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Constitutional Developments in Nigeria

Updated on March 28, 2013

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

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    • elijagodbaby profile imageAUTHOR

      elija_god 

      20 months ago from Nigeria

      thanks for all the comment !

    • profile image

      mudassir a auwal 

      3 years ago

      very excellent movement

    • profile image

      mudassir a auwal 

      3 years ago

      very excellent movement

    • profile image

      Isah sani abdullahu bayero university kano 

      3 years ago

      u have tried, but you have to go deeply into the etiology, historical part, features of pre independence and post independence, so as people will comprehensively understand ur engineering thought.

    • profile image

      Asheta 

      3 years ago

      That was good, but if you had explained in details it would have been better.

    • profile image

      yung corleone 

      3 years ago

      managable

    • profile image

      Abdullahi Garba 

      3 years ago

      The citizen of a nation are the foundation of constitutional development. therefore, both the citizen and the government has major roles to play in constitutional development in order to ensure national stability.

    • profile image

      Nike 

      3 years ago

      Good

    • profile image

      emmyboy 

      3 years ago

      Describe the main features of constitutional development during the colonial era..

    • profile image

      macoluwa 

      3 years ago

      it's okay for summary. It helped in my assignment that shouldn't be more than a page. Kudos!

    • profile image

      Sandra 

      4 years ago

      Nice write up

    • elijagodbaby profile imageAUTHOR

      elija_god 

      4 years ago from Nigeria

      OK, Thanks for your sincere comment

    • profile image

      Ibrahim oyelade 

      4 years ago

      Kudos to you,but it lack little explanation on how it works,merit and demeritsm

    • profile image

      bola 

      5 years ago

      The constitutional development in Nigeria

    • elijagodbaby profile imageAUTHOR

      elija_god 

      5 years ago from Nigeria

      Thanks for your comments Sueswan and Oludare Olayinka Micheal

    • profile image

      oludare olayinka Michael 

      5 years ago

      You didn't go deep into the pre colonial development and how it affects the constitutional making process in the post independence era. Anyway, the information as provided is useful.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      6 years ago

      Hi Elijagodbaby

      Thank you for sharing . I hope some good comes out of the reviewing of the 1999 constitutional developments.

      Take care :)

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