Main Currents of West African History 1940–1978 by Frederick Pedler

By Frederick Pedler

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The heads of the regions now bore the title of governor. The regions received a greater measure of autonomy. Certain subjects were allocated to the federal government, leaving all others to the regions, except for 'concurrent' matters, on which both federal and regional legislatures were entitled to make laws. Political scientists have divided federal constitutions into two varieties, 'loose' federations in which the federal government has defined powers and residuary powers are with the constituent units, and 'tight' federations in which the units have defined powers and residuary powers are with the central authority.

Africans from the South had been migrating to Northern Nigeria in large numbers, especially since the railway began to run to Kano in 1911, to secure employment as clerks and labourers in the railway, the public works department, and the expatriate firms, and to engage in trade. Hausamen were not interested at that time in salaried or wage-earning employment. The social stigma of slavery still lay heavily on any form of service. So the Southerners had all the employment, and they lived in New Towns (sabon gan) which were 26 The Last Years of Colonial Rule situated outside the walls of the ancient Hausa cities.

Six members of the Legislative Council were nominated by the governor to represent special interests. This was an attempt to integrate the native authorities into the political system by making them the basis for the selection of the most numerous element in the legislature. The great achievement of this constitution was to bring in the Northern Region, and it is difficult to see on what other basis, at that time, this could have been done. In announcing the reforms, the government suggested that they should remain inforce for nine years and should then be reviewed.

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