Ojiako historical notes
December 28, 2006 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)


 

TOPICS

Lancaster House London Conference
Merthyr's Constituency Delimitation Commision
Willink's Minority Commission
Raisman's Fiscal Commission
Resumed Constitutional Conference
Lists of Delegates to Lancaster & Resumed Conferences


HISTORICAL NOTES FROM OJIAKO'S BOOK

 

"Nigeria Yesterday, Today and ?" by James O. Ojiako

Africana Educational Publishers (Nig. Ltd.), Onitsha., Nigeria (1981)


Lancaster House London Conference (May 23 - June 26, 1957)

(Page 29 ff, Ojiako)

 

From May 23 to June 26, 1957 Nigeria took another step towards nationhood at the London Constitutional Conference held in Lancaster House.  The Colonial Secretary, Mr. Lennox-Boyd, was in the chair.....
 

The three Regional Premiers and Dr. Endeley, leader of Government Business in the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly submitted, at the beginning of the conference, a joint memorandum which demanded that the British Government should undertake to grant independence to the Federation in 1959.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd rejected the demand when he refused to agree in advance to a fixed date for independence. He  suggested that the conference should first deal with a number of other important questions.

He put it, “there was much unfinished business to be completed” before he or anyone else could foretell what would be the shape of Nigeria in 1959 the year in which the delegates had asked for independence.

Nevertheless, the conference decided on:

* A senate for the Federal Parliament and the enlargement of the House of Representatives.

* The abolition of the post of Chief Secretary and the creation of the post of Deputy Governor.

* Houses of Chiefs for the Eastern Region and the Southern Cameroons.

* A revised constitution for the Northern Region in view of its stand against regional self-government in 1957.

* An all-African executive council for Western and Eastern Nigeria.

* The retention of the police as a Federal subject, in order to insulate it from the influence of political parties.

* The setting up of independent Civil Service Commissions to protect the service.

* A Premier for the Southern Cameroons.

* Commissions to inquire into fears of the minorities and revenue allocation: a delimitation and electoral commission, in connection with the division of the country into 320 electoral districts and supervision of elections respectively.

 

Northern Changes

The conference held twenty-one plenary sessions. It accepted the granting of self-government to Western and Eastern Nigeria, with safeguards ensuring that the regional governments would not prejudice the functions of the Federal Government. Since Northern Nigeria did not ask for self-government, interim changes were proposed for the Region.

On the constitution of the self-governing regions, agreement was reached that power to amend the constitution should stay with Her Majesty’s
Government, as also the power of the same government to make laws for Nigeria including power to legislate by order in Council.

Governors were to be appointed by the U.K. Government on the advice of ministers, but the appointments of deputy governors would continue to be made by the Governor.

Governor's Duties

On the powers and duties of the Governors themselves, the executive councils of the regions, the reserved legislative powers of the Governors were also to disappear, and the advice of ministers was to be sought on executive matters.

The appointment of the premiers was however left to the discretion of the Governors, and that of ministers based on recommendations made by premiers. But Governors could still exercise powers of assent
of Bills passed by the self-governing legislatures, with the exception of certain Bills requiring the Royal assent.

The latter Bills concern those impeding the duties of the Federal Government, those which may prejudice the property of subjects outside Nigeria, or the trade or transport or communications of any of Her Majesty’s Dominions, and those affecting stockholders of a loan raised on behalf of a region.

But Governors could not dissolve a House except on the advice of Premier, unless the life of a House had expired, or a vote of no confidence had been passed on the premier and he had not resigned within three days, or if there were no premier and no person to form a government.

But a Governor could reject a premier’s advice to dissolve a House if, in his opinion, the government of the region could continue and dissolution would make its progress suffer. The Governor of the Eastern Region, the conference agreed, could no longer declare the seat of a minister vacant.

Governors of the West and Northern Regions could only intervene in deadlocks between Houses in each region over the passage of a Bill, on the advice of ministers.

Special Members

As regards special members, the conference noted the N.C.N.C. delegation’s wish to have them in the proposed House of Chiefs, but not in the Eastern House of Assembly. Similarly, the Action Group delegation did not want special members in the House of Assembly, but sought to retain them in the House of Chiefs.

The Northern Region wanted to retain the present arrangements.

On the question of Lagos, the conference agreed to let it remain a Federal territory, create a Ministry for Lagos Affairs, grant it proportional representation in the House of Representatives, appoint as Federal territory and allow the Governor-General to consider the transfer of further functions such as primary education from the Federal Government to the Lagos Town Council.

