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Government Lesson Note for SS2 (Second Term) 2023

Government lesson note for SS2 Second Term is now available for free. The State and Federal Ministry of Education has recommended unified lesson notes for all secondary schools in Nigeria, in other words, all private secondary schools in Nigeria must operate with the same lesson notes based on the scheme of work for Government.

Government lesson note for SS2  Second Term has been provided in detail here on

Government Lesson Note for SS2 (Second Term) [year] 1

For prospective school owners, teachers, and assistant teachers, Government lesson note is defined as a guideline that defines the contents and structure of Government as a subject offered at SS level. The lesson note for Government for SS stage maps out in clear terms, how the topics and subtopics for a particular subject, group works and practical, discussions and assessment strategies, tests, and homework ought to be structured in order to fit in perfectly, the approved academic activities for the session.

To further emphasize the importance of this document, the curriculum for Government spells out the complete guide on all academic subjects in theory and practical. It is used to ensure that the learning purposes, aims, and objectives of the subject meant for that class are successfully achieved.

Government Lesson note for SS2 carries the same aims and objectives but might be portrayed differently based on how it is written or based on how you structure your lesson note. Check how to write lesson notes as this would help make yours unique.

The SS2 Government lesson note provided here is in line with the current scheme of work hence, would go a long way in not just helping the teachers in carefully breaking down the subject, topics, and subtopics but also, devising more practical ways of achieving the aim and objective of the subject.

The sudden increase in the search for SS2 Government lesson note for Second Term is expected because every term, tutors are in need of a robust lesson note that carries all topics in the curriculum as this would go a long way in preparing students for the West African Secondary Examination.

This post is quite a lengthy one as it provides in full detail, the Government-approved lesson note for all topics and sub-topics in Government as a subject offered in SS2.

Please note that Government lesson note for SS2 provided here for Second Term is approved by the Ministry of Education based on the scheme of work.

I made it free for tutors, parents, guardians, and students who want to read ahead of what is being taught in class.

SS2 Government Lesson Note (Second Term) 2023




CLASS:         SS2






  1. Revision of work done last term/
  2. Colonial Administration:(a) Principles and structure of British Colonial Administration (i) Central administration and (ii) Native administration. (b) Impact of colonial administration in Nigeria and West Africa.
  3. Colonial Administration:(c) Advantages and disadvantages of colonial rule. (d) Comparison of British and French Colonial policies of administration.
  4. Nationalism:(a) Meaning of Nationalism. (b) Factors that led to the rise and growth of nationalism in Nigeria.
  5. Constitutional Development in Nigeria:(a) Pre-independence constitution and their main features. (b) Independence and post-independence constitutions and their features. (c) Common features in past and present constitutions in Nigeria.
  6. The 1999 Nigerian Constitution:(a) Origin and features of the 1999 constitution. (b) Strengths and weaknesses of the 1999 constitution.
  7. The 1999 Nigerian Constitution:(c) Procedure for constitution review. (d) Parts of the 1999 constitution needing review. (e) Process of law making in the States and National Assemblies.
  9. Federalism: (1) Origin of Federalism in Nigeria: (a) Emergence of Federalism in Nigeria. (b) Factors that necessitated the formation of federalism. (c) Conference organized by the colonial powers.(2) Nature and Structure of Nigerian Federalism: (a) Structure of Nigerian Federalism; (i) Federalism before independence, (ii) 1960 – 1966, (iii) 1967 – 1975. (iv) 1976 to date.  (b) Features of Nigerian Federalism.
  10. Federalism: (3) Problems of Nigerian Federalism: (a) The need for revenue allocation in a Federal State. (b) Revenue allocation formula in Nigeria. (c) Conflicts over each adopted revenue allocation formula.(4) Minority Issues and the Creation of States: (a) The major and minor ethnic groups in Nigeria. (b) Reasons for the demand for more States. (c) Complexity and endless nature of State Creation. (d) Recommendation of Willink’s Commission. (e) Solution to minority problems in Nigeria.
  11. Federalism: (5) Inter-Ethnic Rivalry and Issues of Secession: (a) The nature of ethnic conflicts or rivalry in Nigeria. (b) Problems of secession in Nigeria. (c) Measures to avoid secession in Nigeria.
  12. Revision


WEEK 1    

In Pre-colonial Nigeria, the Africans had a system of political administration in place through which they administer their communities, e.g. Kingdoms, autonomous communities, empires, etc.


Structure of Pre-Colonial Governments

Hausa/Fulani Pre-Colonial Administration

Hausa/Fulani communities in the North were ruled differently through their own respective customs and traditions. They had a political-administrative system through which they directed their own affairs. But with the advent of Islam, through the “Holy War” fought by Uthman Don Fodio in the 19th century, an emirate system of administration in the area was imposed.


The Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial administration was highly centralized with administrative headquarters in Sokoto. The emirates were under the control of the Emir of Sokoto and Emir of Gwandu respectively. Emir of Sokoto and Emir of Gwandu appointed Emirs of the Emirates under their control. The Emir is the Political, Spiritual, and Religious head of his Emirate. He has officials that assisted him to administer his territory, but the Emir of Sokoto remained the Political, Religious, and Spiritual Leader of the 14 Emirates.




Emirate was the Largest Political administrative structure with an Emir as its Political, Religious, and Spiritual Leader. He has a number of officials that helped him administer the capital and entire emirate. Each Emirate had districts that were made up of villages. Districts were administered by Hakimi and villages by village heads.


Legislative Functions

Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial Political system had Islamic injunctions as its administrative principles. Sharia guided the actions of all in the state including the political leaders. Where the law may not be covered adequately, the emir made laws.


Executive Functions

The emir was the chief executive as the political system was monarchical and highly centralized. He had a body of officials that assisted in administration of the emirate among them were:


Waziri:  A senior official and head of administration of the emirate. He was in charge of all other officials and carried out the day-to-day administration of the emirate on behalf of the Emir (Emir’s Prime Minister).


Galadima: Administrator of the capital of the Emirates


Maaji: Treasurer and Administrator of Finance


Madawaki: Commander-in-Chief of the Calvary (Army) in charge of defence of the Emirate.


Dogari: Chief of Police, in charge of maintenance of law and order.


SarKin Fada: Head of Palace officials


SarKin Pawa: Officers in charge, the head of all butchers


Sarkin Ruwa: The river fishing official


Hakimi: District head


Village Heads: Administrator of the villages


Executive duties they performed included maintenance of law and order, collection of taxes and rates, defense of the emirate, regulation of economic and religious activities, etc. (Kharaji tax on land, Zakat tax on Property, Jangali tax on cattle, etc.)




Judicial Functions

Emir’s Palace was the highest court of appeal but disputes were settled by Islamic Judges (Alkali) according to Islamic injunctions. Grand Khadi headed the sharia courts.


Yoruba Pre-Colonial Political Administration

Yorubas were believed to be descendants of Oduduwa. Oduduwa had seven sons who later founded the first seven kingdoms. These kingdoms later split into fourteen Kingdoms due to conflicts and wars. With the rise of the Oyo empire, these Kingdoms were united under a central leader, the Alaafin of Oyo. Though with the fall of the Oyo empire, so many Kingdoms sprang up, the Oyo empire’s Political administration was used to describe Yoruba Pre-colonial Political administration.


The empire (Kingdom) was the highest Political administrative structure. Each Kingdom was headed by an Oba (Alaafin or Oni). Provinces made up the Kingdom headed by Oba. The Provinces were made up of towns, villages, and wards. The ward was the smallest administrative unit. Towns, villages, and wards had Baale or Ajele as their heads.


The Oba was not a supreme leader. He was assisted by seven Oyomesi led by Bashorun (Chief Minister), Aremo (Oba’s son), also assisted him in the administration, it operated constitutional monarchy. The system had inbuilt principles of checks and balances to control the powers of the different political institutions. Oba was checked by the Council of Chiefs (Oyomesi), Ogboni cult, and age grades. Oyomesi was checked by the Ogboni cult.


Religious functions were performed by the priests and Ogboni cult priests who needed to perform sacrifices from time to time on behalf of the Oba and the people as Oba’s power emanated from such sacrifices.


The vassal states paid tribute to the Oba/Alaafin.


Age grades (Elegbe) and the Ogboni cult assisted in the implementation of decisions. The age grades also acted as a standing army of the Oba.


Legislative Functions

The Legislative Functions were performed by Oba and his Council of Chiefs based on Yoruba customs and traditions. The subordinate chiefs, Baale, Oloja, or Ajele made minor laws to administer their villages, towns, and wards.


Executive Functions

Oba-in-Council (Oba and his senior chief) made up the executive. They made and enforced law. The council of chiefs ensured decisions of the council were implemented. The age grades and Ogboni cult ensured execution of such decisions. Baale or Oloja appointed subordinate chiefs to ensure maintenance of law and order.


Judicial Functions

Oba’s Palace/Court was the highest court of appeal. Serious and difficult cases were settled in the palace court by Oba and his senior chiefs. Minor cases were settled by Baale and subordinate chiefs in the towns and villages.


Igbo Pre-Colonial Political Administration

Igbo Pre-Colonial Political Administrative Structure was decentralized. The small republics or autonomous communities (villages) were the highest administrative structures. These villages were made up of family units (Umunna). Though some villages had traditional rules they were titular heads.


All adult male citizens and groups participated in Political administration. There was political equality. They were part of the village Assembly where major decisions were arrived at through consensus. Different Political institutions participated in administration e.g Council of Elders (Ndichie) Ohana eze, Village Assembly, Age grade, Okpara, Umuada, Umunna, etc.


Legislative Functions

Village Assembly consisted of all-male adult citizens. They played a very important role in the process of public decision-making. Decisions were taken at the village assembly through consensus. Everybody had an equal right to expression and vote on issues. At the family unit decisions binding on family members can also be reached. The Council of elders presided over the meetings of the village assembly. Some nutty issues undecided by the village assembly can be decided by the council of elders.


Executive Functions

The council of elders ensured effective implementation of decisions of the village assembly. In some situations, the council delegated the age-grade and family units to implement such decisions under the direction of Okpara.


Judicial Functions

Family heads (Okpara) settled disputes among his family members. More serious issues or issues involving members of different families were settled by council of elders and village assembly. Village assembly was the highest court of appeal.


Features of Pre-Colonial Political Administration in Nigeria, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo



(i) The administrative system of Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial was characterised by the centralization of political power and authority. All political power was concentrated on the emir.


(ii) The people paid different forms of taxes to the emir. They paid Khnraji tax, Zakat and Jangali. All paid to sustain the administration.



(ii) Islamic law, Sharia was obeyed by all, including the Emir but the emir is empowered to make laws where Islamic law is silent.


(iii) Emirate was the largest administrative structure with Emir as the head of administration. The Emir was appointed by the Emir of Sokoto.


(iv) The system was theocratic in nature. Islamic religion guided the actions of the leader and his people. In addition, the Emir was the political, religious and spiritual leader.


(v) Emirates were under the control of Emirs of Sokoto and Gwangu, therefore lacked republican status.


(vi) Their society was highly stratified, segmented into upper, middle and lower classes and the Talakawas.


(vii) Emirates kept a standing army to defend the emirate under the control of Madawaki.


(viii) Emirates judicial system was based on Sharia laws headed by Islamic Scholars, Alkali but Emir’s court was the highest court.


(ix) Succession to the throne was through hereditary.


(x) The Emir was autocratic. It operated absolute monarchy.



(i) Yoruba pre-colonial administration operated constitutional monarchy. The Oba-in-Council made the law, implemented the law, and settled cases.


(ii)There existed a council of a senior chief, the seven hereditary Oyomesi led by Bashorun. The council and the Oba, exercised legislative, executive, and judicial powers to ensure peace, success, and good governance of the Kingdom.


(iii) There was existence of the principles of checks and balances in the system.


(iv) There was existence of the Ogboni cult that checked the excesses of the Oba and Oyomesi.


(v) The system had a standing army to defend its territory from external attacks led by Are-Onakakanfo.



(vi) Rulership was hereditary. A new Oba is selected by the Oyomesi among the ruling families.


(vii) There was the existence of a Chief priest that performed religious functions mediated between the Oba and their gods.


(viii) The Oba was the paramount ruler.


(ix) The system was democratic. Oba did not possess absolute power. Oba and his council of chiefs exercised political power and there were principles of checks and balances including removing an errant Oba by presenting him an empty Calabash.



(i) The village was the highest administrative structure. Compound or family was also a unit of administration.


(ii) There was the existence of decentralization of power. Political power and authority was fragmented or segmented as different political institutions exercised political power e.g Umunna, Ohana-eze, Ndiiche


(iii) Council of elders, Ndiiche, the family heads played important role in the administration of villages. They implemented law and settled cases.


(iv) Decisions were reached through consensus.


(v) Age grades played important role in pre-colonial Igbo society as they implement law and defended the community from external attacks.


(vi) The villages and communities were republican in nature or in autonomous.


(vii) Successions to leadership or power were by achievement.


(viii) Ozo title holders played important role in traditional Igbo society.


(ix) There was a fusion of religions, judicial and political functions in administration.


(x) Deities and Oracles provided a bond of unity among the people.


Roles of Political Institutions in the Traditional Societies

Traditional Rulers

(i) Traditional rulers made laws according to the traditions and customs of the people for the good governance of the people.


(ii) They maintained law and order. They mobilized the people most especially the youth to maintain law and order.




(iii) Traditional rulers settled disputes. They passed judgements and interpreted customary laws and conventions.


(iv) They preserved native laws and customs. They were the custodians of the customs and traditions of the people and ensured the preservation and promotion of customs and traditions of the people.


