The 1957 Constitutional Conference

Major Decisions Taken:

  1. Self – government to be granted to the Eastern and Western Regions on August 1957 while that of the North would be in 1959. Following the decision, the Western and Eastern regions had their self- government in 1957 while the North had their own in 1959.
  2. Eastern region to be given a Bicameral Legislature with the addition of a House of Chiefs which would have similar powers to that of the Western House of Chiefs.
  3. Southern Cameroon to be raised to a regional status with the provision of the officer of Premier.
  4. A Bicameral Legislature to be established with the second chamber to be known as the senate.
  5. Membership of the House of Representatives to be increased to 320 at the end of 1959.
  6. Universal/Adult Suffrage to be used in electing representatives into the new Federal Legislature and in the Western and Eastern Regions as well as in Lagos and the Southern Cameroon. Male Suffrage to be used in the Northern Region.
  7. The office of the Prime Minister to be created and the Governor General to appoint as a Prime Minister the leader of the party that commands the majority support in the House of Representatives. The office of the Prime – Minister in Nigeria was created in 1957 Constitutional conference but the first Prime Minister of Nigeria was elected into office in 1960.
  8. Independence to be granted to Nigeria in 1960.

A minority commission was set up in 1957 to investigate the fears of the minority group or the problem of the minorities in Nigeria. The 1957 Minority Commission was headed by Sir Henry Willink. The Commission recommended that more states should not be created but more fundamental Human Rights should be given to the citizens.

The 1958 Constitutional Conference

Major decisions taken:

  1. No more states should be created before independence, but a long list of Fundamental Human rights to protect both the majority and the minority citizens of Nigeria alike against the arbitrary abuse of power by the government should be included in the constitution.
  2. Nigeria should be granted independence in 1960
  3. Northern and Southern Cameroons should decided through a plebiscite whether to stay with Nigeria after attaining her independence or not