The 1963 Republican Constitution: Features, Merits And Criticism

Table Of Contents

1. Features Of The 1963 Constitution
2. Merits Of The 1963 Constitution
3. Criticism And Defects Of The 1963 Constitution

The 1963 Republican Constitution

Apart from some of the criticisms and deficiencies of the Independent constitution, one of the major reasons for the clamour for a change of the constitution was actually to remove all traces of colonialism in Nigeria. Nigeria at Independence inherited a weak and unprepared leadership with a number of issues left unresolved by the British government, therefore many people in Nigeria wanted immediate changes to be made in the constitution in order to remove these embarrassing aspects.

Major Provisions/Features Of The 1963 Constitution

1. The name of the Governor-General was changed to President.

2. The President was empowered to appoint judges of the Supreme Court.

3. The Queen of England ceased to be the Head of State of Nigeria.

4. It gave Nigeria the status of a Republic.

5. The constitution provided for revenue allocation formula based on need, national interest and balanced development.

6. The procedure for the creation of more states and regions was laid down, and because of this provision in the constitution, the Mid-Western Region was created in 1963.

7. Supreme Court became the highest Court of Appeal instead of the Privy Council.

Merits Of The 1963 Constitution

1. For the first time, Nigerian constitution was made by Nigerians in Nigeria.

2. The constitution accorded full political independence to Nigeria, since the Queen of England was no longer the Head of State.

3. The constitution provided an acceptable revenue allocation formula.

4. The supreme court of Nigeria became the highest Court in the Country.

6. It provided the process for creation of more states and Regions.

Criticism And Defects Of The 1963 Constitution

1. The constitution still reflected colonial colour by retaining the British Parliamentary System of government.

2. The constitution did not provide for the protection of minority rights as the major ethnic groups hijacked the government for their regions to the detriment of the minorities.

3. The constitution did not provide for independence of the Judiciary.

4. There was no complete separation of powers among the organs of government but fusion of power.

5. Some of the colonial structure were still left intact. Example is the failure to reconstruct the lopsided regional structure where the Northern region was more than the 3 Regions combined.

6. Members of the Senate were still nominated.

Suggested Posts: