The People’s Republic: How they rule

IT must be mentioned, however, that all Bills and measures passed or rejected by the House of Representatives, or a Regional Legislature, were subject to the Governor’s or Lieutenant-Governor’s assent and to Her Majesty’s power of disallowance. In other words, the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor could, in his discretion, give or refuse to give assent to a Bill already passed; or enact and give effect to a Bill or measure already rejected by the House of Representatives or a Regional Legislature, as the case might be. Even after the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor had assented to a Bill, it was still subject to Her Majesty’s power of disallowance. In addition, before a LIeutenant-Governor could assent to a Bill, he must get a clearance from the Governor that the Bill was not ultra vires and that it was not inconsistent either with the general interests of Nigeria or with the country’s treaty obligations.

The composition of each of the Regional and Central Legislatures was as follows:

 

Northern Region

House of Chiefs

(1) The Lieutenant-Governor, who was President of the House and had original and casting votes; (2) 3 official members, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in his discretion; (3) 15 First-Class Chiefs – who were members virtute officii; (4) 37 Chiefs, other than First-Class Chiefs, selected by the Native Authorities; and (5) An adviser on Moslem law.

 

House of Assembly

(1) The President, with original and casting votes, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, acting in his discretion, from outside the members of the House; (2) 4 Official Members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, in his discretion; (3) 90 elected members; and (4) Not more than 10 special members, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor to represent interests or communities which, in his opinion, were not adequately represented in the House.

 

Western Region

House of Chiefs

(I) The Lieutenant-Governor who was President with original and casting votes; (2) 3 official members, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in his discretion; (3) 7 Head Chiefs, who were members virtute officii; and (4) 43 Chiefs other than Head Chiefs, elected by Native Authorities.

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House of Assembly

(I) The President, with original and casting votes, and appointed in the same manner as his Northern counterpart; (2) 4 official members, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, in his discretion; (3) 80 elected members; and (4) Not more than 3 special members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in the same manner and for the same purposes as in the North.

 

Eastern Region

(1) The Lieutenant-Governor, who was President with original and casting votes; (2) 5 official members; appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, in his discretion; (3) 80 elected members; and (4) Not more than 3 special members, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in the same manner and for the same purposes as in the North.

 

House of Representatives

(1) The President, who was appointed by the Governor from outside the membership of the House. (At first it was the Governor himself who presided over the business of the House. But later, owing to criticisms from the floor of the House and by members of the public generally, he appointed Mr. Fellowes, then Assistant Clerk of the House of Commons as President). The President had original and casting votes; (2) 6 ex officio members comprising the Chief Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, the 3 Lieutenant-Governors, he Attorney-General, and the Financial Secretary to the Government of Nigeria; (3) 68 members elected by the Joint Council of the Northern House of Chiefs and Northern House of Assembly, of whom 14 were Chiefs; (4) 34 members elected by the Joint Council of the Western House of Chiefs and Western House of Assembly; of whom 3 were Chiefs; (5) 34 members elected by the Eastern House of Assembly; and (6) 6 special members, appointed by the Governor in his discretion, to represent interests and communities which, in his opinion, were not adequately represented in the House. In the event, those appointed were expatriates who represented banking, shipping, mining, industrial, and commercial interests.

As in the case of the House of Representatives, election of members to the Regional House of Assembly was indirect, and was conducted in three pyramidal tiers. At the base of the pyramid, the taxpayers to whom suffrage was confined, met in their different quarters or wards on an appointed day. There at the meeting, presided over by the traditional head of the quarter or ward, the candidate or candidates were nominated. If more than one candidate was nominated, the taxpayers, there and then, openly and without any secrecy, grouped themselves behind the candidate of their choice. The number of taxpayers standing behind each candidate was then determined, and the candidate with a majority of taxpayers was declared duly elected.

 

 

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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