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A PEEP INTO THE PAST – PRE-INDEPENDENCE POLITICS IN NIGERIA TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF EGBE OMO ODUDUWA

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This piece is being published for two reasons: To encourage youths who fervently wish to participate in nation building and give them a sense of belonging. Furthermore, it is a refreshing expose on politics of the First Republic to educate and invite attention to the role plated by Nigerias early nationalists from the days of Herbert Macaulay. It is also being published at a time that concerns are pronounced about the continued existence of Nigeria as one nation; and the influence of socio-cultural organizations. The piece is culled from: The Path to Play, an autobiography of Chief S.T, Adelegan, Deputy Speaker of the Western Region Legislature from 1960 to 1965. Readers might be able to draw one or more lessons from the compilation. Those of us who had the opportunity of going to school in our time were very few. By then education was not free, schools were not many, most Nigerians lived from hand to mouth and developmental level was low all over. The economy then was mostly agrarian except for few people who took to trading. Economic activity in those days was dominated and controlled by the whites. Few of us who had access to formal education could not do, but have our eyes on releasing our dear country from the yoke of colonial rule and imperialism. And so, pre-independence politics was majorly centred on struggles to obtain independence and sovereignty. But then, this really started in the South, Lagos being the centre and beehive of political activities. Herbert Macaulay led the only major party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party, which produced constitutional representatives. Members were drawn from all over the country; but majorly, they were the crops of enlightened Nigerians, who made Lagos their base. In those days, over 90% of Nigerians were illiterates. Not quite long, we heard of a group of people with Dr. Akinola Maja, being one of their leaders under the name Area Party. Most of the members were Lagosians. Akinola Maja later mentored the second Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, popularly addressed as SLA. Ladoke Akintola, who hailed from Ogbomosho was an astute politician and lawyer, who was richly blessed with oratorical skills. Akintola was one of the founding fathers of independent Nigeria. He was also a journalist. Through the influence of Akinola Maja, SL Akintola was appointed the editor of Daily Service Newspaper in 1943, and…

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