Features of 1999 constitution of Nigeria

1999 constitution of Nigeria like the 1979 constitution and 1989 constitution adopted the presidential system of government with executive power. The constitution observed the creation of 36 states and 774 local government areas in Nigeria. The National Assembly was enlarged with 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.

Members of the National Assembly are directly elected. The executive council was modified though its functions remained, as it were under the 1979 constitution. The members of the executive council include the ministers.

In the 36 states, the governors retained executive power while the House of Assembly remained the only legislative arm of government. The state government conducts election into the local government. The constitution created state electoral commission for the conduct of the local government elections.

The local government is vested with an executive chairman under the constitution. It also has a legislative arm with a speaker. The relationship between the state and the local government is not clear. The local governments are not fully independent of the state government.

The 1999 constitution has been criticized on several grounds among them are the unspecified powers of the local government, contradictions of some sections in the constitution, etc.

Nevertheless, it is important to point out that so many sections, which have been unclear in the 1979 constitution have been expounded. The constitution is seen by some people as an improvement on the 1979 constitution.

The call for constitutional reform conference led to the establishment of a constitutional reform conference in 2004 under the chairmanship of Justice Niki Tobi another in 2014 under the chairmanship of Justice Idris Kutigi and the amendment of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly in 2011.

Highlights of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria

  • The constitution maintained the presidential system of government.
  • The constitution adopted bicameral legislature, consisting the House of Senate and representatives and house of assembly for each state and councilors for local government.
  • The National Assembly is made up of 109 senators and 360 members of House of Representatives.
  • The constitution provided for 36 states and 774 local government areas.
  • The constitution provided for revenue allocation formula.
  • The constitution retained federal system of administration with the sharing of power.
  • The constitution provides for the Federal Character Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau, Independent National Electoral Commission, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Council of States, Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Federal Civil Service Commission, National Defense Council, National Economic Council, National Judicial Council.
  • The 1999 constitution of Nigeria provides for multi party system to be registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
  • The chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution provides for the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

Summary of the 1979 Constitution

  • The constitution created the post of an executive president
  • The federal legislature was named National Assembly made up of House of Senate (95 members) and House of Representatives (450 members).
  • The creation of 19 states with state house of assembly.
  • Establishment of council of states and National Youth Service Corps.
  • Provision of fundamental objectives and directives principles of state policy.

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