1961 British Cameroons referendum

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A United Nations referendum was held in British Cameroons on 11 February 1961 to determine whether the territory should join neighbouring Cameroon or Nigeria. The option of independence was not on the ballot, having been opposed by Andrew Cohen, the UK representative to the UN Trusteeship Council, as well as African and anti-colonial delegations, notably by E. M. L. Endeley, who favoured integration with Nigeria, and John Ngu Foncha, who favoured (eventual) reunification with Francophone Cameroon.[1]

The Muslim-majority Northern Cameroons saw a majority of 60% in favour of joining Nigeria, whilst the Christian-majority Southern Cameroons saw 70.5% in favour of integration with Cameroon.[2] Northern Cameroon officially became part of Nigeria on 1 June, whilst Southern Cameroons became part of Cameroon on 1 October.


Choice Northern Cameroons Southern Cameroons
Votes % Votes %
Integration into Cameroon 97,659 40.0 233,571 70.5
Integration into Nigeria 146,296 60.0 97,741 29.5
Invalid/blank votes
Total 243,955 100 331,312 100
Registered voters/turnout 292,985 349,652
Source: Nohlen et al., African Elections Database


  1. ^ Nyamnjoh, Francis (2003). Negotiating an Anglophone Identity. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill. p. 15. ISBN 9004132953.
  2. ^ Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p177 ISBN 0-19-829645-2