SECOND REPUBLIC CONSTITUTION – LESSON NOTE ON GOVERNMENT

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LESSON NOTE ON GOVERNMENT SSS 2

lesson note on government Second Republic Constitution

SECOND REPUBLIC CONSTITUTION 1979

BUILD UP TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC

A constitutional drafting committee (CDC) was set up by the military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in 1975. The 49-member committee headed by Chief Rotimi Williams submitted its report in September 1976. Then a constituent assembly was established to work on the draft submitted by the CDC. The constituent assembly headed by Sir, Justice Udo Udoma was made up of 190 members who were indirectly elected and 40 others who were appointed by the military government. By June 1978, a final document was ready but still subject to some amendment by the incumbent government.

FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC – 1979

  1. A presidential system where the President is both the Head of State and Head of Government was adopted.
  2. The President had the right to nominate his vice-president from the same party.
  3. Bicameral legislature jointly called the National Assembly composed of the Senate – 95members and the House of Representatives – 450members. Was established.
  4. State were to be headed by executives designated as Governors.
  5. The executive and the legislature were separated both in powers and functions.
  6. Legislative powers were distributed as exclusive and concurrent between the central and the state government. The parliament at the central government can legislate on the exclusive list while parliaments of both the central and the state governments legislate on items on the concurrent list.
  7. Fundamental human rights was entrenched.
  8. Local government councils were established as a democratic tier of government.
  9. The president to be directly elected in an all-country general election.
  10. The principle of federal character was introduced.
  11. Provision was made for a run-off election or second ballot in case the first election failed to produce a clear winner.

WEAKNESSES OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC CONSTITUTION

  1. The system of government was expensive to run due to duplication of functions.
  2. Separation of powers caused delays in programme execution.
  3. The impeachment power given to the legislature could be used arbitrarily.
    Impeachment in history:
    – Balarabe Musa (Kaduna) 1981
    – Diepreye Alamiesegha (Bayelsa) 2005
    – Peter Obi (Anambra) 2006
    – Joshua Dariye (Plateau) 2006
    – Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo) 2006
    – Muritala Nyako (Adamawa) 2014
  4. Too much power is concentrated in the hand of the executive.

CONTRAST BETWEEN THE CONSTITUTIONS OF 1963 AND 1979

S No FIRST REPUBLIC 1963 SECOND REPUBLIC 1979
1 The PM was not directly elected. The President was elected directly by the electorate in a general election.
2 The PM was the Head of Government and the President was the ceremonial Head of State. The President was both the Head of State and Head of Government
3 It was a parliamentary system of government such as obtained in Britain It was a presidential system of government as obtained in USA.
4 The PM was the leader of the majority party in the parliament The President might not be a member of the majority party in the parliament.
5 Fusion of the power and function of the executive and the legislature in one There was a clear separation of power and function between the executive and the legislature.
6 The parliament was supreme The constitution was supreme.
7 Ministers were members of the parliament and the ruling party. Ministers were not parliamentarians and were not necessarily party members.

EVALUATION QUESTIONS

  • (a) Distinguish between the 1st republic and the 2nd republic constitution.
  • (b) Describe a republic and highlight the republican constitutions in Nigeria.
  • (c) Compare and contrast the constitutions of 1960 and that of 1963.

RELATED POSTS

Constitutional Development in Nigeria
Clifford Constitution – 1922
Richard Constitution – 1946
Macpherson Constitution – 1951
Lyttleton Constitution – 1954
Independence Constitution – 1960
Third Republic Constitution – 1989

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