Merits Of Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954
- For the first time, there was a clear division of powers between the two levels of Government i.e. the federal and the regional governments in which each was autonomous in its own area and jurisdiction. This marked the beginning of a true federal system of government in Nigeria.
- The constitution marked the beginning of direct elections to both the federal and regional legislatures in Nigeria
- Nigerians were for the first time appointed Ministers with Portfolios (i.e. Heads of Departments)
- The constitution introduced the posts of permanent secretaries and parliamentary secretaries in Nigeria.
- The constitution launched Nigeria into independence with the federal system of Government
This constitution began the idea of direct election to both the federal and regional legislature in Nigeria.
Nigerians were appointed ministers for the first time with portfolio.
The introduction of permanent secretaries and parliamentary secretaries.
Demerits Of Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954
- The appointment of the ministers were based on the three major political parties which were regionally based. This rendered the central executive ineffective because the loyalty of the ministers resided in their regions.
- There was no second or upper chamber which would act as a break to the lower house. There was no way to check the tyrannism, despotism and hasty decisions often associated with single chamber or unicameral legislature. Therefore, the introduction of unicameral legislature is seen to be a disadvantage.
- It did not provide for the office of the Prime Minister at the Federal level. Consequently in the absence of the Governor General who is the president of the Federal Executive Council; there was no other substitute leader to lead the council in its deliberations. Thus the council remained inactive.
Read Also: Features Of The Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954
- Another defect was that both the Governor-General and the Governors still retained veto and reserved powers and were still empowered to legislate in the interest of good government. The retention of official members in the Northern House of Assembly and in the Central Executive was also a great defect.
- The Lyttleton Constitution did not provide a uniform country-wide electoral system. The Governors of the regions were empowered to make electoral regulations for their regions.
- Ministers were appointed base on the three major political parties which were appointed base on the three major political parties which were regional based. This made the central executive ineffective due to the fact the loyalty of the ministers belongs to their respective region.
- In the Northern Region, elections were indirect, while in both the Eastern and Western Regions there were direct elections. In addition, the Constitution failed to provide for a second chamber in the Centre and did not make provision for the House of Chiefs in the Eastern Region.
- The constitution do not provide for the office of the prime minister at the federal level. This means that the absence of the governor general who is the president of the federal executive council: there was no other substitute leader to lead the council in its deliberation this made the council inactive.
- There was no provision for the office of the Prime Minister in the Centre to provide the much needed leadership and this made the Central Ministers to look for directions from their respective regions.
There was the absence of bi-cameral legislature, the constitution did not make room for two chambers and hence there was no check and balances. The constitution created a system of divide and rule, the constitution favoured the north more than the east
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