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History of the Nigerian Senate

The law-making function is one of the essential pillars of any society. No human society survives in the total absence of laws.

Whatever the social system, the conduct of affairs must be defined by certain basic rules. These rules must be made by someone or some group and executed or enforced by some group. In a democratic environment, power belongs to the people who in turn elect those who are to carry out the task of law-making on their behalf. But in a despot and directly exercised by him or assigned to anyone of his choice. There are no clear lines demarcating the law-making function from the executive function. The two flow into each other and are often carried out by the same people. Therefore, the story of one inevitably leads to the other. Such is the case of law-making in Nigeria arising from its long history of military dictatorships. The story of the legislature is intertwined with that of the executive and evolves from the larger history of the Nigerian national itself. Nothing better captures this evolution than the process of constitutional engineering in Nigeria, for it is these supreme laws of the land that provide guidance for law-making.

On the whole, these supreme laws or constitutions are products of the dynamic polity, itself a part of the political history of Nigeria. Therefore, it is within this context that the development of the legislature can be traced to the beginning of British colonization of what is now know as Nigeria. The first act in the formal colonization process was the annexation of Lagos in 1961

At the head of the colonial administrative set-up for the colony called The Settlement Of Lagos was a Governor aided by a ten-man advisory body. This advisory body later called the LegislativeCouncil commissioned in March 1862 was to be the forerunner of actual law-making bodies in the country.

February 19, 1866, the Settlement Of Lagos came under the jurisdiction of a new British Colonial sovereignty known as the West African Settlement incorporating the territories of Gold Coast, Lagos, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

Barely one year later, Lagos and Gold Coast were severed from the larger settlement and brought under the jurisdiction of The Gold Coast Colony with its own executive and legislative council. In 1886, the colony was further broken down and Lagos became a separate political unit with its own governor, legislative and administrative council. By this time, the rest of Nigeria had come under colonial rule with the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria administered from Zungeru and Calabar serving as the capital of The Protectorate OF Southern Nigerian. The year 1906 was the turning point in the history of what is now the Nigerian state for its was in this year that the colonial administration began the process of creating an entity out of the disparate peoples of Northern and Southern Nigeria. It unified the Colony of Lagos with the Southern Protectorate and it became The Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Lagos Legislative Council was granted powers to make laws for the entire entity. But it was in 1914 that the unification process was complete. Sir F.J.D. Lugard was appointed Governor of the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1912 and tasked with the assignment of effecting the unification of the Colony and Protectorate of Southern and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria.

Two years later, this task was accomplished with both colony and protectorates merged into what became The Colony And Protectorate Of Nigeria. Lord Lugard became the Governor and Commander-in-chief of this emerging nation. The Lagos Legislative Council continued to legislate for the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, while the Governor made laws for the Northern Protectorate.

The emerging nation was, therefore, a product of mergers but it mergers with tenuous links, the reason being the non-existence of a common forum for the elite of the Northern and Southern Protectorates. Kept apart, the natural understanding and confidence-building that flows from interaction would elude them for 32 years until 1946 when the Richards Constitution made interaction possible for Southern and Northern politicians.


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Senate Clears Ministerial Nominees

Published on: 2015-10-14 00:05:45 Hits : 11129
Senate Clears Ministerial Nominees No filibustering Final list released Screening continues Contrary to expectation today, the Nigerian Senate has cleared all Ministerial nominees with no filibustering. They are Mr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Osagie Ehanire, Am...

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