The Lyttleton Constitution was enacted in 1954 and it established the federal principle and paved the way for Nigeria's independence in 1960.
FEATURES OF LYTTLETON CONSTITUTION OF 1954
- A Federal Legislature consisting of 184 members, which were elected directly and independently of regional assemblies.
- A Council of Ministers with the governor-general as the President, with three official members, three ministers from each region and one minister from Southern Cameroon.
- It retained the bi-cameral Legislature for both North and West, and uni-cameral for the East.
- The leader of the majority party in the regional assembly was expected to be appointed the regional premier.
MERITS OF THE 1954 CONSTITUTION
- It provided a Federal System of government in Nigeria
- Ministers were given portfolios
- The posts of permanent secretaries and the parliamentary secretaries were created.
- It granted real law making powers to the regional legislatures.
- It recognised the need for gradual integration of the various groups in Nigeria by passing power to the regions. Regional governments were given greater responsibility.
- It rescued the Nigerian State from gradual collapse by rejecting the customs union proposed by the North.
- It paved way for regional self-government.
- Separate elections were allowed into the regional and central legislative houses, unlike before which one was an electoral college of the other.
- Ministers were given greater responsibility.
- It recognised the need to appoint Premiers in the regions.
- It properly decided not to recognise the right of a region to secede as requested by the Action Group.
DEMERITS OF LYTTLETON CONSTITUTION 1954
- It made no provision for a second chamber at the centre
- The post of Prime Minister was not provided for
- It did not provide for a unified electoral system throughout the country
- The governor-general still retained his veto powers.
- It introduced a revenue allocation formula which over emphasised derivation as against need and national interest.
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