CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

4940 WordsNov 5, 201320 Pages
DYNAMICS OF CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA, 1914-1999 Abstract: This article examines the intractable problem of constitutional engineering in Nigeria. It is asserted that the drafting of constitutions is a recurring decimal in Nigeria’s chequered political history. Right from the colonial period, Nigerians were barely involved in the art of constitution making while the British colonial overlords employed constitution making to consolidate their imperial strategies. Post colonial Nigerian leaders have utilized constitution drafting to ensure regime longevity. The current 1999 constitution is a product of haste because the receding military junta was in a hurry to leave the political turf. Consequently, the 1999 constitution has…show more content…
Thus, the phrase ‘we the people….hereby resolve to make for ourselves the following constitution’, should not be dismissed as a mere preliminary formalism because it suggests that the document is a replica of the compendium of the people’s view and the objectives of their association. The question that naturally arises is whether successive Nigerian constitutions contain the above-identified salient pre-requisites for a good and durable constitution. A close examination of the litany of constitutions in Nigeria should assist us to drive home the point. Constitutional development in Nigeria: A synopsis: It is on record that until now, eight constitutions have been operated in Nigeria. It began with the sir Frederick Lugard’s Amalgamation Report of the 1914. 4 Thereafter, there were the sir Clifford Constitution (1922); Sir Arthur Richards Constitution (19465); Sir John Macpherson Constitution (1951), Oliver Littleton’s Constitution (1954), the Independence Constitution (1960); the Republican Constitution (1963) and the 1979 Constitution (1979).4 There was another draft Constitution in 1989 prepared during the regime of former President Ibrahim Babangida. This was never tried until general Sanni Abacha’s administration brought about the 1994/95 constitutional Conference, which laid the foundations for the 1999 Constitution. The Clifford constitution, which was introduced by sir Hugh Clifford in 1922, replaced both the
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