The conference also agreed to scholarships being granted to the children of Lagos residents, representation on all statutory boards for Lagos and on corporations and committees established by the Federal Government; that the Oba of Lagos should continue as ex-officio President of the Town Council; that the Oba, again with another chief and two members of the L.T.C., chosen on party basis, become members of the proposed Senate; that further study be given to representation of chiefs in the Town Council; and finally that both the Federal and Western Government jointly plan the development of the area within and without the Lagos municipality.

Senate Plans

The agreement reached on the composition of the proposed Senate was along these lines:

Twelve members were to be chosen from each Region on a provincial basis apart from the Oba of Lagos — two LT.C. members and another chief, four special members named by the Governor-General, non-voting members from the Council of Ministers, a president and a deputy president.

The Senate was to exist co-terminously with the House of Representatives, but would not be allowed to initiate or delay money Bills, although it might do so to others for more than six months.

Concerning the House of Representatives, the conference agreed that the new one to be set up after the dissolution of the present one, should be enlarged to a membership of 320 elected on a basis of one member for every 100,000 of the population, by universal adult suffrage in the East, West, Lagos and Southern Cameroon and by male adult suffrage in the North.

The present House has 183 members: North 90, West and East 40 each, Cameroons five, Lagos two and six special members.

The Commissions

Commissions to be appointed by the conference were:

* A Commission to propose means of allaying minority fears “whether well or ill-founded"
 

* a Delimitation Commission to divide the Federation into 320 electoral districts of approximately equal population,

 

* a permanent Electoral Commission to supervise and direct the preparation of the powers to levy tax, allocation of and functions between the governments of the Federation special problems of indirect tax in the Federal territory and the arrangements most appropriate for the Southern Cameroons.

The conference had to appoint various committees:

(a) to consider questions concerning the public services,

(b) to consider proposals for an electoral law for the Federation

(c) to consider proposals for a House of Chiefs in the Eastern Region, and

(d) the conference undertook to appoint a committee to inquire into the functions of the Central Marketing Boards and make suggestions for changes.

Regarding the public service, the conference endorsed recommendations in respect of lump-sum compensation to be adopted by the Nigerian Governments and special safe-guards for special categories of officers.

Public Servants

A special list of agreements between the U.K. Government and the four Nigerian Governments was signed at Lancaster House on June 2, in respect of officers desiring to leave any self-governing Region. The compensation was calculated according to age, length of service and pension.

The conference stressed the importance of protecting the Public Service Commission from politics. Appointments, promotions and dismissals were to be subject to the commission’s recommendations to the Governor. Similarly, it was resolved to maintain the independence of the Audit Service, through the Public Service Commission.

Regarding the judiciary, the conference insisted on the importance of ensuring its independence by protecting it from political interference. It was therefore decided that the Chief Justice of a self-governing Region could only be appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court. It ruled also that a Judicial Service Commission be set up, that the present High Court Judges be protected and that their removal could only be effected by an inquiry carried out by a judicial committee of the Privy Council.

Finally, the appointment, dismissal and promotion of magistrates were left with the Governor acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The office of Attorney-General was made political and provision was made for an office of Director of Public Prosecutions as a civil service appointment.

North Constitution

On the constitution of the Northern Region, since the North did not wish to be self-governing before 1959, it was recommended that the House of Chiefs should comprise all first class chiefs and forty-seven others, chosen from among themselves. Other recommendations were for the creation of a Council of Chiefs to approve appointments and depositions, the abolition of the posts of Civil Secretary and Financial Secretary, the composition of a House of Assembly of 170 elected members with five special members to be named by the Governor.

Regarding the proposed Eastern House of Chiefs, the conference took decisions that it should comprise sixty members, that a formula be adopted for the classification of chiefs before the House was created, that there should be five special members with special qualifications of benefit to the House, and that not more than two members should be on the Executive Council of the Region.

Regarding the Federal Council of Ministers, the conference created a Deputy Governor-General, abolished the post of Chief Secretary and decided that the Financial Secretary, who was to be replaced by a Minister of Finance, and the Attorney-General should both cease to be members of the council. It was also approved that not less than ten members should be on the Council of Ministers. It was placed on record that until independence, the Governor-General or his deputy should preside over the meetings of the council.

Federal Subjects

Concerning the division of functions between the Federal and regional governments, the conference made a number of changes and concluded, among other things that naturalization of aliens should be a Federal subject, as well as banking and allied matters, but pointed out that the Regions could own or participate in commercial banking concerns. On the pressing issue of the police, it was thought wise for it to remain a Federal responsibility in view of the need to check misuse by politicians.

