Home Articles REMINISCENCES; POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF EARLY 1960’S – HOW ACTION GROUP, AWOLOWO...

REMINISCENCES; POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF EARLY 1960’S – HOW ACTION GROUP, AWOLOWO FAILED TO PENETRATE THE NORTH

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  Prior to independence, the Action Group was more of a Regional party as it did not enjoy national spread.  It had become almost regionalized.  The Party was performing creditably in the West; where the level of development, was better than any other region in the country.  The Premier, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was very hardworking. His leadership and administrative qualities could not be matched with that of any other leader in the country as at then.  The credentials and catalogues of his achievements indicated this.  All these made Awolowo to stand above all other leaders.  The outstanding performance of Awolowo in the West was a very good one.  If this could be extended throughout the whole country, Nigeria would have been great.  In the light of this, Awolowo chose to go to the Federal House, so that he could become the Prime Minister. While Awolowo was Premier of Western Region, Chief S. L. Akintola was in the Federal House, representing his Federal Constituency. He was the Leader of Opposition in the Federal Assembly, and also a Minister.  He was a warm and hospitable person who was also highly intelligent.  Akintola had great oratorical skills.  The 1959 election was to be held to elect Representatives into the Federal House.  Awolowo was to go the Federal House, while Akintola was to come back to the West.  In their bids, Awolowo won the Federal election to the Federal House.  But he could not realize his ambition of constituting the Federal Cabinet.  The NCNC had aligned with Nigeria Peoples Party to form the majority. This enabled Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of the Northern Peoples Party to become the Prime Minister while Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Leader of NCNC, became the 1st Ceremonial President of Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was left with the position of Opposition Leader.  Meanwhile, Chief S. L. Akintola had formed the Cabinet in the West and had become the Premier of Western Region.  Akintola was only a figurehead, because Awolowo was still the leader of the Party and the party was supreme.  He had to implement decisions reached at party caucuses. The whole rulership was complex, as only few people knew what was going on within the Government.  The 1959 Federal election cost a lot in terms of energy and expenses, especially during Awolowo’s canvassing for the position of prime minister.  Our brethren in other regions only took our money, and all what…

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