Constitutional Developments in Nigeria: An Analytical Study of Nigeria's Constitution-Making Developments and the Historical and Political Factors That Affected Constitutional Change

By Kalu Ezera | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE REVISED CONSTITUTION OF 1954

FEDERAL AND REGIONAL BASIS

Experience in modern constitutional government has shown that the federal structure of a state is primarily evidenced by the line of demarcation drawn between the jurisdiction of the central authority and the component states in matters of general and fiscal legislation and administration, on the one hand, and the protection of states' rights against federal encroachment on the other.1 But probably the next most important item following this jurisdictional distribution of federal and state powers, is the participation and representation of the component units in the formation of the Federal Government. Usually this function is performed by a second chamber.

Under the revised Nigerian Constitution (hereafter referred to as the Lyttelton Constitution)2 which came into force in October 1954, there was no such representative chamber in the centre to perform this function of participation in the formation of the will of the Federal Government. Instead, there was a Council of Ministers consisting of the Governor-General presiding, three officials (Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and the Attorney General) and three ministers from each region and one from the Cameroons, appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Regionl Executive. This Council of Ministers was the only constitutional body wherein all the three regions had equality of representation. In fact, it could be plausibly argued that the Council of Ministers was an ingenious device to serve as a substitute for a Second Chamber while at the same time performing its constitutional function

____________________
1
Karl Loewenstein, "'The Government and Politics of Germany'", Governments of Continental Europe, ed. Shotwell James T., Macmillan, New York, 1952, p. 567.
2
It was so called in honour of the presiding Chairman of the Conferences that formulated the Constitution, the Colonial Secretary, Oliver Lyttelton (now Lord Chandos).

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