The Richards Constitution of 1946

Constitution Of Nigeria

Governor Bernard Bourdilloun succeeded Sir Hugh Clifford as the Governor General of Nigeria in 1939 and later left the office in 1945. In 1939, while still in power, he turned the Northern and Southern Protectorates into provinces and divided the Southern province into Eastern and Western provinces, while the Northern province remained untouched.
At the time Gov. Bourdilloun retired in 1945, he had almost completed the new constitution he was drafting where he recommended regionalism. However, a year after, Sir Richards constitution of 1946 replaced the Clifford Constitution of 1922 which was highly criticized for bringing sectionalism into the Nigerian government. The Richards constitution was specifically drafted to promote the unity of Nigeria and give more room to greater participation of Nigerians in the administration of their country.

Here are the features of The Richards Constitution of 1946

1. Bi-cameral legislature: The constitution granted the Northern region a bi-cameral legislature- Regional Assembly and the Regional House of Chiefs.

2. The constitution retained the elective principle but with limited franchise.

3. The Richards constitution of 1946 brought regionalism to Nigeria- Eastern, Western and Northern regions.

4. Dual Membership: Members of the central legislative council were at the same time members of the regional councils.

5. The Nigerian Legislative council was made up of 44 members- 16 official and 28 unofficial members.

6. Creation of Regional House of Assembly.

7. Each region received grants from the revenue of the country in the form of bulk.

8. Limited powers were given to the regional House of Assemblies.

* A Textbook Of West African History: E. Ola
Abiola- May 1974

* C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior
Secondary Schools; 3rd edition; Lagos; Tonad
Publishers; 2008


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