Other matters on the exclusive list are marriage and matrimonial cases other than those under Moslem or customary laws, and commissions of inquiry arising out of the exclusive Federal list.

Placed on the concurrent list were administration of estates, dangerous drugs, electricity, gas industrial development, insurance, sanctioning of films and trustees. Commissions of inquiry emanating from subjects on the concurrent list were also placed in this section. Another important ruling was that in the event of inconsistencies between Federal and Regional laws, Federal laws should prevail.


Armed Forces

The conference also tackled the future of the Armed Forces.

A major decision was taken that as from April 1, 1958, the right of control at present exercised by the United Kingdom Army Council should end.  It was deemed important that with the progress of Nigeria towards self-government, the country should gain the necessary experience in the administration of the nation’s defence forces.

Such a transfer of power means that the Federal Government will have to assume primary financial responsibility for the Forces. And so within its terms of reference, the Fiscal Commission was to take this additional item into consideration. The United Kingdom Government gave the assurance, however, that it would be willing to consider financial aid on a diminishing basis, after the transfer of control. It also expressed its readiness to discuss the secondment of British officers and N.C.Os to the Nigerian Army, as well as the provision of training facilities in the United Kingdom.

The conference also agreed that the Governor-General should set up a defence committee, comprising the deputy Governor-General as chairman, the Prime Minister, two other ministers, the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian military forces, the Regional Premiers or their representatives.

The conference dealt in detail with the future position of the Southern Cameroons in the event of Nigerian independence.

Southern Cameroons

On the constitution of the territory, it was decided that the term — “quasi-Federal territory” should cease and that it should instead become known as the Southern Cameroons.

The Governor-General of the Federation would be styled High Commissioner for the Southern Cameroons in view of Britain’s trusteeship agreement. The Commissioner of the Cameroons, who would be the representative at the United Nations, would remain responsible to the High Commissioner.

The elected membership of the House of Assembly was increased from thirteen to twenty-six.

The three ex-officio members were to remain and provisions were made for two special members for communities of interests not adequately represented. No provisions were made for the representation of Native Authority members.

The commissioner could, after consultations, with the Premier, appoint a Speaker either from the House or outside it.

He would continue to preside until the Speaker was appointed.

On the issue of the proposed House of Chiefs, the conference agreed on a membership of twenty, on a basis of not more than three members for any division. The functions of the House would be to consider Bills, advise on any matter, and to advise on any question referred to it by the commissioner.

It would also consider legislation passed through the House of Assembly. Members of the Executive Council would be entitled to sit in the House but not to vote. The Executive Council itself would consist of the Commissioner as president, three ex-officio members, and five unofficial members, one of whom would be styled Premier and the others Ministers. The High Commissioner could increase the number of ministers following recommendation from the Commissioner after consulting the Executive Council.

Sub-Committees

Public officers would remain members of the Federal Public Service, but provisions would be made for the setting up of sub-committees in the Southern Cameroons to advise on certain appointments provided for by the territory’s estimates.

Although the conference agreed to the representation of the Southern Cameroons in the Senate, it resolved that the whole question of representation in the Senate would be subject to review if new states were created.

The delegate from the Northern Cameroons reaffirmed the decision taken by the territory in 1953 to remain part of the Northern Region.

On June 23, 1957, Mr. Lennox Boyd reopened further discussion on independence when he said:

“I understand that it is proposed that some time about January 1960 the new Nigerian Parliament will debate a resolution asking HM. Government to agree to full self-government within the Commonwealth by a date in l960 which will be mentioned in the resolution. In any case, the constitutional machinery would take time, and you (the Nigerian delegates) would no doubt bear this very much in mind in coming to a conclusion as to what date you should ask for.

It might therefore be (as many of you have urged) a good thing for there to be some informal consultation with us as to what sort of date was realistic. On receipt of your resolution H.M. Government will consider it with sympathy, and will then be prepared to fix a date when they would accede to the request. We could not at this stage give any undertaking that the date would be the same date as asked for in the resolution, though we would do our utmost to meet the resolution in a reasonable and practicable manner. Delegates, I hope, know H.M. Government well enough to be sure that they would not invent reasons for artificially extending the date. H. M. Government would, of course, be very much guided in their choice of a date by the way everything was going, by how the two Regions now about to enjoy self-government had taken the strain of this great step forward, and by how the country as a whole had faced up to the problem of minorities, on which a commission would already have reported.”

