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CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION OF 1922

Government (Secondary School)

The 1922 constitution was named after the then governor of Nigeria sir Hugh Clifford

FEATURE MAIN

  1. There was an executive council for the whole country.
  2. It was established a Legislative council presided over by the governor with 26 white officials, 15 nominated unofficial members and 4 elected members, three of the elected members represented Calabar
  3. The governor exercised enormous power and was autocratic
  4. The constitution introduced elected principle (the first in Africa)
  5. Only male adults who earned up to E100 per annum and had resided in the area for at least a year could vote during elections.

MERITS OF CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION

  1. The constitution abolished the Nigerian Council which was non-elective and ineffective
  2. It established a new executive council for the whole country.
  3. The constitution introduced elective principle for the first time in Africa.
  4. The constitution marked the emergence of Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) the first political party led by Herbert Macaulay the Nigeria Youth Movement (NYM) and National Council Of Nigeria and Cameroun (NCNC).
  5. It encouraged the establishment of newspapers such as the Lagos Daily News and West African Pilot.

DEMERITS OF CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION

  1. The constitution vested too much power in the governor, including the power to single-handedly legislate for the north.
  2. It allowed the legislative council to be dominated by Europeans
  3. The constitution disenfranchised majority of Nigerians by limiting voting rights only to male adults earning at least 100 perannum.
  4. It limited Nigerians to being only non-officials, as a result of which they could not be in the executive council.
  5. The constitution isolated northern Nigeria, and thus formalized a north-south dichotomy which is still present.

RICHARDS CONSTITUTION FEATURES

  1. The constitution became operational on 1st January, 1947.
  2. It created a central legislative council for the whole of Nigeria
  3. The governor could now make and apply laws for the whole country in consultation with the legislative council
  4. The constitution provide for regional assemblies in the North, East and west which could only discuss legislative matters
  5. Two Nigerian, instead of only one appointed in 1943, became members of the executive council.

MERITS OF RICHARDS CONSTITUTION

  1. It encouraged national unity due to the integration of the North and South administratively
  2. It paved way for a federal constitution in the Nigerian political system
  3. The constitution provided for bicameral legislature in the North and also recognized traditional rulership in Nigeria
  4. The constitution increased the representative of Nigerian in the legislative council
  5. The constitution introduced Regionalism i.e. North, West and East each with its own house of Assembly.

DEMERITS OF RICHARDS CONSTITUTION

  1. Europeans dominated the legislative council at the Execution level
  2. The constitution was imposed on Nigerian without proper consultation of their opinions
  3. Voting right was still dependent upon level of income
  4. Residents of Calabar and Lagos are the only one that could vote, while other Nigerian were disenfranchised.
  5. Regionalism and ethnicity preached by this constitution resulted into disunity, mutual and ethnic suspicion in Nigerian politics till today.

FEATURES OF MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION 1951

  1. The Northern region retained its bicameralism while same was introduced in the west
  2. The central and Eastern legislative councils remained unicameral
  3. A council of ministers was set up. This comprised 12 members drawn equally form the three regions
  4. The constitution made provision for an executive council for each of the regions presided over by lieutenant – Governor
  5. Suffrage: In the North only male taxpayers voted while in the West and East, both sexes voted.

MERITS OF MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION

  1. It was a home – made constitution i.e. several Nigerians were consulted in its making
  2. Nigerians were made ministers for the first time
  3. The constitution granted Regional Autonomy to the regional assemblies
  4. The constitution provided for central and regional executives
  5. It led to the formation of Action Group 1951.

DEMERITS OF MACPHERSON CONSTITUITION

  1. The constitution was effete i.e. it was a quazi-federal which made it to loose its grip
  2. The ministers appointed to represent the regions lacked cohesion and were regionally minded
  3. The self – government in 1956 motion tabled on 1st April, 1953 by Chief Authony Enahoro of Action Group and the subsequent Kano riots led to total breakdown of the constitution
  4. The absence of a party with majority seats at the House of Representatives did not encourage consensus in the house
  5. The constitution pin powered the Governor to veto the decision of the legislative and the Executive councils

EVALUATION

  1. See your workbook
  2. Work on your past WASSCE question papers.

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See also

See also

NATIONALISM

ADVANTAGES OF COLONIAL RULE

THE SYSTEM OF INDIRECT RULE IN WESTERN NIGERIA

COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION (HISTORICAL BACKGROUND)

THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION OF 1963

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