(v) They appointed subordinate chiefs such as Baale.


(vi) Traditional rulers recruited able bodied men to defend their communities from external invasions.


(vii) They collected tribute and taxes from the people.


(viii) They conferred honours and awards to deserving members of the community.


(ix) They allocated the community’s resources to the people e.g. land. They also allocated War bounties to deserving members of the community.


(x) Traditional rulers performed religious and ceremonial functions In Hausa/Fulani societies. The Emirs were the religious and spiritual leaders of the people.


(xi) They also mobilized their people on community development projects.


(xii) Traditional rulers maintained relationships with other communities.


Council of (Elders) Chiefs

The Council of Chiefs (elders) was evident in Igbo traditional society. It consisted of heads of different families and some members of the “Nze na ozo” society. Their functions included:


(i) Council of elders settled disputes involving different families or communities.


(ii) They made laws where the customary laws and conventions were silent.


(iii) They presided over the meetings of the village Assembly.




(iv) They performed ceremonial and religious functions.


(v) Council of elders punished law offenders such as payment of fines, banishment, death penalty, etc.


(vi) The council supervised implementation of decisions.


(vii) They co-ordinated the organization of youths for communal development.



(i) Oyomesi initiated laws


(ii) They advised the Oba on good governance of the community.


(iii) They helped in the maintenance of law and order


(iv) They ensured that the policies and decisions of the Oba were implemented.


(v) They checked the excesses of the Oba


(vi) The Oyomesi and the Ifa priest took part in the selection of a new Oba from the ruling families.


(vii) Oyomesi announced the death of an Oba and after the burial of the late Oba, they decorated and installed a new Oba.


(viii) It could investigate the Oba on allegations levelled against him by his people and if found guilty, could declare total rejection of the Oba by the people by the presentation of an empty Calabash to the Oba.


(ix) It helped preserved Yoruba customs and tradition.


(ix) In case of incapacitation of the Oba, the leader of the Oyomesi, Bashorun acted as the Oba.




(x) They performed religious and ceremonial functions.


(xi) They assisted the Oba to settle cases in Oba’s court.


(xii) Oyomesi helped in the organization of the youth for community development.


Age Grades

Age grades were predominant in Igbo traditional societies though it also existed in Yoruba traditional societies.


(i) Age grades helped to enforce decisions and policies and law in the community.


(ii) They helped to defend their communities against external attacks.


(iii) They executed communal works and projects such as the construction of pathways or roads, market squares, cleaning the streams, etc.


(iv)They were the community police. They maintained law and order.


(v) The older age grades checked dictatorial tendencies of paramount rulers and council of elders.


(vi) They perform ceremonial and cultural functions during important occasions e.g. dancing during new yam festivals.


(vii) They socialized among themselves. They built houses for one another, helped one another as they got married.


Secret Society (Ogboni/Egbe Awoopa)

Secret Society existed in different traditional societies with different names and roles. In Yoruba Pre-Colonial Society, Ogboni Cult played very important roles; among them were:


(i) They checked the abuse of power of Oba and Oyomesi.


(ii) They defended the community in times of War.


(iii) It performed rituals aimed toward evil spirits and appease the gods for sins of the community.


(iv) It preserved the custom and traditions of the people.


(v) It served as the final court of appeal to both civil and criminal cases.


(vi) It helped in the dethronement or deposition of an errant Oba.


(vii) It approved decisions and policies of the Oba and his advisers.


Village Assembly (Oha-na-eze)

Village Assembly was the highest law-making organ in Igbo traditional society. All the male adult citizens took part in public decision-making. Decisions were reached by consensus.


Functions of the Village Assembly included:

(i) It made law that was binding on all for good governance of the society.


(ii) Serious cases were settled at the Village Assembly.


(iii) The Village Assembly was the custodian of the culture and values of the society.



(i) Different deities had priests that served them e.g. Sango, Obatala, Agbara Amadioha, etc. Priests performed religious functions.


(ii) They made laws. Their proclamations were sacred and all obeyed.


(iii)They served as mediators between the people and their gods and ancestors.


(iii) They appeased the gods anytime it was perceived that the people had defiled the land.


(iv) They checked the excesses of the traditional rulers, Ogboni and council of elders.


(v) They ensured that the tradition and customs of the people were respected.


(vi) They performed rituals for different purposes including during and after the installation of the new Oba, before the farming season for a good harvest.

Comparison of Different Pre-Colonial Administration in Nigeria (Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo)

(i) Hausa/Fulani political system had the emirate as its administrative structure, the empire or Kingdom was for the Yoruba political System while in Igbo Political structure, the village was its unit of administration.


(ii) The head of the Hausa/Fulani Political system, the Emir wielded absolute power. It operated absolute monarchy; Yoruba Pre-Colonial operated Constitutional monarchy; while Igbo operated republican democratic system.




(iii) Hausa/Fulani political system was guided by Sharia law. The system was theocratic. Oba and his Council of Chiefs made laws for the good governance of their Kingdom according to the customs and the tradition of the Yoruba people. In Igbo Political system, laws that guided the community were made at the village assembly, by families, the council of elders, by consensus. Laws were based on the customs and traditions of the people.


(iv) Political power was decentralized. Different socio-political institutions exercised political power. In the Yoruba political system, there was some degree of decentralization of political power. In Hausa/Fulani political system, Political Power was highly centralized on the Emir.


(v) Taxation system and payment of tributes were inherent in Hausa/Fulani political system. In Yoruba Political system, there was payment of tributes (Crops, Livestock) to the Oba or Baale. Taxation, payment of tributes were alien to Igbo Political system.


(vi) There was existence of standing army that defended their territories in Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba Pre-Colonial political systems.


(vii) There was a system of embedded checks and balances that limited the powers of political institutions in the Yoruba political system. In Hausa/Fulani political system, the Emir’s power was unlimited. In the Igbo political system, various political institutions shared political powers.


(viii) The Emir in Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial administration was the political, religious, and spiritual leader of his people; while in Yoruba, the Oba was a paramount ruler, but religious functions were performed by the oracle priests. In Igbo, Igwe or Eze was War head. The oracle priests performed religious functions.



  1. What were the features of Hausa/Fulani Pre-Colonial Political system?


  1. What were the features of Yoruba Pre-Colonial Political System?


  1. Discuss the features of Igbo traditional society.


  1. What are the functions of traditional rulers in traditional African Society?


  1. What are the functions of age grades in Pre-Colonial Igbo society?


  1. Discuss the functions of Ogboni cult in Oyo empire.


  1. Write short notes on the following:


(a) Village Assembly


(b) Families


(c) Council of Chiefs


(d) Kingmakers


(e) Oracle Priests.


  1. Differentiate between Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani Administration pre-colonial.






DATE: ………………….                                                                              





The central administration was headed by the Governor. He was appointed by the secretary of state for the colonies who had the power to remove or redeploy him. The Governor was responsible for administration of the whole country and was accountable to the imperial government in London through the secretary of state. The Governor is the president of both the legislative and executive councils. He makes and executes policies, appoint and depose chiefs, and appoint officials of government. He assisted in legislation, can veto legislation, review judgments by the judiciary and exercise prerogative of mercy.

The legislative council was another institution of central administration. The council was made up of the governor, official and unofficial members. The elective principle introduced by the Clifford Constitution (1922) re-organized the council to provide for four elected African members. The legislative council had more representatives with the Richards Constitution. The role of the legislative council was to advice the governor in framing legislation for the colony, but the governor was not bound to accept its advice.

Whenever the governor overrides the advice or decision of the council he must inform the secretary of states for the colonies of his actions. The executive council was responsible for the formulation of colonial government policy and for carrying out the laws of the colony. The council was advisory body to the governor. The governor had powers to reject the decisions or advice of the council.

Under the Macpherson constitution of 1951, the executive council became known as council of ministers.


A crown colony was regarded as British territory and it was directly controlled from Britain. The laws made in Britain were applied to these colonies. Crown colonies were established through military conquests, diplomatic missions and treaties with the local people. For instance the colony of Lagos was annexed in 1861 by John Beecroft of the British Royal Navy. The citizens of the crown colony were regarded as British subjects. The land and minerals located in the crown colonies belong to the British government. The crown colonial government administered the colony directly , while the governor made laws through proclamations. At the crown colonies the traditional rulers were not recognized.


The administration of the crown colonies was conducted by a number of institutions such as

  1. The secretary of state for the colonies: The secretary of state for the colonies was also called the colonial secretary. He was a cabinet minister, he stood between the colonial government and British government, he formulated colonial policies, appointed colonial governors and could transfer the governors as he deemed fit. He received complaints from concerned nationalists of the various colonies which complaint were handled with a view to safeguarding the interests and objectives of the British crown over the colonies
  2. The Governor: The administration of the British crown colonies was direct and headed by a governor who as the chief executive implemented British colonial policies. He was appointed from London through the secretary of states for the colonies who resided in London. He also reported to the colonial secretary who presented such report to the British parliament. His other functions include- appointment of departmental heads, district and residence officers and judges and exercised the power to remove and discipline any of them.
  3. Legislative council: The legislative council made laws for the colonies. It had official members who were appointed by the governor, majority of whom were British citizens. The unofficial members were some African chiefs European merchants who were nominated into the council.
  4. The executive council: The executive council carry- out the functions of the executive arm of government. The executive council for each colony consisted of officials who were mainly whites. The council consisted of departmental heads, the secretary of the colonial government, and director of medical services. The council was responsible to the governor and advised him on government policies.


A protectorate was a territory under the control and protection of the British government. Citizens of protectorates were classified as protected citizens, and were subject to the rule of their traditional rulers, who were answerable to the British authorities through the governor of the colony who administered the protectorate by making laws for them.

NATIVE ADMINISTRATION: The colonial administration instituted a system of native administration in the protectorates, provinces and districts through the indirect rule system. This is a system of administration which uses the traditional political institutions of the people to govern the people in accordance with their traditional norms and practices which did not conflict with colonial laws and under the guidance of colonial officials.


Britain like other European nations sent its officials to its four West African colonies after the 1890 Brussel conference for effective occupation of the territories. By 1900 Britain has established political influence in her four colonies of Nigeria, the gold coast (now Ghana) Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

In West Africa, British crowned colonies include Lagos, Accra, Freetown and Bathurst colonies. These colonies were regarded as extensions of Great Britain so they were administered directly by the white British officials. The laws made in Britain were applied to these colonies. The governor general of the British territories were the chief Administrators of the colonies. At the crown colonies traditional rulers were not recognized. The direct administration was possible because of the presence of the large British officials in the colonies. Also, the colonies generated adequate funds for their administration.

Besides the crown colonies other interior areas were regarded as protectorates and the indirect administrative system was used in all the places.



Indirect rule is a system of administration in which the British colonial government adopted as its colonial policy in dealing with the people by using the traditional rulers, the traditional political institutions as intermediaries while the British official mainly advised and where necessary, enforced colonial regulations.

Essential features of indirect rule includes:

  1. It made use of the existing traditional system of administration.
  2. It recognized the status of the traditional rulers.
  3. Traditional rulers served as the pivot of indirect rule.
  4. Traditional laws and customs were used in the administration.
  5. The system was supervised by the British officials.
  6. British officials did not exert their influence directly on the people but through their local chiefs.
  7. The system was meant to assist in the development of the traditional political institution for effective administration
  8. The system did not disrupt the existing traditional system of administration and political order.
  9. It was not an expensive system of administration.
  10. The native authority system was used.
  11. Taxes were collected.
  12. Native police system was introduced.
  13. Officers/chiefs were appointed where there were no traditional chiefs or rulers.


The system of indirect rule was first introduced in Northern Nigeria around 1806 by Lord Lugard when he was the High commissioner of the protectorate of the Northern Nigeria. The system was a huge success in Northern Nigeria mainly because of the highly developed traditional system of administration of the area. The Emirs were made use of in the administration including a new Admiral Muminin appointed by Lord Lugard himself.


  1. The use of traditional administration that already existed.
  2. The autocratic nature of emirs and their influence among their subjects.
  3. Predominance of Islamic religion in the Northern part which by nature is conservative, this is, they didn’t like changes or new ideas.
  4. The submissiveness of the people made them to accept indirect rule wholeheartedly without questions hence the success of the system.
  5. Low level of education among the northern citizens. Most of them were illiterates.
  6. Centrality of the administration existing before the advent of the colonial rule.
  7. Well organized system of taxation which went well with the British because of financial constraints.
  8. No interference within the existing traditions
  9. Absence of many whites made it successful because there was no much criticism from the whites.
  10. Many Emirs of Northern Nigerians accepted the indirect rule system because of fear of British military reprisal if it was rejected.


When the system of indirect rule was introduced in the southern part of Nigeria of which the Western region was an integral part, the Obas were used like the Emirs in the Northern part. The system did not prove as successful as it did in the North and it was not a total failure as it was in the Eastern region. In other word, it had partial success.

Reasons for the partial success were just opposite of what made it totally successful in the North except for some modifications. Besides, internal political crises in the Western Nigeria like subordination of Ibadan to Oyo and the restoration of authority in the Alaafin of Oyo at the expense of Oni of Ife contributed immensely to the partial success of indirect rule in the West.


The traditional political system of Ibos was a decentralized one. When the indirect rule was introduced to them, there were no real people of local influence and authority like the Emirs and the Obas in the Northern and Western Nigeria respectively, who could be used to carry out the system.

The appointment of warrant chiefs by the British without due regards for their status and the families they came from worsened the situation as the Warrant Chiefs were violently affected. The use of these unpopular warrant chiefs in collection of taxes brought fears in the system. The fear by the women that they would be taxed like the men led to the Aba Women Riot of 1929.


