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The features of the Macpheson Constitution of Nigeria

The Macpherson constitution of Nigeria became effective in 1951 in response to the agitations of the political elements in Nigeria at the time led by Herbert Macaulay and Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Central Legislative Council
The Macpherson constitution made provision for a Central Legislative Council with a single chamber called “House of Representatives”. This Council consisted of 148 members out of which 136 were elected from the Regional Houses. Six of them were ex-official members and six were appointed by the Governor. Finally, the Governor served as the President of the Council.

Central Executive Council
The constitution also made provision for a Central Executive Council which was called the “Council of Ministers”. It was made up of twelve Ministers, four of whom were Nigerians. It also had six ex-official members. Their main duty was to formulate policies and to implement them.

Regional Divisions
Another feature of the constitution was that the country was divided into three distinct but unequal regions; the Western, Eastern and Northern regions.

Regional Legislative Councils
The constitution made provision for the creation of Regional Legislative Councils which were called “Houses of Assembly”. In the North and in the West, a bicameral legislature was created called the “House of Assembly” and the “House of Chiefs”. However, in the Eastern Region only one chamber was created called the “House of Assembly”.

Regional Executive Councils
The constitution created Regional Executive Councils. They were headed by the Lieutenant-Governors in the regions. The members, including four Nigerians, were appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor.

Public Service Commission
The constitution made provision for the creation of a Public Service Commission. The main functions of this Commission were to establish modalities for the recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, transfer and or dismissal of Civil and Public Servants.

The Governor
The constitution made a provision for the position of a Governor. The Governor was appointed by the Monarch on the recommendations of the Secretary of State for the colonies. He was in charge of the administration of the entire country.

1. Highlight six features of the Macpherson constitution of Nigeria. [12 marks]

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