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Theme 1          Federalism and Development of Political Parties In Nigeria           

  1. Federalism: origin of federalism in Nigeria
  2. Nature and structure of Nigerian federalism
  3. Problems of Nigerian federalism
  4. Minority issues and the creation of states
  5. Inter-ethnic rivalry and the issue of secession
  6. Development of political parties in Nigeria: Nigerian national democratic party (NNDP) The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun/Citizens (NCNC)
  7. Action Group (AG) Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU)
  8. National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP)
  9. Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP), People Redemption Party (PRP), Nigerian Advance Party (NAP)
  10. Social Democratic Party (SDP), National Republic Convention(NRC)
  11. People Democratic Party (PDP) All Nigerian People Party (ANPP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress and Small Political Party

Theme 2          Political Crises and Military Rule in Nigeria 

  1. Major political crises in Nigeria
  2. Military rule in Nigeria
  3. Conflict resolution in Nigeria
  4. Peace Education







Table of Contents

Theme 1    Federalism and Development of Political Parties in Nigeria 

  1. Federalism: Origin of federalism in Nigeria

Nigerian federalism has its roots dating back to 1914, when the Northern and Southern protectorates were united, albeit under a unitary administrative framework. Subsequent to this merger, governance in Nigeria began to undergo a process of division between the central government led by the governor-general and the governments of the Northern and Southern protectorates, overseen by the lieutenant governors. This shift marked the initial steps toward a federal structure, as the autonomous components of the Northern and Southern provinces led to an administrative setup resembling a federation.


The evolution towards a federal system gained even more momentum with the country’s division into three regions in 1946, an arrangement initiated by Governor Sir Arthur Richards under the Richards constitutional framework. The 1951 Macpherson constitution provided substantial reinforcement to the establishment of Nigeria as a federal state.


Beyond the geographical partition into the Northern, Western, and Eastern regions, the constitution assigned the roles of regional leadership to lieutenant governors and endowed legislative authority to the legislative and executive councils that were established. The 1954 Lyttleton constitution solidified the transformation from a unitary state to a genuine federal state in Nigeria. Effective from October 1, 1954, this constitution facilitated the sharing of powers between the central and regional governments. The reorganization of the judiciary to align with the federal structure of the nation was another pivotal aspect of this constitutional revision.


Federalism, in essence, involves the distribution of powers between a central governing authority and subordinate units like local governments and states/regions. In 1954, the country operated with two tiers of government—the central and regional governments—each endowed with their specified and mutually agreed-upon powers as stipulated by the constitution. While the central government held exclusive legislative functions, concurrent legislative functions were shared by both the central and regional governments, leaving residual functions under the jurisdiction of the regions.

Factors that necessitated (adopting) the formation of federalism

  1. Cultural diversity: Differences in culture, religion, language, custom, tradition, etc. among different ethnic groups make the operation of a federal system possible.
  2. The fear of one ethnic group dominating others necessitated the establishment of federalism in Nigeria.
  3. To protect the interests of minority groups.
  4. The large population and wide geographical areas of Nigeria, make it necessary to establish federalism in Nigeria.
  5. To ensure rapid and even development of all parts of Nigeria.
  6. To bring government near to the people of Nigeria.
  7. To bring about the division of powers in order to reduce the burden involved and make the art of governance less energy-sapping, time-saving, less fatiguing and make government more effective.
  8. To create more employment opportunities through the division of powers and the duplication of ministries and offices.
  9. To make it possible for diverse laws that will suit the diverse communities in Nigeria.
  10. In order to preserve the local independence or autonomy of every ethnic group in Nigeria.



  1. Constitutional division of power: There is division and sharing of governmental powers between the federal and regional government.
  2. Written and rigid: The constitution adopted is rigid and written.
  3. The different governments in Nigeria derive their powers from the constitution
  4. Supremacy of the constitution.
  5. Separation of powers: The constitution separated functions and personnel among the three organs of government-executive, legislature and the judiciary.
  6. Existence of bicameral legislature.
  7. Existence of Supreme Court for judicial interpretation and review.
  8. The division of Nigeria into unequal regions/states.
  9. Duplication of organs of government in all governments in Nigeria.
  10. Secession is not allowed in a federal system.



  1. Nature and structure of Nigerian federalism

Nigerian Federalism’s Evolution

The evolution of the Nigerian federalist structure will be explored through the following eras:


  1. Pre-Independence Federalism

During the colonial era, Nigeria witnessed a centralization of power within the government. From the time of Clifford to around 1939, administrative and governmental powers were centralized. The Richards Constitution of 1946 and the Macpherson Constitution of 1951 contributed varying shades of federalist structure. It was the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954 that established a true federalism framework.


The Lyttleton Constitution, effective from October 1, 1954, shared powers between central and regional governments. This constitution transformed the status of lieutenant-governor to governor and that of governor to governor-general at the federal level. It delineated the sharing of legislative powers between the center and regions in a genuinely federal spirit.


  1. Federalism between 1960 and 1966

The independence constitution, in effect from October 1, 1960, granted Nigeria independence status and continued the federal structure initiated by the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution. Minor adjustments were introduced to the Nigerian federal system. This constitution maintained the mechanism for sharing powers and functions between central and regional governments, as stipulated in the 1954 constitution.


The period from the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution to the 1963 Republican Constitution featured a notable aspect of Nigerian federalism: the division of the country into unequal regions. For instance, the Northern region was larger than the Eastern and Western regions combined. The 1963 Republican Constitution expanded the regions from three to four by establishing the Mid-Western region.


