EVOLUTION OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION OF 1951
As stated earlier, it was originally proposed that the Richards' Constitution should last for nine years, subject to limited reviews after three and six years' operation. But the new Governor, Sir John Macpherson, in his first address to the Legislative Council on August 17, 1948, said that he had been greatly encouraged by the working of the 1946 Constitution and considered therefore it was appropriate to make constitutional changes to take effect at the beginning of 1950.1 However, he made it clear that he was determined to avoid the charge of inadequate consultation of public opinion which had been made against his predecessor.
He hoped that if there were still any 'doubting Thomases' about the honest purpose of British colonial policy, his proposals would prove to them that the government was anxious 'to encourage sound constitutional advance in the way the people wish'.2
Although this announcement was generally welcomed, Dr Azikiwe criticised the proposal to empower the Legislative Council 'to revise a constitution which had necessitated protest not only against the method used in preparing same but also the creation of a Legislature which is weighted down with nominated unofficial members'.3 Certain sections of the nationalist press advocated a constituent assembly to undertake the review of the 1945 constitution. But this suggestion did not receive any official attention ostensibly because the government had made up its mind as to the procedure to adopt. In his address at the next meeting of the Legislative Council at Ibadan on March 9, 1949, the Governor announced that the Council-in-session was going to consider what steps and methods would be adopted for the review of the constitution.4____________________