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Tuesday 8 May 2018



By Nwafor Somtochukwu Aloysius
For Family Writers Press

In his autobiography; 'My Life', Sir Ahmadu Bello recalls;
" Accordingly both Houses were summoned to meet on the 18th May, this was just over six weeks since we left Lagos. Two days before this meeting, that is the Saturday, trouble broke out in Kano city and Sabon Geri, these are outside the walls occupied by 'native foreigners' (mostly Southerners). This was the culmination of series of incidents in the past few weeks which had their origin in the troubles in Lagos.
While the Action Group in Lagos had been the mover, they had been supported by the NCNC.
Here in Kano as things fell out, the fighting took place between the Hausas (specially from the 'tough' suburb of Fagge) and the Biafrans, the Yorubas (of the Action Group persuasion) were, oddly enough out of it. Very large number were involved on both sides and the casualties were severe in numbers, though not in proportion to the crowds involved".

Ironically, the tribe that started the quarrel in Lagos (Yorubas) turned round to advice their own not to defend Biafrans against the Hausas, when they were attacked. Biafrans bore the brunt and stood like men to fight back. Harlot


In 1952, there were elections to the Western House of Assembly, Eastern House of Assembly and Northern House of Assembly.  Lagos was part of the Western Region then, and NCNC was in control of Lagos. From Lagos, the NCNC put up four candidates; Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, H. O. Davies, Olorunnimbe and Adeleke Adedoyin. The NCNC defeated the Action Group in Lagos and all members of Western House Assembly from Lagos were NCNC members. Over all results showed that NCNC had a very comfortable majority in the rest of Yoruba land in the Western House of Assembly.

The British government in their usual hatred for Biafrans, hated the victory of Zik under NCNC, and then decided to abort it by all means. They (British) introduced what they called cross-carpeting( a situation where members and supporters of a particular party is allowed to change his position on which party to support on the day in which power is supposed to be handed over to the winner and the flag bearer of the winning party). The then constitution guaranteed the leader of the party with the majority in the House to be the leader of the House, and when self-government came, he would be designated premier of the Region.

Awolowo quickly mobilised the Ooni of Ife and other prominent Yoruba Obas and said, "can't you see the danger that is coming on now? If we allow Igbo man (A Biafran) to be the leader of this House, the Igbo man will one day be the Premier of this Region".
His message hit home and spread like a wild fire, and the Yoruba members of the NCNC were lobbied (under the carapace of Yoruba solidarity) to cross over to the Action Group under Awolowo, to stop an Igbo from coming to be the Premier of Western Region.
When the House met, there was a red carpet and the speakers bench was one side the opposition bench was on the other side.

The Governor was then the Speaker or Chairman of the House. As he took his (governor) seat, Awolowo got up and said he had a matter of urgency to raise to forestall a situation that could lead to riots and anarchy which he said many members of the house had decided to correct. One by one, the NCNC members (all Yoruba) got up and said, " Your Excellency, I don't want to part of a situation where Yoruba land would be set on fire. So I am crossing over to the other side".
He would get up, walk across the carpet and take his seat. After the crossing, the NCNC majority was reduced to a minority.

Chief Festus Okotie Ebo (stunch NCNC member from now Delta State, but then part other Western Region) broke down and started crying. The leadership of NCNC decided it was no use for Zik (their leader) to be the leader of the opposition in Western Nigeria, that it was better for him to go to head the government of his own region, since the politics of Nigeria had been reduced to this absurd tribal level.

Thus, the member representing Onitsha constituency was persuaded to resign for Zik to take his place at the Eastern Region Assembly. This would also enable Zik to be a member of the House of Representation (Federal). What even astonished the British was the fact that in the election, which was transparent, the Action Group which Awolowo created as a Yoruba party lost to NCNC in the Western Region!! (Yoruba land).

The Action Group won only 29 seats while, the NCNC won 35 seats. Regionalism (politics of tribalism as intended by Britain) was in danger!! There were, however 16 seats won by small parties and independent candidates available for negotiation. Through behind the door negotiations which involved some British officials, these 16 seats went to Action Group. This was how Awolowo, Action Group and the British succeeded in turning the election won by NCNC into a victory for Action Group and this marked "The Rigging of Nigerian History". be continued.

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