  1. The system was less expensive because the colonial masters used the machinery of traditional rulers to run the affairs of government. It would have cost the British more to engage their nationals.
  2. The system largely preserved the customs and tradition of the people. It retained the people’s languages, culture and religion.
  3. The colonies witnessed rapid socio-economic development since part of the revenue collected from taxes and rates was used in building schools, markets, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc.
  4. The system brought government closer to the people through their traditional rulers. The people were provided the opportunity to participate in the affairs of the government that catered for them in their various localities.
  5. Indirect rule guaranteed peace and stability for the emirs and chiefs who were used to run the affairs of government.
  6. It was the earliest attempt at introducing   a uniform system of local government through the country.
  7. Indirect rule contributed to the training of traditional rulers in the modern art of running the administration of local government.
Recommended:  Social Studies Lesson Note for JSS1 (Third Term) 2023


  1. Indirect rule strengthened the policy of divide and rule strategy, putting into opposing camps the traditional rulers and the educated elites. Likewise were the differences between the north, the west and the east exploited to prevent the emergence of a common front against the British colonial rule.
  2. Educated members of African society were excluded from participation in colonial government activities in preference for traditional rulers. This hindered early constitutional and economic development of the colonies.
  3. Indirect rule failed to provide qualitative leadership to educated Nigerians. So, even after independence, many leaders had no good grasp of what government or their position entailed. This has contributed to the political instability of the country.
  4. Britain reduced the illiterate African chiefs some of whom had absolute powers to puppets or stooges in the hands of the colonial government.
  5. A conflict of responsibility was created for the rulers who had to be accountable ton their people and to the colonial government- two groups with conflicting demands. In effect, some traditional rulers became alienated from the people.
  6. The system deprived the people of some section of the country of the advantages of checks and balances on their leaders, which had existed in their traditional political institutions.
  7. As a result of the great powers enjoyed by incumbents, the post of traditional rulers became highly contentious, and succession dispute increased.




Colonial administration in Nigeria and West Africa has both positive and negative impacts.


  1. Introduction of Modern Ideas of Government: The political culture of liberal democracy is introduced. The people now have certain opportunity of writing down their constitution. The introduction of elections through the ballot and the changes from monarchy to republicanism is a result of colonialism.
  2. Development of civil service: The civil services of the colonies were developed and made uniform with those of the colonial masters.
  3. Development of political parties:Many parties were established as a result of the introduction of elective principles. These political parties also championed the struggle for independence.
  4. Introduction of money currency and establishment of banks: This replaced trade by barter and the cumbersome currency of iron bars and cowries in 1912, the first silver coins were introduced by the British and the West African currency Board set up to supply currency to British West African colonies. The colonies Bank was also established in 1917.
  5. Establishment of trade relations: West African countries established trade relations with their formal colonial masters. British and France are the major trading partner with their respective former colonies in West Africa.
  6. Common languages and legal system: Colonialism promoted the development of common languages among colonial territories. English language for Anglophone countries and French for Francophone countries. The British language and legal system were also introduced. These legal systems were improvements on the African traditional legal system.
  7. Exposure to Western Education:The colonialists built schools and colleges in their colonies which enabled most Africans to acquire western education. The knowledge of English and French languages helped West Africans to communicate with the world outside.
  8. Development of modern transportationseaports, airways, roads, bridges and communication facilities constructed by colonial masters.


  1. Economic development and exploitation: colonial government exploited their colonies by taking over their economic wealth through their economic policies with their former colonies. They dictated what were produced and exported and imported.
  2. Colonialism creates problem of unity: colonial rule has divided the countries of West Africa into two major groups – English speaking and French speaking countries. This is one of the problems facing ECOWAS.
  3. Cultural imperialism: Colonialism imposed foreign cultures on the people of West Africa and forced them to imbibe alien cultures. Names were changed, languages abandoned, traditional cultural ways relegated and all things foreign deemed better than local ones.
  4. Introduction of slave trade, deportation and humiliation of Africa leaders.
  5. Alienationof the people from government
  6. The type of education introduced by the colonial imperialistsqualified them to become low rank officers in the civil service. This slowed down the economic, social, educational and political development of West Africa.


  1. What is colonialism?
  2. Why did the educated elites criticize the policy of indirect rule?
  3. What were the functions of the colonial Government in British West Africa?
  4. Why was indirect rule not successful in some parts of Nigeria?
  5. In what way did colonial rule contribute to the decline of the powers of the traditional rulers in West Africa?
  6. Explain the term Native Authority. State four defects of the indirect rule system.
  7. (a) Describe the crown colony system. (b) Give four reasons why the crown colony system was unpopular among the educated elite.


Objective Test

  1. The following factors favoured the introduction of indirect rule in Nigeria except the (a) shortage of manpower (b) shortage of funds (c) existence of a system of taxation (d) existence of educated elite.
  2. The Aba riot of 1929 was a direct consequence of the (a) attempt to introduce taxation (b) introduction of Western education (c) attempt to make women pay taxes (d) imposition of warrant chiefs on Aba people.
  3. Indirect rule means (a) a system of local administration that makes use of chiefs (b) rule by traditional rulers in council (c) rule by government officials (d) a system of government common to all West African colonies.
  4. The indirect rule system succeeded in the Hausa Fulani society because the (a) society had only one religion (b) people received quranic education (c) people were peaceful (d) existing administration favoured the system.
  5. Which of the following is the most senior official under the British colonial administration? The (a) district officer (b) Lieutenant governor (c) president (d) Governor
  6. A major objection to the indirect rule system was (a) economy in administration (b) administration through illiterate heads (c) the refusal of the British to educate Africans (d) the control of the territories by the colonial secretary.





DATE: ………………….                                                                              




 (b) Advantages of Colonial rule.

(c) Disadvantages of Colonial rule

(d) Comparison of The Features of British System of Indirect Rule with that of French Policy of Assimilation


The French colonial administration was a sharp contrast to that of the British. While the British authorities used indirect rule system while the French authorities used direct rule system known as the policy of assimilation and later changed to association. They were in control of the following territories in West Africa- Senegal, Ivory- coast (Coted’ivore), Dahomey(now Benin republic), Niger, Guinea and Upper Volta( now Burkina Faso).

France established a loose federation of her colonies with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal and appointed a governor general resident in Dakar to supervise the activities of the federation.


  1. The governor general: The governor general governed Senegal from Dakar and exercised authority over the other four colonies each of which had a governor. The governor general in principle had to consult the colonial minister in France for decisions on major issues that affect the federation.
  2. Existence of provinces: The French colonial government divided each colony into provinces called circles which varies greatly in size and in population. This circles were also subdivided into districts or cantons.
  3. Division of Senegal into communes: Senegal was divided into four communes of Saint Louis, Dakar, Rufisque, and Gorge. The inhabitants in these communes were accorded French citizenship. They were governed according to the laws made in Paris in France. However, in the other colonial units there were a number of conditions for French citizenship.
  4. The French subjects outside the four communes had no political rights or representation in the French parliament in Paris.
  5. The system of administration which the French adopted under this arrangement was called the policy of assimilation.


The French government first adopted the policy of assimilation in the administration of their territories in West Africa. Assimilation means attempting to make black Africans become French ion language and culture that is it was the colonial policy of the French government to make Africans adopt and use French education, language, religion, law mode of dressing etc. The policy was made to substitute the African way of life formally and informally. It was imposed on the Africans as a result of the French government’s belief that African culture was inferior and theirs being superior should be embraced by the people in their colonies.

The policy of assimilation regarded the French colonial territories as part of the extended French empire overseas and these territories were placed under the control of the French government in Paris.


  1. Direct rule: The policy of assimilation was a direct system of administration supervised and coordinated by the resident governor general in Dakar. France provided revenue for the provision of infrastructure and social amenities in her African territories.
  2. Unification of French colonies: The policy brought all French colonies together under an umbrella called French federation with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal under a governor general from Paris.
  3. Superiority of French culture: The policy of assimilation was based on the belief that French culture was superior to other cultures, and the African culture must be substituted with French culture.
  4. French citizenship status on Africans:   The policy accorded African people French citizenship status, and this provided Africans equal legal opportunities and privileges with their French counterparts.
  5. Absorption into the French political system: Since many Africans enjoyed full citizenship rights they were absorbed into the French political system. For instance, Blaise Diagne became the first African to be elected into the French National Assembly in 1914.
  6. Limitation of traditional rulers power: The powers of the traditional rulers were reduced and the French officials approved policies and appointment for them.



Factors Responsible for the Failure of the Policy of Assimilation

The policy of assimilation failed and was abandoned by France as a result of the following:

  1. The policy of assimilation introduced direct administration which required heavy financial commitment from the central government in France. Many French citizens criticized the policy of spending tax-payers’ money in foreign colonies at the expense of the French people.
  2. The policy failed because it was rigid and discriminatory in its application to the people in the interior and those in the communes of Senegal. While the people in the interior were required to renounce their culture before they could be granted French citizenship, the people in the communes were granted automatic French citizenship status from birth.
  3. The preference of the African people for their culture and way of life made it impossible for them to drop their culture for that of the French, and likewise did they reject the whole policy of assimilation.
  4. With the reduction in their powers and scope of activities, the traditional leaders secretly undermined the effectiveness of the policy in their areas.
  5. French and African scholars criticized the adoption of assimilation as a policy that never meant good for the people of the West African sub-region. They rejected the policy on grounds of racism, where the French government regarded African culture as primitive and French culture as civilized and superior.
  6. The type of education introduced contributed to the failure of the hat afforded of assimilation. The missionaries introduced the educational system to Christianity rather than providing them the opportunity of winning converts qualitative education for the socio-economic development of the people. The Muslims rejected this type of education for fear of being converted to Christianity.
  7. The implementation of the indigenization policy, which included imprisonmentwithout trial and forced labour, accounted for the failure of the
  8. The Second World War was also responsible for the failure. Colonialists were
    advised to relinquish their colonies, more so as the Africans who participated in the war no longer felt that the white men were superior as they previously assumed. Furthermore, the United Nations advocated the self-determination of people under colonial rule.
  9. President Charles De Gaule was determined to replace assimilation withassociation, as a result of the opposition of the African people.


The Reforms of 1956 Known as Loi-Cadre in the French Colonies

The 1956 elections made the leader of the Rassemblement Democratique African (RDA) which emerged, to champion ant colonial causes. The leader Houphouet Boigny became a minister. He was allowed to work on African demands and problems. He sent a proposal to the French Parliament. This became the 1956 administrative reforms known as Loi Cadre (the outline law). This policy recognized the separate identity and existence of each territory in West Africa. It provided for separate Executive Council and Legislative House for each colony under French control. It is important to note that between 1956 and 1960 the West African colonies were given more independence in the discussion of African affairs than before.

The Features of Loi Cadre

  1. Power was given to the territorial assemblies and the power of the territorial ground council was reduced. Each colony had a representative assembly with much more powers with an All African membership.
  2. The Governor was the president of the council while an as African was the Vice-President, the Governor was a Whiteman.
  3. Political party or participation increased in all the colonies.
  4. The assembly had the power to legislate on internal matters e.g. Health, Civic Service, etc.
  5. The Loi Cadre made provision for only one electoral-college for future elections in Africa.


Following the weakness and failure of the policy of assimilation, France conceived the idea of the policy of association to replace assimilation. Association was the policy by which Africans associated with France in the political and economic realms, not as Frenchified Africans, but as a people with their own distinct culture and traditions. It was the French form of indirect rule.

The policy of association preserved the culture, religion, customs and political units of the various colonies. It accorded traditional rulers necessary regard in the affairs of the colonial government.

Reasons for the Introduction of the Policy of Association in French West Africa

  1. The level of nationalist activities in West Africa increased after the Second World War and this forced France to abandon the policy of assimilation.
  2. The rise of President De Gaule to power and the determination of his administration to replace assimilation with association.
  3. The policy of assimilation was costly to administer because it was a directadministration which required large sum of money.
  4. Those that benefited from the system (elites) later on turned round to criticize it.

Features/characteristics of the Policy of Association

  1. Association granted some autonomy to the people, recognized the authority oftraditional rulers as well as used some other natives in the administration of the local areas.
  2. It decentralized the political structure, and allowed each local territory to develop at its own pace.
  3. The Africans, no longer regarded as French citizens, but as inferior people, weresubjected to dehumanizing experiences such as forced labour.
  4. The policy prepared the people for the forming of political parties in the French West African colonies.
  5. It created local national assemblies for the people of the various colonies to discuss their affairs.
  6. It abolished compulsory military service and the indigenous policy.
  7. The policy recognized the cultural diversity of the people.


Sub-topic 3:

Comparison of the British and French Colonial Administrations

  1. Britain did not make any attempt to bring her colonies together in a federation,but France imposed a highly centralized federal system of government for all her territories in West Africa, with headquarters in Dakar.
  2. Britain allowed the colonized peoples to retain their culture, while France, especially through assimilation, sought to impose French culture and civilization on the people.
  3. The educated elite were not significant in the indirect rule system Britain was discriminatory towards them in her colonies, while France gave the greatest recognition to the educated Africans. They were accorded the title and rights of French citizens.
  4. France provided social amenities and her development structures to her Colonies than Britain did. This was because France regarded these colonies as part of France while Britain saw her colonies merely as colonies that would soon beon their own.
  5. The French constitution was also applicable to the colonies, even thoughsome sections were modified and amended to make them operational in the colonies, British colonies had their own body of laws or constitutions.
  6. Both the British and French colonialists had the overall headquarters in their home country where the general policies and programmes of colonial administration were formulated for their territories.
  7. The British system encouraged the formation of political parties in her WestAfrican territories, while citizens of French territories had representatives in the French parliament and other educated elite could join political parties in France. This discouraged the formation of independent political parties in French West Africa.
  8. Britain used the indirect rule system which utilized African traditional rulers, and retained the people’s customs and laws in the running of local affairs, while France largely used direct rule through the policies of assimilation and associa
  9. Britain granted some autonomy to the traditional rulers in the administration of their local areas and incorporated them into the indirect rule system. France rendered the institution of traditional rulers completely redundant in some places and used them in some other areas only to collect taxes and recruitSoldiers and labourers.

