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Constitutional Developments in Nigeria
CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS IN NIGERIA (1922-1999)
A Constitution is the autobiography of a nation. It chronicles the history and developments of the nation. Nigeria as a sovereign nation has endured a chequered constitutional and political history.
The drafting of constitutions has been a recurring decimal in the nation’s chequered political history and the various constitutional developments the country has undergone in its colonial and post-colonial era have shaped its current political landscape.
The 1999 constitution which Nigeria currently operates is a product of a long constitutional history dating back to 1922 when the first constitution for the country was promulgated by Sir High Clifford as part of the colonialist administration’s effort to consolidate their grip on the then protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria.
Ever since that first constitution, Nigeria has witnessed incessant clamour for one form of constitution or the other.
This clamour has been met with various constitutions which have in one way or the other failed to address the critical issues plaguing the nation.
While the series of constitutions that were put in place during the colonial period were geared towards consolidating British imperial strategies, post colonial Nigerian leaders have utilized constitution drafting to ensure regime longevity.
This is particularly so because post-colonial Nigerian politics has been dominated by one ruling military junta or the other. Indeed, constitution drafting initiatives embarked upon by successive military regimes were merely cosmetic and plastic aimed at legitimizing the military regime in power.
This paper examines the intractable problem of constitutional engineering in Nigeria and the constitutional developments the country has witnessed from the colonial era up to the present day. In this paper, an attempt has been made to review, albeit briefly, constitutional developments in Nigeria.
We shall undertake a synopsis of the various attempts at constitution making by the colonialists in pre-independent Nigeria and the various constitutions enacted in Post-colonial era.
An analysis of the distinguishing features of each constitution shall be carried out while highlighting the achievements and shortcomings of the various constitutions.
In the light of the recent attempt by the legislature at reviewing the 1999 Constitution, a considerable portion of this work will be dedicated to highlighting some of the important features of the proposed amendment.
Abba Elijah also known as elija_god