Outline the defects of the Lyttleton constitution of 1954 in Nigeria

  • One of the major defects of the 1954
    Constitution was the fact that the members of the
    Federal Executive the Council of Ministers, although they were
    drawn from the elected “Members of the House of
    Representatives by the Governor General their appointments were
    based on the three major political parties, each
    controlling one of the Regional Legislatures. The fact that
    their appointment was party-based coupled with the fact that none of the political
    leaders was at the Central House but rather they were
    heads of their Regional Governments made the Federal Ministers
    look not only for leadership and consultations but also
    for guidance and instructions from their political
    leaders. This rendered the Central Executive ineffective because
    the loyalty of the ministers resided in their regions as it was under the Macpherson Constitution.
  • Another major defect of the
    Constitution was its failure to provide for the second Chamber at
    the Centre. The only chamber in existence seemed to be
    dictatorial in effect as there was no other chamber to
    give direction and constructive criticisms to its policies.
  •  The failure of the Constitution to
    provide for a Uniform electoral system throughout the country created room
    for the party in power in the regions to make electoral arrangements to the disadvantages of their opponents.
  • Though the Lyttleton Constitution allowed the Africans bigger participation in governmental activities,
    nevertheless, the immense powers of the Governor to
    veto legislations, to kill legislations with his reserved power
    and to influence to a large extent, formulation of various policies were not different from 
    those   powers   he 
    wielded   under  Macpherson Constitution.
  • Absence of a Prime Minister:
    Inspite of the fact that constitution established the post of Regional Premiers,
    it made no provision for a Prime Minister at
    the Centre. The council of ministers presided over by the
    Governor remained the principal instrument of policy.

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