  1. Federalism between 1967 and 1975

This era marked the military’s emergence in the political landscape, hampering the growth of political culture and dismantling democratic and political institutions that formed the foundation of federalism. The Aguiyi Ironsi government introduced a unitary system with the issuance of Decree No. 34.


The overthrow of Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi led to the ascendancy of Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon. This period saw tension between the Northern and Eastern regions. In response, Gowon created 12 states to counter attempts at secession by the Eastern region led by Ojukwu. The creation of states preceded Ojukwu’s declaration of the Eastern region’s independence as Biafra in 1967, sparking the Civil War.


  1. Federalism from 1976 to the Present

In 1975, under General Murtala Mohammed’s leadership, a panel chaired by Justice Ayo Irikefe explored state creation. Based on the panel’s recommendations, seven new states were established on February 3, 1976, raising the state count to 19.


Subsequently, General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration created two more states—Katsina and Akwa Ibom—on September 23, 1987. In 1991, under the same administration, Nigeria’s state count was further increased to 30 with the creation of nine additional states on August 27th. General Sanni Abacha later expanded the state count to 36 by establishing six more states on October 1, 1996. The federal capital, Abuja, remained the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with its minister.


Beyond the federal and state governments, Nigerian federalism includes local governments that focus on specific localities. This represents the third tier of government, subordinate to federal and state authorities, with the mandate to manage local functions. As of the current revision of this document, Nigeria comprises 774 existing local governments.




Problems of Nigerian Federalism

  1. Revenue Distribution Issue: The primary challenge within Nigeria’s federal structure lies in the allocation of revenue. Over various periods, governmental bodies have established commissions to offer recommendations on an equitable revenue-sharing formula, particularly concerning the three tiers of government.


  1. State Creation Predicament: Virtually every interest group in the nation aspires to have its own state. However, accommodating these desires becomes complex in a country boasting over 250 distinct ethnic groups.


  1. Federal Character Conundrum: Appointments within federal institutions frequently deviate from merit-based criteria. The allocation of positions often takes into account various ethnic factions, leading to an ongoing predicament in Nigerian federalism.


  1. Secession Threat: The possibility of secession from certain units, stemming from divided citizen allegiance or loyalty, poses a significant challenge to the federal system.


  1. Minority Apprehensions: Nigeria comprises a multitude of ethnic groups, encompassing both majorities and minorities. Minority groups frequently fear domination by the majority to the point that matters of national significance are compromised.


  1. Ethnic Strife: Discord might emerge among different ethnic factions within a federal state, potentially undermining national unity and the country’s overall cohesion.


  1. Boundary Disputes: Persistent conflicts regarding boundaries between states or local governments pose a genuine threat to the nation’s existence as a unified entity.


  1. Corruption, Bias, and Nepotism: These issues significantly afflict Nigeria’s federal structure, hampering effective governance.


  1. Power Allocation Challenge: The assignment of power among constituent units presents a recurrent problem in Nigeria’s federalism due to the lack of a clear definition.


  1. Census Impediments: Nigeria has grappled with the difficulty of conducting accurate and universally accepted census data, creating ongoing challenges within the nation’s affairs.


  1. Complexities of Revenue Allocation: The intricate challenge of apportioning revenue remains at the forefront of Nigeria’s federalism. At different junctures, governmental bodies have established commissions to provide guidance on the fair distribution of revenue, particularly with regard to the three tiers of government.


  1. Dilemma of State Creation: Nearly every interest group in the country aspires to have their own state. However, this ambition is intricate to fulfil in a nation comprising over 250 diverse ethnic groups.


  1. Quandary of Federal Character: Appointments within federal institutions often veer away from merit-based considerations. The allocation of positions frequently takes ethnic factors into account, leading to an ongoing predicament in Nigeria’s federal structure.


  1. Risk of Secession: The looming threat of secession from certain units, arising from divided citizen allegiance or loyalty, poses a substantial challenge to the federal system’s stability.


  1. Concerns of Minority Communities: Nigeria’s social fabric is woven with myriad ethnic groups, ranging from majorities to minorities. Minority groups frequently harbour concerns of being marginalized by the majority, which could impact matters of national consequence.


  1. Ethnic Strife and Discord: Tensions may arise among diverse ethnic factions within a federal state, potentially eroding national cohesion and jeopardizing the nation’s unity.


  1. Persistent Boundary Disputes: Ongoing disputes over territorial boundaries between states or local governments pose a tangible threat to the nation’s continued existence as a unified entity.


  1. Issues of Corruption, Bias, and Nepotism: These problems significantly afflict Nigeria’s federal system, impeding effective governance and undermining public trust.


  1. Complexities of Power Sharing: The distribution of power among constituent units remains a recurrent challenge within Nigeria’s federal structure, often lacking clear delineation.


  1. Struggles with Census Accuracy: Nigeria has long grappled with the challenge of conducting reliable and universally accepted census data, creating ongoing impediments in the management of the nation’s affairs.






Minority issues and the creation of states

  1. Minority Issue and the Creation of States:

The “minority issue” refers to concerns and challenges faced by ethnic or cultural groups that have a smaller population and often occupy a less prominent position within a larger society dominated by a major ethnic group. In the context of Nigeria, a diverse nation with over 250 ethnic groups, the minority issue became a significant factor in its political landscape. The creation of states in Nigeria was a response to address these concerns. During Nigeria’s colonial and post-independence periods, the major ethnic groups, such as the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, held more power and influence, leading to concerns of marginalization and discrimination by smaller ethnic groups. The creation of states was intended to balance power and resources among these groups, giving minority ethnic groups a more equitable representation and a voice in governance.


