- The constitution retained the federalism previously adopted by the lyttleton constitution of 1954
- The governor-general was made the constitutional ceremonial head of state and a representative of the Queen of England
- The constitution adopted a parliamentary democratic system of government in Nigeria
- Bicameral legislatures were adopted in both the federal and regional or state governments
- Provision was made for the appointment of the Supreme Court and high court judges on the advice of the judicial service commission made up of judges.
- The governor was empowered to remove the premier if the premier had lost the confidence of the house.
MERITS OF THE INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION
- One of the greatest advantages of independence constitution is that it marked a turning point in the struggle for self determination and emancipation of Nigeria from the shackles of colonialism
- It marked the beginning of new diplomatic era in which Nigeria joined international organization like, UNO, Common wealth etc.
- The attainment of independence created a lot of employment opportunities for Nigerian in the civil service, the post, that were hitherto held by British nationals.
- The constitution entrenched accountability as it requires the federal minister of finance to submit the report of the director of Audit before parliament
- The independence constitution established a bicameral federal legislature consisting the senate and house of representatives; and regional legislature consisting the house of chiefs and house of assembly.
WEAKNESS OF INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION
- It retained the British Queen as the constitutional ceremonial head of state of Nigeria
- The supreme court was not the court of last resort, the judicial committee of the privy council in Britain continued to act as the highest court of Appeal for Nigeria
- The constitution was weak because member of the house of senate were appointed by the regional governments not elected
- The constitution did not give adequate treatment and definition to the issue of creation of more regions in Nigeria
- 1960 independence constitution was also disadvantages because it was not entirely home made one.
THE REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION OF 1963
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- The republican constitution of 1963 established a republican government in Nigeria
- The Queen of England ceased to be the Head of state of Nigeria
- The president was not made executive one but ceremonial one
- Some emergency powers were conferred on the federal government
- The seats in the senate and the House of Representatives were increased from 44 to 56 and 305 to 312 respectively.
MERITS OF THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
- An elected president became the head of state to replace the British monarch who was Nigeria’s head of state under independence constitution
- The constitution was a fully home-made constitution
- The supreme court became the final court of Appeal instead of the British privy council
- The rights of citizens were fully guaranteed and entrenched
- The decision making process of the country now fully involved Nigerians.
DEMERITS OF THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
- The president was elected by the National assembly who constituted the minority instead of the majority of the electorates
- The legislative and executive arms of government were fused
- There was parliamentary supremacy against the supremacy of the constitution
- The prime minister was accountable to the parliament and not to the people
- It permitted carpet-crossing in which elected politician shifted party allegiance for personal rewards.
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- See past WASSCE question papers