Home CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION The Clifford constitution of 1922 -The history and development of the Nigerian constitution council of 1914

The Clifford constitution of 1922 -The history and development of the Nigerian constitution council of 1914

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The history and development of constitution in Nigeria

Lord lugard who associated with the political history of amalgamation the north and southern protectorates of Nigeria and who became the first governor of the amalgamated territory of what we come to know as Nigeria today ruled the country without any constitution in the real sense of the term. He ruled the large territory by conventions and precedents, and according to directive from the secretary of state for colonies.
It was lord lugard’s successor sir Hugh Clifford, who took over as governor in 1920, who introduced what can be called a constitution and thus began the history and development of constitution in Nigeria in 1992: or rather the beginning of a written constitution in the country.

The establishment of the Nigerian council marked the first stage of constitutional development in Nigeria. This council was established in 1914 by lord Fredric lugard after the amalgamation of the southern and northern Nigerian; this council was to assist lord lugard in the administration of the large territory of Nigeria. The Nigeria council war purely an advisory as it has no power to make law, it also has no control over finance, the government was the one entrusted with the power to make law for the protectorate.

The major function of the council was to discuss the governors annual administrative proposals and policies.

The council consists of thirty six (36) members. Twenty three (23) were European officials and thirteen (13) were non officials. Seven (7) Europeans and six (6) Nigerians were appointed to represent commercial, mining and chieftaincy interest. However, the council was describe as ineffective in carrying out its functions olusanya (1980:520) due to communication problems, the proceedings of the council were boring to traditional rulers who were members. These traditional rulers rarely attends it meetings as a result of its boring nature.

The significance of the council lay in the fact that it was first council that was set up to discuss the affairs of the whole of Nigeria, note that tis council existed side by side with the legislative council of Lagos colony until the Lagos colony was abolished in 1922

The Clifford constitution of 1922

Sir Hugh Clifford succeed lord lugard as the governor of Nigeria in 1919. He occupied this position until 1925. Clifford established a new legislative council in 1922 and its jurisdiction covered the whole of the southern protectorate. The north was governed by proclamation emanating from the governor.

Distinction between the federal constitution and unitary constitution

  1. A federal constitution is not easily amended while a unitary constitution is easily amended.
  2. In federal constitution, there are three levels of government, (the federal, state and local government) while in a unitary constitution there is only one level of government-the center government
  3. A federal constitution has provision for a supreme court to settle constitution conflict, while a unitary constitution has no provision for a supreme court to settle constitution conflict
  4. A federal constitution is supreme, while a unitary constitution is not supreme
  5. A federal constitution is written and rigid, while a unitary constitution could be unwritten and flexible 
  6. A federal constitution concentrate power at the federal and its components states while a unitary constitution concentrate power only on the central government.

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