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February 27, 2024

Single party structure won’t work (3), By Eric Teniola

Who else but Professor Benjamin Nwabueze (2), by Eric Teniola

From last week continues the narrative by Sir Ahmadu Bello on what transpired among representatives during the London Conference to decide Nigeria’s independence, especially his personal remarks on the position of the Northern Region with regards to Nigeria’s Independence. 

“Far from it! As I said earlier in my remarks, a private member’s motion is intended primarily to give that member and others an opportunity of expressing their views on a given subject. Numberless motions of this nature will not achieve self-government for the un-unified Nigeria.

Self-government for Nigeria can be demanded and obtained only when its meaning is fully understood by all the mass of this country. Let all the implications be thrashed out and agreement reached by the leading citizens of all three Regions. This is the primary objective to which we have addressed ourselves and, in doing so, to show to the country our fitness to discharge the heavy responsibility we have begun to assume.

Then, once this objective has been attained, we will be on the safe side in demanding self-government”. Thereafter the London Conference was held to decide Nigeria’s independence. Those who went for the London Conference later from the Action Group were: Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Mr. I.J. Dosunmu, Mr. E.O. Eyo, Mr. S.O. Ighodaro, Mr. S.G. Ikoku, Mr. A.O. Lawson, Mr. A. Rosiji and Chief F.R.A. Williams. From the Cameroun National Congress were Dr. E.M.I. Endeley, GalegaFon of Bali, Mr.J.T. Ndze and Mr. J.N. Foncha came from the Cameroun National Congress, while Mr. P.M. Kale attended from the Cameroun People’s Party.

From the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons were Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, Mr. T.O.S. Benson, Dr. S.E. Imoke, Dr.K.O. Mbadiwe, Mr. R.A. Njoku, Dr. Michael I. Okpara, Mr. D.C. Osadebey, Mr. Babatunde Olowofoyeku and Dr. Sanya Onabamiro. From the Northern Elements Progressive Union were Mallam Aminu Kano and Mallam Ibrahim Imam. From the Northern People’s Congress were Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto; Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Aliyu Makama of Bida, Alhaji Isa Kaita, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu and Alhaji Inuwa Wada.

Others were Mr. H. Biriye from Rivers State, Mr. J.S. Tarka from the United Middle Belt Congress and Dr. Udo Udoma of the United National Independence Party. The Northern Region had the Emir of Kano, Sir Muhammadu Sanusi and the Emir of Katsina, Sir Usman Nagogo. The Western Region had the Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi; Olowo of Owo, Sir Olateru Olagbegi; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Sir Ladapo Samuel Ademola (1872–1962); the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Daniel Anirare Aladesanmi II. The Eastern Region was represented by Chief Nyong Essien of Uyo at the meeting.

The governments in Nigeria were represented by Sir James Robertson, Sir Bryan Sharwood-Smith, Sir John Rankine, Sir Robert Stapledon and Sir J.O. Field, Commissioner of the Cameroons. The United Kingdom was represented by Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Earl of Pearth, Sir John Macpherson, Sir Hilton Poyynton, Sir John Martin, Mr. C.G. Eastwood, Mr. A.R. Thomas, Mr. H.T. Bourdilon, Mr. A.N. Galworthy and Mr. T.B. Williamson. Advisers at the London talks included Chief S.J. Amachree, Chief R. Edukugho, Mr A.J.U. Ekong, Mr. R.A. Fani-Kayode and Mr. J. Olawoyin from the Action Group; Mr. V.E. Mukete from the Cameroon National Congress; Mr. A.N. Jua(Cameroun National Democratic Party); Mr. N.N. Mbile(Cameroun People’s Party); Mr. P.A. Afolabi, Chief Kolawole Balogun, Mrs. M.Ekpo, Dr. C. Obi, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh and Mr. J.T. Otobo—all from the National Council of Nigeria and the Camerouns.

Zana Bukar Dipcharima, Abba Habib, Shettima Kashim and Mr. G.U. Ohikere represented the National People’s Congress; Mr. P.Dokotri (United Middle Belt Congress); Mr. Okoi Arikpo(United National Independence Party); Northern Region—Chief Aliyu Obaja(Attah of Igala), Sir Ralph Grey, Mr. E.I.G. Unsworth,Mr. F.D.C. Williams, Mr. C.S.K. Bovell, Mr. P.H.G. Scott, Mr. H.H. Marshall, Lt-Colonel E.C. Aderton, Mr. J.O. Udoji, Mr. D.O. Ibekwe, Mr. E.G. Stumpenhuson, Mr. Simeon O. Adebo, Mr. M.G. de Winton, Mr. F.A. Williams and Mr. J. Murray. Mr. J.E. Marhham, Mr. J.W. Vernon, Mr. R.J. Vile, Mr. P.A.P. Robertson, Mr. M.G. Smith and Mr. R.W. Francis represented the United Kingdom. Legal advisers were Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray, Mr. J.C. Mcpetrie and Mr. A.R. Rushford. Mr. I.P. Bancroft, Miss M.Z. Terry, Mr. P.H.G. Stallard, Mr. D.S. Timms and Mr. K.O.H. Osborne were from the secretariat, while Miss J.M. Cock was the Librarian.

Another Constitutional Conference was held in London between September 29 and October 27, 1958. After the second London Conference, October 1, 1960, was later selected for Nigeria’s Independence. Shortly after independence, political crisis engulfed the country. The first attempt to make Nigeria a oneparty structure occurred on April 9, 1965 in Benin. On that day the Mid-West Nigeria Legislature became virtually a one-party system following a dramatic crossing to the government side of eight of the nine Mid-West Democratic Front Opposition members in the House of Assembly.

In a speech before crossing, Mid-West Democratic Front leader, Chief James Okpre Otobo from Uzere, said his party now saw eye to eye with the NCNC government on all essential approaches to development and progress of Mid-West. He also announced to formal dissolution of the Mid West Democratic Front.The Mid West Regional Premier Dennis Chukude Osadebey (29 June 1911 — 26 December 1994) welcomed the former opposition members and said: “This is our finest hour and we have reason to rejoice.

To be concluded