The People’s Republic: How they rule

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

DURING the count, any person who was unable to produce his current tax receipt was disqualified from voting at the election.

Any person elected at this meeting became a member of the Intermediate Electoral College, which was constituted for a Local or District Council Area. Those elected at this College would become members of the final Electoral College for the division.

It was from this last College that the candidates for every division in the Regional House of Assembly were elected. In the case of the North, the Final College was at the Provincial level. Voting at the Intermediate and Final colleges was by secret ballot. The Executive Authority of a Region was vested in the Executive Council, which comprised, in the case of:

 

The North

(1) The Lieutenant-Governor-President of the Council;

(2) 3 ex officio members, namely: the Civil Secretary, the Legal Secretary and the Financial Secretary;

(3) 2 other officials appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in his discretion;

(4) 3 Regional ministers elected by the House of Chiefs from among its members; and

(5) 6 Regional Ministers elected by the House of Assembly from among its members.

 

The West            .’

(1) The Lieutenant-Governor-President of the Council;

(2) 3 ex officio members, as in the North;

(3) 2 other officials, as in the North;

(4) 2 Regional Ministers elected by the House of Chiefs from among its members; and

(5) 7 Regional ministers elected by the House of Assembly from among its members.

 

The East

(1) The Lieutenant-Governor-President of the Council. As in the case of the Regions, the power to propose any person for election as Minister was vested in the Governor. If the proposal was accepted the person elected would be appointed by the Governor as a Minister.

It must be pointed out, at this juncture, that if the person proposed by either the Governor or the Lieutenant-Governor was rejected by the body responsible for electing him, then, the Governor or the Lieutenant-Governor would have to propose another person.

Again, by virtue of instructions passed under the Royal Sign Manual and the Signet, the Council of Ministers and the Regional, the power to propose the name of any person for election as a Regional Minister was vested in the Lieutenant-Governor. If his proposal was accepted, he then proceeded to appoint such a person as a Regional Minister. During the election, public officers, who were members of the Legislative House concerned, were disqualified from candidature, and precluded from voting. The President of the House had neither original nor casting votes at such an election.

The Executive Authority of Nigeria was vested in the Council of Ministers, the composition of which was as follows:

(l) The Governor, who was President;

(2) 6 ex officio members of the House of Representatives;

(3) 4 Ministers elected by the Joint Council of the Northern Houses of Chiefs and Assembly from among the members of the House of Representatives representing the Northern Region, 1 of whom had to be a Chief;

(4) 4 Ministers elected by the Joint Council of the Western Houses of Chiefs and Assembly, in and of exactly the same manner and composition as in the North; and

(5) 4 Ministers elected by the Eastern House of Assembly from among the members of the House of Representatives representing the Eastern Region.

Executive Council were only advisory to the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor respectively, and neither the Governor nor the Lieutenant-Governor was obliged to accept the advice of the Council of Ministered or the Executive Council if he considers it expedient in the interests of public faith, public order, or good government that he should not act in accordance with such advice.

In spite of the Governors and Lieutenant-Governor’s tremendous powers thereunder, the Macpherson Constitution forms the watershed between British rule and indigenous administration in Nigeria.

We have noted the Governor’s and Lieutenant-Governor’s veto and reserved powers, as well as Her Majesty’s power of disallowance in relation to Bills and other legislative measures. We have also noted that the nomination of candidates for election as Central or Regional Ministers, was the responsibility of the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, and that the Council of Ministers or the Executive Council was merely advisory to the latter. In practice, however, these provisions of the constitution were virtually inoperative. Indeed, one of the major contributory causes of the premature demise of the Macpherson Constitution in 1954 was the determined attempt on the part of the Governor and his colleagues to enforce these provisions.

CONTINUES NEXT WEEK

 

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