PHILOSOPHY FOR INDEPENDENT NIGERI

DAWODU.COM 

Dedicated to Nigeria's History, Socio-Economic and Political issues

 

 

 

LUNARPAGES.COM and IPOWERWEB.COM - Despicable WebHosts - Read My Story

 

 

 

 

PHILOSOPHY FOR INDEPENDENT NIGERIA

 

By

 

Obafemi Awolowo

 

 

A lecture delivered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Action Group (AG) Leader,

and Leader of Opposition in the Nigerian Federal Parliament) to Nigerian

Students at Conway Hall, London, on 3rd September, 1961

 

Politically, the independence of a country can be viewed
from two angles: the corporate and the individual angle.
A country is said to be free only when it has unqualified
control over its internal affairs. On the other hand, a citizen
of an independent country enjoys individual freedom when
he is free to say and do what he likes, subject only to laws
enacted by the freely elected parliament or the popular
legislative assembly of the land.

The dependency of a country and the subjection of its
citizens to alien rule are conterminous. But the
independence of a country does not necessarily mean the
freedom of its individual citizens. It all depends on the
form of government. If, for instance, the form of government
is oligarchical, authoritarian, or totalitarian, individual
freedom will almost invariably be denied to the masses of
the people. The point must be made, however, that in times
of national crisis or emergency, it is legitimate for the
Government to call upon the citizens to surrender, for the
duration, some measure of their individual freedom, in order
that the freedom of the country and its citizens may be
preserved from violation.

In a democracy, therefore, and in normal circumstances,
the freedom of a country connotes the freedom of its
individual citizens.

Furthermore, when the freedom of a country is looked at
in its complete functional embodiment, it exhibits two
conspicuous and inseparable facets. They are the political
and economic facets. A country can only be said to be truly
free and independent which has these two functional facets
co-existing and cohering in their inseparable absoluteness.

I have emphasised the inseparable nature of these two
facets in order to focus attention to the point that, for a
subject people, political freedom is not the end of the journey
or struggle: it is nothing more than a most potent means to
the acquisition and consolidation of the economic and other
facets of the country's freedom.

It is, I believe, generally agreed that political freedom is
meaningless unless it goes hand-in-hand with economic freedom.
Anyone who cares to read his history aright will readily
concur that the prime and sole motivation for imperialist
predations, conquests, and rule is economic in character. If
the imperialist powers can accomplish their economic exploitation
of the weaker nations without political control they
will much prefer to do it that way. As a matter of historical
fact, colonial expansion began with the division of the
territories of the weaker peoples into economic spheres of
influence. It was when it became clear to the imperialists that
economic control would become precarious unless there was
political control as well, that the latter was imposed. In other
words, it is erroneous and dangerous to assume that the
subjection of a country is at an end, simply because it is politically

free. In these modern times, the economic subjugation
of a country does take several, but not easily perceptible,
forms, with the result that many free nations are only ostensibly
so. The economic shackles they wear are heavy and
extremely depressing, but are visible only to the discerning
eye.

The influence which a nation exerts, the respect which it
enjoys, and the prestige accorded to it on the world scene,
depend on two important factors: the size of its wealth and
the calibre of its leadership. Granting an incorruptible,

courageous, public-spirited, enlightened and dynamic leadership,
the wealth of a nation is the fountain of its strength. The
bigger the wealth, and the more equitable its distribution
among the factors and agencies which have helped to produce
it, the greater the out-flow of the nation's influence and
power.

There are two intangible essentials for the attainment as
well as the preservation of freedom (whether national or
individual) which must be mentioned. They are the will on the
part of a people to be and remain free, and a recognition
that the subjection or suppression of other peoples is a standing
peril to freedom wherever it may exist.

Again, in these modern days the functions of a Government
are multifarious. But the primal ones can conveniently
be classified under two headings:

i) its duty to the State to preserve its corporate existence
against internal disorder and external aggression, and


ii) its duty to the citizens to cater for their welfare and
promote their happiness.

The general well-being of the citizen depends on objective
and subjective factors. He needs a healthy body which can be
reared only on good food, adequate shelter, decent clothing,
a reasonable measure of comfort and luxury, and a whole-
some environment. He needs a sound and cultivated mind
which is free to know and meditate upon the things of its
choice. He has natural, conventional, and legal rights which
must be protected and upheld, with impartiality and inflexible
justice, mainly by the appropriate organs of Government,
and partly by the society in which he lives. But, of course,
the citizen owes enormous duties to the State and to his
fellow-citizens, which are regulated and enjoined by
customary usages and the laws of the land.

No Government, however, can hope to discharge its duties
to the State and to the citizens satisfactorily or effectively,
unless it is, or at the very least strives continually to be, on
good terms with its immediate neighbours and the rest of the
world. At the same time, it must ensure at home as near a
state of equilibrium as possible among all the citizens, in their
legitimate demand for equitable shares of the national
products.

In other words, the internal affairs of a State must be
ordered by the Government in such a manner as to guarantee
social justice and personal security to all, and the external
affairs conducted in such a manner as to promote world
peace, and undiscriminating respects for human dignity in all
parts of the world.

I have made these fundamental and, I dare say, self-evident

propositions, because I consider them essential (1) to
a proper understanding of the doings and happenings in
Nigeria since October 1, 1960, and (2) to a critical

assessment of any proposals which I may make in the course of this
lecture.

A good many things have happened in
Nigeria since October 1, 1960.

The first major act of the Government took place on the

very day of our independence. It is an act which in my considered

judgement detracts very seriously from the sovereignty which was that

day conferred upon us. On October 1, 1960, the British High

Commissioner in Nigeria (Viscount Head) and the Prime Minister

(Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) exchanged correspondence, by means of

which an agreement was concluded on that day between
Britain and Nigeria. Under this agreement, Nigeria assumes
and undertakes all the rights and obligations of
Britain under
any valid international instruments in so far as they were
applicable to
Nigeria before the latter's attainment of
independence. These rights and obligations were not spelt out in
the correspondence; and in spite of repeated demands by my
colleagues and myself, the Federal Government has refused to
inform the country of these rights and obligations of
Britain
which our country assumed and undertook on the day of her
independence. Viscount Head, who by the way is generally
regarded as the ruler of
Nigeria, did once volunteer a public
explanation of the agreement in reply to my criticism of it.
He said that the agreement was harmless, and that some of
the rights and obligations assumed and undertaken by
Nigeria under it were those under The Geneva Convention.
My own view is that if we would be party to the Geneva
Convention, we must do so in our own right as a sovereign
state, not as
Britain's underling or foster child.

I have consistently held the view that this agreement is
much more dangerous than the Anglo—Nigerian Defence
Pact. Under the Pact (with which I will be dealing briefly
later), we know exactly what rights and obligations we have
assumed and undertaken. Besides,
Nigeria as a nation is
directly a party to it. Under the agreement, the obligations
which we have undertaken are omnibus and undefined, and
what is more, they are all, without exception,
Britain's
obligations under any valid international instruments, in so far
as they were applicable to us in the days of our subjection.

Now, who is there in the Federal Government, or among
Nigerian politicians and intelligentsia as a whole, to tell us
with candour and unimpeachable accuracy the number and
contents of valid international instruments — both open and
secret — to which, in the days before
October 1, 1960, Britain
had, on behalf of herself and of her territories overseas,
committed herself?

The Monrovia Conference has been given a good deal of
boosting by the Western Press, and Sir Abubakar has been
specially patted on the back for the part he played in it. This
is on1y to be expected. This Conference is known to have
been inspired and completely financed by the more important
countries of the Western Bloc. Undoubtedly, the
Monrovia
Conference had been brought into being as a counter-poise
to the Casablanca Powers which do not appear to find
favour with the Western Powers and their Press.

But whatever attitude the Western Powers and their Press
hold, there are outstanding attributes which the
Casablanca
Powers possess, but which the Monrovia Powers are still to
demonstrate. First, the freedom of each of the countries
which constitute the Casablanca Powers is not only legally in
existence, but also is being made to be seen in all the
country's doings at home and abroad. Second, the resolutions
passed at the Casablanca Conference are positively constructive,
and bear the radical stamp of contemporary African nationalism

at its best. In order to clinch this second point, I would like

to refresh your memories by giving you a summary of some of the

resolutions of each of the two groups of Powers. The resolutions

of the Casablanca Powers include:

1. The setting up of an African High Command.

 

2. The liquidation of colonial regimes through the liberation
of territories still colonised.

 

3. The elimination of all forms of racial segregation in
African States.

 

4. The consolidation and defence of the sovereignty of
New African States.

 

5. The acceptance of the objective of a political union of
Africa, and the taking of such steps as will lead to the
early attainment of this objective.

 

6. The reaffirmation of Africa's non-alignment to any of
the two East and West Blocs.

 

7. The evacuation of all occupation troops from Africa.

 

8. The barring of Africa to all nuclear experiments.

Those of the Monrovia Powers include:

1. The recognition of absolute equality of sovereignty of all
African States irrespective of size and population.

 

2. Each African state has the right to exist and no African
state should try to annex another for any reason.

 

3. Should any African State desire freely and voluntarily
to join with another State no other
African State should stand in its way.

 

4. All States should respect the principle of non-interference
in the internal and domestic affairs of any African state.


5. Each State should respect the territorial integrity of
another State and should not harbour, within its boundaries,
any dissident elements from another State who might wish to use that

State as a base for carrying out subversive activities against

their own State.


6. Any conception of unity entailing the surrender of
sovereignty of any
African State to another is totally
unrealistic.


 

It will be seen that, apart from the fact that the Monrovia
Powers lack the attributes of the Casablanca Powers, the
Monrovia resolution are actuated by fear, and place much,
too much, emphasis on the minor differences between some
African nations.

Before independence, cur economy was dominated by
Britain and

her fellow-members of the N.A.T.O. Since independence, we have

made no effort to relax this imperialist stranglehold on our economy.

On the contrary, we now throw the doors of our country wide open

to indiscriminate foreign exploitation. Every conceivable inducement

is being given to foreign investors of the Western Bloc to come

to Nigeria to exploit our natural resources in whatever way

they choose. The type of venture, its financial structure, and its

location, are left entirely in the hands of intending foreign

investors. The assumption appears to be that foreign businessmen are

so altruistic and philanthropic that their main concern would be to

help the masses of Nigerian people, and not to enrich themselves at

our expense. In seeking foreign aid for our development, our Government

has allowed itself to be led into a blind alley by its Western masters

and mentors.


`Money has no earmark,' so says an old adage which is
as true as ever. But our present Government has so imbibed
the prejudices of
Britain that it appears to see the very Devil
himself in any foreign currency other than British or
American.

It is now eleven months after independence, and yet our
Government has not succeeded in producing a bold development
programme for the prosperity and happiness of our
people, with the result that, economically, we just drift, and
become more and more dependent on foreign aid of a kind
that is not likely to be in the long-term interest of Nigeria.

I understand — or more precisely the country has been promised
by the Government — that a five-year development programme
is in preparation. The architects of this programme
are a Mr. Prasad from the International Bank Mission and
an American from the Ford Foundation. The
United States
has promised substantial aid towards the execution of the
programme, but 90 per cent of such aid, I understand, will
be in the form of American goods.

As a matter of interest, it may be mentioned in passing
that while Nigeria's proposed five-year programme is already
being studied in Britain and America, for the past five
months or so, even an outline of its contents has not yet been
made known to the Nigerian people or their parliament. In
other words, Sir Abubakar wants to clear the programme
with
Britain and America first, before his Government can
ever have the courage to lay it before his fellow-citizens
whose lives and fortunes are going to be affected for good or
for evil by the proposed programme.

The Government has also slavishly committed itself to
British economic and political ideals and prejudices. Words
like nationalisation, public ownership of the means of
production, or socialism, are to the Government what the
rag is to a bull. The advocacy of the Opposition for
nationalisation

 

(a) of the Plateau Tin Mines where foreign
companies declare as much as 150 per cent yearly dividend

 

(b) of the entire mercantile marine operating in Nigeria, and

 

(c) of insurance businesses, as an interim step,

 

has been roundly condemned by the Government as heretical and
mad. Instead, the Federal Government has declared that
industries shall not be nationalised in
Nigeria beyond the
extent to which public utilities are already public-owned.

Before independence the Government of the Federation was not so

scared by the demand for nationalisation as it is at present. Indeed

in a Government publication, first issued in 1956 and reissued in 1958,

it was made clear that in the event of any industry being

nationalised, fair compensation would be paid. It would appear,

therefore, that on the issue of nationalisation, which conflicts with

the basic economic ideal of the Western Powers, our present Government

has shown less courage in freedom than its predecessor had done

in bondage.

In emulating British political ideals, the Government has
even gone much farther than the Tories of the deepest dye
would approve here in
Britain. Up till today, Communist
literature is banned from entering
Nigeria. Even though the
public has been told, after pressure from the Opposition, that
permission has been given for the opening of a Russian
Embassy in
Nigeria, every obstacle is actually being placed in
the way of the Embassy being opened. The representative of
the Russian Government, who has been in
Nigeria for some
months now, stays in the Federal Palace Hotel. Every effort
of the Soviet Government to secure accommodation for its
Embassy is being secretly foiled by some countries of the
Western Bloc with Embassies in
Nigeria. I know a Nigerian
businessman who has been threatened with reprisals by a
Federal Minister for daring to offer suitable premises to the
Russian Government.

 

In keeping with the fashion obtaining among newly emergent
Asian and African nations, our Government has put the
label of `Neutrality' on its foreign policy. But our brand of
`neutrality' is, to all intents and purposes, sui generis. In our
`neutrality', we are already militarily aligned to
Britain, and
hence indirectly to N.A.T.O. In our `neutrality, we do everything
to prevent the opening of a Russian Embassy in
Nigeria and we do

nothing to open one in Moscow ourselves. We proclaim `neutrality',

and yet Chief Okotie-Eboh, Federal Minister of Finance, on his
way to Soviet Russia a
the head of our Economic Mission, went to

very great pains to assure an audience of British businessmen and

politicians here in London that though he was going behind the Iron
Curtain, they could rest assured that be was going to return
from there with his natural colour intact and untarnished.
We proclaim `neutrality' and yet the Sardauna of Sokoto,
with the express consent of Balewa, is moving heaven and
earth to drag
Nigeria into a Commonwealth of Moslem
States.

 

He has done more. As if the Northern Region is not
just an integral part of the Federation of Nigeria, and as if he
is entitled under the Constitution to pursue a separate foreign
policy for the North, he has, with the open acquiescence of
Sir Abubakar, committed the Northern Region to the Arab
side in the Arab-Israeli dispute. We proclaim `neutrality',
and yet we refrain from participating in the
Belgrade
Conference of `non-aligned nations'. Our Government's
`neutrality' in foreign affairs must, in the light of events, be said
to have been conceived in deceit and born in hypocrisy.

Before I pass on to deal with matters of purely domestic
character, I would like to make one or two observations.
The emergence of
Nigeria as an independent nation was
hailed as an event of exceedingly favourable portent for
Africa. In size, population, and natural resources, Nigeria is
indisputably a giant in
Africa. Those African nationalists
who, since our independence, have come to
Nigeria for
succour and added inspiration, have gone back to their homes
disillusioned and frustrated. The high hopes which were
cherished in
Nigeria as an unassailable bastion in the last
phase of
Africa's struggle against colonialism and neo-colonialism

of whatever nature and guise, are fast receding. Among true

African nationalists, Nigeria, as at present led by our Government,

is thoroughly suspect, and does not enjoy the respect and confidence

to which she is entitled by virtue of her natural potentialities.

At home, our pressing problems not only remain unsolved,
but are also not even being tackled with vision and vigour,
nor with the correct ideological orientation.

Education is still in its inchoate stages. The masses hunger
after education but are not being satisfied. In regard to
primary education, the position in the South is good. All
children of school-going age are now in school in the South. But
it is very far from being so in the North. A little over 250,000
children are now receiving primary education in the North,
as against 1.3 million in the East and 1.2 million in the West.
Secondary education ought to be free, but only the well-to-
do can afford to send their children to any post-primary
schools. The award of scholarships tenable in Institutions of
Higher Learning, and for technical and vocational studies,
now lags very much behind the present needs of the country,
with the result that many a lustrous talent is wasting and
rotting away either in a soul-depressing job or in an asylum.

The finances of the Federation are being very badly
managed. We are now right on the brink of a balance of
payments crisis. Yet, according to the latest pronouncement by
the Federal Minister of Finance, our imports of consumer
goods have increased appreciably; but as far as is known no
visible effort is being made for a big export drive. I have told
the Federal Government, on a number of occasions, that
unless the present adverse trends which. have continued for
four years are checked,
Nigeria will, figuratively speaking,
one day find herself in a debtor's prison!

Bribery and corruption, especially in high places, are
alarmingly on the increase. A large percentage of monies
which are voted for expenditure on public projects find their
way into the pockets of certain individuals.

There is unemployment everywhere. The standard of
living in the country as a whole is very low, and in most parts
of the country the peasantry and the working class wallow in
abject poverty and misery. The cost of living is more or less
the same throughout the country. The fact reflects itself in
identical salaries, in different parts of the Federation, for
Ministries and Parliamentarians; for Government, Mercantile
and other employees in the so called upper brackets and
the established grades. But this is unfortunately not the case
with the daily-paid workers and the peasantry who are in the
vast majority. The territorial disparity in their income is
extremely and senselessly wide, constitutes a social injustice of
the worst kind, and is an eloquent evidence of a complete
absence of national approach to the country's problems.

Nigerianisation of the different sectors of our public service
moves at an unpatriotically slow pace. But as if this is
not damning enough, the situation is aggravated by the
Federal Government when, as it often does, it applies criteria
which have no regard at all for merit, in the advancement of
some Nigerians. The present dispensation is that, provided
your Region of origin is in the privileged category, and your
connections in Government circles are strong, mediocrity and
want of requisite qualifications are no bar to any high post,
even though a number of other Nigerians who are infinitely
better qualified in all respects may be unjustly superseded.

Our federal structure remains unbalanced. The Northern
Region bestrides the rest of the country like a Colossus. As
long as this Region remains a unit, the party in power there,
even in a free and fair election, will always have an electoral
advantage over other political parties. But elections in the
North are neither free nor fair. Various iniquitous devices
were used at the 1959 Federal Elections as well as in this
year's Northern Region Elections to ensure victory for the
N.P.C.

To this end, murders, arsons and other forms of violence
to the person and damage to property were committed, and
ballot papers were illegally distributed to N.P.C. party
faithfuls. I have three books of such ballot papers here with me as
exhibits. On the eve of any elections, opposition parties are
precluded from holding public meetings; mass arrests and
imprisonment, with or without trial, of their members are
made; and leaders of such parties are harassed and sometimes
dragged to court on trumped-up charges. I believe you
have all heard of what happened to Messrs Tarka and
Olawoyin, and that you are aware that the Action Group
Leader of the Opposition in the Northern House of Assembly
has not, because of open threat of violence to his person, and
the utter destruction of his house and property, been to his
home in Maiduguri since August last year.

Today the N.P.C. rules both the North and the Federation;
and yet its leaders refuse to change the name of the
organisation to permit the admission of Southerners into its
membership. But of course the Sardauna has declared, in his
characteristically pompous manner, that `N.P.C. is Nigeria
and Nigeria is N.P.C.' Besides, he has never made any bones
about the fact that the Federation is being run by his loyal
lieutenants who must look to him, from time to time, for
direction on major issues. In actual fact, therefore, the centre
of gravity of the Federation is
Kaduna not Lagos; and this
degrading state of affairs will continue so long as the present
unbalanced and unusual structure of our Federation persists.

Many irresistible conclusions flow from what I have so far
said. Only some of them need be mentioned. In the first
place, de jure Nigeria is now free from alien rule, yet through
the activities of our Government she is de facto utterly
subservient to British control, direction and undue influence.
Secondly, though fundamental human rights are enshrined
in our Constitution, yet the rights of the commonality count
for nought in the Northern Region. Thirdly, democratic
practices and processes are being rapidly discredited in the
Northern Region of Nigeria, simply because the leaders of
the N.P.C. who also rule
Nigeria have never believed in a
democratic form of Government. Fourthly, because of the
error of omission of our Government,
Nigeria is already
beginning to slide in
Africa. African nationalists now look upon
our Government as a tool and a stooge of Western Imperial-
ism. Fourthly, the actions of our Government do not measure
up to some of its pronouncements, and its conduct is far from
being guided or influenced by the ideals which today animate
and rule the hearts of the people of Nigeria. Sixthly, our
Government appears to find itself helplessly and hopelessly
on an uncharted sea, in the face of the country's problems.


 

These questions are now relevant. What do we do to
accelerate our progress on the road to modern development, to
arrest the deteriorating situation with which we are beset,
and to retrieve the integrity, honour and self-respect which
true national sovereignty ought to confer on our country?
And, knowing what and what to do, how do we go about
accomplishing them?

 

There must be many and varied answers to these questions. A good

many have occurred to me, and I now want to pass on to you the more

important ones among them. I do so in tabular form.

1. The Anglo—Nigerian Defence Pact, and the October 1 Agreement

under which we assume and undertake all the rights and obligations

of Britain under valid International instruments, should both be abrogated
forthwith.

2. Every vestige and every channel of the undue influence
of
Britain and her allies in and on Nigeria should be
totally eradicated. This, in my view, can be done in
three significant ways. First, by the widening of the
circle of our international friendship, and in particular
by the immediate establishment of diplomatic,
cultural, trade and other mutually beneficial relations
with Soviet Russia, China, and Eastern Germany;
second, by the progressive but accelerated termination
of our undue economic dependence on British and
other Western Agencies and Business concerns; and
third, by the translation or transformation of Nigeria
into a Republic, and by the initiation, at an early date,
of steps to this end.

3. The Federal Government should right now set before
the nation well-defined economic objectives and
development programmes which will be embodied in a
successive series of five-year plans. The objectives and
the programme should be sufficiently bold and expansive
to fire the imagination and stimulate afresh the
hopes of Nigerians and their fellow-Africans. To this
end three important considerations must be borne in
mind. One, our economic objectives and development
programme must be rooted in and strictly guided by
the socialist ideals of

 

(a) equal opportunity for all,

(b) equitable distribution of the national products,

(c) the liberty, dignity, and well being of the individual, and
(d) brotherhood among all mankind.

 

Two, the admission of foreign investment into the country should be
carefully regulated, and channelled in the overall
national interests. In the words of the Report of the
Conference on Administrative Organisation for Economic
Development — `To allow all foreign firms to
enter indiscriminately may stifle nascent local enterprise
and jeopardise the balance of economic expansion. It may also rob

the country of valuable sources of income.. .` In this connection,

a comprehensive list of categories of industries, specifying those

that are in the present and in the near future reserved for the public
sector, as well as those that are, in the short term,
reserved for the private sector, should be prepared.
Three, the development of agriculture (its modernisation
in every sense of the word) must go hand-in-hand
with industrialisation. If agriculture stagnates,
industries will either not grow, or become a bane to the
people.

4. In order that our planned economy may be in the best
interest of our people, a high-powered Economic Planning
Commission should be set up forthwith. This
Commission would consist only of qualified Nigerian
economists and public men, and its membership should
be full-time. The Commission, may, from time to time,
avail itself of such expatriate expert advisers as appear
to them to be sufficiently well-meaning, and detached
from local business interests. It will be the duty of the
Commission to produce a five-year plan for the
Federal Government. It will assess and appraise the
various surveys of our natural and man-power re-
sources, establish priorities, determine the type and the
location of industries, work out and supervise details of
the development programme and the manner of its
execution, and make a periodic review and any necessary
modification of the programme.

5. In order to correct the imbalance in our federal structure,
more States or Regions should first and foremost
be carved out of the existing Northern Region. To
ensure viability, the North should, as a first step, be
broken into three States — the Middle Belt, the
Bornu
and the
Northern States. The Mid-West and the
C.O.R. States should also be created as already pro-
posed.

6. To ensure the advent and growth of democracy and
democratic practices in the North, the following re-
forms should he introduced without delay:

a) Emirs, District heads, Village Heads and Ward
Heads, and other Native Authority functionaries
should, from now on, have nothing at all to do with
the maintenance of law and order during election
and on polling day, and should be present at polling
stations and in the polling booths only to cast their
votes.


b) During elections (Federal, Regional or Local) there
should be no restraint whatsoever on public meetings.
Political parties should be free to hold public
meetings where and when they choose, unless in the
interest of law and order the prescribed authority is
of the opinion that meetings of rival political parties
should be regulated by the issue of permits, or by
agreement among local party leaders. For this
purpose, the Nigerian Police Force should be the pre-
scribed Authority, and should also be responsible for
maintaining law and order during elections in the
Northern Region as well as in the other parts of the
Federation.

c) Where suitable buildings are not available, polling
booths with permanent materials should be erected
by the Federal Government. On no account should
private dwelling houses, palaces, or official
residences be used as polling booths or stations.


d) Symbols should be painted on all sides of the Ballot
Box, and where this is not possible, they should be
pasted on all sides of the Box by means of a transfer
system. All ballot boxes should be made of steel.

e) All Native Authorities shoud be democratised as
has for long been the case in the East and West.
Those who operate the present feudal system in the
North and are, from head to toe, steeped in un-
abashed autocracy can never take kindly to the need
for, and the practices of democracy and of a free
and fair election.

