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 XI
FINAL PHASE OF CONSTITUTION-MAKING EXPERIMENT

EXIT OF A GOVERNOR-GENERAL

On April 12, 1955, the Governor-General, Sir John Macpherson, who was due for retirement, broadcast his last message to the country. In his address,1 he said that Britain was sincere in wishing to see Nigeria governing herself at the earliest possible moment and that Nigeria had a magnificent opportunity because of the offer of parliamentary democracy which Britain had made to her. Then he concluded by saying that the challenge was no longer to Britain but to Nigeria. Many appreciative articles and some criticisms of Sir John's methods of administration were published in the country's leading papers. The West African Pilot, long a relentless critic of British imperialism, declared in a leading article that Sir John was leaving Nigeria an acclaimed hero. After some mild criticism of some lines of action taken by the departing Governor-General, the paper said that Nigerians would remember him as a Governor-General 'who had thawed their politically frozen hearts and retained their undying love and admiration for Britain'. 'During his tenure of office', it concluded, 'the country has made her most spectacular journey towards full nationhood.'2

These sentiments, indeed, were not undeserved tributes. A chapter in the country's constitutional development had closed; a new chapter had opened. This new chapter seemed to mark the beginning of a new era of Anglo-Nigerian friendly relations. The man who came to consolidate this new-found Anglo-Nigerian amity, as Sir John's successor, was Sir James Robertson who had recently been a top administrator in the Sudan Civil Service. His arrival in the country in mid-1955 coincided with Nigerian party leaders' preoccupation with the stand they would take at the constitutional review conference scheduled for 1956. Nevertheless,

____________________
1
See Daily Times, Lagos, April 12, 1955.
2
See W.A.P., Lagos, April 12, 1955.

-227-

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