Government Notes

London and Lagos Constitutional Conference of 1953 and 1954 respectively


The need for a new constitution arose as a result of the defects of the McPherson Constitution which led to its breakdown. The secretary of state for the colonies, Oliver Littleton confirmed the change of Macpherson’s Constitution when he announced on May 21, 1953 on the floor of the British House of Commons that her majesty had decided that the Nigerian Constitution would have to be redrawn so as to provide for greater autonomy.

The conference which sat between July 30 and August 22, 1953, reached the following agreements

  • That a federal system of government should be established.
  • That the regional Lieutenant-governor of Nigeria be called governors, while the governor of Nigeria should be called Governor-General.
  • That legislative power should be shared between the federal, state and the federating units.
  • That Lagos should be separated from the Western region and made a neutral federal territory.
  •  That a conference to be held in Lagos in 1954 should ratify a separate regional administration in the Cameroons if the people of the territory expressed their desires through a referendum.
  • That her majesty’s government would grant self-government to those regions which desired it in 1956.


On January 19, 1954, the Constitutional Conference re-converged in Lagos to discuss some issues that were not attended to at the previous constitutional conference. The following agreements were reached

  • Financial resources were to be allocated to the federal and regional government based on the principle of derivation.
  • The commission recommended that autonomy should be granted the southern Cameroon.
  • That the judiciary should be regionalized.
  • That the police force should be regionalized.
  • That though southern Cameroons should remain part of Nigeria federation as a quasi-federal territory, it should have a legislature of its own.


  • What were the recommendations made at the London conference of 1953?
  • Highlight the decisions reached at the Lagos constitutional conference of 1954?


  1. State 5 features of the Macpherson’s Constitution.
  2. Highlight 4 achievements made by Macpherson’s Constitution.
  3. Why was Macpherson’s Constitution criticized?
  4. Highlight 6 reasons for setting up Public Corporation.
  5. State 5 problems of Local Government.


  1. Macpherson’s Constitution was established in (a) 1934 (b) 1951 (c) 1953 (d) 1945
  2. Under Macpherson’sConstitution, the eastern regions had —- house/houses (a)one (b) two (c) three (d) five
  1. All but one of the  following where the changes made by the Macpherson’s Constitution  (a) renaming of the central legislature (b) the western and northern regions were made to have two houses (c) introduction of elective principle (d) the colony of Lagos was part of the Western region
  2. The following were the recommendations made by at the London Constitutional Conference except (a) Introduction of federalism (b) that Lagos should be separated from Western region (c) elective principle (d) that self government should be granted to the regions that desires it
  3. The Governor-General of the 1951’s Constitution was (a) Sir Clifford (b) Sir Richard (c) Sir Lyttleton (d) Sir Macpherson


  1. Explain the features of the McPherson constitution.
  2. What led to the collapse of the McPherson constitution?


Comprehensive Government Pages 159-160

Essential Government Pages 1

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