Complete WAEC Syllabus for Government 2023, Text Books, and Topics

You need to study the WAEC Government syllabus in order to take the test. It includes the goals and benchmarks, study materials, and structure for the government exam.

The Government Syllabus must be studied in order to prepare for the exam. You can use it as a guide to help you decide which topics to read about. Additionally, there are notes on ideas that you ought to learn carefully.

Exam preparation without reference to the Government syllabus is equivalent to visiting a farm without your farm equipment. You won’t be effective in the end.

Make sure to use the syllabus when you start your exam preparations.

The West African Examination Council’s government curriculum and suggested textbooks are included in this section (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

Paper 1 and Paper 2 are the two required papers, and both papers must be taken. The first and second papers will be combined into one exam.

50 multiple-choice, objective questions across the whole curriculum will make up PAPER 1. Candidates will have one hour to complete all of the questions for 40 points.

Paper 2 will be an essay-style test with two portions, Sections A and B, and will last for two hours.

Section A: Governmental Structure

consists of five questions, out of which candidates must choose two to tackle.

Section B: International Relations and West African Political and Constitutional Developments

Each set of five questions will represent a different member country. Each candidate must respond to two questions from the list related to the nation in which the exam is being taken.

There will be 60 marks on the paper.

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.
Author Title
ADU BOAHEN, A Ghana 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. M Modern Government
DARE AND OYEWOLE A Textbook of Government for Senior Secondary School
OYEDIRAN AND CO. Government for Senior Secondary School.
FRANCIS ADIGWE Essentials of Government
PRAH ISAAC Government for Senior Secondary School


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