Merits of British and French colonial administrations in West Africa

  1. Agriculture was greatly developed during colonial rule, especially in theproduction of cash crops like cocoa, cotton, oil palm and rubber to provide raw materials for British and French industries. Mechanized agriculture was introduced in government farms, and local farmers were encouraged to produce more.
  2. The British and French colonial administrators established modern transportation and communication systems in different parts of West Africa. For instance, they provided roads, waterways, railways, bridges, and postal and telecommunication facilities.
  3. Colonial rule brought western education to the people of West Africa. The British and French administrators built schools and colleges which brought up a crop of educated West Africans who could communicate easily and hold their own among people from other parts of the world.
  4. The Christian missionaries accompanied colonial governments and spreadChristianity to the African people. Christianity contributed a lot towards the elimination of human sacrifice and similar vices in the colonies administered by Britain and France. The missionaries also provided educational and health facilities.
  5. Colonialism resulted in the establishment of larger political units encompassingthe old traditional kingdoms. For example, in Nigeria, the Yoruba kingdoms, the Hausa-Fulani empire, the Igbo communities and the Jukun kingdom, among others were brought together as a country.
  6. Big cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Dakar, Accra and Abidjan developedduring British and French colonial administration.
  7. Colonialism facilitated inter-state trade among the countriesunder the same colonial master.
  8. The activities ofthe western missionaries facilitated the level of social development in both colonies. For instance, they established health and educational facilities.
  9. The introduction of the British and French legal systems provided improvements to, and modifications of, the African traditional laws.

Demerits of British and French colonial administrations in West Africa

  1. Britain and France presented their cultures as superior to those of the Africanpeoples and so made the people of West Africa accept alien cultures to the neglect of their own.
  2. Colonial education retarded socio-economic and political development of these countries. The form of education introduced was meant to teach Africans how to read and write English and French languages, and not really to train them for the socio-economic development of their countries.
  3. Britain and France exploited the economy of West African countries. They derived raw materials from these countries to feed their industries and brought back finished products to them at high prices.
  4. Both Britain and France introduced the capitalist ideology into their colonies. The system vests economic wealth and control in the hands of a few individuals.
  5. The policy of assimilation made French speaking countries completely dependent on France. This dependence provided France an opportunity to interfere in their domestic, economic, military and political policies, even after independence.
  6. Colonial administration created long-standing division and mutual distrustbetween the traditional rulers (and their illiterate subjects) and the educated Africans who were opposed to European involvement in the domestic policies of West African territories.
  7. Colonial rule resulted in the balkanization and separation of peoples. Somepeoples with dissimilar religions, languages and customs were brought together in one country while ethnic groups were separated into two or more countries. These created problems of national unity, mutual understanding and  The two systems exploited West Africans in the two world wars. The colonized people were recruited as soldiers to fight (and die) in wars which didn’t concern them.



  1. In tabular form, compare the British policy of indirect rule and the French policy of assimilation.





DATE: ………………….                                                                              


CONTENT: 1. Meaning of Nationalism

  1. Effects of Nationalism
  2. Factors that led to the rise and growth of Nationalism in Nigeria.
  3. Some key nationalist leaders and their contributions to nationalism.


Nationalism can be defined as a strong feeling of national consciousness and love for one’s country to take care of its own affairs and be free from foreign control and domination. During colonial period, it was seen as opposition to European domination. Nationalism is struggle against oppression and domination, struggle for equality and political participation and self- government. It can be described as a movement for national independence. During colonial rule in Africa nationalism was centred on the desire of African people to be free from colonialism and to attain self- government


  1. It led to an increased participation of Nigerians in politics and this in turn led to the inclusion of Nigerians in the legislative and executive councils.
  2. It made Nigerians to be aware of the disadvantages of colonial rule and their political rights.
  3. Nationalist movement led to the development of political parties in Nigeria e.g. the first political party in Nigeria – Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) was formed by one of the nationalist- Herbert Macaulay.
  4. The nationalist eventually achieved independence for Nigeria in 1960.
  5. Nationalism checked the excesses of the colonial government.
  6. Higher institutions of learning were established e.g. Yaba College.
  7. Their struggle led to the inclusion of Nigerians in the civil service.
  8. It brought about several constitutional reforms in Nigeria.
  9. It led to the emergence of news-papers e.g. Lagos Daily News.
  10. Their agitations led to the introduction and extension of Franchise in Nigeria (elective principle).


  1. Independence of other countries e.g. India in 1947 and later Ghana in 1957.
  2. The colonial policy of indirect rule excluded the educated elite from governance.
  3. The activities of West African Student’s Union (WASU) in Britain and U.S.A.
  4. The establishment of United Nations Organization stimulated nationalist movements due to its stance on colonialism and Human Rights.
  5. The 1941 Atlantic charter emphasized the right to self-determination by all people of the world.
  6. Appointment and deposition of chiefs by the colonial masters also increased nationalism e.g. the Aba women riot of 1929.
  7. The emergence of newspapers such as the West African Pilot, Lagos Daily News, etc. increased nationalism.-
  8. The British Labour Party supported self- rule for the colonized territories.
  9. The defeat of Britain by Japan.
  10. The activities of the Pan-African Congress.
  11. Activities of trade union e.g. Nigeria Civil Service Union 1921, NUT 1931, etc.


  1. Herbert Macaulay:He formed the first political party in Nigeria (NNDP). He also established a newspaper launched in 1925. The Lagos Daily News. This helped in creating awareness and aroused the political interest of Nigerians. Herbert Macaulay is regarded as the father of Nigerian Nationalism.
  2. Nnamdi Azikiwe:He was a strong Nigerian nationalist. He was a member of Nigerian Youth Movement, general secretary of National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon (NCNC). He was the editor of West African Pilot. He represented the eastern region in the constitutional conferences. In all these activities he contributed seriously to the rise and growth of Nationalism in Nigeria.
  3. Chief Obafemi Awolowo:He was the founding father of Action Group, (a political party) a party whose member spear headed the 1953 motion for Nigeria self government in 1956.   Awolowo represented the western region in the constitutional conferences.
  4. Sir Ahmadu Bello:He was the leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC). He also was the premier of the Northern region. He also represented the Northern region in the constitutional conferences.
  5. Ernest Ikoli:he was one of the founders of the Nigerian Youth Movement. All the political parties contributed toward the growth of nationalism.
  6. L. Akintola, Samuel Akinsonya, H.O. Davies, etc. all contributed through their membership of the political party or the other.


CHIEFOBAFEMIAWOLOWO                                                 HERBERT MACAULAY             









  1. The use of press – e.g. West African Pilot, Comet, Daily Express, Lagos Daily News etc. were used as vocal points of opposition to the British rule.
  2. Strike, protests, etc. e.g. 1945 nationwide strike in Nigeria and 1948 in Ghana (then Gold Coast).
  3. Constitutional Conferences.
  4. Organizing seminars, symposia.
  5. The use of political parties e.g. NNDP in Nigeria, CPP in Ghana, PPP in Gambia, SLPP in Sierra-Leone.




  1. Define nationalism.
  2. Outline three effects of nationalism in Nigeria.
  3. What were the factors that contributed to the rise and growth of nationalism in Nigeria?
  4. Mention five nationalist in Nigeria and their contributions toward nationalism.


  1. Describe the term nationalism.
  2. Highlight four effects of Nationalism in Nigeria.
  3. Mention five factors that led to the rise and growth of nationalism in Nigeria.
  4. Outline five nationalists and their contributions.
  5. List five external factors that led to the rise and growth of nationalism in Nigeria.

Objective Test

  1. The West African Student’s Union worked towards…. (a) the end of colonial rule (b) the end of indirect rule (c) getting accommodation for West African students (d) the end of the policy of direct rule.
  2. Nationalism in British West Africa aimed at…. (a) gaining independence (b) abolishing chieftaincy (c) collecting revenue (d) constructing roads.
  3. Which of the following was a nationalist organization? (a) people’s redemption organization (b) national congress of British West Africa (c) West African people’s league (d) National Council of African People
  4. Which of the following was a resolution in the North Atlantic Charter of 1941 that helped to stimulate nationalist movement in Nigeria? (a) People all over the world had the right to vote and be voted for. (b) Whites had the right to train Africans on how to rule themselves. (c) Newspapers should support the colonial masters. (d) People all over the world had the right to choose their own form of government.
  5. Which of the following is true of the nationalist during the colonial days? (a) Used propaganda and blackmail to achieve their aim. (b) Preferred dealing with the secretary of state to dealing with the government. (c) Established universities in Ghana and Sierra Leone. (d) Took the governor to court to press for the review of obnoxious policies.


Read Comprehensive Government Chapter 23, pages 143 – 145.


Read about constitutional development in Nigeria.





DATE: ………………….                                                                              


CONTENT:   (a) Pre–independence constitution and their features.   

(b) Independence and Post–independence constitutions and their features.

(c) Common features in past and present constitutions in Nigeria.




A constitution is a body of laws governing a country. No country in the world can function without a constitution. It is a source of authority and it gives function to the three arms of government. It determines the rights and duties of citizens. Constitution can be written or unwritten; rigid or flexible.

In Nigeria, our constitutional development is in two phases. The first phase was the period when Nigeria was under British rule (Colonial rule or pre–independence period) and the second phase was when Nigeria gained independence from British rule (Post Independence Period).

Nigeria fell under British rule in 1861. Lagos was made a crown colony and was directly administered from London.

Nigeria passed through different phases of constitutional development.

In 1914 Lord Luggard, the governor general amalgamated the northern and southern protectorate. Lord Luggard established the Nigerian Council that laid the foundation for constitutional development in Nigeria.


Sir Hugh Clifford was appointed governor of Nigeria after Lord Frederick Luggard in 1922. He made some findings on the northern and southern provinces and recommendation was sent to the British government and was approved.

This became the new constitution and was named after Sir Hugh Clifford.

The constitution created two councils (The executive and legislative council) elective principle (This means election and voting for candidates to represent Nigeria in the legislative was introduced).

Features of Clifford Constitution of 1922

  1. It abolished the Nigerian council.
  2. It established a new legislative council – the first ever for the colony and protectorate of Nigeria (excluding the northern protectorate)
  3. It establishes a new executive council for the whole Nigeria.
  4. It established elective principle for the first time.
  5. It gave special impetus to the activities in Lagos and Calabar with the formation of political parties.
  6. Newspapers were established to further make popular the increased political activities.

Merits of Clifford Constitution.

  1. Introduction of elective principle: This allowed the electorates in Lagos and Calabar to exercise their franchise.
  2. It led to the development of political parties in Nigeria e.g. NNDP whichled to increased political awareness   among the people of Nigeria.
  • It gave birth to the establishment of newspapers in Nigeria. Lagos daily news
  1. It was the first written constitution in Nigeria
  2. More seats were given to Africans in the legislative council than that of 1914

Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

  1. Nigerians were not well represented in the legislative council.
  2. The elective principle introduced was only for the legislative council and were unofficial. The franchise was not extended to the executive council.
  • The legislative council was dominated by the uneducated Nigerians who could not make much positive contributions.
  1. The veto power of the governor could be exercised on issues affecting both legislative and executive councils.
  2. Executive council was also dominated and controlled by the Europeans.
  3. Clifford constitution was accused of sectionalism by its definition. It was a constitution for the south only, the north was excluded.



The defects of the Clifford’s constitution of 1922 led to the introduction of the Richard Orwell constitution of 1946. Some of its features were:

  1. It divided Nigeria into three regions, namely: northern, eastern and western regions. This means that he created Regional Assembly.
  2. It established a single legislative council for the whole Nigeria, for the first time, it allowed unofficial members in the legislative council. The Legislative Council which was enlarged in order to allow for the representation of all diverse shades of opinion and interest had 44 members in all made up of 28 majority non-officials and 16 minority officials.
  • It widened the scope of the Nigerian representations in the legislative council.
  1. It linked native authorities with the Regional Assemblies and linked Regional Assemblies to the Central executive Council.
  2. Richards’s constitution laid the foundation for federalism and federal constitution in Nigerian political structure.
  3. The constitution, by providing for a bicameral legislature in the North, introduced bicameralism.

Merits of Richard’s Constitution.

  1. Richard’s constitution laid the foundation for federalism and federal constitution in Nigerian political structure.
  2. It introduced bicameralism in the North.
  • It expanded the Nigerian legislative council.
  1. It integrated the North and the South in a single legislative council.
  2. It laid the foundation for national unity

Demerits of Richard’s Constitution of 1946

  1. The executive council was still dominated by Europeans as in Clifford’s constitution.
  2. Division of the country into unequal parts. The country was divided into three unequal regions, making the north larger than the other two combined.
  • Elective principle was retained by Richard and favoured only Lagos and Calabar. The principle of representation was not extended to other parts of the country.
  1. Limited powers were given the regional assemblies to legislate on minor matters and this should be subject to the governors reserved powers.
  2. The chiefs were nominated and not elected into the legislative Council. Therefore, they mainly represented the interests of those that nominated them.
  3. The governor still had power to veto bills and can reject or accept advice from members of the executive council.
  • Nigerians were not allowed to have a say in the constitutional proposals as they were rushed through both in the legislative council and in the British parliament.