The Regional Premiers and Dr. Endeley replied on June 24 in the following joint statement:

"We feel bound to express our disappointment that it has not been possible
for H. M. Government to give an undertaking to grant independence to Nigeria on a date to be named in 1960 by the new Nigerian Parliament. The year 1959 has been unanimously proposed by the people of Nigeria, and we have given consideration to a date in 1960 only because we appreciate that the solution to the various problems that must be disposed of before independence will take longer than we had thought. Having gone thus far on the path of reason and realism, we had thought that the Secretary of State would accede to our united wishes. In the circumstances, we can do no more than take note of the Secretary of State’s statement, while reserving to ourselves the right to pursue the issue further with a view to impressing upon H. M. Government the
necessity for granting independence to the Federation of Nigeria not later than April 2, 1960."

END

 

 

Willink's Minority Commission (September 25, 1957 - August 18, 1958)

(Page 40 ff, Ojiako)
 

On September 25, 1957, the Minorities Commission was set up by the Colonial Secretary on the recommendation of the Lond Constitutional Conference.

 

The members were: Sir Henry Willink, Q.C. (Chairman), a former British Minister of Health; Sir Gordon Hadow, the former deputy Governor of the Gold Coast; Mr. Philip Mason, an expert on race relations; and Mr. J.B. Shearer, a financial expert who was formerly financial Secretary of Pakistan....

 

THEIR DUTIES WERE: To advise what safeguards should be included for this
purpose in the Constitution of Nigeria. If, but only if, no other solution seemed to the Commission to meet the case, then as a last resort to make detailed recommendations for the creation of one or more new States, and in that case:—
 

(a) to specify the precise area to be included in such State or States;
 

(b) to recommend the Governmental and administrative structure most appropriate for
 

(c) to assess whether any new State recommended would be viable from an economic and administrative point of view and what the effect of its creation would be on the Region or Regions from which it would be created and on the
Federation.

 

The Commission arrived in Nigeria towards the end of November and began its sittings which were to be held in all parts of the country, almost at once.
 

Two major questions of procedure arose almost immediately. Mr. Dinglc Foot, Q.C.
representing the N.C.N.C. Opposition in Western Nigeria asked the commission to hear the fears of political as well as ethnic minorities.
 

The commission decided to allow this point on condition that only specific instances of
Government action against the minority should be heard.
 

The second problem raised by Mr. Foot was not, however, to be solved so speedily. He asked if the witnesses before the commission would be covered by judicial privilege — that was, the freedom to speak, as in a court of law, without fear
of subsequent civil or criminal libel action being taken.
 

As no guidance was available on this point Mr. Foot flew to London to seek the
Colonial Secretary’s ruling.

DEMAND FOR THE CREATION OF MID-WEST REGION
 

The complaints of the minorities in the West were that the Government at Ibadan was
Yoruba in feeling; and that it would be impossible for a non-Yoruba to become Premier; Mr. Dennis Osadebay had to give up his position as leader of the Opposition to Alhaji Adelabu because he was an Ibo and therefore a ‘Kobo-kobo,’ the appointment of Chief Okorodudu, former Western Commissioner in London ceased because he was an Itsekiri.
 

The situation in the West at the time: More than two-thirds of the population of the Western Region were Yorubas; about a quarter being Benin and Delta they were Edo speaking. There were about half a million Ibos in Asaba and Aboh divisions.
 

There were also the Itsekiris of Warn and the Urhobo people. These other tribes constitute only one-third of the population of Western Region estimated to be about six millions.

 

FINDINGS:
 

The commission said that: It was the sheer preponderance of Yoruba numbers which had led to a demand of a Mid-Western Region; there was no single piece of Western legislation which, taken by itself, seemed to justify serious alarm regarding the rights of individuals: “so long as it continues to be the Government’s intention to seek re-lection by popular vote, there is reason to hope that it will increasingly become its objective to show that it is impartial.” That non Yorubas were not under-represented in the Legislature compared with Yorubas, nor in the public service, nor on statutory boards.


That no allegations were made that the Government had used the police improperly.
That although the mid-western area “had been neglected in certain aspects” by the present Government and its predecessor, yet there was no evidence of deliberate and vindictive discrimination or even culpable neglect.
 

That if grievances and fears were the sum total of the case for a separate state, “those recounted to us so far from justifying the creation of new state could in fact be better
remedied by other means.

THE DEMAND FOR C.O.R. STATE CALABAR, OGOJA AND RIVERS
 

The minorities expressed the fear that the Ibos would over-run them commercially
and politically. A fear of domination by the Ibo majority in the Region which they identify with N.C.N.C.; that there was never any hope of anything but a solid Ibo majority behind the N.C.N.C. Faced with the prospect of being perpetually in opposition, the minorities were prepared even to reject the hope of independence.

