Centralization of power: definition, advantages, disadvantages

     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.


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.


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.


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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