Home Governance REMINISCENCES: HOW PARTY POLITICS & DIVISIONS CONTRIBUTED TO THE TERMINATION OF CIVILIAN...

REMINISCENCES: HOW PARTY POLITICS & DIVISIONS CONTRIBUTED TO THE TERMINATION OF CIVILIAN RULE IN THE FIRST REPUBLIC

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Western Region was clearly ahead of other Regions in terms of physical and socio-economic development. This could be attributed to the foresight, vision and commitment of the Action-Group Party led by Obafemi Awolowo. The first television station in black Africa, Liberty-Stadium, Cocoa-House, a 25-storey building, the first University and a host of other meaningful advancements had been recorded in the West. The Region also boasted of a large concentration of enlightened people who acted as torchbearers and opinion leaders. Ikeja, then in Western-Region but in todays Lagos State was fast developing into a blossoming industrial centre. The intelligentsia and political class were fast imbibing the culture of democratic governance. The political crisis which developed within the Action Group, following a crisis within the National Executive of the Party, and the attendant deposition of Chief S. L. Akintola as Deputy Leader and asked him to resign his appointment as Premier of Western-Region caused a lot of stir. He refused. Attempts were made to recognize Alhaji Dauda Soroye Adegbenro as the new Premier. This did not materialize. Chief Akintola on his part called for the dissolution of the Action-Group and the redistribution of its assets. He and Chief Ayo Rosyi (Federal Secretary of the Action Group) had been expelled from the Action Group. Chief Akintola however argued that he had also contributed to the Action Group in energy, time and money, and so could not be dealt with that way. On the 20th of May 1962, the Premier advised the Governor of Western Region that in view of the political crises that had been developing in the Region and counter-claims by the two factions for a majority support of the electorate, the Governor should exercise his constitutional powers to dissolve the Legislative House of the Region. The Governor, Sir Adesoji Aderemi refused. At the same time, the Premier requested the Hon. Speaker to convene an emergency session of the Western Region House of Assembly for May 23, 1962, to consider and pass the Motion for a Vote of Confidence in the Government of Western-Nigeria. The Speaker also refused. The Governor moved thereafter, invoking the relevant section of the constitution to remove Chief Akintola as Premier. Chief Akintola went to court to challenge his removal. A meeting of the House was eventually summoned for the 25th of May. Two unsuccessful attempts were made that day to hold meetings of the Western-House of Assembly….

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