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MacPherson constitution of 1951, major provision and The defect

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Sir John Macpherson arrived in 1948 and expressed the determination to address the political problems created by his predecessor’s constitution. He set out to collect peoples view and opinion by organizing meeting and conferences both at provincial and regional levels.

Following this, a constitution drafting committee made up of 3 regional representatives, one representative if the colony conference and one representative of the Lagos conference alongside the chief secretary the attorney-general and the financial secretary was established. This committee studied the view of the various constitution meeting and conferences and prepared a draft constitution which was tabled before the all-Nigeria general conference held at Ibadan on January 9-20-1950, under the chairmanship of general home, the then attorney-general.

Among others, the general conference deliberated and made the following recommendations:

  1. The adoption of a federal system of government 
  2. The establishment of regional assemblies, with legislative power 
  3. The establishment of the leader of government business at the Centre
  4. Revenue allocation formula 
  5. An executive council with Nigerian ministers

Major privations of the constitution and their after effect

The constitution provided for a council of ministers at the Centre made up of the governor as president, 6 official members and 12 Nigerian ministers selected from each house of assembly. The council served as a policy body and directed executive actions. This change the old order of white-only executive and policy making. 

a house of representative was established at the Centre to replace the legislative council. The north and the south had equal representation, with the governor, as the president, the governor was empowered to make laws with the advice and consent of the house of representative. The house was given legal supremacy to vote regional bills. The house had no power over money bills and public service. Cameroon was recognized as part of Nigeria and was also represented as the Centre by one minister. Lagos was made part of the western region. 
They were regional houses of assembly to legislate on certain regional matter like forestry, agriculture, co-operative and local government. There was also regional executive council with executive power over regional matters.
The Macpherson constitution came into effect on 30th June 1951 and the first general election in Nigeria took place under its provisions in march 1952. All the major parties NCNC, NPC and action group, won in their respective regions.

conclusion:

Infact, Macpherson has been said to be the most accommodating British governor in terms of constitution making in Nigeria because he took the initiative of seeking public opinion by launching constitution debates and conferences, thus avoiding the mistakes his predecessors made by not consulting the people.

Though this constitution was adjudged the best by many Nigerian analysts, the inherent problem with it and its operations come to light in 1955, in the year, there was crisis over the issue of self-government. the council of minister became divided against itself and four representatives of the action group resigned their appointment and it became obvious that the political problems of amalgamated Nigeria were far from settle.

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