Home Articles REMINISCENCES: HOW PARTY SUPREMACY WAS ENFORCED IN THE FIRST REPUBLIC

REMINISCENCES: HOW PARTY SUPREMACY WAS ENFORCED IN THE FIRST REPUBLIC

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One striking occurrence in the society in modern times is the lack of knowledge of the contributions of eminent Nigerians to national development. Several decades ago, such subjects as Civics and History were taught even in elementary schools. Secondary school students of those days had knowledge of occurrences all over the world, as they were informed about developments like going on the moon, and technological advancements. What happens today? The younger ones are more interested in ‘’rappings’’ that convey no specific messages; and are largely unaware of historical developments, particularly political developments that could shape their knowledge of how they could be useful citizens in the quest to build a greater Nigeria. In this account, TERRIFIC HEADLINEStreats the issue of party supremacy, that was prevalent even until the demise of the Second Republic in 1983. As recorded his autobiography: ‘The Part To Play,’ Hon. S.T. Adelegan, Deputy Speaker, Western Region House of Assembly disclosed that: ‘’In the First Republic, there was party discipline and self-discipline.  Members faced expulsion from the party if they failed to attend meetings and sittings. ‘’Therefore, Parliamentary sessions and the normal sittings were always lively and interesting. ‘’I want to mention here that in my own perception, the House was the best ever put in place in this country.  The composition, stuff, presentation and even defence of one’s constituency’s interest made the House unique. ‘’The standard of debates, and the ways and manners by which members advanced the needs of their constituencies were remarkably better than what obtained after us.’’ Apparently, it was possible for political parties in those days to enforce discipline because members themselves were disciplined and had respect for constituted authorities. It was possible because political party functionaries were not installed by entrenched interests and the wealthy on account of influence. No Premier or Head of Government got his Certificate of Return from the Electoral body and handed it over to his or her sponsor as agreed before elections took place. It was unlikely that people likeDaudaSoroyeAdegbenro, Jonathan Odebiyi,Abraham Adesanya, Remi Fani Kayode, J.O Osuntokun, BabajideOlowofoyeku,J.E. Babatola,and other brilliant minds would have agreed to be teleguided against their conscience by any leader. They acted on principle.And they were very bold because they had ‘’second addresses’’ or professions and jobs to which they could return should they fail to be reelected to the Legislature. Available records also indicate that most of those politicians were…

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