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 IX
CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW CONFERENCE OF 1953

TERMS OF REFERENCE AND REPRESENTATION AT THE CONFERENCE

Following the announcement of the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the 1951 constitution would have to be redrawn 'to provide for greater regional autonomy, and for the removal of powers of intervention by the centre',1 an invitation was sent by the Colonial Secretary to Nigerian leaders to come to London to review the constitution. When the Governor of Nigeria sent out the invitations, Awolowo and Azikiwe (the respective leaders of the Action Group and the N.C.N.C. which were in temporary alliance as a result of the 'self-government-in-1956' crisis) immediately balked at this invitation, charging that the Colonial Secretary's announcement appeared to have unilaterally decided in advance the type of constitution to be evolved for Nigeria, and only limiting them to a discussion of method. In a joint announcement they stated that they considered a visit to London for conversations regarding the constitution would be a sheer waste of time. They also objected to an invitation being extended to the N.I.P. leaders whom they considered to be 'imperialist stooges' for not supporting them on the self-government motion. But the Governor, Sir John Macpherson, replied to them that the purpose of the meeting was to afford an opportunity for a full exchange of views between representatives of all three regions of Nigeria and the Colonial Secretary with the object of reaching agreement regarding the method by which the work of redrawing the constitution should be undertaken and the interests which should be consulted in the process.2 As regards the suggestion that the N.I.P. leaders should not be invited, the Governor pointed out that the Colonial Secretary's telegram had specifically asked that invitations should

____________________
1
See above, ch. VIII.
2
Daily Times, Lagos, June 3, 1953.

-176-

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