On January 1st 1900, the protectorates of the Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed by the instrument and power of the Supreme Court Ordinance of 1863. By this, there were the Northern and Southern Protectorates as well as the Colony of Lagos. The significant difference between the protectorates and the colony was the mode of enacting laws for them at that time.
In the case of the protectorates, legislation was made by Order-in- Council under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act while the colony applied legislation introduced by letters of patent issued under the seal of the United Kingdom by the monarch and with the advice of the Privy Council. This was particularly the advent of British concept of Constitutional Law into Nigeria.
The three administrative offices, that is, one for each of the protectorates and one for the colony of Lagos were reduced to two in 1906 with the amalgamation of the Colony of Lagos with the Southern Protectorate. This fusion resulted to two administrative offices in the Northern and Southern Protectorates.
In 1914, Lord Frederick Lugard assumed office as the Governor of the two protectorates which had just been amalgamated to form the Protectorate of Nigeria under the British. This historical landmark achievement by Lord Lugard marked the commencement of Central Administration for Nigeria. By this new arrangement, the Governor acted as a Sole Administrator without a judiciary, executive or legislative arm of government but with the assistance of other officials appointed by him and responsible to him.
1914 saw the establishment of the Lagos Colony Legislative Councils while an Advisory and Deliberative Council called the Nigerian Council was established for the whole country. With this, the Governor had an executive and legislative council to assist him in the exercise of his powers under Article 6 of the Protectorate Order-In-Council of 1899. The Nigeria Protectorate Order-In-Council, 1913, the [Nigerian Council] Order-In-Council, 1912, and the Letters Patent of 1913 were documents that served the constitutional needs of the amalgamated Nigeria. As such, they could pass for the constitution of the country.
As for the Advisory Deliberative Council, the membership was thirty, seventeen ex-officio and thirteen other official members, seven of whom
represented commercial, shipping, mining and banking interests while only six members represented the indigenous communities. The executive and legislative council were populated by British officials and beyond simple advisory roles. Nigerians were not involved. This was the position until 1920.
Briefly examine the significant events between 1900 and 1919 in the Colonial Administration of Nigeria by Lord Fredrick Lugard.