The Clifford’s Constitution Of 1922 | Features, Merits, Demerits

Features of Clifford Constitution: Secretary of State for Colonies: A Cabinet Minister in Britain held the position of Secretary of State for Colonies. The colonial Governors reported to this official.   Head of State: Governor Hugh Clifford served as the Head of State, representing the Queen of England. The Executive Council: Comprised of an all-European […]

Features of Clifford Constitution:

  1. Secretary of State for Colonies:
    1. A Cabinet Minister in Britain held the position of Secretary of State for Colonies.
    2. The colonial Governors reported to this official.

 

  1. Head of State: Governor Hugh Clifford served as the Head of State, representing the Queen of England.
  2. The Executive Council: Comprised of an all-European Council; no Nigerians were members.
  3. The Legislative Council:
  4. Membership totalled 46, with 27 officials and 19 unofficial members.
  5. Ten Nigerians were part of the council, with four elected representatives (three from Lagos, one from Calabar).
  6. The remaining six were appointed by the governor to represent other parts of the country, excluding the Northern Protectorate.
  7. Proclamation: The North was governed by a proclamation from the Governor.
  8. Elective Principle: Elections into the Legislative Council were conducted for the first time.
  9. Political Activities: Witnessed political activities and the formation of political parties, especially in Lagos and Calabar (e.g., The NNDP of Herbert Macaulay).

 

Merits of Clifford’s Constitution:

  1. Allowed political activities and the formation of political parties in Lagos and Calabar, such as the NNDP.
  2. Establishment of newspapers to boost political activities.
  3. Introduction of the elective principle, enabling Nigerians to elect representatives for the first time into the Legislative Council.
  4. Formation of a new Legislative Council for the colony and Protectorate of southern Nigeria (excluding the Northern Protectorate).
  5. Inspired nationalist activities, paving the way for self-government.
  6. Served as Nigeria’s first-ever constitution.

 

Demerits of Clifford’s Constitution:

  1. Disenfranchised the majority of Nigerians.
  2. Europeans dominated both the Legislative and Executive Councils.
  3. The elective principle only applied to the Legislative Council, not the Executive Council.
  4. Unofficial members elected into the Legislative Council were illiterates.
  5. The governor possessed veto power over issues in both the executive and legislative councils.
  6. Fostered sectionalism, being applicable only to the South, excluding the North.

 

Features of Richard’s Constitution:

A. The Executive Council: Richard served as the president of the council, dominated by Europeans.

B. The Legislative Council:

  1. Government was the president, based in Lagos.
  2. Included 44 members, with 28 majority non-officials and 16 minority officials.
  3. Different regions had varying non-official representation.
  4. Introduced a limited franchise for voters in Lagos and Calabar.

C. House of Assembly or Regional House of Assembly: Assembly members elected by native authorities; regional assembly members elected members of the Central Legislative Council.

D. Elective Principle: Retained the elective principle with a limited franchise.

E. Legislature: Brought the North and South together under one legislature.

F. Dual Membership: Members of the Central Legislative Council were also members of the Regional Council.

G. Regionalism: Created regions out of the former three provinces.

 

Merits of Richard’s Constitution:

  1. Fostered national unity by bringing the North and South together.
  2. Nigerians formed the majority in the legislature in an unofficial capacity.
  3. Introduced a bi-cameral legislature in the North, promoting bi-cameralism in Nigeria.
  4. Successfully introduced regionalism in Nigeria.
  5. Laid the foundation for Federalism and a Federal Constitution in Nigerian political structure.
  6. Integrated the North and South for registration and unity purposes.

 

Demerits of Richard’s Constitution:

  1. The executive council was still dominated by Europeans.
  2. Divided the country into three unequal parts, fostering tribalism and sectionalism.
  3. Limited franchise and male adult suffrage disenfranchised many Nigerians.
  4. Introduced regionalism, causing persistent problems in Nigerian politics.
  5. Governor’s veto power made a mockery of non-official majority in the legislative council.
  6. Limited franchise to Lagos and Calabar while disenfranchising other significant towns.
  7. Nationalists rejected the constitution due to lack of consultation with Nigerians.
  8. Gave the government autocratic and dictatorial powers over legislative and executive councils.
  9. Traditional chiefs were perceived as puppets due to the reinforcement of the system of Indirect rule.

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Colonialism In Africa | The Positive Impacts & Negative Impacts

French Colonial Administration | Characteristics, Causes, Features, Assimilation Policy

Indirect Rule | Features, Reasons, Northern Nigeria, Western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria

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