However, despite the above features and improvements brought about by Richards’s constitution of 1922, there were complaints when Sir John Macpherson became Governor of Nigeria in 1948. He initiated moves for Nigerians to agree to constitutional changes. After the debates at local village, province and regional levels, Ibadan general conference came into being in January 1950.

The following decisions were reached at the conference:

  1. Increased regional autonomy within a united Nigeria (quasi-federal system).
  2. That regional legislative council would be given limited legislative powers compared to 1946 constitution when regional legislative council had no power to make laws.
  • Ministerial responsibility for Nigerians which led to the creation of councils of ministers in the constitution.
  1. Creation of larger and more representative regional legislature.
  2. That the North was to provide 50% or half of the seats in the central legislature in Lagos.
  3. More legislative powers to be given to the regions to be in line with their increased autonomy.
  • An independent commission to be appointed for revenue allocation.
  • The central house of representatives to be enlarged.
  1. That the ordinances of central administration should override regional laws.
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Sir John Macpherson took over from Sir Richard in 1948 as Governor of Nigeria.  The constitution came into being after a constitutional conference was held at the village, regional and central level. Some of its features were:

  1. It established a central legislative and a central executive council for the whole country.
  2. There were regional legislative and regional executive council for the north, west and east.
  • The constitution introduced the federal system of government in Nigeria with division of powers between the central government and regional government.
  1. In the North, only male tax-payers voted, while in the West and the East, both sexes voted.
  2. In Lagos, as in the regions, the executive councils dominated by Nigerians were the principal policy making body.
  3. In all executive councils, decisions were by majority vote. The presiding governor in Lagos or the lieutenant-governor in each regions cast votes only when there was a tie.
  • The governor could sometimes take decisions or act, without, or against the advice of the council of ministers, if he thought that was the best in the public interest.

Merits of Macpherson constitution

  1. Macpherson did extensive consultation before drafting the constitution thus, many Nigerians were involved in the drafting of the constitution.
  2. Nigerians were for the first term appointed ministers at both regional and central government levels.
  • The bicameral legislative structure was extended to western region
  1. It allowed for an elected majority in both the central and regional legislatures.
  2. Elections into the central and regional legislatures were direct.
  3. It created the office of the speaker for the first time to preside over the legislature



Demerits of Macpherson Constitution of 1951

  1. The existence of regional/ethnic politics which weakened the central legislature, that is, the representatives at the centre were more loyal to their regions.
  2. The constitution made no provision for a responsible government at the centre, e.g. the ministers were not given portfolios, but could initiate discussion of policy in the council.
  • The exclusion of Nnamdi Azikwe from the central legislature led to the crisis in the Eastern House of Assembly.
  1. The motion for self government moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1953 in the House of Representatives asking for self-government for Nigeria in 1956 which was rejected by the Northern politicians caused bad blood between Northern and Southern politicians.
  2. Kano riot of 1953 demonstrated the weakness and failures of Macpherson constitution.
  3. Regional based political parties: The three major parties – the NCNC, NPC, and AG were all regional parties. None of them commanded a nation – wide support.
  • Crisis within NCNC as a party, which erupted in 1953 and resulted in the expulsion of some party members. The expected members formed a new party called United Independent Party.
  • No provision was made for the office of a prime minister as head of government in the country and premiers for the regions, whereas the offices of council of ministers and regional executive council were created at the central and regional levels of government respectively.
  1. Dual membership in the legislature of the lieutenant-governors of the regions who were also members of both regional legislature and the House of Representatives.
  2. Veto power provided by the constitution which empowered with veto power to legislate on any matter in the country.

Oliver Lyttleton became the governor general in 1954. After the London and Lagos constitutional conferences held in 1953, a new constitution was written for Nigeria by governor Lyttleton. Some of its features were:

  1. Nigeria formally became a federation with the federal government and three regional governments.
  2. The regions were more autonomous.
  • It made provision for the office of the speaker and deputy speaker.
  1. There were premiers in the three regions who were Nigerians.
  2. Ministers were made heads of departments, having full responsibilities for their ministries.
  3. It introduced direct elections into the federal and regional legislatures in Nigeria.

Merits of Lyttleton constitution.

  1. The constitution officially established the federal system of government in Nigeria
  2. It clearly specified the division of powers between the central and regional government
  3. Ministers were given portfolios and were in control of their ministries
  4. It established the offices of speaker and deputy speaker in the Nigerian legislature
  5. The regional government had Premiers who were Nigerians as leaders
  6. He granted real law making powers to the regional legislatures

Demerits of Lyttleton Constitution of 1954

  1. Loyalty of ministers to their regional leaders. This happened because their regional leaders were not part of the central decision making body – the federal Council of ministers.
  2. No provision for the office of a prime minister as head of government of Nigeria, even when there was the council of ministers.
  3. Retention of official members in the federal and regional executives.
  4. There was no uniform electoral system. The North had a different electoral system – adult male electoral suffrage while the East, West and Central legislature was direct election based on universal adult suffrage.
  5. There was Senate as the second chamber at the central legislature.
  6. Veto and Reserve powers. The constitution still gave veto and reserve powers to the Head of state (Governor General) and even to reject bills, accept or reject advice.
  7. Establishment of a Supreme Court: Even though the Supreme Court was established, it had no power to entertain appellate cases in Nigeria. Also, it was not made the highest court in the country.
  8. Regionalization of the public service which strengthened the regions at the expense of the federal public service.


  1. What is a constitution?
  2. Identify two other things a constitution does.
  3. Describe the two phases of Nigerian constitutional development.
  4. Who amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorate in 1914?
  5. Who was the first Governor General?
  6. Identify two main features of Sir Hugh Clifford constitution of 1962.
  7. Identify six features of colonial constitution.



Nigeria became an independent and a sovereign nation on October 1, 1960. British officials went back to Britain and Nigerians were in charge of their own government. It features were:

  1. Nigeria remained a federal state with three regions – north, east and west.
  2. Bicameral legislature (The Senate and House of representative at the centre).
  • The preservation of people’s fundamental human right.
  1. The prime minister became the head of government and the premiers became the heads of government in the regions while governor-general and regional governors became ceremonial heads.
  2. The appointments of judges were put in the hands of a judicial service commission.
  3. It created new region – Midwestern region was created in 1963.
  • It made provision for constitutional amendments that could only be initiated by the federal government while the regions could only support such initiative.
  • It made provision for citizenship of Nigeria.
  1. It granted powers over emergency situation to the federal government. This was what was used over the Western region in 1962.
  2. It made ‘need, national interest and balanced development’ the basis for revenue allocation.
  3. It gave the federal Supreme Court the power of judicial review. That is, the court could cancel or annul the laws and actions of both the federal and regional governments.

Merits of Independence Constitution:

  1. The 1960 constitution made Nigeria a full- fledged sovereign state.
  2. The constitution created a lot of employment opportunities for Nigerians in the civil service.
  3. As a sovereign state, it marked the beginning of new diplomatic era in which Nigeria joined international UNO, OPEC etc.
  4. It made provision for the protection of human rights.
  5. The existing regions and their boundaries were safeguarded in the constitution.
  6. Nigeria was able to establish trade relations with other nations which contributed to the expanding Nigerian foreign trade.


Demerits of Independence Constitution:

  1. Partial independence:The independence of 1960 was a partial one because it did not bring a total sovereignty to the country. The Queen was still the Head of state.
  2. Final Court of Appeal:Even though there was a supreme court in the country, yet, it had no power over appellate cases. Nigerians could only appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
  3. There was the possibility of Britain still interfering in the internal affairs of the country as long as the Queen remained the Head of state.


Features of Colonial Constitution

  1. Creation of two councils; the legislative and executive council.
  2. Introduction of an elective principle.
  • Division of Nigeria into three regions with each having its regional council.
  1. Regional assemblies were granted power to make laws for their region.
  2. Three legislative lists were drawn (the exclusive, the concurrent and the residual list).
  3. Lagos was proclaimed Federal Capital Territory.
  • Provision for the office of the speaker and deputy speaker.
  • The preservation of the people’s fundamental human right.



  2. The form of government adopted was republican form of government.
  3. The Queen ceased to be the Head of state. The president as a ceremonial Head of state replaced the Governor-General of 1960.
  • The Privy Council in London ceased to be the highest court in Nigeria but the Supreme Court.
  1. The name Governor General was changed to president.
  2. Fundamental human right guaranteed by the constitution.
  3. It granted the federal government power to declare a state of emergency in any part of the country.
  • The National Parliament was made up of 44 members of Senate and 312 members of the House of Representatives.
  • The office of the prime minister was strengthened but remained answerable and accountable to the parliament.
  1. A federal judge could only be removed by a two-third majority of both Houses – Senate and Representatives.
  2. The prime minister could not be removed except a vote of no confidence was passed on him by the House and if he refused to resign, the parliament would be dissolved.

Merits of Republican constitution of 1963:

  1. The fundamental human rights of the citizens was entrenched in the constitution.
  2. It established a federal electoral commission for the conduct of election the country.
  • It made the supreme court the final court of appeal.
  1. It established the police force for the whole country.
  2. Nigerians were fully involved in directing the affairs of their country.

Demerits of Republican Constitution of 1963

  1. There was no supremacy of the constitution but of the parliament.
  2. The prime minister was accountable to the parliament and not to the people.
  • The supremacy of the parliament led to the abuse of power or arbitrary use of power by the legislature.
  1. The election of the president was not based on the decision of the majority but by the minority.
  2. There was lobbying, bribery and corruption which characterized the election of the president.
  3. There was no separation but fusion of powers. The executive and the legislature were both fused. It did not make for effective performance.
  • Carpet-crossing was the common feature of the First Republic. Politicians were shifting party allegiance for some rewards.



After thirteen years of military rule, a search began for a workable constitution.

In July 1975, Murtala Mohammed formed a constitution drafting committee which submitted its report and was approved by the Obasanjo regime. It was adopted as the constitution of the second republic on the 1st of October, 1979 the same day the military handed over power to the civilian. The constitution established a presidential system (executive president is both the head of state, government and commander in chief of the armed forces).

The president is elected in a general election, declared military coup unconstitutional, each of the 19 states had a House of Assembly.

Features of 1979 Constitution

  1. The constitution established a presidential system (executive president is both the head of state, government and commander in chief of the armed forces).
  2. The vice president was nominated by the president as the running-mate of the president who came from the same party with the president.
  3. The constitution established a bi-cameral legislature. The House of Representatives had 450 members and the Senate 95 members. The houses are jointly called National Assembly.
  4. There was a fixed term of office for the federal and state executives. The duration was a four-year term, though they could still run for another second term of four years. The duration of the members of the houses at the national and state assemblies were four years term, they also could be re-elected.
  5. There was separation of powers. The legislature and the executives were completely separated in both functions and personnel.
  6. The establishment of federal character principle.
  7. The constitution made provision for a democratically elected local government council with the functions of the councilors.
  8. The president has the whole country as his constituency and was directly elected by the electorates.
  9. The Chief Justice of the federation was to be appointed by the president, with the senate’s approval. All other justices of the Supreme Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Federal High Courts were appointed by the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
  10. The constitution was to be the supreme law of the land.

Merits of 1979 Presidential constitution:

  1. It provided for separation of powers among the organs of government.
  2. It brought in a new system of government. That is presidential system to replace parliamentary system.
  • I created the local government as the third tier of government in order to bring development to the rural area.
  1. It was easy to limit through the constitution, the term of office of the president or governor.
  2. The president was directly elected by the electorate in general election.

Demerits of 1979 Presidential Constitution:

  1. The constitution was not specific enough on the expectations concerning character and ability for aspiration to leadership positions.
  2. The impeachment clause was misused by the legislators in situations where different parties controlled the legislature and the executive. The executive was not allowed a conducive atmosphere to function effectively.
  • The system was too complicated for many of those involved in implementing it.
  1. In spite of checks and balances, the chief executive still has room for dictatorial actions.
  2. The constitution still allowed a winner-take-all situation where there was little room for consensus and thus bitter rivalries and instability ensued.



At the end of 1983, it had become clear that the 1979 constitution had failed. The Shagari/Ekwueme administration was overthrown by Buhari on the 31st of December, 1983. The military suspended the 1979 constitution and ruled by decrees and edicts. Buhari government was overthrown by Babaginda in 1985, and in 1987 the 1979 constitution was reviewed and was approved by the Armed Forces Ruling Council in 1989. The 1989 constitution adopted the 1979 constitution with some amendments.

The political bureau was established on 13 January 1986 with seventeen members. It collated the views of Nigerians on nation’s political future and wrote a report on this for Constitution Review Committee (CRC). The CRC was inaugurated on 7 September, 1987 with forty-six members to use the recommendations of the political bureau in reviewing the 1963 and 1979 republican constitutions.

Features of 1989 Presidential Constitution

  1. There was separation of powers as members of the executive are not members of the legislature. This promoted the effectiveness of the organs and freedom and liberty of the citizens.
  2. The president was above his political parties. The party did not have control over him since he was popularly elected by the electorates.
  • The president appoints his ministers. He can direct and check their activities as they are individually responsible to him.
  1. The constitution was supreme and as such must be obeyed and respected by all authorities and citizens.
  2. It fixed the tenure of office of the political office holder, thus, it prevented the tendencies of any leader or party from perpetuating itself in power.
  3. Fundamental human rights were fully elaborated and guaranteed.
  • A new federal capital territory was provided for by the constitution.

