Though, the lyttleton constitution was a great improvement on previous ones by entrenching federalism and gave powers more to the regionals and created the office of the premier for the first time, it did not make provision for the protection of the minorities within the various regions, it also failed to provide for the office of the prime minister despite its parliamentary nature.
The constitution lasted from 1954-1960 with some minor amendments. It was when james Robertson arrived as the first colonial governor-general of Nigerian in 1955 that the post of prime minister was created in 1957, with abubaker tafawa belewa becoming the first prime minister.
Since the lyttleton constitution did not make provision for the country’s independence and the subsequent amendments to it did not address the issue on march 26,1957, the house of representative adopted a motion instructing the delegates going for the proposed conference in London to demand for Nigeria’s independence within the common wealth in 1959.
The provisions of lyttletons constitution
- The constitution introduced a federal system of government by sharing government power between the Centre and the regions.
- The constitution provided for a council of ministers with the government general as president, 3 officials appointed by the governor-general, from each region on the advice of the regional executive council. The council of ministers was collectively responsible to the legislature, and advice the governor-general on execution of policies: it also initiated bills and formulated policies.
- The house of representative was retained, but now with a speaker, 3 ex-official member, 92 members from the north, 42 from west and 42 from east.
- The north, west and eastern region system was retained. The north and west were made bicameral while the east remained unicameral.
- The governor general of the Centre and government at each of the regions were given discretionary powers example the powers to approve bills for amending taxes
- Lagos was carved out of the west and was made the federal capital territory
- The house of representatives was now to be presided over by the speaker, instead of the governor.
- The governor of the region cased to be members of the federal executive council
- The public service, the judiciary and the marketing boards were regionalized, while the police was made a federal subject, thus giving the regional assemblies more power
- The post of premier was created in each region for the first time, and he was to advise the governor of his region.