• Monday, December 11, 2023
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Independence Day 63rd Anniversary: Brief historical perspective of Nigeria

Nigeria’s independence

It is nice and interesting to note that prior to the much-anticipated Independence Day celebration in Nigeria on 1st October, 1960, there were high expectations by the Nigerian populace and our founding fathers (nationalists) at the dawn of a new beginning for the Federation of Nigeria which had operated and practised the Regional System of Government which was created by the Richard’s Constitution of 1946.

Sir Arthur Richard was the then British-Colonial Governor-General who created and permitted our nationalists and founding fathers to embarked on Regional System of Government for the Federation of Nigeria which did create the Eastern, Western and Northern Regions respectively.

Later, the Mid-Western Region was created in 1963 after robust deliberation and comprehensive discussion by nationalists from that part of the country. The Mid-Western Region was an extension of the Western Region for it shared a common geographical boundary with the Western Region and to an extent with the Eastern Region!
The then Mid-Western Region comprised of the present Delta and Edo States respectively which was formerly known as the old Bendel State.

The Action Group (AG) political party had a formidable grassroots and stronghold in the then Mid-Western Region with great politicians such as Chief Dennis Olisadebey of the defunct National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC); Chief Anthony Enahoro of AG, who moved the motion for Nigeria’s Independence in the Chamber of the Federal House of Representatives in Lagos at the age of 33 years old; Chief Arthur Prest and Alfredo Rewane both of the defunct vibrant grassroots mobilisation AG political party and other prominent NCNC and AG politicians at pre and post-independence Nigeria!

Our nationalists (politicians) attended various Constitutional Conferences beginning from 1947 in London till the 1950s for various Constitutional Review Conferences and debated brilliantly and comprehensively in the House of Commons and House of Lords, organs of the British Parliament, on the need for Nigeria to be granted independence from Great Britain!

The various Constitutional Review Conferences attended in London had representatives from both the Southern and Northern extractions of Nigeria.

Prior to the 1940s political activism in Nigeria, the Nigerian Youth Movement and the Lagos Youth Movement were the Most vibrant formidable and articulate youthful political movements that canvassed and advocated aggressively for Nigerian Youth involvement for Nigeria’s Independence from Great Britain.

Read also: Nigeria@63: The human face of a sickly economy

The formidable leaders of the defunct NYM were: Professor Eyo Ita, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Hezekiah Oladapo Davies, Mr. Ernest Ikoli, Dr. James Vanghuan, Chief Kofo Abayomi, Oba Samuel Akinsanya, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other prominent youthful Nigerians.

From 1937-1959, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s formidable and aggressive chains of Newspapers known as West African Pilot Group of Newspapers of Sentinel, Western Nigerian Guardian, The Comet, Ogoja Advocate and other chains of Newspapers were on daily newspapers stand in major cities of Nigeria with remarkable as the “mouthpiece” advocate and agitators for Nigeria’s Independence from Great Britain!

It is absolutely interesting to note that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the Pioneer Managing Editor of African Morning Post Newspaper based in Accra, Ghana.

From 1923-1933, Nigerian National Democratic Party founded by Sir Herbert Macaulay in 1923 was the only formidable grassroots political party based in Lagos, Nigeria.

NCNC was founded in Lagos in 1944 by Sir Herbert Macaulay and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Other members such as Dr. Olorunminbe, Sir Louis Ojukwu were prominent pioneer members of the NCNC political party.

NCNC became a formidable National Political Party in Nigeria when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was voluntarily and unanimously appointed as the President-General of the political party after the death of Sir Herbert Macaulay in 1946 in Kano on a national wide tour of the NCNC political party to sensitised and mobilised Nigerians to support the party’s agitation for Nigeria’s Independence from Great Britain.

AG political party was formed in 1951, but it started as a Social-cultural organisation known as Egbe Omo Oduduwa in 1945 in London by Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was then a Law Student in a London University; Mr. Akintola William (a brilliant First African Chartered Accountant), Professor Saburi Biobaku, Dr. Oni Akerele and other pioneer founders of AG!

