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THE INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION OF 1960

Government (Secondary School)

FEATURES

  1. The constitution retained the federalism previously adopted by the lyttleton constitution of 1954
  2. The governor-general was made the constitutional ceremonial head of state and a representative of the Queen of England
  3. The constitution adopted a parliamentary democratic system of government in Nigeria
  4. Bicameral legislatures were adopted in both the federal and regional or state governments
  5. Provision was made for the appointment of the Supreme Court and high court judges on the advice of the judicial service commission made up of judges.
  6. The governor was empowered to remove the premier if the premier had lost the confidence of the house.

MERITS OF THE INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION

  1. One of the greatest advantages of independence constitution is that it marked a turning point in the struggle for self determination and emancipation of Nigeria from the shackles of colonialism
  2. It marked the beginning of new diplomatic era in which Nigeria joined international organization like, UNO, Common wealth etc.
  3. The attainment of independence created a lot of employment opportunities for Nigerian in the civil service, the post, that were hitherto held by British nationals.
  4. The constitution entrenched accountability as it requires the federal minister of finance to submit the report of the director of Audit before parliament
  5. The independence constitution established a bicameral federal legislature consisting the senate and house of representatives; and regional legislature consisting the house of chiefs and house of assembly.

WEAKNESS OF INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION

  1. It retained the British Queen as the constitutional ceremonial head of state of Nigeria
  2. The supreme court was not the court of last resort, the judicial committee of the privy council in Britain continued to act as the highest court of Appeal for Nigeria
  3. The constitution was weak because member of the house of senate were appointed by the regional governments not elected
  4. The constitution did not give adequate treatment and definition to the issue of creation of more regions in Nigeria
  5. 1960 independence constitution was also disadvantages because it was not entirely home made one.

THE REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION OF 1963

Features

  1. The republican constitution of 1963 established a republican government in Nigeria
  2. The Queen of England ceased to be the Head of state of Nigeria
  3. The president was not made executive one but ceremonial one
  4. Some emergency powers were conferred on the federal government
  5. The seats in the senate and the House of Representatives were increased from 44 to 56 and 305 to 312 respectively.

 

MERITS OF THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION

  1. An elected president became the head of state to replace the British monarch who was Nigeria’s head of state under independence constitution
  2. The constitution was a fully home-made constitution
  3. The supreme court became the final court of Appeal instead of the British privy council
  4. The rights of citizens were fully guaranteed and entrenched
  5. The decision making process of the country now fully involved Nigerians.

 

DEMERITS OF THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION

  1. The president was elected by the National assembly who constituted the minority instead of the majority of the electorates
  2. The legislative and executive arms of government were fused
  3. There was parliamentary supremacy against the supremacy of the constitution
  4. The prime minister was accountable to the parliament and not to the people
  5. It permitted carpet-crossing in which elected politician shifted party allegiance for personal rewards.

 

EVALUATION

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

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See also

LYTTLETON CONSTITUTION OF 1954

CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION OF 1922

NATIONALISM

ADVANTAGES OF COLONIAL RULE

THE SYSTEM OF INDIRECT RULE IN WESTERN NIGERIA

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