The First Republican Constitution Of 1963

Characteristics Of The 1963 Republican Constitution The Republic of Nigeria adopted the 1963 Republican Constitution, ushering in significant modifications. The key features of this constitution include: Establishment of a Republican System: The constitution officially established a republican form of government in Nigeria. Removal of the Queen as Head of State: The Queen of England was […]

Characteristics Of The 1963 Republican Constitution

The Republic of Nigeria adopted the 1963 Republican Constitution, ushering in significant modifications. The key features of this constitution include:

  1. Establishment of a Republican System: The constitution officially established a republican form of government in Nigeria.
  2. Removal of the Queen as Head of State: The Queen of England was no longer the head of state; instead, the president assumed the role of Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
  3. Presidential Election Process: The president was to be elected through a secret ballot by the joint session of the two houses of the Federal Assembly.
  4. Supreme Court as Highest Court: The Supreme Court replaced the Privy Council as the highest court of appeal in Nigeria.
  5. Strengthening of Fundamental Human Rights: The constitution strengthened the protection of Fundamental Human Rights.
  6. Changes in Judicial Appointment: The Judicial Service Commission was abolished, and the prime minister became the sole appointee of judges.
  7. Strengthening of the Prime Minister’s Office: With the departure of the Governor General, the Prime Minister’s office was strengthened.
  8. Regional Governance Changes: The office of the Governors at the regional level ceased to exist, and the premiers assumed total executive government powers.
  9. Political Control over the Director of Public Prosecution: The director of public prosecution was brought under political control.
  10. Increase in Parliamentary Membership: The membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives was increased from 44 to 56 and 305 to 312, respectively.
  11. Federal Government Emergency Powers: The federal government assumed some emergency powers over the legislative arm.
  12. Supreme Court’s Judicial Review Authority: The Supreme Court was granted the power of judicial review.
  13. State Creation Process: The constitution outlined the process for the creation of states and boundary adjustments.

 

Advantages Of The 1963 Republican Constitution

  1. Elected President as Head of State: The elected president replaced the British Monarch as the head of state.
  2. Homegrown Constitution: The constitution was autochthonous, signifying that it originated and was based within the country.
  3. Supreme Court as Final Court of Appeal: The Supreme Court became the ultimate court of appeal in the nation.
  4. Full Guarantee of Citizens’ Rights: The constitution ensured the complete guarantee and entrenchment of citizens’ rights.
  5. Nigerian Control in Decision-Making: Nigerians gained full control over decision-making and implementation.
  6. Termination of British Influence: The constitution ended British influence over the country in all aspects.
  7. Supreme Court Checks on Excesses: The Supreme Court was empowered to check the excesses or unconstitutional actions of the executive and the legislature.

 

Drawbacks Of The 1963 Republican Constitution

  1. Minority Representation of the President: The president represented a minority interest of members of the House of Representatives instead of being based on the majority vote of the electorates.
  2. Fusion of Legislative and Executive Powers: The constitution fused the legislative and executive arms of government.
  3. Carpet Crossing Allowance: Elected members could easily change allegiance for personal rewards, a practice known as carpet crossing.
  4. Parliamentary Supremacy Instead of Constitutional Supremacy: The constitution favored parliamentary supremacy over constitutional supremacy.
  5. Lack of Prime Minister’s Accountability to the People: The prime minister was accountable to the parliament and not directly to the people.
  6. Vulnerability to Bribery and Corruption: The legislative system was exposed to bribery and corruption, as the legislature could be easily influenced to secure compromises.

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