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Separatist Agitations in Nigeria Since 1914

  • Tekena N. Tamuno

Extract

During the 1960s, Nigeria's stability was so severely threatened by such factors as reckless politics, military coups d'etat, refugee problems, and secessionist movements that foreign observers predicted the failure of a hitherto glorified model of a newly independent, democratic, multinational state in West Africa. In February 1966 pessimism about Nigeria's political future was so great that some observers inside and outside Nigeria believed that such a British-created federation as Nigeria's could not survive after the failure of the similarly launched Central African Federation, the West Indian Federation, and Malaysia (after Singapore's separation) 1.

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Page 563 note 1 West Africa (London), 12 02 1966, p. 171.

Page 563 note 2 The American civil war of 1861–5 and the Swiss war of the Sonderbund in 1847.

Page 565 note 1 This is a rough demarcation. The internal boundaries of the three British administrations in Nigeria were much more complicated than that. Erroneously, these boundaries later gave rise to ideas of ‘natural’ internal demarcations, particularly during the period of the ‘Biafra’ agitation.

Page 565 note 2 Bello, Ahmadu, My Life (Cambridge, 1962), pp. 133 and 135.

Page 566 note 1 See Philhipson, S. and Hicks, J. R., Report of the Commission on Revenue Allocation (Lagos, 1952), p. 11.

Page 566 note 2 Bello, op. cit. p. 136.

Page 566 note 3 Halley, Lord, Report on Nigeria, 1940–41, with a minute by His Excellency the Governor, January 1942 (London, 1942), pp. 1920.

Page 567 note 1 Memorandum by Bourdillon of 27 January 1942, filed with Halley's Report.

Page 567 note 2 Hailey, op. cit. para. 95.

Page 567 note 3 Burton, J. W., Systems, States, Diplomacy and Rules (Cambridge, 1966), p. 124.

Page 568 note 1 Proceedings of the General Conference on Review of the Constitution, January 1950 (Lagos, 1950), p. 218.

Page 568 note 2 The 136 elective seats of the House of Representatives were allocated thus: Northern Region, 68; Western Region, 34; and Eastern Region, 34. There were provisions for special and official members.

Page 568 note 3 Bello, op. cit. p. 118.

Page 568 note 4 Ibid. p. 144.

Page 569 note 1 Ibid. p. 146.

Page 569 note 2 Report by the Conference on the Nigerian Constitution, 1953 (London, 1953), Cmd. 8934, p. 20.

Page 569 note 3 Ibid. pp. 21–2.

Page 570 note 1 Ezera, Kalu, Constitutional Developments in Nigeria (Cambridge, 1964 edn.), pp. 186–8.

Page 570 note 2 Because of existing regulations, my source cannot at present be disclosed.

Page 571 note 1 Report by the Resumed Conference on the Nigerian Constitution held in Lagos in January and February 1954 (London, 1954), Cmd. 9059, p. 12.

Page 571 note 2 Azikiwe, Nnamdi, Zik, a selection from the speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe (Cambridge, 1961), pp. 126–7.

Page 572 note 1 The Exclusive Legislative list of specific powers included such items as aviation, currency, customs and excise, defence, exchange control, external affairs, immigration, maritime shipping and navigation, mines and minerals, naval, military and air forces, passports and visas, railways, and trunk roads. The Concurrent Legislative list covered such matters as antiquities, arms and ammunition, census, higher education, industrial development, labour, and traffic on federal trunk roads. For regional legislation inconsistent with federal legislation, see: The Nigeria (Constitution) Order in Council, 1960 (Lagos, 1960), Sec. 64(4), p. 42; The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Lagos, 1963), sec. 69(4), p. 37; and Elias, T. O., Nigeria: the development of its laws and constitution (London, 1967), p. 37.

Page 573 note 1 In particular, the federal election of 1964 and the West Region election of 1965 fell into this category.

Page 574 note 1 Daily Times (Lagos), 13 01 1965, ‘State House Diary of Events’.

Page 574 note 2 West Africa, 19 12 1964, p. 1419.

Page 574 note 3 Ibid.

Page 575 note 1 Ibid. 16 January 1965, p. 53.

Page 575 note 2 Ibid. 2 January 1965, p. 3.

Page 575 note 3 Nigerian Outlook (Enugu), 15 11 1965. This newspaper reflected the views of the Government of the Eastern Region.

Page 576 note 1 Northern House of Assembly Debates (Kaduna), 26 02 1965, col. 68.

Page 576 note 2 Daily Times, 2 March 1965. This newspaper usually adopted a neutral position.

Page 576 note 3 Northern House of Assembly Debates, 26 February 1965, col. 71.

Page 577 note 1 New Nigerian (Kaduna), 14 05 1969. The phrase was that of Lt Sam Owonaro, the surviving member of the group which had attempted secession in February 1966. The other two leaders—Isaac Boro and Nottingham Dick—died in 1968 as military officers fighting on the federal side to suppress a bigger secessionist movement.

Page 577 note 2 Ibid. Interview by the correspondent ‘Candido’ with Lt Owonaro.

Page 578 note 1 Federal Ministry of Information, Nigeria 1966 (Lagos, 1967), p. 33.

Page 578 note 2 Ibid. p. 35.

Page 579 note 1 Ibid pp. 14 and 40.

Page 579 note 2 Nigerian Outlook, 5 August 1966.

Page 579 note 3 Federal Ministry of Information, Soldier of Honour (Lagos, 1968), pp. 27 and 22–3.

Page 580 note 1 Eastern Region Ministry of Information, Nigerian Crisis, 1966 (Enugu, 1966), p. 18.

Page 581 note 1 Ibid. vol. 4, The Ad Hoc Conference on the Nigerian Constitution, pp. 4, 17, 26, and 33–4. See also An Address by His Excellency, Lt-Col Odurnegwu Ojukwu to the Joint Meeting of the Advisory Committee of Chiefs, Elders and the Consultative Assembly, Enugu, 30 November 1966 (Enugu, 1966), p. 4.

Page 581 note 2 See the ‘Aburi’ Decree or The Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree (no. 8 of 1967); and The Constitution (Repeal and Restoration) Decree (no. 13 of 1967).

Page 581 note 3 Biafra Newsletter (Enugu), I, 3, 24 11 1967, p. 6.

Page 581 note 4 Ibid.

Page 582 note 1 Ojukwu, C. Odumegwu, The Ahiara Declaration (Geneva, 1969), pp. 1819.

Page 583 note 1 West Africa, 28 09 1963, p. 1089.

* Senior Lecturer in History, University of Ibadan.

Separatist Agitations in Nigeria Since 1914

  • Tekena N. Tamuno

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