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History

The Clifford Constitution of 1922 – Features, Merits & Demerits

Clifford Constitution of 1922
Sir Hugh Clifford

Introduction to the Clifford Constitution of 1922

The Clifford Constitution of 1922 disposed the Nigerian Council of Lord Lugard (1914) and set up a new legislative council for the Southern Protectorate.

The membership of the Clifford legislative council was forty-six (46). Twenty-seven (27) out of the forty-six 46 members were officials while nineteen (19) were unofficial members. Ten (10) out of the nineteen (19) unofficial members were Nigerians and out of the ten (10) unofficial Nigerians, four (4) were elected, three (3) from Lagos and one (1) from Calabar. The remaining six (6) were appointed by the Governor.

 

The Northern protectorate was excluded from the council. The governor continued to govern the North by proclamation.

Establishment of the Elective Principle by Clifford in 1922

The Clifford constitution of 1922 established the elective principle for the first time in Nigeria. However, the elective principle was limited to male adults that have resided in Nigeria for over 12 months and have a gross annual income of 100 pounds.

The Clifford constitution of 1922 also gave way to the establishment of political parties in Nigeria. In 1923, Herbert Macaulay founded the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) and also established a newspaper called the West African Pilot. The Clifford constitution gave room for more participation and representation in the government than the 1914 constitution.

Main Features of the Clifford Constitution Of 1922

  1. Elective principle to elect the desired person into the Legislative council. NB:- Only an individual earning £100 annually can vote and be voted for. NCBWA struggled for the granting of the elective principle in Nigeria.
  2. All colonial governors were to report to the Secretary of State for colonies who was a cabinet minister in Britain.
  3. The Executive council was an all- European council. No Nigerian was included i.e Nigerians were not part of the decision-making body.
  4. The Legislative council consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.
  5. The North was ruled by proclamation coming from the governor.
  6. Formation of political parties e.g NNDP of Herbert Macaulay.
  7. Establishment of Newspapers e.g The West African Pilot and Lagos Daily News.

Advantages or Merits of the Clifford Constitution

  1. Elective Principle – The Clifford constitution brought the elective principle into Nigeria which paved way for elective representation of Nigerians into the Legislative council.
  2. Political Activities for Nigerians – The Clifford constitution permitted the formation of political parties in Nigeria so as to ensure greater participation of Nigerians in their government. E.g. The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) of Herbert Macaulay.
  3. New Legislative Council– The constitution created a new legislative council which consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.
  4. Nationalism – The constitution geared up Nationalism among Nigerians
  5. Establishment of Newspapers – Newspapers were established to promote more political activities in Nigeria.

Disadvantages or Demerits

  1. Sectionalism – The Clifford Constitution of 1922 brought sectionalism into Nigeria as the constitution was meant for the Southern protectorate alone. The Legislative council was also created for the south excluding the North.
  2. The Legislative council was dominated by Europeans
  3. Partial representation – The elective principle introduced by the Clifford Constitution of 1922 works only for the legislative council. The executive council is not elective.
  4. Imposition – The people claimed that the constitution was imposed on them
  5. The Governor-General had veto powers on issues discussed in the legislative and executive council
  6. Partial Elective principle – Only Nigerians with resident qualification and have a gross income of £100 per annum which as at then was a very huge sum.

References:

  1. C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; Tonad Publishers; August 2008
  2. Constitutional Development In Nigeria – Teslim Opemipo Omipidan, highlifextra
  3. The Nigerian Constitution: History and Development; Oluwole I Odumosu; London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1963
Categories
History

Merits and Demerits of the Richards Constitution of 1946

Read the full details and features of the Richards constitution here.

Arthur Frederick Richards. Richards constitution of 1946
Arthur Frederick Richards

Below are the merits and demerits (advantages and disadvantages) of the Richards constitution of 1946

 

Merits/advantages of Richards constitution

  1. t brought about regionalism which served as a bedrock for federalism in Nigeria
  2. Unlike the Clifford constitution of 1922, the people were consulted (though not really) in the drafting of Richards constitution.
  3. The constitution paved way for constitutional development in Nigeria.
  4. The constitution promoted unity in Nigeria as it brought the North and South together in the central legislative council.
  5. The constitution geared up nationalism among Nigerians.

Demerits/Disadvantages of the Richards Constitution of 1946

  1. The constitution did not allow the full participation of nationalist leaders in the administration of the country.
  2. Nigerians were not fully consulted before the operation of the constitution. Therefore it was regarded as autocratic.
  3. The governor exercised veto power – The governor was not bound to accept the recommendations of the legislative council. The council only served as an advisory body.
  4. The Richards constitution introduced regionalism in Nigeria which brewed regional rivalry because each region represented one or more ethnic groups. The Northern region represented the Hausa/Fulani people, the Eastern region represented the Igbo people, the Western Region represented the Yoruba people and the Mid-Western Region represented Benin and Delta people. This gave birth to ethnic and tribal contradictions in Nigerian politics.
  5. The constitution represented colonial interests.
  6. The constitution was partial on the ground that it created the House of Chief in the north and none in the south.
  7. Franchise was limited to people from the upper class.

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Categories
History

The Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954 – Main Features, Merits And Demerits

Oliver Lytteton - Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954
Oliver Lytteton

The Lyttleton constitution of 1954 is the fourth and the last of the pre-independence constitutions of Nigeria. It was enacted in 1954 as a successor of the Macpherson constitution of 1951 which was reviewed through constitutional conferences (the London constitutional conference of 1953 and the Lagos constitutional conference of 1954).

