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NIGERIA: DECISIONS OF THE LONDON CONFERENCE OF 1953

February 5, 2014

The London Conference:
The London Conference lasted from July 30 to August 22, 1953. Both the N.C.N.C. and the Action Group accepted federalism but the functions of the central government to be specified while residual powers were given to the regions.

It was at this time that the Sarduna of Sokoto, leader of the N.P.C. delegation announced that his party had abandoned their “Eight Point Programme”. The idea of uniform electoral laws was shelved. The conference also agreed that the regional government should in the sphere of activities given to them be independent of the central government.

A list of specific functions to be assigned to the centre was drawn up. This included among others, Defence, External Relations, Foreign Trade, Water Cotrol, Central Court of Justice, etc. A concurrent list of subject in which both the central and regional governments would be competent, subject to the provision that in case of conflict central legislation would prevail.

These concurrent subjects included higher education, industrial development, power, insurance, etc. It was also agreed that the Regional Governors should be known as Governors while the Governor of Nigeria should be styled Governor-General.

The Cameroons delegation asked for a separate region of its own. The Colonial Secretary agreed that if the people of the territory so expressed their desire at the polls the territory would be given a separate regional administration subject to ratification of the proposed Lagos Conference.

Lagos was made a neutral zone. In addition, the conference accepted that in 1956 Her majesty’s Government would grant to those regions which desired it, full self-government in respect of all matters within the competence of the Regional Governments, provided that the Regional Governments did not act as to impede or prejudice the exercise by the Federal Governments of the functions assigned to it now, or as amended by agreement in the future, or in any way made the continuance of the Federation impossible.

THE LAGOS CONFERENCE:
The Conference was under the chairmanship of the Secretary of State for the Colonies Major Decisions of the Conference: The London Conference of 1953 had decided that the principle of ‘Needs’ and National Interest as part of the four principles under revenue allocation under the Macpherson Constitution of 1951, should play no further part in revenue allocation under the revised constitution. Sir Louis Chick was appointed Sole Fiscal Commissioner and he recommended as follows:

1. That the system under which the proceeds from the sale of tobacco and the whole of the revenue from petrol were allocated to the regions should continue. Half of the excise duty from beer should be similarly distributed to regions in proportion to consumption. Half the net proceeds of export duties should go to the region of the export origin

2. The tax on personal income should be handed over to the region in which the tax payers resided. The whole of the proceeds from the mining royalties should go to the region from which the mineral was extracted.

The regions should receive the various fees for licences relating to regional subjects as well as regional court fees and fines. Lastly, one half of the net proceeds of import duties other than tobacco and petrol should be shared out among the Regional Governments – the North and East each receiving 30 per cent cost and the West 40 per cent.

The report also made proposals for the services performed by the Federal Government for the regions. Regions should also pay to the Federal Government an appropriate proportion of the cost of collecting revenue in which they share.
The Federal Government was empowered to make grants to any Regional Government which found itself in serious financial difficult through causes beyond its control.

Perhaps, one of the major decisions was the regionalisation of the civil service and the Judiciary. It was agreed that both the Central Government and the Regional Governments should have their respective public services.

The Federal and Regional Legislatures respectively should be competent to create new posts, the abolition of vacant posts and the alteration of the salaries, allowances or conditions service, but it must not affect officers already on the service.

The Governor-General and the Governors of the Regions were in-charge of recruitment and promotion of civil servants and had the power to appoint members of the Public Service Commission.

The Governors had the power to appoint Judges. The Federal Supreme Court had the power to hear appeals from Regional High Courts, appeals for the Federal Supreme Court went direct to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and no longer through the West African Court of Appeal.

Southern Cameroons was granted an autonomous status. The Conference also agreed that Southern Cameroons should have a territorial Legislature of its own consisting of a Governor-General to assent to bills, the Commissioner of the Cameroons as President, 13 elected members, 6 representatives of Native Authorities, 3 ex-officio members and 2 members to represent interests or communities not adequately represented.

In addition, an executive council was set up it consisted of the Commissioner, 3 ex-officio members of the legislature and 4 members, nominated by the Governor-General after consultation with the Commissioner. Also Southern Cameroons was to be represented in the Nigerian Federal Legislature by six members and in the Council of Ministers by one member.
Source: ngex.com
Nigeria Regions -1963-1967
NIGERIA - GEO-POLITICAL ZONE

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    February 6, 2014 04:38

    This map is drawn to favor the North of Nigeria as much larger than it really is.It is British fraud that has continued to be repeated as fact, when it is not.

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