The situation in the Eastern Region:

 

In the Eastern Region of Nigeria, there were 17 major and about 300 lesser languages.  But two-thirds of the whole population of I 7.5 million people were Ibos being in an area a little over half the Region.
 

One-third of the population was made up of 250,000 Ijaws who had 80,000 kinsmen in
the Western Region. Towards the mouth of the Cross River in the East were the 10,000 Efiks and 100,000 Ibibios. In the Cross River valley were a multitude of small peoples.
 

To the East of Ibo land were the two Provinces of Calabar and Ogoja linked by common use of EfIk language, by the Ekpe society and by resentment of Ibo leadership.  But they were divided by tribal differences and particularly by some suspicion of the Ibibios and Efiks. The strip to the South of Ibo land was physically divided by a strip of Ibo territory, tipped by the important Ibo town of Port Harcourt, and tribally divided between the Ijaws and Ogozus.

DEMAND OF MINORITIES:
 

Demands were made for
 

(a) Ogoja region, comprising Ogoja Province.
 

* Cross River State which included Calabar Province and part of Ogoja.
* Rivers State consisting of Rivers Province with some additions;
* Calabar, Ogoja Rivers (C.O.R.) state which would include the three provinces except the two divisions of Abakaliki and Afikpo.
 

Findings:
 

The Commission found:

That all minorities who appeared before it were ethnic, not religious and all expressed a fear of domination.
 

* that in an Ogoja State, the existing minority would still be a minority vis-a-vis the Ibos in the province, and that there was little support for the idea among both the Ibos and non-Ibos.
 

* That there was also a fear that if Ogoja was included in a C.O.R. State it would be dominated by Efiks and Ibibios.
 

* that the support for Cross River State seemed to the Commission to be
an attempt by N.C.N.C. to break up the C.O.R. state and not to be a serious factor.
 

That the C.O.R. state, if it was allowed, would contain over 2.5 million people. These
consisted of 717,000, Ibibio; 435,000 Annang; 428,000 Ibo; 251,000 Ijaw; Ogoni, 156,000; Efik 75,000. Ibibios.  Efiks and Annangos who were closely related, would out number all other groups.
 

The problem of minority had not been solved. Such a state woud be difficult to
administer. The commission held that there was too little support for it to justify its
creation.

* That there were grave objections to the demand for Rivers State. People of Ahoada
Division expressed themselves strongly against it. The Ogoni  preferred Rivers State to C.O.R. but the prevailing sentiment was an area in which the Ijaws could be together and could be sure of getting the attention which they thought had so far
been lacking.


Demand of Ilorin and Kabba Division of Northern Nigeria to be transferred to the Western Region: Because the system of Government had been autocratic and that a change to democratic methods was not yet established. In the non Muslim parts of the Emirate there was strong objection to the operations of Muslim law.

SITUATION:

 

Ilorin Division was once part of the territory of AlafIn of Oyo. The Alafin’s representative in Ilorin invited Fulani and Hausa forces to help win independence from Oyo and finally the Sokoto Fulani established an Emirate in form.
 

Struggle between Ilorin and Oyo continued until establishment of British rule in the
area.

FINDINGS:
 

* The elected representatives in the Division expressed support for transfer to the West.


* The desire for transfer was not due to neglect of the Division by the Northern Government, which had invested heavily in it.
 

* The 90% of the population in Ilorin Division were Yorubas: 60% Muslims. That the population of Kebba division was 100,000, and almost 100 per cent Yoruba.
 

* That the transfer of Ilorin would mean considerable disruption for example, any change in the system of Alkali courts in the predominantly Muslim area would be revolutionary.
 

* At that period, Ilorin’s educated young men had better opportunity in the north than they would have in the West.
 

* There seems thus to be a presumption that at present there is a definite but certainly not overwhelming majority in favour of transfer. Nor do the figures show that this
is marked less in metropolitan area.

"If no solution is found to this dispute, we fear that the Northern Region may continue
to find form an embarrassment rather than an asset and relations within the Federation may be embittered for some time to come. We see no prospect of a solution that would ease the tension except by means of plebiscite in which there is general acquiescence and by the result of which all have agreed to abide.”

The Willink Commission completed its investigation in April 1958 and published its
report on August 18, 1958.
 


