The Crisis over the motion for “Self Government” in 1956

image This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The motion was moved by an Action Group member, Mr., now Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, a member of the Central legislature. The motion asked the House to accept “as a primary political objective the attainment of self-government for Nigeria in 1956”. The Council of Ministers, in order to present the appearance of collective responsibility decided not to take part in the debate on the motion. The four Action Group members in the council therefore resigned their seats as ministers in order to participate in the debate. The Sardauna of Sokoto, the leader of the NPC then moved a counter-motion substituting for the phrase  “in 1956” the phrase “as soon as practicable”. Later on an adjournment motion was moved and the Action Group and NCNC seeing this is a delaying tactic by the Northern delegation decided to walk out of the House. After the adjournment the Lagos crowd became hostile to the Northern delegation and the delegation threatened they would not come to the South again. As a result of the resignation of the AG members in the Council of Ministers, the Council could no longer function. The net effect of the crisis was the Eight-Point-Program jointly passed by the Northern House of Assembly and the House of Chiefs-the programme if carried out would have led to a virtual secession of the region from the rest of the country. It asked for complete legislative and executive autonomy for the Northern region in all matters except those that dealt with defense, external affairs, customs and research institutions. Furthermore, the crisis brought about a temporary Alliance between NCNC and the Action Group.

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