Merits of 1989 Presidential Constitution:

  1. The two party system made the choice of the electorate more focused with reduced confusion as in multi- party system.
  2. Minimum qualification of age and education for candidates eliminated immature and ignorant people from participating in governance.
  • The greater prominence of local government made room for more rapid development at the local and rural areas.
  1. It  averted the ” two third” (2/3) controversy of the 1979 presidential election by making provision for fractions arising from the computation of votes to be rounded up to the next whole number
  2. It identified the three forms of Nigerian citizenship namely- citizenship by birth registration and naturalization.

Demerits of 1989 Presidential Constitution:

  1. The two party system limited the choice of both politicians and the electorate
  2. Part time status and allowances given to legislators made them concentrate more on their private business than on law making
  • The law-makers can use the impeachment clause indiscriminately and to victimize a political opponent.
  1. The appointment of people into federal establishments may not reflect federal character. This is because some sections of the country would still feel neglected.
  2. There is the possibility of problems coming up between the executive and the legislature especially when the ruling party is not maintaining the majority in the legislature.


  1. Attempts to improve on previous documents as the understanding of the Nigerian situation increased
  2. Efforts to make public officers more and more accountable to the people by progressively increasing the participation of the indigenous people in government. For example, in the pre-independent years, Nigerian membership in the legislative council was 6/37 in 1914, 10/46 in 1922 and then regional legislature in 1946. Post-independence year had 312 members of the House of Representatives in 1963 and 450 in 1979. Local government too had grown in number.



  1. What were the common features in the past and present Constitutions in Nigeria?
  2. What was the main advantage of constitutional development in Nigeria?



Objective Test

  1. Nigeria became a federation under the 1954 constitution because the constitution –(a) provided for equal representation between the North and the South (b) created the post of a prime minister (c) provided for direct election of members of parliament (d) provided for a division of functions between the centre and the component units.
  2. Nigeria was formally divided into three regions under the constitution of (a) 1922 (b) 1946 (c)1951 (d) 1960
  3. A major feature of the constitution in the British West African colonies in the 1920s was the   (a) introduction of the elective principle (b) removal of the colonial Governors by the legislative councils (c) introduction of universal Adult Suffrage (d) abolition of local government.
  4. The NCNC sent delegation to London in 1947 to protest against the (a) Clifford Constitution (b) Republican Constitution (c) Richard Constitution (d) Macpherson Constitution
  5. The 1979 constitution sought to solve some of the problems associated with Nigerian  federalism by  (a) the reflection of federal character in  public appointments (b) an equitable revenue allocation (c) less stringent conditions for the creation of more states (d) less stringent conditions for secession
  6. The major innovation of Republican constitution of 1963 was that  (a) the Prime Minister ceased to be the Head of states (b) the Governor-General’s office as the representative of the Queen was abolished (c) the Cabinet was no longer responsible to the Legislature (d) it introduced the executive presidential system
  7. The 1954 Lyttleton constitution marked the beginning of formal federalism in Nigeria because it (a) creates the posts of the Governor-General at the centre and the Governor in the regions (b) created a council of Ministers at the centre (c) outlined the division of powers between the centre and the regions (d) outlined the limits  of powers of the judiciary, executive and the legislature
  8. One major achievement of Richard constitution in Nigeria was that it  (a) united the North and the South under a Council (b) introduced the elective principle (c) allowed the participation of traditional rulers in the council (d)  provided for official Africans in the Council
  9. The General Conference of 1950 on Nigeria  was held in   (a) Jos (b) Ibadan (c) London (d) Enugu
  10. One defect of the Macpherson Constitution was that   (a) franchise was still limited to Lagos and Calabar (b) Nigerians were not given representation in the parliament (c) Nigerian ministers were not charged with full Ministerial responsibilities (d) Nigerians could not discuss their own affairs in the Regional Assemblies


  1. Identify three constitutions that were promulgated before the 1960 constitution.
  2. Give a summary of Lyttleton constitution.
  • State 2 features of the 1960 independence constitution.
  1. State two key features of the Sir Arthur Richards Constitution 1946.
  2. List three main features of Macpherson constitution 1951.
  3. Identify three features of the 1979 constitution.
  • What were the common features in the past and present Constitutions in Nigeria?
  • Write out the Republican Constitution in order.


Read Government for Senior Secondary Schools Book 2 by R.E. Aiyede et al (2012); Melrose Nigeria Limited. Pages 89–96.


Read about 1999 Republican Constitution.







DATE: ………………….                                                                              


CONTENT:   (a) Origin and Features of 1999 Constitution.     

(b) Strengths and weaknesses of the 1999 Constitution.  





The presidential election of 1993 (June 12) was annulled; the head of state, General Sanni Abacha started a constitutional amendment process.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who took over from Abacha, set up a constitution drafting committee. A new constitution emerged called the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Features of the 1999 Republican Constitution

  1. The constitution retains the 1979 and 1989 constitution.
  2. The constitution provides for a bicameral legislature, consisting of the House of Representatives and Senate, and a unicameral legislature (House of Assembly) for each state.
  3. The Secondary School Certificate is the minimum qualification for those wishing to contest elections into national and state positions such as legislators, president and governors.
  4. The constitution provides for 774 local government councils.
  5. Local government councils are to be administered by democratically elected chairmen and councilors.
  6. The constitution provides for revenue allocation formula.
  7. It retains the federal system of government with the sharing of powers.
  8. It provides for fundamental human rights.
  9. It defines the three forms of Nigerian citizenship: citizenship by birth, citizenship by naturalization and citizenship by registration.
  10. There is provision for the independence of the judiciary.
  11. It retains the thirty-six state structure and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
  12. The constitution provides for the Federal Character Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Federal Judicial Service Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission, National Defense Council, National Population Commission, National Economic Council, National Judicial Council, National Police Council, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Police Service Commission and the Council of States.



  1. Write a brief history of 1999 Republican Constitution.
  2. Outline six features of 1999 Republican Constitution.



  1. The constitution ushered in both the fourth republic and presidential system of government.
  2. It makes provision for minimum educational age and qualifications, thereby reducing inexperience and illiteracy in government.
  • There is room for greater political awareness and political development at the grassroots.
  1. It allows for smooth transfer of power from military to civilians.

Failures/weaknesses of 1999 Republican Constitution

  1. The military imposed the constitution on the citizens of the country.
  2. It is too rigid and difficult to amend.
  • The constitution was made to suit Abacha’s purpose.
  1. The constitution was hurriedly prepared and therefore was full of errors.
  2. The position of local government in the constitution is open to several interpretations. This has resulted in judicial and other disputes among the local governments, states and federal government.
  3. The creation of revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission meant that revenue allocation formula which should be enshrined in the constitution is now subject to dictates of the federal government.
  • The constitution vested too much power in the federal government.


  1. All post independent constitution maintains the presidential system of government.
  2. The post-independence constitutions were all written by Nigerians and for the Nigerian people.
  • The fundamental human rights are entrenched in all the constitutions.
  1. It declares the supremacy of the constitution.
  2. The constitution provides for a bicameral legislature for the federal government (two houses chambers) and unicameral legislature in the state (one house or chamber).
  3. The constitution provide for citizenship requirements by birth, registration and neutralization.
  • Power is held by the people’s representative with a president.
  • All the constitutions are written.




  1. Write four strengths of 1999 constitution.
  2. What are the failures/weaknesses of 1999 constitution?


Objective Test

  1. The 1999 constitution was initiated during the regime of  (a) Gen Ibrahim Babangida (b) Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (c) Alhaji Tafawa Balewa (c) Gen Sanni Abacha
  2. 1999 constitution made provision for ………. Local Government.  (a) 276 (b)774 (c) 800 (d) 38
  3. The type of legislative houses provided for in 1999 constitution was  (a) unicameral (b) bicameral (c) multi-cameral  (d) steno-cameral
  4. The minimum educational qualification for those wishing to contest into national and state political offices as provided for in 1999 constitution was …… (a) minimum of secondary school certificate (b) maximum of masters degree (c) minimum of primary schools leaving certificate (d) first degree holder
  5. One of the weaknesses of 1999 republican constitution is ……. (a) it made provision for fundamental human rights (b) it led to civil war (c) it made provision for parliamentary system of government (d) it is too rigid and difficult to  amend.


  1. Write four strengths of 1999 constitution.
  2. What are the failures of 1999 constitution?
  3. Write a brief history of 1999 Republican Constitution.
  4. Outline six features of 1999 Republican Constitution.
  5. Name some of the commissions provided for in 1999 constitution.
  6. Write out all the constitutional development stages in Nigeria from pre-independence period to 1999 with dates.




Read Government for Senior Secondary Schools Book 2 by R.E. Aiyede et al (2012); Melrose Nigeria Limited. Pages 97–100


Read about procedure for constitutional review.







DATE: ………………….                                                                              


CONTENT: (a) Procedure for Constitutional Review.      

                   (b) Parts of the 1999 Constitution Needing Review.      

                     (c) Process of Law Making in the States and National Assemblies.




According to a section of 1999 Constitution, an act for the alteration of any provision of the constitution (exception is the matter of new states and boundary adjustment, etc.) begins as a proposal. The proposal has to be approved by the votes of not less than four-fifth majority of all the members of each house of the National Assembly and also approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the states. When the bill is now considered in the National Assembly, it shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the states. Notwithstanding, any vacancy, all 360 members of the House of Representatives and 109 senators shall be present for all these deliberations.

The Nigerian Constitution is very clear on this issue and any statutory or case law that is inconsistent to the provision of the Constitution is to the extent of its inconsistencies void.

Section 9 of the Nigerian Constitution provided for the amendment of the constitution as follows:

(1) The National Assembly may, subject to the provisions of this section, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution;

(2)   Any act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this constitution, not being an Act to which section 8 of this constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States;

(3)   An Act of the National assembly for the purpose of altering the provisions of this section, section 8 and Chapter IV of this constitution shall not be passed by either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is approved by the votes of not less than four fifths majority of all the members of each House and also approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the states.

Although this power of the National Assembly is quite distinct from its ordinary law making power, the procedure is almost the same as in the case of ordinary bill. An amendment of the constitution involves the National Assembly, State House of Assembly and the President. Most commentators are interpreting section 9 in isolation and ignoring sections 58 (1), (5) of the Constitution, and section 2 of the Interpretation Acts that mandated presidential assent to all bills or act.


Section 58 of the constitution stated above provides as follows:

(1) the power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided by subsection (5) of this section, assented to by the President.

(2)  A bill may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives and shall not become law unless it has been passed and, except as otherwise provided by this section and section 59 of this Constitution, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3)  Where a bill has been passed by the House in which it originated, it shall be sent to the other House, and it shall be presented to the President for assent when it has been passed by that other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendment made on it.

(4)  Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.

(5)  Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”

Also, Section 2 of the Interpretation Act Cap 123, Laws of the federation of Nigeria provides that “an act is passed when the President assents to the bill or the act, whether or not the act then comes into force”.

As stated above the only departure from presidential assent is when a President exercises veto and refuses to assent, to sign a bill into law, then members of the National Assembly can pass the bill all over again by two thirds majority.

There is no other way in which a law, including a law for the amendment of the Constitution, can be made, except it is passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President as stated above. Furthermore, there is no provision which, either expressly or impliedly, take away from section 58, a bill for an Act to amend any of the provisions of the Constitution.

Section 9 (2) does not take away the power of the president in the amendment process, what it does was to strengthen the amendment process and increase the people’s participation in the process. This process is in no way in variance to the provisions of section 58 of the constitution.

It is interesting to note that Article 5 of the United States Constitution which provides for the amendment of its constitution at no point referred to the proposal of Congress or State government to amend the constitution as an “Act”. The intention of the framers of the constitution is clear of the role of the US President in the  amendment process as was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798]). The US Supreme Court held that the US President have no role in the amendment process.

Suffice to state that the intentions of the drafters of the Nigerian constitution are not in doubt when they refer to the proposed amendment as an Act. An Act of the National Assembly can only become law after presidential assent as clearly stated in our laws. The language of Section 9(2) does not in any way obviate the President from the amendment process.


  1. Explain the procedures of constitutional amendment.
  2. Who are the people responsible for the amendment?


Some parts of the constitution needing review are as follow:

  1. The revenue allocation formula.
  2. More than 50% of the distributable pool account is given to the federal government; the state and the local government share less than 50%. This is according to the Okigbo Presidential Commission on Revenue Allocation Act. This puts too much money at the disposal of the federal government and too little for the state and local governments, which are closer to the people.
  • The immunity clause:It provides too much protection for corrupt political office holders, which makes them feel more important than they really should be.



A bill is a proposed law to be discussed in the parliament in order for it to become law. A bill therefore metamorphosed into a law. For a bill passed in the parliament to become a law, the president or Head of State has to give his assent i.e. sign the bill.