  1. Major and Minor Ethnic Groups in Nigeria:

Nigeria is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups. The major ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo. These groups have historically held significant political, economic, and social influence within the country. Additionally, there are numerous minor ethnic groups, including but not limited to the Ijaw, Kanuri, Tiv, Ibibio, and Efik, among others. These minor groups often reside in specific regions and have faced challenges related to representation, access to resources, and protection of their cultural heritage.


  1. Reasons for the Demand for More States in Nigeria:

The demand for more states in Nigeria stems from various factors, including:

  1. Ethnic Diversity: Nigeria’s ethnic diversity has led to a desire for political and administrative units that reflect this diversity and ensure that various ethnic groups have a say in governance.
  2. Equitable Resource Allocation: Smaller ethnic groups have sought their own states to ensure fair distribution of resources, as they might feel marginalized in larger states dominated by major ethnic groups.
  3. Cultural Preservation: Ethnic groups often believe that having their own state will help preserve their cultural identity and traditions.
  4. Local Governance: Smaller states are believed to offer more effective governance and development at the grassroots level.
  5. Political Representation: Creating more states can lead to a more balanced representation in the federal government and reduce the influence of major ethnic groups.


  1. Complexity and Endless Nature of State Creations in Nigeria:

The process of creating new states in Nigeria has been complex and has faced numerous challenges:

  1. Ethnic Tensions: The creation of new states can sometimes exacerbate ethnic tensions and conflicts, as different groups vie for control and resources.
  2. Resource Allocation: The equitable distribution of resources between new and existing states can be contentious, leading to disputes.
  3. Boundary Issues: Determining state boundaries can lead to disputes over territory and resources.
  4. Political Considerations: The process can be influenced by political motivations, leading to decisions that might not fully address the concerns of minority groups.
  5. Administrative Challenges: Managing the governance and administration of multiple states requires significant resources and infrastructure.


  1. Recommendation of willink’s Commission:

The Willink Commission, officially known as the “Nigerian Minorities Protection Commission,” was established in 1957 to address the concerns of minority ethnic groups. The commission recommended the creation of more states to ensure equitable representation and resource allocation. It proposed the establishment of new states based on ethnic and linguistic considerations, with the aim of addressing the concerns of minority groups and preventing their marginalization.


  1. Solution to Minority Problems in Nigeria:

Addressing minority problems in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach:

  1. Inclusive Governance: Ensuring that minority ethnic groups have representation at all levels of government is crucial to addressing their concerns.
  2. Resource Equity: Fair distribution of resources among states based on need rather than size or population can reduce disparities.
  3. Cultural Protection: Policies that promote and protect the cultural heritage of minority groups can help preserve their identity.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Mechanisms for peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts should be in place.
  5. Education and Awareness: Promoting understanding and awareness among different ethnic groups can foster unity and reduce prejudices.


It’s important to note that the situation in Nigeria is complex and has evolved over time. The effectiveness of solutions depends on political will, societal cooperation, and the ability to address deeply ingrained historical and social issues.



Inter-ethnic rivalry and the issue of secession

  1. Inter-Ethnic Rivalry and the Issue of Secession:

Inter-ethnic rivalry refers to the competition, conflicts, and tensions that arise between different ethnic or cultural groups within a particular geographical area. These rivalries often stem from historical, social, economic, or political factors and can lead to various forms of confrontation, including violence and discrimination. Secession, on the other hand, involves the act of a region or group seeking to break away from a larger political entity, such as a nation-state, in order to form an independent and separate state. Secession is often a result of deep-seated grievances and can be fueled by inter-ethnic rivalry, as one or more ethnic groups may believe that their interests, rights, or autonomy are not adequately represented or respected within the existing political framework.


  1. The Nature of Ethnic Conflicts and Rivalry in Nigeria:

Nigeria is a diverse country with over 250 ethnic groups, each with its own languages, cultures, and histories. This diversity has led to complex inter-ethnic relationships and occasional conflicts. Ethnic conflicts and rivalry in Nigeria are often rooted in historical injustices, competition for resources, political power struggles, and issues related to religion and identity. For instance, the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo are some of the major ethnic groups, and tensions between these groups have been evident at various points in Nigeria’s history. These conflicts can manifest as political disputes, economic inequalities, and even violent clashes, such as ethno-religious riots.


  1. Problems of Secession in Nigeria:

The issue of secession in Nigeria is closely tied to inter-ethnic rivalry and the historical grievances of certain ethnic groups. Some notable instances of secessionist movements in Nigeria include the Biafra movement led by the Igbo ethnic group in the late 1960s and the more recent calls for the independence of Biafra by groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The problems associated with secession in Nigeria are multifaceted:


  1. Territorial Integrity: The Nigerian government is committed to maintaining the territorial integrity of the nation, and any move toward secession is seen as a threat to this principle. This can lead to tensions and potential conflicts with secessionist groups.
  2. Economic Concerns: Certain regions contribute more significantly to Nigeria’s economy than others due to their natural resources or economic activities. The secession of a prosperous region could impact the overall economic stability of both the seceding region and the larger nation.
  3. Ethnic Diversity: The presence of multiple ethnic groups within a proposed secessionist region can lead to internal conflicts among those groups, further complicating the path to secession and potentially leading to violence.
  4. International Recognition: Achieving international recognition as an independent state involves diplomatic and political challenges. Not all countries may support the secession, leading to isolation and lack of legitimacy.
  5. Humanitarian Concerns: Secession attempts can result in violence and displacement, affecting innocent civilians and leading to humanitarian crises.
  6. Negotiations and Dialogue: Finding a peaceful solution to secessionist demands requires open dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. However, entrenched positions and historical grievances can hinder productive talks.


