John Macpherson Constitution (1951)
Sir Macpherson became the new governor of Nigeria after Sir Richards and he made adequate arrangements not to repeat the mistakes that led to the opposition and criticism that greeted Richards’s constitution.
In March 1949, a selected committee of the legislative council was set up to examine problems that may likely face the introduction of a new constitution. The committee agreed that a wider measure of consultation with the people right from the village level should be followed.
FEATURES OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION
- A central legislature and a central executive were established for the country.
- Each region had a legislature and an executive council.
- The centre of the House of Representatives (uni-cameral) had a governor as president, six (6) official members, and one hundred and thirty-six (136) members elected from regional houses.
- The executive (council of ministers) had a governor as president, twelve (12) ministers, and six (6) ex-official members. Each region appointed four (4) ministers.
MERITS OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION
- The constitution encouraged a wider representation of each of the regions in the House of Representatives.
- The constitution made Nigerian ministers at both central and regional levels for the first time.
- The drafting of the constitution was preceded by a widespread consultation.
- It laid the framework for true federalism by regions and the central government.
- It introduced a new central body called the House of Representatives.
CRITICISM OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION
- It failed to provide a responsible government at the centre.
- Nigerian ministers had no executive control over their departments.
- It encouraged indirect election of legislators at national and regional levels.
- The veto power of the governor still remained.