  1. Public Bill:This is a bill that deals with matter or problems that affect the whole or a section of the country. This type of bill comes from the executive arm to the legislature.
  2. Money Bill:This type of bills deal with how government raises and spends money. A money bill can therefore be in form of budget that deals with total estimated revenue and expenditure of government in a financial year. Money bill originates from the executive.
  3. Private Member’s Bill: This is a bill introduced into the parliament by a member of such house or parliament.
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  1. FIRST READING: This is when the draft of a bill is presented to the clerk of the house by a minister or a member of the parliament depending on the type of the bill. Members of the parliament will be notified about the presence of such bill by the clerk of the house who will read out the title. It will be printed out in leaflets and circulated to the members of the house for them to study before the second reading which the date will also be fixed.
  2. SECOND READING: this is the stage in which the person that brings the bill to the house will explain to the house the purpose of the bill. Members of the parliament will then debate or argue for or against the bill whether it should be read the second time. It will be put into vote and if more members vote for the bill, it will move to the next stage and if not, that will be the end of the bill. No amendment of the bill will be proposed and made at this stage.
  3. COMMITTEE STAGE: This is a stage where the bill is referred to a committee which can be committee of the whole house or standing committee depending on the importance of the bill. A committee of the house comprises of all members chaired by the speaker or president of the house or senate respectively. All the member of the committee of the whole house considers the bill section by section and amendment proposed and voted for. In a less important bill, it will be referred to standing committee where members are constituted into groups of four or five for purposes of considering bills. The bill will now be considered in each committee and amendment made.
  4. REPORT STAGE: At this stage, all the findings of the various standing committees are reported to the house or after all amendments have been made. It is the speaker or the chairman of the standing committee as the case may be who would read the bill in its amended form to the house.
  5. THIRD READING: At this final stage, a thorough look would be taken to on the bill in order to correct certain errors connected with the drafting or amendment. A final vote is also taken on the bill at this stage. The bill will now be taken to the president for his assentafter the bill has passed all the five stages in both houses of representative and senate. The bill will automatically become a law after being signed by the President.

In case of presidential veto, the president has the power in an executive presidential system of government to veto the legislative bill by not signing it to become a law. After thirty days, the legislature is empowered to withdraw such a bill back to the legislature. If the bill is now supported by two-third majority, the bill thus becomes a law automatically without the president assent.                         


  1. Describe the process of law-making by and National Assemblies.
  2. Outline the stages involved in passing a bill into law.
  3. Define a bill.
  4. Identify the aspect of the 1999 constitution that needs review.



  • The first stage of a bill becoming a law is ———-(a) second reading (b) presidential assent (c) first reading (d) two third majority.
  • Constitutionalism implies that (a) citizens should read the constitution always (b) leaders should ignore the dictates of the constitution (c) citizens should challenge the provisions of the constitution (d) leaders should act according to the stipulations of the constitution.
  • A bill initiated by members of the legislature is———(a) private member bill (b) public bill (c) appropriation bill (d) money bill
  • The body that initiates public bill is ———(a) the press (b) the executive (c) the judiciary (d) members of the public
  • A bill is ————- (a) a postponed law (b) an obnoxious law (c) proposed law (d) a bad law


Read extensively from your e-note and your text books in preparation for your examination


WEEK 8                                  DATE……………………………….                                       



  2. Emergence of Federalism in Nigeria
  3. Factors that necessitated the formation of federalism
  4. Conferences organised by the colonial powers
  6. Structure of Nigerian Federalism.
  7. Federalism before independence
  8. 1960-196
  • 1967-1975
  1. 1976 to date
  2. Features of Nigerian federalism.


Before the advent of colonial rule, Nigeria was made up of various independent kingdoms which were tribal in nature. The British government annexed Lagos in 1861 and formally took over the administration of Nigeria in 1900. The British government then established two protectorates namely Northern and Southern Protectorates and administered it separately from the Colony of Lagos. The origin of Nigerian federalism can therefore be traced to from 1914 as outlined below.

  1. In 1914, Lord Lugardamalgamated the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria.
  2. In 1922 Sir Hugh Cliffordbecame the Governor and a constitution named Clifford Constitution was promulgated. The Constitution provided for legislative councils for the Colony and Southern Protectorate of Nigeria. The Northern region was excluded from the council. The elective principle introduced paved way for political parties only in the south,
  • In 1946, another constitution named after Arthur Richardswas promulgated. The constitution introduced regionalism under which the country was divided into three regions namely: North, West and East. There was, however, no constitutional division of powers. Regional assemblies had no legislative powers.
  1. In 1951, the MacPherson Constitution introduced a quasi-federal system which gave legislative powers on specific issues to the regional government but subject to the ratification of the central government.
  2. In 1954, the LyttletonConstitution formally established a true federal system of government which divided legislative powers into exclusive, concurrent and residual lists. Premiers were appointed to head the three regions.

Federalism have continued in Nigeria with a break in 1966 when Aguiyi Ironsi’s administration attempted to revert Nigeria to a Unitary System. Federalism was restored six months later by the government of General Yakubu Gowon. Federalism has been in Nigeria with minor modifications and changes till date.


  1. The amalgamation of the North and South in 1914 laid historical foundation of Federalism in Nigeria.
  2. The large size of the country.
  3. Diversity in culture and ethnic composition
  4. Geographical contiguity: The ethnic groups are geographically contiguous or very close to each other.
  5. The need to protect the interest of the minority groups.
  6. The threat of Northern region to secede from Nigeria in 1953.
  7. Nigeria has a large population with more than 150 million people.
  8. Outcome of constitutional conferences: The 1953 and 1954 constitutional conferences agreed to establish the federal system of government in Nigeria.
  9. Fear of domination of the minority.


Before the formal establishment of federalism in 1954 under the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954, the Colonial government have organised several constitutional conferences namely: the 1950 Ibadan Conference, 1953 London Conference and 1954 Lagos Conference.


Sir John MacPherson on assumption of office as the Governor of Nigeria took steps to avoid the mistakes of the former Governor, Sir Arthur Richard especially on the issue of lack of consultation with the people of Nigeria before drafting the 1946 Constitution. He initiated moves for Nigerians to agree to constitutional changes. The draft of the MacPherson Constitution was debated at the village, district, provincial and regional levels and eventually a general conference was held in Ibadan between 9 and 28 January 1950. The following decisions were reached at the conference.

  1. The 1946 Richard Constitution did not provide any power for the regional councils. The Conference gave limited legislative powers to the regions.
  2. Responsibility for ministers: The conference agreed that a council of ministers should be created involving Nigerians.
  3. Wider regional legislature: Regional legislature should be created and made wider to accommodate more representatives.
  4. Increase legislative powers: With increase autonomy of the regions, there should be a corresponding increase in their legislative powers.
  5. House of representatives: To be enlarged making room for more representatives.
  6. Increase seats: Northern Nigeria was to provide half of the seats in the house of representatives i.e. 50% of the seats.
  7. Revenue allocation:The conference agreed that an independent commission should be constituted to be in charge of revenue allocation.
  8. Powers of the tiers of government: The powers of the tiers of government were defined and in case of conflict, the powers of the central government should prevail.

This conference was held due to the collapse of MacPherson Constitution of 1951. The conference was called by the Secretary of State for the colonies, Oliver Lyttleton. The Conference was attended by 19 delegates, 6 from each region and 1 from Cameroons.

The following decisions were arrived at:

  1. There should be federal government and its powers should be clearly stated as well as the regional government. The federal and residual lists were drawn up.
  2. The regional lieutenant governors should be called governors while the governor of Nigeria should be called governor-general.
  3. Lagos should be separated from the western region and made a neutral federal capital.
  4. That a conference to be held in Lagos in 1954 should ratify a separate regional administration in the Cameroons if the people indicate interest through a referendum.
  5. That Her Majesty’s Government would grant self-government to those regions which desire it in 1956.

The conference was held as a follow-up to the 1953 London Conference. It was to settle some unresolved political problems by the 1953 London Conference.

The conference met in January 1954 under the chairmanship of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The conference considers the reports of the Sir Louis Chicks Commission published in December 1953.

The following were the decisions of the 1954 constitutional conference held in Lagos:

  1. It accepted the proposals put forward by the Sir Louis Chicks Fiscal Commission on the allocation of financial resources to the federal and regional governments.
  2. That the public service should be regionalized.
  3. It granted autonomy to Southern Cameroon.


  1. Trace the evolution of Nigerian Federalism from 1914 to 1954.
  2. Outline five factors that necessitated the formation of federalism in Nigeria.
  3. Mention five decisions arrived at by the 1950 Ibadan Conference.
  4. Mention 2 other constitutional conferences that were held before the formal establishment of true federalism in Nigeria.




Lyttleton Constitution established Federal system of government in Nigeria. The constitution provided for division of powers between the central and regional governments. The powers were shared into exclusive, concurrent and residual lists. Some items on the exclusive lists which were reserved for the central government are foreign affairs, currency, immigration, customs, mining, etc.

Concurrent list of items were for both the federal and regional governments. These included industrial development, public safety, health, etc. Matters on the residual list were reserved only for regional government. Such items included primary and secondary education, local health services, minor roads, etc. The civil service and the judiciary were regionalized. Premiers were appointed to head the various regions.


The 1960 independence constitution came into operation on 1 October, 1960. It adopted a parliamentary system of government based on the principles of federalism. It provided for bi-cameral legislature both at the federal and regional levels. The office of the prime minister was created. He was the head of government chosen from the leader of the party that commands the majority seats in the parliament. The first prime minister in Nigeria was Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The office of the governor-general was also created and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the governor-general. The three regions were head by premiers appointed from the parties that commands majority in the various regions.

The judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts were appointed on the advice of the judicial service commission. All cases of final appeal were referred to the Judicial Privy Council in London.

Nigeria became a republic in 1963 and a new constitution was promulgated. The constitution stated that the governor-general should be replaced by a president and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe  became the first President of the Republic of Nigeria as well as head of state.

The Queen of England ceased to be the Head of State of Nigeria. The supreme Court in Nigeria also became the final court of appeal instead of the Privy Council in London. The mid-western region was created on 13 august, 1963 bringing the number of regions to four. The federal structure continued in Nigeria until 1966 when the first military intervention into the politics of Nigeria took place on January 15, 1966. The new head of government Major General J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi enacted Decree No. 34 called unification Decree. This decree abolished federalism and adopted Unitarianism though it was short-lived the government was toppled within six months. Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon took over the leadership of the country. He sub-divided the country into 12 states – an attempt to weaken the hands of Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, the then head of the eastern region from seceding. But three days after the division on May 30, 1967, Ojukwu proclaimed the Eastern region as an independent state of Biafra. The civil war that followed which lasted for about three years 1967-1970 threatened Nigerian Federalism.


As the military came into politics, ethnicity was introduced into Nigerian army. The twelve states created by the Gowon regime returned Nigeria to federalism. The Supreme legislative body was the Supreme Military Council headed by the Head of State. By 29 July, 1975 another military coup took place that ousted General Gowon and ushered in then Brigadier Murtala Muhammed to power. A panel was set up to examine the creation of new states. The regime created seven more states bringing the total number to 19 states. It was also decided that the federal capital would move to Abuja.


General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated in an abortive coup led by Lt. Col. Dimka on 13 February, 1976. General Obasanjo being the second in command took over the leadership. There was a reform in the local government. Through this reform, local government was made the third tier of government. General Obasanjo regime carried out a successful transition to civilian rule. The elected leaders were sworn in on 1 October, 1979. Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the first executive president of Nigeria. His government was also toppled by another military coup on 31 December, 1983. The coup brought in General Muhammadu Buhari and Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon to power. The regime embarked on some radical changes. On 27 August, 1985 another military coup took place and brought in Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. When he came in he made some changes. He adopted the title president instead of head of state. The regime created eleven states bringing the number of states to thirty. The regime embarked on an endless transition programme that terminated with the annulment of the 12 June, 1993 Presidential election and when the tension was high, he handed over power on 27 August, 1993 to Chief Ernest Shonekan. The interim government was later removed in another coup led by General Sani Abacha on 17 November, 1993. The regime created six additional states bringing the number to 36 states. Abacha’s government came to an end after his death on 8 June, 1998. After the death of Abacha, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar came in and initiated a ten-month transition programme which terminated on 29th of May 1999 when he handed over power to a democratically elected leader – President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He maintained the federal structure till date under President Goodluck Jonathan.


  1. Division of government powers among the federal, state and local government.
  2. The different levels of government in Nigeria derive their powers from the constitution.
  3. Duplication of organs of government and civil service at all levels of government in Nigeria.
  4. A written and rigid constitution is adopted.
  5. There is supremacy of the constitution.
  6. Existence of bi-cameral legislature at the centre from 1979 till date.
  7. Division of Nigeria into states.
  8. There is existence of Supreme Court for judicial interpretation and review.
  9. The prevalence of federal government laws in cases of conflict.
  10. The right of secession is outlawed.
  11. Existence of a single tier police force.
  12. Existence of statutory revenue allocation and sharing.



  1. Explain the structure of Nigerian federalism as follows:
  2. Before independence
  3. Between 1960-1966
  4. 1967-1975
  5. 1976 till date
  6. Highlight the six features of Nigerian Federalism.


  1. Trace the origin of Nigerian Federalism from 1914 – 1954
  2. Outline 6 factors that necessitated the adoption of federalism in Nigeria
  3. Describe the structure of Nigerian Federalism before independence.
  4. Mention three conferences that led to the establishment of federalism and their decisions.
  5. Highlight 6 features of Nigeria Federalism


  1. The exclusive list in a federal state includes
  2. Education
  3. Market
  4. Defense
  5. Transportation


  1. The type of government where the central authority is superior to the component authorities is a
  2. Parliamentary system of government
  3. Confederal system of government
  4. Federal system of government
  5. Representative system of government
  6. Nigeria was a federal state under the constitution of 1954 because the constitution provided for
  7. Equal representation between the north and south
  8. Division of functions between the centre and the component states
  9. Direct election of members of parliament
  10. The post of a prime minister
  11. In Nigeria, the concurrent list of powers belong to the
  12. Local authorities only
  13. Executive, the judiciary and the legislature
  14. Federal and state government
  15. State and local government
  16. Countries adopt federal system of government because of
  17. Uneven development
  18. Adoption of a state religion
  19. The fear of domination of the minorities
  20. The availability of limited resources
  21. The powers allocated to the central government in a federation are contained in the
  22. Central legislative list
  23. Exclusive legislative list
  24. Residual legislative list
  25. Concurrent legislative list
  26. The Nigerian Federal legislature is called the
  27. Senate
  28. Congress
  29. National assembly
  30. House of representatives

                ESSAY TEST

  1. Trace the evolution of Nigerian federalism from 1914 till date.
  2. Outline five factors that led to the adoption of federalism in Nigeria.