In summary, inter-ethnic rivalry, ethnic conflicts, and secessionist movements in Nigeria are complex and deeply intertwined issues that require careful consideration of historical, political, economic, and social factors to find sustainable and peaceful resolutions.




  1. Development of political parties in Nigeria: Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun/Citizens (NCNC)


Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP)

In 1923, subsequent to the implementation of the elective principle through the Clifford Constitution of 1922, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) came into existence. This marked the inception of Nigeria’s inaugural political party, established by the eminent figure in Nigerian nationalism, Herbert Macaulay. From 1923 to 1938, the party held dominion over the four available elective legislative positions.

The NNDP, aside from its political pursuits, also initiated the Lagos Daily News. This publication played a pivotal role in supporting the party’s political endeavours and campaigns. While the party’s name suggested a nationwide scope, it was predominantly centred in Lagos. In the 1923, 1928, and 1933 elections, the party secured victory in all three legislative council seats designated for Lagos.

Objectives of the NNDP

The upgrading of Lagos to a municipality with its own absolute self-government

Co-ordination of the nomination and election of the Lagos members of the Legislative council

The improvement of higher education opportunities and the introduction and spread of compulsory education throughout Nigeria

The spread of the party by establishing branches in all areas of Nigeria

Working together with the national congress of British West Africa in support of its programmes for their mutual benefit.


The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM)

Originating in 1935, the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), formerly known as the Lagos Youth Movement, emerged with the primary aim of securing complete autonomy for Nigeria. Notably, in 1938, the movement achieved a significant victory by securing all four elective seats in the legislative council, surpassing the Nigerian National Democratic Party. Prominent figures like Ernest Ikoli and Samuel Akinsanya played key roles as leaders. Unfortunately, internal conflicts led to the eventual downfall of the movement in 1944.


Aims And Objectives of NYM

The NYM’s core objectives encompassed advocating for the enhancement of Yaba Higher College by securing its affiliation with a British University, striving for Nigeria’s independence, and fostering national unity.

Achievements of the Nigerian Youth Movement

The movement’s triumphs encompassed the capture of all three elective seats designated for Lagos within the legislative council. It marked the forefront of nationalist endeavours with a nationwide perspective, paving the way for contemporary nationalism in Nigeria. Furthermore, the NYM nurtured a spirit of Nigerian cohesion and national awareness. Through the establishment of the influential newspaper “Daily Service,” the movement garnered substantial impact. Ultimately, the NYM served as a catalyst, initiating the processes that would lead to Nigeria’s political liberation.


National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun/Citizens (NCNC)

Established in August 1944, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) emerged with Herbert Macaulay as its inaugural president and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first general secretary. Following Macaulay’s passing, Azikiwe assumed the presidency. Pioneering the cause of complete independence for Nigeria, the NCNC holds the distinction of being the foremost political party created for this purpose.


  1. Attaining self-governance for Nigeria.
  2. Disseminating political knowledge among the populace.
  3. Awakening the political awareness of the masses.
  4. Coordinating and collaborating with all its chapters nationwide.
  5. Offering a platform for members to express themselves.



  1. The party fostered the unity of Nigeria and actively participated in the struggle for the country’s self-government.
  2. It promoted awareness of political rights among Nigerians.
  3. The NCNC introduced and operated the influential West Africa Pilot, serving as a potent tool against colonial rule.
  4. The party was the driving force behind nationalist resistance to the 1946 Richard’s Constitution.
  5. The NCNC spearheaded the formation of the initial regional government in the Eastern region and significantly contributed to its progress.
  6. In 1960, it entered a coalition government with the NPC, resulting in the election of the inaugural president.
  7. The NCNC mobilized funds to dispatch a protest delegation to London against the 1946 constitution.





  1. Action Group (AG), Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU)


Action Group (AG)

Emerging in 1951 from the Yoruba cultural association known as EgbeOmoOduduwa, the Action Group (AG) was initiated and led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Key figures within the party included Chief Bode Thomas, S.L. Akintola, Rewane, Chief Shonibare, as well as Yoruba traditional leaders such as the late Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi.



  1. To actively participate in elections and secure control over the western region.
  2. To counter the political supremacy of the NCNC.
  3. To collaborate with fellow nationalists in the pursuit of Nigeria’s independence.
  4. To strengthen and cooperate with various tribal organizations in the western region.



  1. The party held sway over Western Nigeria’s political landscape for approximately 11 years.
  2. Within the House of Representatives, the Action Group assumed the role of the opposition party, serving as a vigilant oversight body.
  3. The AG introduced the concept of tuition-free primary education in the Western region in 1955.
  4. It played a pivotal role in the broader nationalist movement striving for Nigeria’s independence.
  5. The Action Group made efforts to enlighten and politically educate the masses.
  6. The party took a leading role in advocating for the 1951 constitutional reforms.
  7. Chief Anthony Enahoro, an AG member, presented the motion for self-governance in 1953.


Northern People’s Congress (NPC)

Originating from a socio-cultural organization in Northern Nigeria, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) materialized in 1951 under the guidance of Sir Ahmadu Bello, with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa serving as deputy. The party was primarily composed of the Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups, with a central focus on Islam. It held sway over northern Nigeria from 1951 to 1965 and was responsible for producing Nigeria’s inaugural prime minister.


Goals And Objectives of NPC

  1. Foster political and economic advancement in the North.
  2. Strive for increased autonomy in the North.
  3. Cultivate an environment of mutual understanding among Northern populace.
  4. Facilitate political education for Northern residents about their rights.


NPC’s Significant Contributions

  1. It commanded and governed northern Nigeria for an extended period.
  2. The party gave rise to Nigeria’s first prime minister and retained power during the initial republic era.
  3. It fostered a sense of shared understanding among Northern inhabitants.
  4. Active participation in various constitutional conferences, both domestically and internationally.
  5. It played a pivotal role in enlightening the population about their political rights, consequently raising political awareness among Northerners.


Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU)

The Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) was a political movement and party that emerged in Nigeria in the early 1950s, particularly focused on the northern region of the country. It was founded under the leadership of Mallam Aminu Kano in August 1950. NEPU held significant influence in the northern part of Nigeria, advocating for social justice, political reform, and the rights of the common people, especially those who were marginalized within the society.


NEPU’s emergence was rooted in the context of post-colonial Nigeria, a time when the country was navigating its newfound independence and grappling with socio-political challenges. The northern region, in particular, was characterized by a feudal system that perpetuated social and economic inequalities. Large segments of the population, especially the peasants and rural communities, were oppressed by traditional elites and lacked access to basic necessities like education, healthcare, and land ownership.


Mallam Aminu Kano, a charismatic and principled leader, played a pivotal role in forming NEPU as a response to these issues. The party’s ideology was a blend of radicalism and democratic values. On one hand, NEPU aimed to challenge the status quo and challenge the entrenched power structures that kept the masses disadvantaged. On the other hand, the party was committed to democratic principles, advocating for participatory governance and giving a voice to those who had been ignored for so long.


NEPU’s key goals included advocating for land reforms to empower the rural population, improving education and healthcare infrastructure in the region, and addressing economic disparities. The party believed in the redistribution of wealth and resources to ensure that the benefits of development reached all segments of society, not just the elites. NEPU’s agenda resonated deeply with the ordinary people in the north who had been long marginalized.


The party was also known for its grassroots organizing and mobilization efforts. NEPU engaged with local communities, organizing rallies, meetings, and campaigns to raise awareness about its causes and gather support. Mallam Aminu Kano’s impassioned speeches and commitment to the people earned him a devoted following.


NEPU’s influence extended beyond the northern region, and it participated in national politics as well. It collaborated with other political parties to form alliances and advocate for broader social and political change on a national scale.


While NEPU faced opposition from traditional elites and even some segments of the establishment, its impact was undeniable. The party’s advocacy contributed to policy changes in areas such as education, healthcare, and land ownership in the northern region. NEPU’s legacy as a champion of social justice, democracy, and the rights of the marginalized endured even as the political landscape of Nigeria evolved.


The Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) was a political movement and party founded by Mallam Aminu Kano in post-colonial Nigeria. It combined radicalism with democratic values, advocating for social justice, land reforms, education, healthcare, and economic equity, especially in the northern region. NEPU’s impact was significant in challenging the prevailing power structures and advocating for the rights of the common people.


Aims and Objectives

The Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) was driven by a clear set of aims and objectives that reflected its commitment to addressing the socio-economic and political challenges faced by the people of northern Nigeria, particularly the marginalized and oppressed segments of society. These aims and objectives were a guiding force behind the party’s activities and advocacy:


  1. Social Justice and Equity: NEPU aimed to rectify the deep-seated social and economic inequalities prevalent in the northern region. The party advocated for policies and reforms that would ensure the fair distribution of resources, opportunities, and benefits of development, regardless of social status or background.


  1. Land Reforms: One of NEPU’s central objectives was to challenge the feudal land ownership system that favoured the elites and disenfranchised the rural population. The party sought to implement land reforms that would empower peasants and farmers with ownership and control over land, enabling them to improve their economic conditions.


  1. Education for All: NEPU recognized the importance of education in uplifting the masses and reducing disparities. The party aimed to expand access to quality education, especially in rural areas, and to create opportunities for young people to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for personal and societal development.


  1. Healthcare Accessibility: NEPU advocated for improved healthcare infrastructure and services in the northern region. The party aimed to ensure that basic healthcare facilities were accessible to all, regardless of their socio-economic background, ultimately contributing to the well-being of the population.


  1. Empowerment of the Rural Poor: NEPU focused on empowering rural communities and addressing the challenges faced by farmers, peasants, and workers. The party aimed to improve their living conditions, protect their rights, and provide them with opportunities for economic advancement.


  1. Democratic Participation: The party was committed to democratic principles and believed in giving a voice to the marginalized and oppressed segments of society. NEPU aimed to create an inclusive political environment where ordinary people could actively participate in decision-making processes and contribute to the governance of their communities and the nation.


  1. Advocacy Against Corruption and Exploitation: NEPU aimed to challenge corruption and exploitation within the political and social systems. The party sought to expose instances of corruption and work towards a more transparent and accountable governance structure.


  1. Unity and Solidarity: NEPU aimed to foster unity and solidarity among the people of the northern region, transcending ethnic, religious, and social divisions. The party believed that by uniting under a common cause, the people could better advocate for their rights and interests.


  1. Political Awareness: NEPU aimed to raise political awareness among the masses, educating them about their rights, responsibilities, and the importance of civic engagement. The party encouraged people to actively participate in the political process to bring about meaningful change.


  1. Collaboration with Other Regions: While NEPU primarily focused on the northern region, the party also aimed to collaborate with other political groups and regions to advocate for broader national reforms and policies that would benefit all Nigerians.


The aims and objectives of the Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) reflected its dedication to social justice, equity, democratic values, and the empowerment of the marginalized. The party’s efforts were centred on transforming the socio-economic and political landscape of northern Nigeria, striving to create a more inclusive, just, and equitable society for all.





  1. National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP)

National Party of Nigeria (NPN)

The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) emerged officially in September 1978 in Lagos following the relaxation of the ban on political parties. The NPN could be regarded as an outgrowth of the NPC (the inaugural republican political party). A significant portion of NPN’s leadership originated from the former NPC, with a handful hailing from other regions of the nation. Prominent figures among these leaders were Alhajin Aliyu Makama Bida, Ali Monguno, Shehu Shagari, Adamu Ciroma, and Adisa Akinloye (who served as the party’s chairman), among others.


Objectives of the NPN

  1. Establishing a commendable housing program encompassing both urban and rural areas.
  2. Constructing a strong and united nation in which contented citizens could coexist in peace and concord.
  3. Upholding the provisions of the constitution.
  4. Developing a prosperous and autonomous Nigeria centered on robust agricultural and industrial sectors, offering equal opportunities to all citizens, irrespective of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.


Contributions of the NPN

  1. National Presence: The party exhibited a genuinely national character, with its members spanning across virtually all regions of the nation.
  2. Electoral Victories: The party secured victory in the 1979 and 1983 Presidential elections during the Republican era.
  3. Pioneering Executive President: The party was responsible for producing the first executive president of the nation.
  4. Successful Governorships: The NPN also emerged victorious in governorship elections in seven states within the federation.
  5. Housing Initiatives: The NPN made some strides in implementing its housing program across all states.
  6. Political Leadership: The party played a role in nurturing skilled politicians capable of enduring challenges in any circumstance.


Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)

The emergence of the UNITY PARTY OF NIGERIA (UPN) marked the first political association to arise following the lifting of the ban on political activities by the military government. UPN was established and led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, with notable figures such as Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Professor Ambrose Alli, and others holding key positions within the party. Chief Obafemi Awolowo stood as the presidential candidate for UPN, and a significant portion of UPN’s members were affiliated with the First Republic Action Group.



The primary goals of UPN encompassed providing free education at all levels, promoting integrated rural development, offering free healthcare services to all citizens, and ensuring full and meaningful employment opportunities for all capable individuals.

The Contributions of UPN

  1. The party secured victory in gubernatorial elections across five states in 1979, only facing defeat in one state during the 1983 elections.
  2. UPN played a pivotal role as a robust opposition party, curbing the excesses of the ruling administration.
  3. Introduction of free education became a hallmark of the states governed by UPN.
  4. The party nurtured and brought forth distinguished political leaders within Nigeria.
  5. Through initiatives such as rallies and symposia, UPN actively engaged in educating citizens and disseminating information.


Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP)

The Nigeria People’s Party, led by Alhaji Waziri, emerged with a group of Nigerians as its founding members. Notable individuals such as Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, who later assumed the party’s chairmanship, Chief Olu Akinfosile, Chief Mathew T. Mbu, Dr. Obi Wali, Chief Sam Mbakwe, Chief Dominic Nwaobodo, Chief Solomon Lar, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, and others were part of the founding members. Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe joined the party subsequent to its establishment and eventually rose to become its leader and presidential candidate.


NPP’s Goals and Objectives:

The key aspirations of the NPP included:

  1. Fostering and maintaining the unity of Nigeria.
  2. Striving for full employment opportunities for all Nigerian citizens.
  3. Enhancing living standards by ensuring access to shelter and sustenance.
  4. Advocating for a secular state that champions democracy, the rule of law, and the safeguarding of fundamental human rights.
  5. Aiming for a robust and independent national economy.


Contributions of the NPP:

The NPP achieved several significant accomplishments:

  1. It achieved victory in gubernatorial elections, attaining control over Imo, Anambra, and Plateau states.
  2. The party played a pivotal role in nurturing prominent political figures within Nigeria.
  3. It functioned as a bridge connecting the government with the populace.
  4. Collaborating with the ruling party, the NPP facilitated the establishment of a sustainable administration during the second republic.
  5. The party actively participated in the selection of leaders for governmental and party positions.






  1. Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP), People Redemption Party (PRP), Nigerian Advance Party (NAP)

Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP)

The Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP) emerged as a significant political entity within Nigeria’s political landscape, primarily founded by Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri. Alhaji Waziri’s involvement in the GNPP was a result of his departure from the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP), a party he had been a founding member of. His decision to leave the NPP was driven by a fundamental disagreement that had arisen within the party’s ranks, particularly concerning the allocation of key positions such as the party chairman and the presidential candidate.


Motivated by his vision for a more inclusive and cooperative political environment, Alhaji Waziri championed the philosophy of “Politics without Bitterness.” This notion encapsulated his belief in conducting political affairs and engaging in electoral processes with a spirit of unity, mutual respect, and a focus on the common good of the Nigerian people.


Upon the formation of the GNPP, Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri assumed the mantle of national leadership, effectively becoming the figurehead and guiding force behind the party’s ideology and objectives. Additionally, he emerged as the presidential candidate, embodying the party’s aspirations and principles as he sought to bring about positive change within Nigeria’s political arena.


During its tenure, the GNPP managed to secure significant electoral victories, notably capturing control of the states of Borno and Gongola. This marked a pivotal moment for the party, as it demonstrated its ability to resonate with the electorate and effectively convey its policies and promises.


The GNPP’s ascendancy was characterized by its commitment to addressing regional imbalances, advocating for social justice, and fostering economic development across Nigeria. Alhaji Waziri’s influence as a political leader and advocate for non-confrontational politics played a pivotal role in shaping the party’s trajectory and resonating with voters who sought an alternative to the conventional adversarial approach to politics.


In summary, the Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP) was established by Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri, who departed from the NPP due to internal disagreements. Alhaji Waziri’s advocacy for “Politics without Bitterness” became a cornerstone of the GNPP’s ideology. Under his leadership, the party aimed to address regional disparities, promote social justice, and stimulate economic progress. The GNPP’s success in securing control of states like Borno and Gongola underscored its appeal to the electorate and its ability to enact change within the Nigerian political landscape.


