1923 Nigerian general election

General elections were held in Nigeria for the first time on 20 September 1923.[1] The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) won three of the four elected seats in the Legislative Council.

Background edit

Elective democracy had been introduced in Nigeria in May 1919, when the Townships Ordinance gave the right to vote for three members of Lagos Town Council to some men. The first elections to the council were held on 29 March 1920.[2] In 1922 a new constitution (known as the Clifford Constitution after Governor Hugh Clifford) was promulgated, which introduced four elected seats to the Legislative Council, three for Lagos and one for Calabar.

Electoral system edit

The 1922 Nigeria (Legislative Council) Order in Council provided for a 46-member Legislative Council, of which 23 were ex-officio officials, four were nominated officials, up to 15 were appointed unofficial members and four were elected.[3] The 23 ex officio officials included the Governor, the Chief Secretary and their deputy, the Lieutenant Governors and secretaries of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Attorney General, the Commandant of the Nigerian Regiment, the Director of Medical Services, the Treasurer, the Director of Marine, the Comptroller of Customs, the Secretary of Native Affairs, together with ten senior residents.[4]

The franchise was restricted to men aged 21 or over who were British subjects or a native of Nigeria who had lived in their municipal area for the 12 months prior to the election, and who earned at least £100 in the previous calendar year. The right to vote was withheld from those who had been convicted of a crime and sentenced to death, hard labour or prison for more than a year, or were of "unsound mind".[5] Only around 4,000 people registered to vote in Lagos out of a population of 99,000, whilst just 453 registered in Calabar.[6]

All eligible voters could also run as candidates unless they had an undischarged bankruptcy, had received charitable relief in the previous five years or were a public servant.[7] Candidates were required to obtain the nomination of at least three registered voters and pay a £10 deposit.[5] Electoral regulations were passed on 1 June 1923, setting out details of how the elections would be carried out, including the creation of an electoral register.[8] The term of the council was five years.[9]

Campaign edit

Ten candidates contested the three Lagos seats, whilst four candidates ran for the single seat in Calabar.[10]

Results edit

Nigerian National Democratic Party3,88277.503
People's Union2234.450
Source: Tamuno

By constituency edit

Calabar (one member)
Kwamina Ata-AmonuIndependent7033.98
A. ArchibongIndependent6933.50
C. W. ClintonIndependent5124.76
Essien Essien OfiongIndependent167.77
Source: Tamuno
Lagos (three members)
Egerton ShyngleNigerian National Democratic Party1,30327.13
Eric MooreNigerian National Democratic Party1,29827.02
Crispin Adeniyi-JonesNigerian National Democratic Party1,28126.67
Adeyemo AlakijaIndependent2715.64
Frederick MulfordIndependent2294.77
Orisadipe ObasaPeople's Union2234.64
George Debayo AgbebiIndependent1272.64
A.M. HarveyIndependent470.98
Candido da RochaIndependent170.35
M.N.B. WilsonIndependent70.15
Source: Tamuno

List of members edit

Governor Clifford appointed 13 unofficial members to the Legislative Council, of which seven were Europeans and six Africans.[9] The seven Europeans represented commercial interests, with three representing the banking, mining and shipping sectors, and four representing commercial interests of Calabar, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt.[11] The six Africans represented African Traders, the Colony of Lagos, Oyo Province, Rivers district, the Egba and the Ibo.[12] The nominated officials were the General Manager of Nigerian Railways, the Director of Public Works and the Postmaster-General.[4]

Constituency Member
Elected members
Calabar Kwamina Ata-Amonu
Lagos Egerton Shyngle
Eric Moore
Crispin Adeniyi-Jones
Nominated African members
African Traders S.C. Obianwu
Colony Kitoye Ajasa
Egba S.H. Pearse
Ibo I.O. Mba
Oyo Province E.H. Oke
Rivers district M. Pepple-Jaja
Nominated commercial members
Banking L.M. Herepath (Barclays)
Mining A.L. Butler
Shipping L.A. Archer
Calabar G. Graham Paul
Kano J.W. Speer
Lagos J.T. Wagstaffe
Port Harcourt J.B. Jones
Source: Wheare

Aftermath edit

The new Legislative Council was inaugurated on 31 October.[1] In 1926 a by-election was held in the Lagos seat following Egerton Shyngle's death, and was won by John Caulcrick of the NNDP. In 1927 two of the commercial members were replaced; R F Irving became the member for Lagos on 1 February and H S Feggetter of Elder Dempster Lines became the shipping representative on 4 April.[13]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Nigeria: Report for 1923 Colonial Reports
  2. ^ Tekena N Tamuno (1966) Nigeria and Elective Representation 1923−1947, Heinemann, pp18−20
  3. ^ Tamuno, p31
  4. ^ a b Joan Wheare (1949) The Nigerian Legislative Council, Faber & Faber, p52
  5. ^ a b Tamuno, pp33−34
  6. ^ Tamuno, p126
  7. ^ Wheare, pp38−39
  8. ^ Tamuno, p33
  9. ^ a b Wheare, p39
  10. ^ Tamano, pp61−62
  11. ^ Wheare, p81
  12. ^ Wheare, p72
  13. ^ Wheare, p200