There were basic differences between the actions and purposes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, former head of the Western Nigeria Government who later became the Leader of the Federal Opposition, and the Western Nigeria Premier, Chief S.L. Akintola and his supporters.
Chief Akintola ostensibly formed a political alignment with the Northern Nigeria Premier, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello. The Action Group defined this as “democratic socialism”
In early May 1962, Chief Akintola charged his Party Leader with interfering in his work as Leader of the Government and of not being prepared to permit him any initiative. Chief Awolowo countered that Chief Akintola had ignored party instructions regarding governmental policy, particularly in raising local contributions to secondary grammar schools and thus the fees, and in reducing the price payable to local producers of cocoa.
The rift had widened to unprecedented proportions and the party elders led Chief Rotimi Williams,” Q.C. the Action Group Legal Adviser and former Western Nigeria Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, endeavored to bring peace, but failed. Then the party requested Chief Akintola to resign his party position of Deputy Leader and the Premiership. He refused and the Governor, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, who had himself also tried unsuccessfully to reconcile both factions of the Action Group, dismissed Chief Akintola, when he felt that the Premier no longer commanded the confidence of the legislature. Chief D.S. Adegbenro, who was Minister of Local Government, was nominated as the leader of Government by the party and appointed Premier by the Governor.
When the House of Assembly met at Ibadan to ratify the new Government, fighting broke out within the legislative chamber and many members were injured including a Minister. In addition, the mace, the symbol of parliamentary authority, was broken. A second meeting also ended in uproar.
Chief Akintola met with his new political friend, Northern Nigeria Premier, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, who commanded his ‘boy’ Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, to summoned the Federal Parliament to an emergency meeting on 29 May 1962 to determine what action could be taken in the exceptional circumstance prevailing in Western Nigeria.
In a motion proposed by the Prime Minister, he sought parliamentary approval to declare a state of emergency in the Western Region. The motion was approved by 209 votes to 36 in the House of Representatives and in the Senate by 32 votes to 7 with two abstentions.
Speaking to the motion, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who led one of the Action Group factions in the dispute said: “… this motion is discriminatory. I have already given instances to support this contention, and I do not want to go over those incidents again. I have made reference to the riots in the Tiv Division and the riots in Okrika and so on and so forth. I do not want to repeat them. But if this can be done to the Western Region, why was it not done to the Northern Region or the Eastern Region? I want the Prime Minister not only to project the image of being a state man in his dealing with the East and the North, I also want him to project the image of an impartial arbiter and statesman in his dealings with a Region which is not of his origin and a Region in which a party opposed to his party is in the power, a Region in which a party-the Action Group-has its base and from where it operates… Finally the step that is now being taken in this resolution is a violent assault on democratic institutions in Nigeria. It assumes that Parliament can only meet at the sufferance of a group of people who are hostile to that particular party and who are friendly to the Federal Government. That is a dangerous assumption and the Prime Minister must disabuse the minds of all right-thinking people that he had no intention at all to lend his weight to any group, however friendly they may be to him, in castrating the activities of Parliament.
For the reason why the Hausa/Fulani and Kanuri prefer the present National Assembly structures to a Sovereign National Conference, just like in the 1962 proposed motion of the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency in the Western Region, the Northerners had over 60% of the members of the parliament and all voted to destabilise the Yoruba region both at the House of Representatives and the Senate. A region they don’t reside in or have any relationship with.
In today National Assembly, they still have the majority members and can always use that numbers to their advantage. They destroyed the Yoruba region in order to install their friend and stooge (Akintola) the Premier of the Western Region. Today, they prefer the hopelessly corrupt National Assembly over a Sovereign National Conference that gives equal representation to all the nations that make up Nigeria.
Support the call for Sovereign National Conference and if the Hausa/Fulani are refusing, lets us break up the bull sh*t called Nigeria. They cannot win the fight. They cannot fight the Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Edo, Tiv, Igala, Igbira, Idoma all at the same time. Biafrans lost the war because they fought against several nations simultaneously.