Post – Independence Constitutions


Post-Independence Constitutions in Nigeria

Since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1960, Nigeria has had a series of post-independence constitutions that have shaped the country's political landscape. These constitutions were put in place to govern the nation, establish the framework for governance, and protect the rights of its citizens.

Assessing the workings of the various post-independence constitutions is crucial to understanding Nigeria's political development and the evolution of its governance structures.

The Independence Constitution of 1960 marked Nigeria's transition to self-rule. It granted significant powers to the regions while maintaining a federal system at the center. This constitution laid the foundation for Nigeria's governance but also had some shortcomings that later became apparent.

The 1963 Constitution further solidified Nigeria's federal structure by establishing a republic and implementing a parliamentary system of government. However, it did not fully address the ethnic and regional tensions that would later contribute to political instability.

The 1979 Constitution was a significant milestone as it heralded the return to civilian rule after years of military dictatorship. It introduced a presidential system of government, with an emphasis on checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The 1989 Constitution was a response to growing calls for constitutional reform. It aimed to address issues of political representation and power-sharing among Nigeria's diverse ethnic groups. However, it failed to fully quell ethnic and religious tensions.

The 1999 Constitution is the current constitution of Nigeria. It was promulgated after years of military rule and has undergone several amendments since its inception. This constitution seeks to promote democracy, protect human rights, and ensure the equitable distribution of resources.

The post-independence constitutions in Nigeria have played a vital role in shaping the country's political landscape, governance structures, and relationships between the federal government and the regions. By examining the successes, challenges, and impact of these constitutions, we can gain valuable insights into Nigeria's political development and the ongoing quest for good governance.


  1. Evaluate The Influence Of External Factors
  2. Compare And Contrast The Characteristics And Shortcomings Of The 1960, 1963, 1979, 1989, And 1999 Constitutions
  3. Analyze The Impact Of British And French Colonial Administration
  4. Assess The Workings Of The Various Constitutions
  5. Examine The Emergence Of Nationalist Parties

Lesson Note

After gaining independence, Nigeria embarked on a journey to develop a robust constitutional framework to govern its people. This journey was marked by several constitutions, each reflecting the political, social, and economic dynamics of its time. The various post-independence constitutions of 1960, 1963, 1979, 1989, and 1999 have had significant influences on the nation's governance and development.

Lesson Evaluation

Congratulations on completing the lesson on Post – Independence Constitutions. Now that youve explored the key concepts and ideas, its time to put your knowledge to the test. This section offers a variety of practice questions designed to reinforce your understanding and help you gauge your grasp of the material.

You will encounter a mix of question types, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. Each question is thoughtfully crafted to assess different aspects of your knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Use this evaluation section as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to identify any areas where you may need additional study. Don't be discouraged by any challenges you encounter; instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  1. What were the major characteristics of the Independence Constitution in Nigeria? A. It established a parliamentary system of government B. It provided for three regional governments C. It included a Bill of Rights for citizens D. It granted Nigeria full internal self-government Answer: A. It established a parliamentary system of government
  2. Who promulgated the 1979 Constitution in Nigeria? A. General Yakubu Gowon B. General Murtala Mohammed C. General Olusegun Obasanjo D. General Ibrahim Babangida Answer: C. General Olusegun Obasanjo
  3. Which of the following is a shortcoming of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria? A. It provides for the separation of powers B. It guarantees fundamental human rights C. It is overly detailed and rigid D. It has not been amended since its inception Answer: C. It is overly detailed and rigid

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Past Questions

Wondering what past questions for this topic looks like? Here are a number of questions about Post – Independence Constitutions from previous years

Question 1 Report

Nigeria's foreign policy is influenced by its position as a major exporter of

Question 1 Report

(a)List three pre-independence constitutions in Nigeria

(b) identify four features of 1960 independence constitution of Nigeria

Question 1 Report

The purpose of creating more states in Nigeria is to

Practice a number of Post – Independence Constitutions past questions