The major changes introduced in Nigeria by the Clifford Constitution are: It
established a new council with 46 members out of this member, twenty seven
including the Governor were official members. Nineteen members were unofficial. 


  • It introduced the elective principle which was a limited franchise. It was limited to British subjects to protected person with a properly qualification of 100 per annum.
  •  It also established the executive council that advised the Governor on policy matters; there was no African in the council.
  • The North was not represented in the legislative council but the governor legislated for the North through proclamation.

Read: the consequences of the Nigerian civil war (The Biafra war)


The first ever was constitution drafted by Sir. Hugh Clifford, called Clifford constitution in 1922, which brought about election principles and the rise of political will by nationalists.
Since the inception of Clifford constitution, it brought significant, improvement by providing for the national legislative council which comprises of 6 members of which 27 were official members while 19 are non-official out of which 15 were nominated by the governor, while the remaining 4 were elected Nigerian of which 3 comes from Lagos and from Calabar.

Meanwhile a condition for election (Vote and be voted for) was stipulated only those who can secure a resident and stay in a given location for 12 months and have a gross income of 100 pound per annum are allow to vote and be voted for. The era brought about the rise of political parties such as the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) established by Herbert Macaulay in 1923. Meanwhile nationalist newspapers were also established which became a veritable tool to fight colonialism, such papers include the ‘West-Africa Pilot’ Newspapers owned by
Nnamdi Azikwe, and other newspaper include the ‘Lagos Daily News’

Read: the causes and implications of the 1953 Kano riot in Nigeria


Inspite of the tremendous achievement the constitution has, there are also some short comings that hiders the progress of the constitution.

  1. The constitution has a restricted franchised of 100pounds earning per-annum. This therefore disallowed many Nigerians to vote and be voted for, thereby disenfranchised majority of them.
  2. The constitution fails to include Africa as part of the executive which was majority dominated by white officials
  3. It also isolate the Northern people in the administration, this therefore lack of acceptance by majority of Nigerians) There is excessive vector power by the governor thereby making him a dictator and no one dear to question them.
  4. The constitution also bring about sectionalism and division in Nigerian political system
  5. Also majority of the legislative council were mostly European thereby making constitution unacceptable.