NPC political party was founded in 1951 by Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Mallam Musa Yaradua Senior and other prominent Northern Region politicians as prominent pioneer members.
There were other smaller political parties from 1950-1966 such as NEPU founded by Mallam Aminu Kano, and other smaller political parties at that point in time of Nigeria evolution of political parties!

Zikist Youthful Movement was founded by Mokgwugo Okoye, Raji Abdallah, Anthony Enahoro, Abiodun Aloba, Kola Balogun, Osita Agumna, Amaechi Mbazuilike, MCK Ajuluchukwu, Nduka Eze, Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe and other youthful Nigerians who identified with Zik’s political ideology as prominent pioneers of the aggressive vibrant Zikist Youthful Movement that advocated for independence from 1946-1950s!

Earliest Foremost Nigerian/First Set of Nationalists of NNDP Political Party Based in Lagos Alone (1920-1933)!

Herbert Macaulay, James Johnson, Mojola Agbebi, Candido Da Rocha, Christopher Sapara Williams, Samuel Herbert Pearse, Cardoso, Adeyemo Alakija, John Payne Jackson, Orisadipe Obasa, Dr. Akinola Maja, Benjamin Euba, Reverend S.M Abiodun, John K. Randle and Kitoye Ajasa as prominent members.

Some prominent Politicians of the defunct NCNC political party from 1944-1966 were:
Sir Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Professor Eyo Ita, Chief Hezekiah Oladapo Davies, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale Benson, Chief Olu Akinfosile, Chief Adeleke Adedoyin, Chief Adegoke Adelabu, Mr. Kola Balogun, Mr. Ejike Mbonu, Dr. Michael Okpara, Dr. Alvan Ikoku, Senator Paul Okoro, Mrs. Olufumilayo Ransomkuti, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Chief Dennis Olisadebey, Mr. Modupe Johnson, Chief Aja Nwachukwu, Mr. Jaja Nwachukwu, Mr. Raymond Njoku, Chief Matthew Mbu, Chief Richard Akinjide, Dr. Olorunminbe, Sir Louis Ojukwu, Mr. Louis Mbanefo,
Chief Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe, Chief Amaechi Mbazuilike, Sir Mokwugo Okoye, Raji Abdullahi, Abiodun Aloba, Professor Eni Njoku, Mr. Ogedengbe Macaulay and others.

Some Prominent defunct Action Group political party from 1951-1966 were: Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Samuel Akintola, Chief Bode Thomas, Mr. Stephen Awokoya, Dr Oni Akerele, Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams, Papa Michael Ajasin, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Mazi Samuel Goomsu Ikoku, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu, Chief Adisa Akinloye, Alhaji Dawodu Ganiyu, Chief Josiah Olawoyin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Pa Anthony Enahoro, Chief Alfredo Rewane, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Mr.Akintola Williams, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, Chief Arthur Prest and others numerous to mention!

Salutations to our founding-fathers, nationalists, heroes and heroines.
May the Labour of our heroes past never be in vain as it is written and being recited in our National Anthem.
Our political leadership and followers must work consciously, with dedication and commitment with a view to making and contributing to the rapid development of our country in terms of economic prosperity, advancement and progression.
Our political leadership must prudently harness our vast mineral deposits or resources for the benefit of All Nigerians irrespective of tribal, religious and political affiliations.

Our present and subsequent political leadership must ensure rapid development of our country through prudent use of our vast mineral deposits for the betterment of ALL Nigerians.

All our sectors should be performing at optimal levels of development.

Our contributions to our economy should reflect increase in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and there should be massive jobs, employments and continuous rapid industrialisation drive for further boosts in our country’s GDP.

God Bless the Republic of Nigeria.

.©Mr.Simeon Okoro is a Tutor, Prolific Researcher, Writer, Columnist and Author.