        READING ASSIGNMENT: Read New Approach to Government by Oyediran et al. Pages 169-175.

PRE-READING ASSIGNMENT: Read about problems of Nigerian Federalism.


WEEK 9                                        DATE………………….




  1. Problems of Nigerian Federalism.
  2. The Need for Revenue Allocation in a Federal State
  3. Revenue Allocation Formula
  4. Inter- ethnic rivalry
  5. Issue of secession
  6. Minority Issues and Creation of States.
  7. The Majority and Minority Ethnic Groups in Nigeria
  8. Reasons for the Demands of More States
  9. Complexity and Endless Nature of State Creation
  10. Recommendation of Willincks’ Commission
  11. Solutions to Minority Problems in Nigeria


The Need for Revenue Allocation in a Federal State

  1. Revenue allocation in a federal state may be defined as an attempt by the central government to reduce the inequalities among the various levels of government in the country taking into consideration the financial resources available to them. It also refers to the sharing of revenue and other resources generated in the country among the different levels or tier of government. In Nigeria, we have three tiers of government.

Within any country, there are many areas of inequalities .e.g. population size, land mass, wealth, rate of development etc. Hence in an attempt to find a suitable formula for the sharing of this revenue, a lot of commissions have been set up to recommend acceptable formula. From 1946-1988 the commissions were as follows.

  1. The Phillipson Commission (1946)
  2. The Hicks Phillipson Commission (1951)
  • The Chicks Commission (1953)
  1. The Raisman Commission (1958)
  2. The Binns Commission (1964)
  3. The Dina’s Commission (1968)
  • The Aboyade Technical Committee (1977)
  • The Okigbo Commission (1980)
  1. The Danjuma Commission (1998)


  1. Derivation: It is based on the principle that a given proportion be given to those areas where the revenue is generated or derived from.
  2. Population:This formula advocates that revenue should be allocated based on the population of the area. Meaning that the more your population, the more the revenue you will receive.
  3. Need:This formula is of the opinion that the revenue of a country should be or allocated to each level or unit based on the needs of the area; noting that each of the area has different needs which may require immediate attention.
  4. Even Development: As the name implies, the formula is to ensure that every areas that make up the country develops equally. As such it advocates that the less developed areas of the state be given a certain percentage of the revenue to enable it meet up with other developed areas so that the state can have a uniform development.
  5. National Interest: A certain percentage of the revenue is always set aside to cater for the interest of the whole nation.
  6. Minimum National Standard: This formula is of the opinion that revenue should be shared to all component states to enable them maintained a stated minimum standard in the performance of certain functions such as health, education, etc.
  7. Equality of all States: The formula states that equal percentage should be allocated to all the states of the federation irrespective of size, population, needs, level of development, etc.
  8. Fiscal Efficiency: This formula is to give to states based on the previous management of the resources given to them.


The federating states always quarrel over revenue allocation. Whatever formula that is chosen will be acceptable to some areas and rejected by some areas. For instance, when agricultural products were the major source of revenue in Nigeria, states that produced these agricultural products were in great support of the formula of derivation because with the formula they will get a special percentage of the revenue. On the other hand, those areas that had little or no agricultural product rejected such formula because it will not favour them and rather advocated for such formulae as population, national interest, even development.

At another time, when population is considered as the accepted formula, the areas with high population will welcome it while less populated areas will kick against it. Based on the above mentioned challenges, it has been very difficult to solve the problem of revenue allocation in Nigeria.



  1. Mention five criteria for revenue allocation formula in Nigeria.
  2. What are the problems associated with revenue allocation in Nigeria?


The Major and Minor Ethnic Groups in Nigeria

There are three major ethnic groups in Nigeria namely: the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba. The minority ethnic groups are very many and they are scattered across the major ethnic groups. For example, some of the following minority ethnic groups exist in Nigeria: Ijaw, Ibibio, Efik, Urhobo, Kanuri, Tiv, Nupe, etc.



There have been recurring agitations for the creation of new states and local government in Nigeria. The following are some of the reasons for the demand for new states:

  1. Ethnic Identity: Some ethnic groups want to be on their own and have their own government.
  2. Cultural Differences: Due to cultural differences, some ethnic groups desired to have their own states so they can govern themselves based on their culture.
  3. For Development Purposes: Some ethnic groups agitate for a state due to neglect from major ethnic group where they fall under. They demand for a new state so they too can develop.
  4. Need to Bring Government Nearer: The creation of new state will bring government nearer to the people at the grassroots. It will encourage even development.
  5. Minority Domination: Creation of states will remove the fear of domination of minority groups by the majority groups.
  6. Revenue Allocation: Many areas demand for new states so they can partake in the sharing of the country’s revenue.


Creation of states in Nigeria was carried out by military government. No civilian regime created states except the mid-western region that was created in 1963. The reasons are as follows:

  1. Lack of accurate data: There is no correct data as to the number of people living in a particular area. To create states, population must be taken into consideration.
  2. Lack of consensus: Within a given area, there can be great agitation for state creation among the various groups that make up the area. This will not bring unity of purpose.
  3. Selfish desires: Creation of states could also be demanded based on selfish interest.
  4. Viability: Some of the areas demanding for state creation may not be viable enough to generate internal revenue to manage its affairs.


  1. Major political parties would have to win the support of minorities.
  2. The affairs of the police should continue to be under the central government.
  3. It reported that there was no need for the creation of new states as hostilities was against the regional government and not the federal government. Also manpower will make the creation of states difficult.
  4. There should be plebiscite for Northern Nigeria
  5. The fundamental human rights should be entrenched in the constitution to safeguard the interest of the minority.


  1. Even Development: All parts of the country should be evenly developed. This will make the minority group to put their confidence in the central government
  2. Political Participation: Minority groups should be involved in decision making process so that they will have a sense of belonging and this will remove the feeling of being cheated or marginalized.
  3. Revenue Allocation: when the revenue is shared, they should be given their own share so that they can use it to develop their own areas or communities.
  4. Federal Character: This policy should be implemented so that the minorities can be fully represented in all the sectors in the state.
  5. Dialogue: Opportunity should be given to the minority groups to say their minds to the government so that there can be solutions.
  6. Justice, Fair-play and Transparency: The government should be open in their administration and there should be justice in the state.
  7. Free and Fair Elections: The electoral commission should conduct free and fair elections so that the minority will not have a reason to revolt or cause trouble in any part of the state.


  1. Explain 5 needs for the allocation of revenue in a federal state.
  2. Mention five formulas for allocating revenue in Nigeria.
  3. State the conflicts that arise over revenue allocation.
  4. Mention three major ethnic groups and five minor ethnic groups in Nigeria.
  5. What are the reasons for the demands for creation of states?
  6. Outline three recommendations of the Willinck’s Commission on the issue of state creation.
  7. Highlight four solutions to the problems of minority in Nigeria.


  1. Nigeria became a federation of 19 states in
  2. 1875
  3. 1976
  4. 1967
  5. 1979
  6. A unified local government was adopted in Nigeria under the
  7. Tafawa Balewa administration
  8. Yakubu Gowon administration
  9. Shehu Shagari administration
  10. Murtala/Obasanjo administration
  11. The predominant influence of Northern Nigeria in the first republic violated the federal principle of
  12. Effective cooperation among the constituents units
  13. Geographical contiguity
  14. Unity
  15. Absence of marked inequalities
  16. The problem of minority group in Nigeria was first raised in the
  17. 1953/53 constitutional conference
  18. 1957/58 constitutional conference
  19. 1960 conference
  20. 1963 constitution
  21. Nigeria became of four regions in
  22. 1954
  23. 1960
  24. 1963
  25. 1967
  26. The Chicks Commission in Nigeria was set up to look into the issue of
  27. Minority groups
  28. Revenue allocation
  29. State creation
  30. Constitutional amendment
  31. The unification Decree that turned Nigeria to a unitary state was promulgated during the regime of general
  32. Muhammadu Buhari
  33. Aguiyi Ironsi
  34. Olusegun Obasanjo
  35. Murtala Muhammad
  36. In the federation of Nigeria, states are equally represented in the
  37. Senate
  38. House of representatives
  39. Judiciary
  40. National population commission


  1. State three problems confronting Nigerian Federalism.
  2. Outline four solutions to minority problems in Nigeria.
  3. State 3 recommendations made by the Willincks Commission.

READING ASSIGNMENT: Read The New Analytical Study of Government by Sola Adu (2012). Pages 258 – 272.

PRE-READING ASSIGNMENT: Read about Inter-ethnic Rivalry and issue of Secession in Nigeria.

WEEK 10                                   DATE ……………………………..





  1. Inter-ethnic Rivalry and Issues of Secession
  2. The Nature of Ethnic Conflicts or Rivalry in Nigeria
  3. Problems of Secession in Nigeria
  4. Measures to avoid Secession in Nigeria


Inter- Ethnic rivalry: Since the inception of Nigeria, there has been rivalry among the different ethnic groups especially the major ethnic groups of Igbo, Yoruba and Housa- Fulani. The major problem is the question of leadership in the country. None of them want to concede the leadership of the country to the other.

Nature of Ethnic Conflicts in Nigeria

The nature of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria is in various forms namely:

  1. Political Disturbances: Some ethnic group may purposely cause problems in the country to destabilize the government.
  2. Destruction of Lives and Properties: Some ethnic groups take laws into their hands by killing people and destroying their properties to show their displeasures to the happenings in the society.
  3. Holding people as Hostages:Relatives of some important personalities or influential members of the society may be kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination until a ransom is paid. This is done in order to also show their displeasure over an issue or issues happening in the society.
  4. Boundary Disputes:Many at times, there are communal clashes over a piece of land or boundaries. This sometimes leads to loss of many lives and properties.
  5. Religious Disturbances: This is very rampant in Nigeria as religious groups especially the Muslim and Christian often embarked on religious killings over a minute religious doctrine.
  6. Bomb Blast: This is another nature of ethnic conflict where a particular ethnic group uses bomb to destroy the lives and properties of another ethnic group. It is very common in Nigeria these days especially with the religious sect called Boko Haram.



Secession means a formal withdrawal by a certain ethnic group from a federation. Some ethnic group in Nigeria attempted secession. For instance, the Northern region threatened to secede over the issue of motion raised by Chief Anthony Enahoro, a member of Action Group (AG). This led to the release of eight point agenda that will make them to secede. The Yorubas also threatened to secede over the attempt of the Federal Government to separate Lagos from the Western region. The Eastern part of the country seceded from the Federation between 1967 and 1970. This led to the Nigerian Civil War which claimed a lot of lives and properties.


  1. Good Government: Good governance will enhance political stability in the country. This will hinder secession.
  2. Negotiation: a peaceful way of resolving conflicts should be adopted. One of it is negotiation where the aggrieved parties will come together and discuss their grievances in order to proffer lasting solutions.
  3. Political Education: People should be enlightened on the dangers of secession. This will help them to desist from such actions that can threaten the security of the country.
  4. Political Participation: People from all ethnic groups should be carried along in the process of decision making in a state so that no group will feel neglected or cheated.
  5. Constitution:The Constitution of a state should clearly state the abolition of secession and any defaulting ethnic group or groups of person embarking on that should face a serious disciplinary action.
  6. Equal Political Rights: The government should ensure that every ethnic group is given equal right to get into any leadership position in the country.


  1. State three natures of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria.
  2. Outline 5 problems of secession in Nigeria
  3. Mention 5 measures that can be adopted to avoid secession in Nigeria.


  1. Outline five natures of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria.
  2. What are the causes of secession in Nigeria?
  3. What are the measures or strategies to be adopted to prevent secession in Nigeria?
  4. Explain reasons for the secession of Eastern region in 1967.
  5. Suggest two solutions to the problem of ethnic conflicts.


                WEEKEND ASSIGNMENT

  1. Inter-ethnic conflict can come in the form of
  2. Political education
  3. Destruction of lines and properties
  4. Public campaign
  5. Child abuse
  6. The threat to secede from the Northern region was in
  7. 1972
  8. 1986
  9. 1953
  10. 1923
  11. Which of the following ethnic groups actually seceded from the federation of Nigeria
  12. Igbo
  13. Hausa
  14. Yoruba
  15. Nupe
  16. What made the Yorubas to threaten to secede from the Federation?
  17. The killing of Yorubas in the North
  18. The promotion of Igbo people in the federal ministries
  19. The attempt by the Federal Government to separate Lagos from the western region.
  20. The domination of the Yoruba land by other ethnic groups.
  21. One of the following can prevent secession in Nigeria
  22. Military government
  23. Ethnic rivalry
  24. Rigging of elections
  25. Good governance

                      ESSAY TEST

  1. State two solutions to the problem of ethnic conflicts.
  2. Outline three ways of avoiding secession in Nigeria
  3. Mention five natures of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria.


READING ASSIGNMENT: Read The New Analytical Study of Government by Sola Adu (2012). Pages  270-272.

PRE-READING ASSIGNMENT: Read about development of political parties in Nigeria.


  1. Revision
  2. Examination.



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