Government Notes

London Constitutional Conference of 1957


This conference was convened to discuss issues surrounding the 1954 Lyttleton’s constitution. The outcome of the Constitutional Conference of 1957 includes the following;

  • The Eastern and Western region to be granted self-government immediately after the conference.
  • The North would become independent in 1959.
  • The office of the prime minister of the federation to be created.
  • Eastern region to have a house of chief in line with what obtained in the Northern and Western regions.
  • At the Central Legislature a house of senate to be created making it a bicameral legislature.
  • Southern Cameroon to be made a region with appointment of a premier.
  • Membership of the Federal House of Representative to be enlarged from 184 to 320 at the expiration of its term.
  • Election into Federal and regional legislatures for the East, West, Lagos and Southern Cameroon should be by universal adult suffrage, but election into the northern legislature to be by adult male suffrage.
  • Commission of inquiry to be set up to look into the affairs of each region.
  • Governor General to appoint an adhoc committee to carry out the division of the country into single member constituencies.
  • The Government at the region should appoint premiers from the majority representation in regional house of assemblies.
  • The Governor-General to appoint a prime minister, the person whose party secured majority in the House of Representative.


  • The Eastern and Western regions attained self-government on August 8, 1957.
  • On September 2, 1957 the Governor-General Sir AbubakarTafawaBalewa deputy leader of NPC was appointed as prime minister of the federation.
  • Southern Cameroon became a separated region with its own premie.r
  • Prime Minister AlhajiAbubakarTafawaBalewa formed a coalition National government made up of NPC, NCNC,and AG.
  • All ex-officio British officials ceased to be members of the executive council except the governor general.
  • The reserved and veto power of the governor-general were withdrawn.
  • Willinks Commission was set up to examine fears of the minority groups.


  • What were the recommendations made by the London Constitutional Conference?
  • What were the decision arrived at the conference?


It was set up to examine the fears expressed by the minorities about discrimination and domination in their respective regions by the majority ethnic groups and therefore requested for new regions.

Recommendation of the commission

The commission agreed that some of the fears were genuine but maintained that creation of states was not the only option available to allay such fears. It therefore recommended far reaching measures.

  • Bill of right to protect the fundamental human right of the minorities to be embodied in the constitution.
  • No change or adjustment should be made in the boundary between northern region and western region.
  • The Federal Police Force would further guarantee the rights of the minorities.
  • Non- Muslims in the north not willing to be tried under the Sharia court, have the option of being tried in a non- Muslim court.
  • Special development boards for Niger Delta areas to be established.
  • Majority parties would have to win the support of the minorities.
  • Special minorities commission to be jointly run by federal and regional government.