Home CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION The constitution review of 1963: the republican constitution/Nigeria Republic constitution of 1963-

The constitution review of 1963: the republican constitution/Nigeria Republic constitution of 1963-

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The weakness of the 1960 independence constitution as criticized by Nigerian called for the drafting of the republic constitution of 1963. The 193 republican constitution was a true Nigeria constitution which came into being by law passed by the national assembly of Nigeria. This constitution gave Nigerian a republican status and abolished the monarchical rule of British in Nigeria.

Features of Republic constitution of 1963

  1. The British queen ceased to be Nigerian head of state 
  2. Privy council was replaced by the supreme court as the highest court of appeal in Nigeria
  3. The constitution retained the parliamentary system of government and laid down the procedures for creation of more region or states 
  4. The name of the governor general was changed to president 
  5. The president was empowered to appoint judges of the supreme court and the high court of Lagos instead of the judicial service commission 
  6. The constitution retained the emergency power conferred on the federal government 
  7. The constitution also guaranteed fundamental human right 
  8. There was also a revenue allocation formula based on need, national interest and balanced development 
  9. The 1963 constitution established the process for the creation of new regions as well as for the alteration of the existing regional boundaries
  10. Merit of Republic constitution of 1963
  11. Nigeria was accorded full political independence as a republican state as the queen was no longer the head of state 
  12. The Nigerian supreme court became the highest court of appeal instead of privacy counci
  13. Emergency power has conferred on the federal government
  14. The constitution established fundamental human rights (the liberty of the citizen)

The constitution review of 1963: the republican constitution

Nigeria having got their independent on the 1st October 1960 still had some colonial strings attached to her independence by the implication of some of the provision in her constitution, it was to remove those colonial strings and to give the independent state of Nigeria a republican status that an al-party constitution review conference was convened in july,1963.
The republican constitution which was the outcome of the above constitution review conference of 1963, was merely on improvement on that of 1960

The improved provisions included the following:

An indigenous head of state to be elected as a constitution president by a secret ballot of the national parliament, thus, making the position independent of the queen. 

The supreme court was made the highest court of appeal, without further link with the privy council in London 
The control of public fund was provided for by means of placement of restrictions on withdrawal, debate and amendment of appropriation bil, and auditing by the parliament. 
Section 1 of the constitution gave it a nationwide legal force and supreme over regional laws found to be in conflict with the revisions of the republican constitution 
For the amendment of entrenched provisions, two third majority votes of the parliament was needed in addition to concurring votes of at least three regional legislatures.

Shortcomings of the constitution

Despite the fact that the republican constitution of 1963 was on improvement on the independence constitution of 1960, some critics have also identified some lapses in some of its provisions, however, one consolation was that the critics accented that the collapse of the constitution was more as a result of its operation by the politicians, than as a result of its comments, as no constitution can be perfect on itself.
 Thus, the constitution, as in the case of that of 1960 was operated with tribal and ethnic bias, as its operators became corrupt without regards to its provisions. Al these provided the background for the first military coup on 15th January 1966, which over threw the first civilian government and the subsequent suspension of the constitution, and counter-coup in six months later that year, which was bloodier than the January coup. The civil war that result following the counter-coup kept the military in politics without constitution, for the country, till 1979, when another constitution came into force.

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