Constitutional Development: Richards Constitution of 1946

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Sir Arthur Richard

The isolationist policy pursued by Lord Lugard and continued by the Clifford Constitution of 1922 whereby the North was sheltered from contact with the rest of the country was not making for national unity which the colonial government wanted to foster. As such, Sir Bernard Bourdillon, the Governor of Nigeria, decided yo take more interest in the affairs of the whole country. Their attitude, he wrote should not be “We will not have the southerners interfere in our affairs” but rather “we ought to have at least an equal say with southerners in advising the governor as to the affairs of the whole country”.
When Sir Arthur Richard became Governor of Nigeria he began to work on a constitution which he believed would bring about greater unity in the country. According to him the constitution was to promote the unity of the country, provide adequately within that unity for the diverse elements that made up the country and to secure for the Africans
greater participation in the discussion of their own affair.
Under the constitution, there was a Legislative Council for the whole of Nigeria. It was composed of the governor as President; 16 official members, 13 of whom were ex-officio and 2 nominated; 28 unofficial members, 4 of whom were elected and 24 nominated or indirectly elected members.
By this constitution the Northern Provinces were brought within the legislative competence of the Nigerian Legislative Council. The council had power to make law for the whole country subject of course to the governor’s reserve power.
It is important to note that for the first time in Nigeria unofficial members on the legislative council were in the majority. These nominated unofficial members were indirectly nominated. They were nominated by the regional assemblies which were established under the constitution in the three different groups of provinces- the Northern, Western and Eastern group of provinces

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