AT the 1957 Conference, the British had refused to name a date for Nigeria’s independence, because they were not satisfied that the country was ready for self-rule. At the resumed meetings of the Conference in 1958, they sought to discredit one of the Nigerian delegations which strongly advocated the creation of more States before independence. They asked the delegation to make a choice between the immediate creation of more States on the one hand, and the indefinite postponement of a target date for independence on the other. The delegation in question urged that more States could be created without prejudice to the fixing of a date for independence in 1960; but conceded that if the United Kingdom delegation insisted, as it did, that the choice was limited to one or the other of the two alternatives, then it would unhesitatingly opt for independence. And it did.
In addition to its electoral advantage over its rivals, the party in
power in the North left.no stone unturned in employing all the machinery of the Regional and Local Governments to make it difficult and sometimes impossible for its opponents to reach the voters. This unorthodox and unfair use of Government machinery was condoned and rationalized by the British officials in the country.
Polling booths for the 1959 federal elections were constructed so as to make voting not quite as secret as it should be. Emirs and District Heads, who themselves had a direct stake in the success of the party in power in the North, and whose children and relatives together with some of the District Heads themselves constituted more than 60% of the candidates at the election, were appointed, under the direction of British officials, to maintain law and order at polling stations. In their discharge of this function, they had power to enter the voting compartments whenever they deemed it necessary.
The climax to all these manoeuvres came when a Northern leader was invited to form a new administration for the Federation, on the basis ofthe election results. There were altogether 312 seats in the House of Representatives. Three main parties had contested the election. The following of one of the parties was confined to the North, whilst the other two enjoyed countrywide support. The results of the election began to trickle in after midnight on 12 December, 1959. On 14 December, 1959, when the other two parties discovered that neither of them was going to have an overall majority in the Federal Parliament, they immediately commenced negotiation for a coalition between them. This became known to the public; and on 15 December, 1959, whilst the coalition negotiation was still in progress, and when the score of the Northern party was only 116 as against 15D for the other two parties, a Northern leader was invited to form a new administration.
Because of transport difficulties in the North, the final results were. not known until 19 December, 1959, when the scores were, for the Northern party 142 seats, for the other two parties 162, and for independents 8. By 17 December, 1959, however, one of the other two parties had concluded a coalition agreement with the Northern party which, by the grace of the British, was already irrevocably installed on the throne of power on 15 December, 1959.
The swift action of the British in calling upon the Northern party to form a new administration, thereby forestalling a coalition agreement between the other political parties, each of which was led by a Southern politician of the ‘agitator’ type, was explicable only on the ground that they (the British) were determined to hand over power in 1960 to a Northern political leader. The British were in power in Nigeria for about 61 years. For 47
out of the 61 years, they divided the N0l1h from the South so thoroughly and effectively that the two were divergently and almost irreconcilably orientated: the one looking intently to the Middle East and its illustrious past, and the other to the West and a glorious future. All the efforts at common orientation and concerted nationalism were made by Southern Nigerian nationalists in the face of manifold discouraging odds. The efforts succeeded to the extent that today, there is a forceful crop of nationalists in the North (comparatively small in number) who share identical political views with the progressive elements in the South.
It is incontestable that the British not only made Nigeria, but also handed it to us whole and united on their surrender of power. But the united Nigeria, which they handed to us, had in it the forces – British-made forces they were – of its own disintegration.
It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward-looking, and prosperous. It will be our endeavour in the succeeding chapters of this book to demonstrate that this can be done, and indicate how it can be done.
CONTINUES NEXT WEEK
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Politicians Jittery As COVID-19 Deaths Spread •PDP, APC Tighten Access To Offices •Aged Lawyers, Judges Worried Too
SENIOR government officials and party chieftains are running helter-skelter to avoid being hit with COVID-19 spiraling infection and disconnecting from their political base, a Saturday Tribune survey has shown… Read Full Story
COVID-19: NCDC Confirms 454 New Cases, Total Now 27,564
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 454 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 27,564… Read Full Story
Buni-Led APC Caretaker Committee On Nationwide Consultation, Not Reconciliation ― Tinubu
National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday in Lagos, said there are no differences that needed reconciliation in the party, maintaining that what APC Caretaker Committee headed by Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, was undertaking across the country currently… Read Full Story
How Hushpuppi Plotted To Steal $124m From Premiership Club — US Govt
ARRESTED fraudster, Ramoni Olorunwa Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, on Friday, appeared in a United States court to face criminal charges, including plotting to defraud an English Premier League club to the tune of $124 million, the US Justice Department announced… Read Full Story
Why Ogunde’s Film Village Went Into Extinction —Kola Oyewo
An Associate professor in Theatre Arts, Dr. Kola Oyewo is a Nigerian actor, dramatist, and scholar and was born some 74 years ago at Oba Ile, a town in Osun State. The veteran actor shared with FEMI OGUNTAYO in this interview, his experience as an old student as well as how the film village created by the late chief Ogunde… Read Full Story
‘My Wife Slapped Me, Poured Hot Water On Me ‘Cos I Told Our Daughter To Stop Bleaching, Wearing Trousers’
“She refused that I have a say in the home. She fights me for correcting our eldest daughter who is bleaching her skin and wearing trousers. She once slapped me for beating our fourth child and at another time poured hot water on me during a scuffle… Read Full Story
Organ Harvesting Industry Booms In Lagos As Probe Deepens
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives doubled down on its probe of alleged human organ harvesting business in Nigeria and the movement of the harvested organs abroad. Officials of government were quizzed, with a promise to invite another top official, the Comptroller General of Customs, for further questioning… Read Full Story
What Afonja’s Rebellion Did To Yoruba Unity —Alaafin
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, in this interview by TUNDE BUSARI speaks on the unity of Yoruba people, why they are always in songs, and also on the subject of death in Yoruba world view… Read Full Story
Ambassador Campbell’s Curious Defence Of Buhari’s Corrupt Aso Rock Cabal
Dr. John Campbell, America’s former ambassador to Nigeria from May 2004 to July 2007, wrote a June 24 opinion article titled “Nigerian Media’s Unsubstantiated Claims that U.S. Agencies Investigating Corruption by Buhari’s Inner Circle” for the Council on Foreign Relations (where he works as a Senior Fellow for… Read Full Story
I Faked My Own Kidnap To Avoid Being Raped Again By My Uncle —21-Yr-Old Undergraduate
A few days ago, 20-year-old Patience Emmanuel Kushi, an undergraduate of the Bauchi State University, Gadau, was reported kidnapped by unknown persons. The young woman, who was living with her uncle, was said to be on her way to her father’s house when she was reportedly abducted at a location between Kafin… Read Full Story
My 89-Yr-Old Husband Throws Condoms He Used On His Girlfriends In My Face, 60-Yr-Old Wife Tells Court
A 60-year-old Zambian woman, Astridah Bwale alleged that her husband, Rodrick Mwale, 89 years old had no respect for her and that he threw used condoms in her face when he came back from having sex with… Read Full Story
I Don’t Enjoy Sxx
I do feel a very sharp pain below my abdomen any time I have sxx and I do cry a lot. Sometimes, I won’t be able to continue the s3x because of the pain. I have never enjoyed having s3x for once… Read Full Story