REPORT OF COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY INTO FEARS OF NIGERIAN MINORITY GROUPS


In their Report the Commissioners state: “The minorities who have appeared before
us have thought of separation as. a remedy for their troubles. But unity might have the same effect, and though unity cannot be manufactured by a Commission, machinery can be devised which aims rather at holding the state together than at dividing it. We believe that while the first object of our recommendations must be to allay fears, with this should be combined a second, to maintain the unity of Nigeria and thus enable the Federation to play a great part in world affairs; this we think can best be done by balancing power within the country so that majority may be less tempted to use power solely for its own advantage. With these objects in view we have borne in mind throughout our enquiry the thought of the Federal Government as the successor to those restraining functions, the prospects of whose disappearance has been so fruitful a source of fear.”


There are at present three Regions in the Federation of Nigeria (excluding the Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons), of which the Eastern and Western are already self-governing, while the Northern has asked to become self-governing in 1959. In each of the three Regions, the problem relating to minorities as presented to the Commission was of somewhat similar nature. The report states that in each Region there is an element of about one-third which constitutes a minority as against the dominant group — linguistic, tribal or religious.
 

And, in each Region, there is a dominant political party which, though it is a national
party, is associated in the minds of the minority with the dominant group.
 

In each Region it was suggested that the minority had grounds for fearing the party
of the Government, which had already — it was urged — shown tendencies that were
autocratic and intolerant.
 

A number of states were suggested as remedies for the fears which minorities expressed.
 

The Commission reached the conclusion that the proposals would either include dissentient minorities, which would constitute fresh problems, or would be too small to make satisfactory states. Thus in each of the three Regions the Commissioners are satisfied that to set up a separate state would create problems as great as those it sought to cure; on the other hand they are also satisfied that a real body of fears exists. In every Region the fears expressed were of Government based on a tribal, or in the North a religious, majority. What inspired apprehension — rightly or wrongly —
says the Report, was the fear that the Regional Government, secure in its majority, would not respond to the criticism or meet the wishes of the minority. It is therefore the Commission’s general view that the interests of minorities can best be protected at the Federal level where some degree of balance and compromise seem essential. As the Federal Government grows in consequence — as will inevitably happen after independence — it will become increasingly important for each party to win every vote it can; thus in the working of the democratic machinery the true safe-guards
of the minorities will be found.
 

The Commission therefore consider that no further delegation of powers to the Regions should take place. In particular, they feel it is of primary importance that the police should not come under purely Regional control. They therefore recommend that there should be one strong police force, who though acknowledging a dual responsibility to the Federal Government and the Regional Governments, should be under the direct control of the Federal Government only. They also make recommendations that there should be provision in the Constitution for Special Areas and Minority Areas, the difference between them lying in the extent to which the Federal Government would play a part in their affairs.
 

In Special Areas — of which they recommend that at present only one should be de-
clared, that being in the Niger Delta — there would be a board which would initiate schemes to supplement the normal development of the area; in a minority area there would be a Council with a Chairman nominated by the Regional Government and members of whom a considerable element would be elected from the area; the duties of the Council would be to bring to the notice of the Regional Government matters affecting the well-being, cultural advancement and economic and social development of the Minority Areas.
 

The Commission recommends the setting up of two Minority Areas, the Edo-speaking area round Benin and the old Calabar Province. In respect of both of the Special
Areas and Minority Areas, annual Reports should be laid on the table of the Federal House of Representatives and the Regional House of Assembly and opportunity provided for debate.
 

The Commission recommends that a number of fundamental rights should be embodied in the Constitution; these are based mainly on the Convention of Human Rights which was signed in Rome in 1950.
 

A number of other recommendations are made; in respect of Muslim Law, it is suggested among other points that it would reduce the fears of minorities in Northern Nigeria if non-Muslims were given the option of being dealt with by non-Muslim courts and that there should be a combined Regional service of Alkali (judges in Muslim Law). Of the other detailed suggestions, perhaps the most important are that consideration should be given to subsidizing the rehabilitation and replanting of old rubber plantations; that there should be a Commission for the conduct of elections and an independent body, such as a Judicial Service Commission, for appointments to county and district courts; that control of prisons should be centralized; that Regional Governments should retain the power to supersede, but not the power to pack, a Native or Local Government Authority; that prerogative writs or some comparable procedure should be re-introduced in the North if the administrative power review disappears.


There was a separate problem on which the Commission had to reach a decision, in
some ways, says the Report, the most difficult of all. This concerned the dispute between the Northern and Western Regions regarding the form and Kabba Divisions; these are now part of the Northern Region and are claimed by the Western Region. In their Report, the Commissioners say that the present arrangement ought not to be disturbed unless it is proved that there is a really substantial body of opinion in favour of transfer. They felt  also that so soon before the independence, of the Federation, it would be out of place to make a change of so important a nature without general agreement. They recommended that there should be no change in the boundary between the Northern and Western Regions except as the result of a plebiscite; a plebiscite should be held if there is general agreement at the Conference that it should be held and that it should be binding; and that in the area transferred at least 60% of the votes cast must have been in favour of transfer.
 

