Virtual Kollage: The functions and powers of the Governor under the Crown Colony system of administration

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The functions and powers of the Governor under the Crown Colony system of administration


THE COLONIAL GOVERNOR
Introduction
Under the Crown Colony system of administration, the Colonial Governor was appointed by the British Crown but this is based on the recommendations of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The governor resided in the colony and was mainly responsible for the day-to-day administration of the colony.

FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNOR
Formulates and implements policies
One of the functions of the Colonial Governor was to formulate and implement policies for the development of the colony and ultimately for the interest of the British government.He also ensures that he carries out the day-to-day administration of the colony.

Prerogative of Mercy
Another function of the the Governor was to exercise the royal prerogative of mercy. In other words, the Governor, the only representative of the British Crown in the colony, could pardon a convicted criminal, commit a death penalty to life imprisonment or release those who have serves more than half of their jail term.

Appointment of members of the Executive Council
Also, the governor as the head of the Executive Council, had the power to appoint all the members of the Council.

Appointed officials
The governor had the power to appoint people worked in the colonial Civil Service. He also appointed Senior members heading the various departments and agencies. The Governor also had the power to promote officials, to transfer them or even dismiss them when they fall foul of the tenets of their engagement.
Power of veto
The power of veto gives the Governor the power to reject any legislation emanating from the Legislative Council if he does not support it. The power of Certification, on the other hand, allowed him to pass into law, a bill that has been rejected by majority of the members of the Legislative Council. 

Accent to legislation
Another function of the colonial Governor was to to accent to legislation by the Legislative Council before it could become effective. was subject to the Governors assent, which could be withheld at his discretion.

LIMITATIONS TO THE POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR
Follow policy guideline
One of the limitations to the powers of the Governor was that he could never deviate from the policy direction of the colonial office in London. He had to ensure that he toed the official line. Any attempt to sideline official policy guidelines was met with swift resistance.

Annual report
The governor was required to prepare an annual report and submit same to the office of the Secretary of State for the colonies. In this report, the Governor detailed all his activities in the previous year. The Secretary of State could question him on any aspect of the report with he finds a problem of a breech.

Powers of the Secretary of State
Though the Governor had the power to use his veto, anytime he did, he had to inform the Secretary of State about the grounds on which exercised the veto. Apart form that, where the Secretary of State felt compelled by circumstances on the ground, he could override the Governor’s veto power.
Approval major civil works
The Governor needed to seek the approval of the Secretary of State before any major public works could be undertaken in the colony.

Executive and Legislative Council
The Executive and the Legislative Council could advise the Governor on certain aspects of his administrative work. Though the governor could discard their advice, nonetheless, it served as a check on the exercise of his powers.
Petition by the locals
Another limitation on the powers of the Governor was that the natives right to petition the colonial office in London against some of his policies. When the petition is upheld, the particular policy had to be withdrawn completely, or modified.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Highlight six functions and the powers of the colonial Governor under the Crown Colony system of administration.
2. Examine six ways in which the powers of the Colonial Governor was controlled.
3. Examine six factors that show that the Colonial Governor was not a dictator.
4. a. Highlight three functions of the Colonial Governor.
    b. In which three ways were the powers discussed above controlled?
5. Examine the view that the colonial Governor was a virtual dictator.

6. a. Describe the status of the Colonial Governor of British West Africa.
    b. In which five ways were the functions of the Colonial Governor controlled? 

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