The Clifford Constitution of 1922

Sir hugh clifford


Click here to read the Merits And Demerits of Clifford Constitution of 1922


The Clifford Constitution of 1922 disposed the Nigerian Council of Lord Lugard (1914) and set up a new legislative council for the Southern Protectorate. The membership of the Clifford legislative council was 46. Twenty- seven out of the 46 members were officials while 19 were unofficial members. Ten out of the 19 unofficial members were Nigerians and out of the 10 unofficial Nigerians, 4 were elected, 3 from Lagos and 1 from Calabar. The remaining six were appointed by the governor. The Northern protectorate was excluded from the council. The governor continued to govern the North by proclamation. The Clifford constitution of 1922 established the elective principle for the first time in Nigeria. However, the elective principle was limited to male adults that have resided in Nigeria for over 12 months and have gross annual income of 100 pounds.


The Clifford constitution of 1922 also gave way to the establishment of political parties in Nigeria. In 1923, Herbert Macaulay founded the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), and also established a newspaper called the West African Pilot. The Clifford constitution gave room for more participation and representation in the government than the 1914 constitution.


* Elective principle to elect desired person into the Legislative council. NB:- Only an individual earning £100 anually can vote and be voted for. NCBWA struggled for the granting of the elective principle in Nigeria.

* All colonial governors were to report to the Secretary of State for colonies who was a cabinet minister in Britain.

* The Executive council was an all- European council. No Nigerian was included i.e Nigerians were not part of the decision making body.

* The Legislative council consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.

* The North was ruled by proclaimation coming from the governor.

* Formation of political parties e.g NNDP of Herbert Macaulay.

* Establishment of Newspapers e.g The West African Pilot and Lagos Daily News.


* C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; Tonad Publishers; August 2008

* The Nigerian Constitution: History and Development; Oluwole I Odumosu; London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1963

11 thoughts on “The Clifford Constitution of 1922

  1. Thanks for your question, Mr. Agba John.
    There are many reasons behind it.
    1. It is the first constitution Nigeria ever had
    2. The constitution contained some important features like the elective principle
    3. Gov. Bernard Bourdillon wasn’t able to finish his constitution before he left office in 1944


  2. why was Clifford constitution replaced with Richard constitution of 1946 since Clifford Constitution brought about important features in Nigeria


  3. Thank you for your question, Mr. Michael. The Richard constitution of 1946 replaced the Clifford constitution of 1922 because it came with a lot of improvement (e.g on the elective principle) and better features like ‘regionalism’ (which enhances easy and effective administration) and so on.


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