Raisman's Fiscal Commission (appointed October 10, 1957)

(Page 46 ff,  Ojiako)

 

The Fiscal Commission was appointed on October 10, 1957.  It was set up on the recommendation of the London Constitutional Conference to examine revenue allocation and problems of taxation.  It has two members appointed by Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Colonial Secretary.  They are Sir Jeremy Raisman, chairman, and Professor R.C. Tress.

 

Sir Jeremy had a distinguished career with the Indian Government as financial adviser and had also been chairman of a similar fiscal inquiry in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.  Professor Tress, professor of political economy at Bristol University, was economic adviser to the British War Cabinet for four years. .....

 


Merthyr's Constitution Delimitation Commission (September 23, 1957 - May 16, 1958)

(Page 50 ff, Ojiako)


Lord Merthyr, a deputy Speaker of the House of Lords who had served as the chairman of the Federation of Malayan Constituency Commission in 1954, was appointed chairman of the Commission on September 23, 1957. The other two being Mr. T. Farley Smith, who was formerly the Administrative Secretary in Nigeria and Mr. J. F. A. Lees, the Principal Surveyor in the Nigerian Federal Survey Department.


Their report published on May 16th, 1958 recommended that there should be 320 single member constituencies on the basis of one such constituency for a Federal average of each 98,622 of the population according to the 1953 census and that these constituencies should be allocated as follows: Northern Region 174 as against the existing distribution of 83; Eastern Region 73 as against 42; Western Region 62 as against 42; Southern Cameroon 8 as against 6 and Lagos 3 as against 2.
 

END

 

Resumed Constitutional Conference (September 29 - October 27, 1958)

(Page 53 ff, Ojiako)

 

Nigeria's gladdest tidings of all time - the promise of Her Majesty's Government of independence to Nigeria on October 1, 1960 - was announced at the conclusion of the 1958 Constitutional Conference in London by Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd who, as Colonial Secretary, presided over the Conference.

 

The historic Resumed Conference which began on September 29 and ended on October 27 was mainly concerned with the consideration of the reports of the Fiscal and Minorities Commissions, which the 1957 Conference had appointed and other "outstanding" matters.  It was also to discuss the request for independence which Nigerian delegates had made to the United Kingdom government at the 1957 Conference.

 


APPENDIX

ATTENDANCE  AT THE LANCASTER AND RESUMED LONDON CONFERENCES ON NIGERIA

(reformatted from Ojiako's book) 

Group

   Lancaster Conference

May 23 – June 26, 1957

 Resumed Conference

September 29 – October 27, 1958

 

Governments in Nigeria

 

Delegates:

Sir James Robertson, Governor-General

Sir John Rankine, Governor, Western Region

Sir Robert Stapledon, Governor, Eastern Region

Sir Bryan-Sharwood-Smith, Governor, Northern Region

Mr. J.O. Field, Commissioner of the Cameroons

 

Advisers:

Sir Ralph Grey

Mr. E.I.G. Unsworth

Mr. F.D.C. Williams

Mr. C.S.K. Bovell

Mr. P.H.G. Scott

Mr. H.H. Marshall

Lt.-Col. E. C. Aderton

 

Mr. J.O. Udoji

Mr. D.O. Ibekwe

Mr. E.G. Stumpenhuson

Mr. S.O. Adebo

Mr. M.G. de Winton

Mr. F.A. Williams

Mr. J. Murray

 

Sir James Robertson, Governor-General

Sir John Rankine, Governor, Western Region

Sir Robert Stapledon, Governor, Eastern Region

Sir Gawain Bell, Governor, Northern Region

Mr. J.O. Field, Commissioner of the Cameroons

 

Action Group

 

Delegates:

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Premier, Western Region
Chief S. L. Akintola
Mr. L. J.. Dosunmu
Mr. E. O. Eyo
Mr. S. O. Ighodaro
Mr. S. G. Ikoku
Chief A. O. Lawson
Chief  F. R. A. William

Mr. A. Rosiji

 

Advisers:

Chief S.J. Amachree

Chief R. Edukugho

Mr. A.J.U. Ekong

Mr. R.A. Fani-Kayode

Mr. J. Olawoyin

 

