A state may be defined as a group of people occupying a definite geographical territory what’s an organized government, free from any external control and with cohesive power to secure obedience from its citizens and others. In the topic, we are not talking of regional locations such as Osun state, Edo state, Lagos state etc. But states as in countries and the likes. These states are formed by people and they have clear cut boundaries to separate them from other states. Many States may be joined together to form confederating units such as Senegambia, which is a combination of Senegal and Gambia. Examples of other states includes, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Italy, Brazil etc.
The features of a state are as follows:
1. Population: Before a state can be formed, there must be a coming together of some people to occupy the territory. It is these people that defines the state. The population of a state goes a long way in determining its integrity and recognition from other states and international organizations. Nigeria is made up of over 180,000 000 people from different ethnic groups and this contributes to one of the reasons it was called the giant of Africa.
2. Territory: A state must possess a definite territory, which must be separated from other states. This will hinder unnecessary interference among states and preserve their sovereignty. The territory of a state can be clearly seen on a map. People fight for their territory at all cost because it involves the land and the land is the house of all mineral resources. The land in this context is not just the hard surface of the earth but other things like mountains, oceans, seas, rivers etc. All these make up the territory of a state.
3. Government – This is a body, agent or a machinery saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace and security and steering the affairs of the state. This body is needed to regulate the activities of the citizens, in order to avoid a brutal society where life are nasty, brutish and outrageous. This machinery changes over time through periodic events called election. To make this happen, people will have to submit their right to self government to this body of people called government. The government is therefore responsible to the people of the state.
4. Permanence: A state must be relatively permanent, unlike the government which changes from time to time. This permanence makes it possible for a state to develop as it should.
5. Recognition: For a territory to be called a state, it must be recognized by other states and international organizations that surrounds it. This recognition will hinder any form of violence or war for boundaries and the likes.
6. Sovereignty: This is one of the most important factors that make a state a state. Sovereignty is the ability of a state to possess total control over its territory without any form of external influence or control. The sovereignty of a state must be highly cared for by the government. A state without sovereignty is a mere colony.