First Nigerian Republic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nigerian First Republic)
Jump to: navigation, search
Flag of Nigeria.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Nigeria

The First Republic was the republican government of Nigeria between 1963 and 1966 governed by the first republican constitution.

Founding (1963)[edit]

Although Nigeria gained partial independence from Britain on October 1 1960, it was not totally independent until 1963 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The name “Nigeria” is derived from the word “Niger” – the name of the river that constitutes the most remarkable geographical feature of the country. Nigeria is a country of 923,768 square kilometers, bound to the west by Benin, to the north by the Niger and Chad Republic, east by the Republic of Cameroon, and south by the Gulf of Guinea. The country gained independence from the British government on Oct. first 1960, and became a republic in 1963. The journey to independence started with some constitutional developments, these constitutional developments saw the country attaining self-rule in some quarters in 1957 and total liberation on Oct. 1st 1960.

Presidents[edit]

Ceremonial Presidents during the Nigerian First Republic
President Term Party
Nnamdi Azikiwe October 1, 1963 - January 16, 1966 NCNC

Prime ministers[edit]

Prime Ministers during the Nigerian First Republic
Prime Minister Term Party
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa October 1, 1963 - January 16, 1966 NPC

Political parties[edit]

Politics[edit]

The country was split into three geopolitical regions—Western Region, Eastern Region and Northern Region—and its political parties took on the identities and ideologies of each region. The Northern People's Party (NPC) represented the interests of the predominantly Hausa/Fulani Northern Region], the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC)] (later renamed to "National Council of Nigerian Citizens") represented the predominantly Igbo Eastern Region, and the Action Group (AG) dominated the Yoruba Western Region. The NPC took control of the federal parliament, and formed a coalition government with the NCNC. Undisputed Nigerian strong-man Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, leader of the NPC, was poised to become the Prime Minister, but instead he chose to become the Premier of the Northern Region, and supported his deputy Tafawa Balewa's candidacy for Prime Minister. This raised suspicions amongst the southern politicians, who resented the idea of a federal government controlled by a regional leader through his designated proxy. In the end, Tafawa Balewa of NPC was named Prime Minister and Head of Government, and Nnamdi Azikiwe of NCNC was named President.

At Nigeria's independence, the Northern Region gained more seats in parliament than both Eastern and Western regions combined—this would cement Northern dominance in Nigerian politics for years to come. Resentment amongst southern politicians precipitated into political chaos in the country. Obafemi Awolowo, Premier of Western Region, was charged with sedition and convicted in a controversial trial. With incarceration of Awolowo, Samuel Akintola was elected as the Premier of Western Region. Because Akintola was an ally of Ahmadu Bello, the undisputed strong man of Nigeria, Akintola was criticized as being a tool of the North.[1] As premier of the West, Akintola presided over the most chaotic era in Western Region—one which earned it the nickname "the Wild-Wild West". However, as late as Thursday, January 13, 1966, Balewa had announced that the federal government was not going to intervene in the West.[2] However, the very next day, Akintola, premier of the West met with his ally and Nigeria's undisputed strong-man Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, premier of the North and party boss of NPC party to which Balewa belonged.[3] At the same time a top-level security conference in Lagos was taking place which was attended by most of the country's senior army officiers. All of this activity created rumors that the Balewa government would be forced to crack down on lawlessness in the West using military might.[4]

Notable politicians[edit]

Chief S.A Ajayi OFR (Federal Minister of Interior, minister of Forestry(state)

The coup[edit]

The political unrest during the mid-1960s culminated into Nigeria's first military coup d'état. On 15 January 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and his fellow rebel soldiers (most of who were of southern extraction) and were led by Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna of the Nigerian Army, executed a bloody takeover of all institutions of government. Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, was assassinated along with the premier of Northern Nigeria, strong-man Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto,[5] Samuel Akintola, premier of the West[6] and Festus Okotie-Eboh, the Finance Minister. [1]. It is not clear whether President Azikiwe's life was spared because he was out of the country at the time, or whether he had been informed about the impending coup and was out of the country so that his life could be spared. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi took control as the first Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria on January 16, 1966.[7]

Civil war and beyond: 1966-1979[edit]

The republic would be torn by the secession of Biafra and the ensuing civil war from 1966-1970. After Biafra was overrun and the nation re-unified, military rule continued for another nine years, implementing Nigerianization of foreign businesses. Eventually, elections were held in 1979 leading the way to the Nigerian Second Republic.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War (Hodder and Stroughto Publishers: London, 1972, p. 30
  2. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War (Hodder and Stoughton Publishers: London, 1972) p. 30.
  3. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War, p. 30.
  4. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War, p. 30.
  5. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War p. 36.
  6. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War, p. 35
  7. ^ John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War, p. 39.