Nigerian federalism can be traced far back to 1914, when the Northern and Southern protectorates were amalgamated though with unitary form of administration. Since then, governmental powers that existed in Nigeria started to be shared between the central government headed by the governor-general and the governments of Northern and Southern protectorates headed by the lieutenant governors. Therefore, with the autonomous parts of Northern and the Southern province, the administrative system of Nigeria wore a somehow outlook of a federation.
The further division of the country into three regions in 1946 by the then Governor of Nigeria Sir Arthur Richards under the Richards constitutional arrangements, gave more support to the emergence of Nigeria with a federal system of government. The 1951 Macpherson constitution gave further concrete support to the establishment of a federal system of government in Nigeria.
Apart from the division of Nigeria into three regions of Northern, Western and Eastern regions, the constitution appointed lieutenant governors to head these regions and granted legislative powers to the legislative and executive councils that were established. The 1954 Lyttleton constitution removed the final shades of unitary state from Nigeria by establishing a true federal state. The constitution that took effect from October 1, 1954 shared powers between the central and the regional government. The constitution went further to re-organize the judiciary in order to be inline with the federal structure of the country. Federalism involves the sharing of powers between the central government and other subordinate units(s), e.g. local government and state/ region. In 1954, we had two tiers of government- the central and regions, both had their powers defined and shared by the constitution. Exclusive legislative functions went to the central government; concurrent legislative functions went to both the central and regional governments while residual functions went to the regions.
- What is exclusive list?
- What is concurrent list?
GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS
- Trace the origin of Nigeria Federalism.
- How did the Richards constitution promote federalism in Nigeria?
- How did the Lyttleton constitution establish true federalism in Nigeria?
- Discuss the positive and negative impact of colonialism.
- The list under which the federal government alone can legislate upon is called — (a) exclusive list (b) residual list (c) executive list (d) executive list
- The list under which both the state and the federal government can legislate upon is called (a) residual list (b) exclusive list (c) concurrent list (d) legislative list
- A system whereby governmental powers are shared between the central and component regions is referred to as (a) unitary system (b) a federal system (c) a confederal system (d) a presidential system
- True federalism started from — (a) 1954 (b) 1914 (c) 1952 (d) 1960
- The division of Nigeria into three regions was done under the – (a) Clifford constitution (b) Macpherson constitution (c) Richard’s constitution (d) Lyttleton constitution
- What is federalism?
- How was it established in Nigeria?