People Redemption Party (PRP)

The People’s Redemption Party functions as a social democratic political entity within Nigeria. It originated as a revival of the Northern Elements Progressive Union during the Second Republic and shares a name with a similar entity from the Fourth Republic. The party emerged as a response to Mallam Aminu Kano’s departure from the National Party of Nigeria, his supporters being the driving force behind its establishment.


The initial incarnation of the party was proscribed after the 1983 military coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari. In the Fourth Republic, a reconstituted version of the party resurfaced under the leadership of Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, yet it was unable to amass the same level of support as its predecessor from the Second Republic.


Historically, during the process of crafting a new constitution and the anticipation of a return to civilian governance, influential figures in Nigeria’s political sphere arranged a series of conferences aimed at forming a transcendent political party that could bridge tribal divides. This culminated in the establishment of the National Movement. However, a confrontation during one of the movement’s final meetings in September 1978 involving Malam Aminu Kano, a prominent leftist figure, and some ex-members of the Northern People’s Congress, led to a split. The dissident faction, largely composed of Marxist intellectuals, accused leftists of being sidelined in Nigerian politics and officially declared the foundation of the PRP on September 27, 1978.


During the 1980s, a group of politicians labeling themselves as “Progressives” rallied for a united front against the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN). By 1981, opposition Governors in Nigeria had united into a ‘Progressive Governors Forum’. Active involvement of PRP governors and MPs in these conferences, which by 1982 called for a major progressive party, triggered a crisis within the PRP. In mid-1982, tensions between PRP Governors supportive of Aminu Kano’s principles and those favoring other directions led to a formal split.


Upon its establishment, Aminu Kano and other notable left-leaning figures were invited to join the PRP, and he subsequently became the party’s national president. In the 1979 elections, the party secured 2 out of 19 states and ranked fourth nationally. Aminu Kano’s passing in April 1983 occurred just prior to that year’s presidential election, resulting in Khalifa Hassan Yusuf taking over as both party leader and presidential candidate.


In the Fourth Republic, following the return to democratic governance in 1999, some former members of the now-defunct PRP attempted to revive it with limited success. Although many of its past members maintain an affiliation with the Sawabist faction, they have largely integrated into other political groups. Alhaji Balarabe Musa chaired the party during its resurgence in the Fourth Republic until August 31, 2018, when he stepped down due to health concerns, allowing younger politicians to assume leadership positions. Falalu Bello was subsequently named the new chairman of the party.

Five fundamental principles of the People’s Redemption Party

  1. Value and the Equality of Human Beings
  2. The Power of the People
  3. State Control of the Economy
  4. Genuine Federalism
  5. Total Liberation from Imperialism



Nigerian Advance Party (NAP)

The Nigeria Advance Party emerged as a progressive political entity during the Second Nigerian Republic and was officially registered for the 1983 elections. Spearheaded by lawyer Tunji Braithwaite, renowned for his oppositional stance and legal expertise, this party stood out as the sole newly established political group permitted to nominate candidates for the 1983 elections. Comprising southern Nigerian intellectuals who advocated for a reform-minded government, the party’s composition reflected their preferences.


Historical Background:

The party’s inauguration took place on the 13th of October, 1978, in Ibadan. Initially adopting a cautious approach toward the concept of free education, party leaders later championed the causes of free university education and compulsory primary education. The party positioned itself as an alternative to the established politicians from the first republic.


During its initial two decades, Nigeria experienced a significant period of military rule. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo served as the last military head of state prior to the 1983 elections. Prominent Lagosian figure Tunji Braithwaite asserted that Nigeria’s potential lay in implementing reforms, particularly in tackling deeply ingrained corruption. Noteworthy figures associated with Tunji Braithwaite included Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The latter’s mother was tragically killed by soldiers during a raid on Fela’s Kalakuta Republic under Obasanjo’s Military Regime.


Campaign Activities:

In December 1978, three political pressure groups aligned themselves with the Nigeria Advance Party. These groups were the Nigeria Tenants and Labour Congress, led by I.H. Igali; the Nigeria Social Democratic Congress, led by Balali Dauda; and the Youth Force Alliance, led by Olayinka Olabiwonu. However, the party’s registration was rejected two months later due to insufficient grassroots support.


The 1983 Elections:

Under the leadership of Tunji Braithwaite, the Nigeria Advance Party was one of six parties competing in the Nigerian Presidential Elections of 1983. Ultimately, Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria secured victory in the presidential race, garnering a plurality of 45% of the votes cast.


Later Developments:

On December 7, 2012, the Nigeria Advance Party was among the 28 parties that were deregistered by INEC in anticipation of the 2015 election campaign.


  1. Social Democratic Party (SDP), National Republic Convention (NRC)

Social Democratic Party (SDP)

The Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDP) stands as a center-left political entity within Nigeria. It was established alongside the National Republican Convention by former military president Ibrahim Babangida. This initiative aimed to create two impartial political parties, one leaning slightly to the left and the other to the right, as part of a democratic project. During the Nigerian Third Republic, the SDP gained traction as a moderate party that appealed to young radical intellectuals and socialists. Its manifesto echoed calls for concentrated efforts to enhance welfare and champion social justice.


Following the ban of 13 aspiring parties by Ibrahim Babangida’s administration in 1989, some of these associations opted to realign. The amalgamation of the People’s Front of Nigeria, People’s Solidarity Party, and the Nigerian Labor Party formed the core support base for the emerging SDP. Leadership within the party was predominantly led by individuals from Northern Nigeria, with Babagana Kingibe emerging victorious as the party chairman in 1990 after prevailing over his competitor, Mohammed Arzika.


