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 VII
ANALYSIS OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION OF 1951

ELECTORAL PROCESSES

Under the 1951 Constitution, the elections to the three Regional Houses of Assembly of north, east and west were by electoral colleges. It was constitutionally provided that the electoral regulations governing elections to the various Regional Legislatures were to be drafted by the Governor in consultation with the various regional administrations.1 In drafting them, however, the Lieutenant-Governors (to whom the Governor delegated his powers), took into account the recommendations of the Ibadan General Conference on the review of the constitution and subsequent recommendations of the respective Regional Legislatures.2 Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of these electoral regulations was the provision that gave Native Authorities in Northern Nigeria the privilege of adding to the final college ten per cent of the total membership of that body from among their numbers.3 This meant, in practice, that persons formally defeated in the primary elections usually found their way to the top through the backdoor of the Native Authorities.4

In the Northern Region, each province was an electoral district. There were five electoral stages beginning from the primary elections in which all adult male tax-payers were eligible to vote,

____________________
1
Nigeria (Constitution) Order in Council, 1951, Section 63.
2
For Northern House of Assembly Electoral Regulations, see Nigeria Gazette, no. 50 of 1951; for the Western House, see Extraordinary Nigeria Gazette, no. 33 of June 28, 1951; and for the Eastern House, see Nigeria Gazette, no. 37 of 1951.
3
For details of electoral procedure, see Niven C. R., "'Elections in Northern Nigeria'", Corona, London, May 1952.
4
In his broadcast over the B.B.C., Niven had earlier stated that 'the elections which will be held before long will rather be selections and there will be a number of people chosen from villages and up the ladder of electoral college for what they are worth and not for what group they represent'. Cited in Obahiagbon E. E. , "'Regionalism and Politics'", West Africa, August 11, 1951, p. 725.

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