7. The foreign policy of
Nigeria should be independent,
and should be guided by the following principles:

A. in respect to the world in general:

1. The promotion of economic relations with all nations
of the world.

 

2. Co-operation with all nations of the world in so far as
they respect the ideals for which we stand.

 

3. Respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-
interference in their domestic affairs.

 

4. The settlement of international disputes by peaceful
negotiations directly or through the agency of the
U.N.O.

 

5. Attraction of foreign assistance (capital, technical skills
and training opportunities for Nigerians) on the most
advantageous terms.

6. Lasting world peace through non-involvement in
military pacts, discontinuance of the armament race, and
an end to the establishment of military bases on foreign
soil.

7. Respect for the United Nations Charter.

 

B. In respect to Africa in particular:

 

1. The immediate and complete freedom and sovereignty
of all those African States which are at present only
nominally independent (a) by the abrogation of any
military or defence pact or ties as well as of all rights
and privileges appurtenant to such pact or ties and (b)
by the elimination of undue economic or technical
dependence on any single alien country.

2. The setting of a target date or dates in the very near
future for the complete liberation of all colonial territories
wherever they may be on the Continent of
Africa.

3. The immediate termination of the existence of any
military base in any part of Africa and the evacuation
of all occupation troops on the Continent whether they
are attached to specific military bases or not.

4. The mobilisation of all the forces at our command to
assist in the immediate extermination of apartheid in
South Africa and the restoration to the African in
South Africa of his natural birth rights.

5. The outlawry of any form of discrimination or
segregation against the black peoples in particular and
Africans in general, iii Africa and in other parts of the
world.

6. The maintenance and defence of the dignity of the
African (particularly black African), and of the
sovereignty of any independent
African State against
derogation or violation from any quarter whatsoever.

7. The promotion and establishment of a community of
interests among all the peoples of
Africa, and to this
end to work assiduously for the realisation of the ideal
of a political union or a confederacy (whichever is
practicable in the prevailing circumstances) among all
African States.

8. As a first practical step towards the emergence of an
All-Africa political union, the immediate division of
the Continent into Zones.

9. The initiation of steps for the immediate introduction
in Zones of a Customs and monetary union as well as
economic, technical, cultural and other forms of essential
co-operation, and the fostering of an early
emergence of a political union among the independent
countries situate within each zone.

10. Non-involvement of all African countries in the
present East—West power politics and struggles as well
as non-partisanship in the Arab-Israeli dispute and
conflict.

It is my considered view that our foreign policy should be
bi-partisan, and should be taken out of the arena of party
politics. I have repeatedly made suggestions to this effect both
on the floor of the House of Representatives and privately to
Sir Abubakar, but in vain.

There is only one answer to the second question. In the
national interest, all the progressive elements in the country
must come together now, and get themselves ready to take
over the Government of the Federation at the earliest possible
time. We do not have long to wait. Our chance will
come in 1964 or earlier. The life of the present Parliament
comes to an end by effluxion of time in 1964. But Balewa
might choose to go to the country much earlier. And the
likelihood cannot be completely ruled out that the present
coalition, which is an enforced association of incompatibles,
might break and collapse under the mounting pressure of
public discontent and indignation.

Whatever happens, 1964 does not appear to me to be too
far ahead. In the meantime, it is our duty to mobilise public
opinion, and bring it to bear on the Government, to the end
that it shall accept a philosophy of action which springs from
and is broadly based on all the principles, objectives, and
proposals which, within the compass of this lecture, I have
sufficiently elaborated.

There are many who are beginning to despair about the
future of our great country. May I reaffirm, in all humility
and unshaken faith, that there is no cause for despair. For,
it is to the progressive and radical elements in
Nigeria, whose
numbers are rapidly increasing, that the morrow of our illustrious
country belongs.

RETURN TO HOME PAGE

horizontal rule

© 1998 - 2015 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to  legal recourse.

Contact:   webmaster@dawodu.com

Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 3969, Gettysburg, PA  17325-0969, USA.

This page was last updated on 04/08/15.