Some West Africans were inspired by the Indian independence movement. In 1920, educated West Africans formed the National Congress of British West Africa, which modeled its name on the Indian National Congress. According to Ali Mazrui, the facet of the Indian independence movement West Africans found most admirable was the Indian peoples' unity during the struggle. In 1936, H. O. Davies said,
"Africans should follow India – the only way is for Africans to co-operate and make sacrifices in the struggle for freedom."
According to Ali Mazrui,
"But the emergence of the Muslim League in India as a serious secessionist movement soon shattered the myth of unity in the Indian model. A new word entered the vocabulary of West African nationalism – the word was 'pakistanism'."
"We have seen the tragedy of religious communalism in India and elsewhere. Don't let us give it a chance to take root and flourish in Ghana. Down with Pakistanism!"
Pakistanism became a concern in Nigeria's independence movement. The primary subdivisions of Nigeria consisted of the Hausa-Fulani-dominated Northern Region, the Yoruba-dominated Western Region, and the Igbo-dominated Eastern Region. In addition to these ethnic differences, the Northern Region was primarily Muslim, while the Western and Eastern regions were primarily Christian. In the 1950s, the Northern Region threatened to secede. Godfrey Mwakikagile noted that it was the Northern region that was the first region threatening to secede. At the 1950 General Conference at Ibadan, Northern Region delegates demanded 50% of the seat in Nigeria's legislature, and they threatened to secede if this demand was not met. In 1958, Nnamdi Azikiwe said,
- Mwakikagile, Godfrey (2010). Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era (5th ed.). Pretoria, South Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: New Africa Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-9802534-1-1. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Mazrui, Ali Al'Amin (1978). Political Values and the Educated Class in Africa. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 104. ISBN 0-520-03292-6. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- Chamberlain, Muriel Evelyn (1999). Decolonization: The Fall of the European Empires (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 0-631-21602-2. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- Mazrui, Ali (2011-02-09). "Is this Pakistanism in Sudan?". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- Azikiwe, Nnamdi (1961). Zik: a selection from the speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe. London: Cambridge University Press. p. 173. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
- Mazrui, Ali Al'Amin (1978). Political Values and the Educated Class in Africa. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-520-03292-6. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Mwakikagile, Godfrey (2001). Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria. Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 4. ISBN 1-56072-967-8. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Ikein, Augustine A.; Alamieyeseigha, Diepreye S. P.; Azaiki, Steve S. (2008). Oil, democracy, and the Promise of true Federalism in Nigeria. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. p. 363. ISBN 0-7618-3928-3. Retrieved 2011-09-26.