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Premier, Western Region
Chief S. L. Akintola
Mr. L. J.. Dosunmu
Mr. E. O. Eyo
Mr. S. O. Ighodaro
Mr. S. G. Ikoku
Chief A. O. Lawson
Chief  F. R. A. William

 

Kamerun National Congress

Delegates:

Dr. E. M. L. Endeley, Premier, Southern Cameroons
Mr. J. T. Ndze

Galega, Fon of Bali

 

Adviser: Mr. V.E. Mukete

 

Dr. E. M. L. Endeley, Premier, Southern Cameroons

Mr. J. T. Ndze
Mr. P. A. Aiyuk

 

Kamerun National Democratic Party

Delegate: Mr. J. N. Foncha

 

Adviser: Mr. A.N. Jua

 

Mr. J. N. Foncha

Kamerun People's Party

Delegate: Mr. P. M. Kale

 

Adviser: Mr. N.N. Mbile

 

Mr. P. M. Kale

National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons

Delegates:

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Premier, Eastern Region

Mr. T. O. S. Benson

Dr. S. E. Imoke

Mr. R. A. Njoku

Dr. M. I. Okpara

Mr. D. C. Osadebay

Mr. B. Olowofoyeku
Alhaji A. Adelabu
 Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe

Dr. S. Onabamiro

 

Advisers:

Mr. P.A. Afolabi

Chief Kolawole Balogun

Mrs. M. Ekpo

Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh

Dr. C. Obi

Mr. J.T. Otobo

 

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Premier, Eastern Region

Mr. T. O. S. Benson

Dr. S. E. Imoke

Mr. R. A. Njoku

Dr. M. I. Okpara

Mr. D. C. Osadebay

Mr. B. Olowofoyeku
Mr. A. M. F. Agbaje
Mr. M. O. Ajegbo
Chief F. S. Okotie-Eboh

 

Northern Elements' Progressive Union

Delegates:

Malam Aminu Kano
Malam Ibrahim Imam

 

Malam Aminu Kano
Malam Abdul Mtnnuni

Northern Peoples Congress

 

Delegates:

Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, Premier, Northern Region

Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of the Federation

Alhaji Aliyu, Makama Bida

Alhaji Isa Kaita, Madawaki of Katsina

Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu

Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Wada

 

Advisers:

Zana Bukar Dipcharima

Abba Habib

Shettima Kashim

Mr. G.U. Ohikere

 

Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, Premier, Northern Region

Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of the Federation

Alhaji Aliyu, Makama Bida

Alhaji Isa Kaita, Madawaki of Katsina

Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu

Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Wada

 

 

Rivers

Delegate: Mr. H.J. R. Biriye

 

Mr. H.J. R. Biriye

 

United Middle Belt Congress

 

Delegate: Mr. J.S. Tarka

 

Adviser: Mr. P. Dokotiri

 

 

Mr. J.S. Tarka

 

United National Independence Party

 

Delegate: Dr. E.U. Udoma

 

Adviser: Mr. O. Arikpo

 

Dr. E.U. Udoma

 

Chiefs:

 

 

Northern Region

 

Delegates:

Sir Muhammadu Sanusi,  Emir of Kano

Alhaji Usman Nagogo, Emir of Katsina

 

Adviser: Aliyu Obaje, Atta of Igala

 

Sir Muhammadu Sanusi,  Emir of Kano

Alhaji Usman Nagogo, Emir of Katsina

 

Western Region

 

Delegates:

Sir Adesoji Aderemi, Oni of Ife

Oba Aladesanmi, Ewi of Ado-Ekiti

 

Sir Adesoji Aderemi

Oba Aladesanmi

 

Eastern Region

 

Delegate: Chief Nyong Essien of Uyo

Chief S.E. Onukogu

 

United Kingdom

Delegates:

Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd

The Earl of Pearth

Sir John Macpherson

Sir Hilton Poynton

Sir John Martin

Mr. C.G. Eastwood

Mr. A.R. Thomas

Mr. H.T. Bourdillon

Mr. A.N. Galsworthy

Mr. T.B. Williamson

 

Advisers:

Mr. J.E. Marnham

Mr. J.W. Vernon

Mr. R.J. Vile

Mr. P.A.P. Robertson

Mr. M.G. Smith

Mr. R.W. Francis

 

 

     

Legal Advisers

Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray

Mr. J.C. McPetrie

Mr. A.R. Rushford

 

 

Secretariat

Mr. I.P. Bancroft

Miss M.Z. Terry

Mr. P.H.G. Stallard

Mr. D.S. Timms

Mr. K.O.H. Osborne

 

 

 

 

 


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