The Lyttleton constitution is known to have been a pathway to the independence of Nigeria and also did it include the federal principle in its features which differentiated it from previous constitutions such as the Clifford constitution of 1922, Richards constitution of 1946 etc.

 

Main Features of the Lyttleton constitution of 1954

  1. Post of the premier was created in every region. The Premiers were to advise the governor of their regions.
  2. Federal system of government by sharing power between the central and the regions.
  3. Lagos was carved out of the Western Region and made the Federal Capital Territory.
  4. It retained the bicameral legislature for both Northern and Western regions, and uni-cameral for the Eastern Region.
  5. There was the autonomy of regions.
  6. Federal legislature (House of Representatives) consisting of 184 members who were elected directly from regional assemblies.
  7. A council of minister with the governor-general as the president, three official members, three ministered from each region and one minister from southern Cameroon.
  8. The speaker instead of the governor presided over the House of Representatives.
  9. The governor of the region ceased to be a member of the Federal executive council.

Merits of 1954 Lyttleton constitution

  1. Nigerian ministers were appointed with portfolios
  2. The posts of permanent secretary and parliamentary secretary were created
  3. Real law making powers were given to the regional legislatures
  4. It recognized the need for the integration and unity of the ethnic groups in Nigeria by passing powers to the regions.
  5. There was clear division of powers between the federal and regional governments in which each was autonomous in its jurisdiction.
  6. It granted separate elections into the regional and central legislative houses.
  7. It paved way for the independence of Nigeria with the introduction of the Federal system of government.

Demerits or Disadvantages

  1. The revenue allocation formula which was introduced by the constitution overemphasized derivation as against needs and national interest.
  2. The governor still retained his veto powers. He can make and pass laws know the interest of good government.
  3. The constitution left the Eastern region with uni-cameral legislative.
  4. The ministerial appointment was from the three major political parties which were from the regions. This rendered the central executive ineffective because the ministers were only loyal to the regions.
  5. The eastern and western regions alone used direct elections; elections in the Northern Region were indirect
  6. There was no provision for the post of Prime Minister.

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Categories
History

The Richards Constitution of 1946 – Features, Merits & Demerits

Arthur Frederick Richards. Richards constitution of 1946
Arthur Frederick Richards

The Richards constitution of 1946 is another link in the chains of colonial or pre-independence constitutions of Nigeria. Following Hugh Clifford’s tenure as the governor of Nigeria, three more governors held the post (Graeme Thompson, Donald Cameron and Bernard Bourdillon) before the enactment of the next constitution which was the 1946 Richards constitution.

 

Governor Bernard Bourdilloun took office in 1935. In 1939, while in office, he turned the Northern and Southern protectorates into provinces and then divided the Southern province into Eastern and Western provinces while the Northern province was left untouched.

At the time Governor Bourdilloun left office in 1943, he had almost completed the new constitution he was drafting where he recommended regionalism. He had made a lot of improvement on the previous constitution before handing over to his successor.

Later on, Arthur Richards took office and enacted his constitution which is credited for bringing regionalism into Nigeria. The Richards constitution of 1946 replaced the Clifford Constitution of 1922 which was highly criticized for bringing sectionalism into the Nigerian government.

The Richards constitution of 1946 was specifically drafted to promote the unity of Nigeria and give more room for greater participation of Nigerians in the administration of their country.

Features of the Richards Constitution of 1946

  1. Bi-cameral legislature: The Richards constitution granted the Northern region a bi-cameral legislature – Regional Assembly and the Regional House of Chiefs.
  2. The constitution retained the elective principle but with limited franchise.
  3. The Richards constitution of 1946 brought regionalism to Nigeria – Eastern, Western and Northern regions.
  4. Dual Membership: Members of the central legislative council were at the same time members of the regional councils.
  5. The Nigerian Legislative council was made up of 44 members – 16 official and 28 unofficial members.
  6. Creation of Regional House of Assembly.
  7. Each region received grants from the revenue of the country in the form of bulk.
  8. Limited powers were given to the regional House of Assemblies.

Merits or Advantages of the Richards Constitution of 1946

  1. It brought about regionalism which served as a bedrock for federalism in Nigeria
  2. Unlike the Clifford constitution of 1922, the people were consulted (though not really) in the drafting of Richards constitution.
  3. The constitution paved way for constitutional development in Nigeria.
  4. The constitution promoted unity in Nigeria as it brought the North and South together in the central legislative council.
  5. The constitution geared up nationalism among Nigerians.

Demerits or Disadvantages of the Richards Constitution

  1. The constitution did not allow the full participation of nationalist leaders in the administration of the country.
  2. Nigerians were not fully consulted before the operation of the constitution. Therefore it was regarded as autocratic.
  3. The governor exercised veto power – The governor was not bound to accept the recommendations of the legislative council. The council only served as an advisory body.
  4. The Richards constitution introduced regionalism in Nigeria which brewed regional rivalry because each region represented one or more ethnic groups. The Northern region represented the Hausa/Fulani people, the Eastern region represented the Igbo people, the Western Region represented the Yoruba people and the Mid-Western Region represented Benin and Delta people. This gave birth to ethnic and tribal contradictions in Nigerian politics.
  5. The constitution represented colonial interests.
  6. The constitution was partial on the ground that it created the House of Chief in the north and none in the south.
  7. Franchise was limited to people from the upper class.

Thanks for reading.

References:

  1. A Textbook Of West African History: E. Ola Abiola- May 1974
  2. Omipidan, Teslim Opemipo. (2018). Constitutional Development in Nigeria. https://highlifextra.com/tag/constitutional-development-in-nigeria/
  3. C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; 3rd edition; Lagos; Tonad Publishers; 2008