Government StudiesHistoryHistory ClassroomPolitical History

Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

Sir hugh clifford

Click here to read the Clifford Constitution of 1922 and its features

Like every other constitution of a state, the Clifford Constitution of 1922 has its advantages/merits and disadvantages/demerits.

Here are the merits of Clifford Constitution of 1922

1. Elective Principle– The Clifford constitution brought the elective principle into Nigeria which paved way for elective representation of Nigerians into the Legislative council.

2. Political Activities for Nigerians– The Clifford constitution permitted the formation of political parties in Nigeria so as to ensure greater participation of Nigerians in their government. E.g the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) of Herbert Macaulay.

3. New Legislative Council– The constitution created a new legislative council which consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.

4. Nationalism- The constitution geared up Nationalism among Nigerians

5. Establishment of Newspapers- Newspapers were established to promote the more political activities in Nigeria.

Demerits of The Clifford Constitution of 1922

1. Sectionalism- The Clifford Constitution of 1922 brought sectionalism into Nigeria as the constitution was meant for the Southern protectorate alone. The Legislative council was also created for the south excluding the North.

2. The Legislative council was dominated by Europeans

3. Partial representation– The elective principle introduced by the Clifford Constitution of 1922 works only for the legislative council. The executive council is not elective.

4. Imposition The people claimed that the constitution was imposed on them

5. The Governor-General had veto powers on issues discussed in the legislative and executive council

6. Partial Elective principle– Only Nigerians with resident qualification and have a gross income of £100 per annum which as at then was a very huge sum.

Kindly drop a comment below if you find this helpful or you have a question.

Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (August 6, 2016). Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922. OldNaija. Retrieved from


  1. good and precise information about 1922 constitutio. But pls i will like you to futher explian the relevance of this constitution to the understanding of Nigeria govt and politics.

    1. Thank you Mr. Maxwell. The Clifford constitution of 1922 thrusted Nigeria into the state of political conciousness and maturity by allowing political parties to exist and operate in their interest and that of those who they represent. In 1923, Herbert Macaulayfounded the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), and also established a newspaper called the West African Pilot. This cannot be done without a provision for it in the constitution. So thanks to the Clifford constitution for this. As a matter of fact, newspapers are known to be a major weapon in (Nigerian) politics in form of enlightenmemt. Also, the elective principle was granted by this same constitution therefore establishing a training ground for Nigerian leaders.
      Thank you for your visit, Mr. Maxwell.

    1. In comparision, both constitutions have Europeans dominate the legislative and executive council. Also, the Governor-Generals exercised veto powers. In contrast, Clifford’s constitution introduced sectionalism into Nigeria, while Richard’s constitution introduced regionalism.
      Thank you for your visit, Mr. Chimezirim N.M

  2. The Clifford Constitution of 1922 was a critical method which was the first to established the elective principle in Nigeria. And it also gave birth to political parties in Nigeria. Thanks for the invention of the Clifford Constitution.

  3. this is an outstanding write up
    a locus classicus of constitutional development in Nigeria
    however I want to ask is it Macaulay or Nnamdi that established d west Africa pilot

  4. It was beyond exceptional.It feels great knowing more about Nigeria’s past.My Question: Has The Negative Effects Of The Clifford Constitution Of 1922 In Nigeria been fully corrected? If No,In what areas is it still affecting Nigeria And How do you,an intellect with vast knowledge think it can be corrected?

    1. Well your question centered on the adequate representation in the National Assembly. Thankio.

      The Northern’s are more logical to compare with other major ethnic groups.

  5. Please,i have a question that goes like this:clifford constitution contributed nothing to Nigerians gaining of independence.How valid is this assertion?

    1. Yeah you are absolutely right because even the legislative council (with the ones elected three from Lagos and one from calabar) created doesn’t make any difference besides the governor general still seeks for advice from the secretary of state, if the ones given to him by the legislative council were of no use to him and any recommendations made by the executive council (which consist of Europeans) will not affect the governor general because he as well appointed them into the offices. So he do things on his own discretion.

  6. i think this is a path and history for nigerian citizen to know their constitutional development and democratic labour of our heros and as a matter of fact it aim at given ethusiansm to student on how there should be patriotic to this nation.

  7. Good day to you our writer, a poet and novelist. Am always royal.

    But my questions still remains (1) “where was the Northern province when the legislative council created by Clifford in 1922 only legislate for the southern and Lagos which was annexed a colony in 1861?.
    (2) why should the governor general only legislate for the Northern province through proclamation?
    (3) why should the Northern province exclude themselves from the legislation of the legislative council since they have a member in there?.

    (4) why should the recommendation made by the legislative council not yet a law or advice given to the governor general will be optional thereby seeking an advance from the secretary of state?

    Thanks so much and am waiting for your affirmative response soonest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button