.
ADU BOAHEN, AGhana Evolution and Change in the 19th and 20th Centuries
HODGKIN T.African Political Parties
ADDAE P. G.Senior Secondary School Government Bks. 1&2
ECHIEFU S. MModern Government
DARE AND OYEWOLEA Textbook of Government for Senior Secondary School
OYEDIRAN AND CO.Government for Senior Secondary School.
FRANCIS ADIGWEEssentials of Government
PRAH ISAACGovernment for Senior Secondary School
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