THE CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION OF 1922

THE CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION OF 1922

MAIN FEATURES:

  1. Secretary of state for colonies: This was a cabinet minister in Britain and the secretary of state for colonies. All the colonial governors report to him.
  2. Head of State: This was Governor Hugh Clifford, representing the Queen of England.
  3. The Executive council: It was an all European council. No Nigerian was a member, meaning that Nigerians were not part of the decision making body.
  4. The Legislative council: Membership was 46. Twenty-seven members out of the 46 were officials while 19 were unofficial members. Ten out of the 19, were Nigerians. Out of the 10 Nigerians, 4 were elected, 3 were elected from Lagos and 1 from Calabar. The remaining six were appointed by the governor to represent other parts of the country. However, the Northern protectorate was not part of this council.
  5. Proclamation: The North was to be governed by proclamation, emanating from the governor.
  6. Elective principle: Clifford’s constitution established for the first time, elective principle, i.e. elections were to be conducted into the Legislative council.
  7. Political activities: There was political activities and formation of political parties, especially in Lagos and Calabar e.g the NNDP of Herbert Macaulay.
  8. Establishment of newspapers: The West African Pilot, Lagos Daily News, for example, were established to increase political activities.
  9. New legislative council: A new legislative council for the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was established (Northern protectorate was excluded).

 

MERITS OF CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION

  1. Political activities: This constitution created a conducive atmosphere for political activities and formation of political parties in Lagos and Calabar e.g. the NNDP of Herbert Macaulay.
  2. Newspapers: These were established to further popularize the increased political activities.
  3. Elective principle: This constitution made it possible for the elective representation of Nigerians into the legislative council.
  4. New legislative council: This constitution established a new legislative council for the colony and protectorate of Southern Nigeria (excluding the northern protectorate)
  5. Inspiration: The constitution gave inspiration to nationalist activities in the country which acted as a preparatory ground for self-government.
  6. Legislative council: More Africans were allowed into the legislative council.
  7. Written constitution: Clifford constitution no was the first written constitution for Nigeria.
  8. Constitutional agreement: It established a constitutional government in Nigeria as opposed to government by statutory instrument or orders.
  9. Political awareness: It increased political awareness through political education and political campaigns.
  10. Political participation: It enhanced greater political participation by means of political party membership.
  11. Tempo of nationalism: The constitution later generated political controversies which helped to increase the tempo of nationalism in Nigeria. This led to its revision in subsequent constitutions.

 

DEMERITS OF CLIFFORD CONSTITUTION

  1. Disenfranchisement: Only 4 of the unofficial members were to be elected by an adult male suffrage with residential qualification of one year and a gross income of £100 per annum. The majority of Nigerians were disenfranchised.
  2. Legislative council: Europeans dominated this council.
  3. Executive council: It was also dominated and controlled by the Europeans.
  4. Elective principle: Those elected were only for the legislative council and were unofficial. This franchise was not extended to the executive council.
  5. Dominated by illiterates: Illiterates who were in an unofficial capacity dominated the legislative council.
  6. Veto power: The governor had veto power over issues both in the legislative and executive councils.
  7. Sectionalism: Clifford’s Constitution was accused of sectionalism by its definition. It was a constitution for the south only, the north was excluded.
  8. Nomination: Majority of the members of the legislative council were nominated and not elected.
  9. Application of elective principle: The application of elective principle was limited to Lagos and calabar. Other parts of the country did not experience this.