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 II
PRE-WAR CONSTITUTIONAL BACKGROUND

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ELECTIVE PRINCIPLE: LEGISLATIVE COUNCILS IN NIGERIA

On the annexation of Lagos in 1861,1 a small legislative council whose competence was confined to the colony of Lagos was established to assist and advise the Governor.2 This council was not by any standards representative. Nor was the Governor bound to accept its advice. The council existed until 1922, and throughout its short life maintained always an official majority though it varied in its composition from time to time. At the time of its dissolution it consisted of the Governor, six officials, and four unofficial nominated members, two of whom were Africans.3

When Sir Frederick (later Lord) Lugard became the first governor of a united Nigeria after amalgamation in 1914, he did not think a legislative council with such small representation was a fair and adequate body to legislate for the whole country.

Accordingly, in order to secure an expression of public opinion from every part of the newly united country, he set up a larger advisory body, known as the Nigerian Council. This body consisted of thirty-six members -- the Governor, and members of his Executive Council, the First-class Residents, the Political Secretaries and the Secretaries of the Northern and Southern Provinces as officials -- and as unofficial members, seven Europeans representing the chambers of commerce, shipping, banking and mining, and six Nigerians nominated to represent 'as far as may be' the

____________________
1
See above.
2
Burns, History, p. 145. The Colony of Lagos was included in the 'West African Settlements' in 1866 under a Governor-in-Chief resident in Sierra Leone. Again in 1874 it was brought under the Governor of the Gold Coast with a Lieutenant-Governor or Deputy in charge locally and did not become a separate colony under its own Governor until 1886. For full details of this history see Ibid., chs. XII and XVII.
3
Burns, History, p. 226. See also Wheare Joan, The Nigerian Legislative Council, London, 1949, p. 29.

-22-

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