Despite the strong Northern Nigerian presence, the SDP’s influence was particularly pronounced among the Igbo population in Imo and Anambra states. In the 1992 National Assembly election, the party secured 57% of Senate seats and 53% of House of Representatives seats. The party’s financing primarily stemmed from the Federal Government and notable figures like Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Francis Nzeribe, and M.K.O. Abiola.


In the initial presidential primary, Yar’Adua amassed approximately 480,000 votes, securing a commanding lead over his primary contender, Olu Falae, in the first round. However, these elections were annulled by Babangida. In the subsequent primary election under the Option A4 system, another financier, Abiola, clinched the primary victory in March 1993. Yet again, Babangida annulled the results, including the national election where Abiola competed.


Prominent figures who were once affiliated with the SDP include Atiku Abubakar, Jerry Gana, Abubakar Rimi, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Umaru Yar’Adua, and several others who later played key roles in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 2018, Jerry Gana reconnected with the SDP.


A revived version of the SDP emerged, formed through a coalition of 13 parties. This revitalized party contested positions in the 2015 Nigerian general elections, with the exception of the presidency, which was conceded to the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, former president Goodluck Jonathan.


Chief Olu Falae expressed that the revival of the SDP aimed to address the shortcomings of the dominant parties, People’s Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress. This resurrection intended to offer credible alternatives to Nigerians, given that the SDP predates both the APC and PDP, boasting a history of electoral victories.


The SDP’s platform includes endeavors to extend the democratic ideals of the party, establish itself as a formidable third political force, combat corruption, and uphold the rule of law. It aspires to attract capable, dynamic leaders and create a structured ideological party that is inclusive, gender-sensitive, and responsive to the aspirations of the Nigerian populace.


National Republic Convention (NRC)

The National Republican Convention emerged as a Nigerian political party established by General Ibrahim Babangida’s government. Eventually, it was dissolved by the military regime of General Sani Abacha in 1993.


Focus and Reach

The party’s formation aimed to accommodate the conservative inclinations of certain Nigerians. It gained prominence in the core northern states and Eastern states like Abia and Enugu. Nevertheless, many individuals perceived minimal distinctions between this party and its rival, the Social Democratic Party, which was also a government-established party. Both parties operated under the oversight of the military administration, and a majority of their presidential candidates advocated for the continuation of the Structural Adjustment Programme initiated during Babangida’s tenure.



The party largely constituted an amalgamation of three key entities: the Liberal Convention, the Nigeria National Congress, and the Federalists. During its initial presidential primary, the competition was largely dominated by prominent Hausa-Fulani leaders. Foremost among them was Adamu Ciroma, a former minister and central bank governor, who emerged as the primary candidate with approximately 270,000 votes. Umaru Shinkafi secured the second position with roughly 250,000 votes.


Guidance and Leadership

The party was steered by Tom Ikimi, an architect hailing from Edo State.






  1. People Democratic Party (PDP), All Nigerian People Party (ANPP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress (AC)


People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

The People’s Democratic Party stands as one of Nigeria’s major contemporary political parties, alongside its primary rival, the All Progressive Congress.


The party’s general policy orientation tends towards the centre-right on the political spectrum. It secured victory in all presidential elections from 1999 to 2011 and held the governing position in the Fourth Republic until the 2015 elections, although this was occasionally marred by controversial electoral situations.


Historical Background

The PDP held its inaugural presidential primary election in Jos, Plateau State, North Central Nigeria, in 1998. At this event, they nominated Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military leader recently released from political imprisonment, as the presidential candidate for the February 1999 elections. His running mate was Atiku Abubakar, the Governor-Elect of Adamawa State and a former prominent member of the Social Democratic Party. They emerged victorious in the presidential election and assumed office on May 29, 1999.


During the legislative election on April 12, 2003, the party secured 54.5% of the popular vote, resulting in 223 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives and 76 out of 109 seats in the Senate. Olusegun Obasanjo, the party’s candidate in the presidential election held on April 19, 2003, was re-elected with 61.9% of the vote. Subsequently, Umaru Yar’Adua, a former member of the Peoples Redemption Party and the Social Democratic Party, became the PDP’s presidential candidate for the April 2007 general election. Yar’Adua won amidst allegations of electoral fraud and was inaugurated on May 29, 2007. The party also secured significant victories in the National Assembly elections.


In 2011, facing defections to the Action Congress of Nigeria, the PDP encountered speculation that it might lose the Presidency. Following the success of the PDP candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2011 elections, violent protests erupted among northern youth.


Slogans and Political Orientation

The longstanding slogan of the People’s Democratic Party has been “Power to the people.” However, in 2016, during the party’s National Convention, a new campaign slogan, “Change the change,” was introduced by David Mark, a former President of the Senate of Nigeria, for the 2019 general elections. Notably, the party’s ideological stance remains consistent, and both its slogan and symbol remain unaltered.


Political and Economic Views

The party embraces a neoliberal economic stance, advocating for free-market policies and limited government regulation. A notable economic reform program was initiated in 2003 by President Olusegun Obasanjo and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, leading to conservative fiscal policies, economic liberalization, and privatization in various sectors, including telecommunications.

Regarding social concerns, the PDP leans towards a more leftist position on issues related to poverty and welfare. President Obasanjo launched Nigeria’s first National Health Insurance Scheme in 2005 to ensure universal access to basic healthcare services.


The PDP maintains the existing distribution of oil revenue, despite setting up the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the needs of oil-producing states. It opposes efforts to revert to the 50% federal-to-state government revenue allocation agreement established in 1966.


Social Stances

The party upholds traditional values on moral and religious grounds, opposing same-sex relations. In 2007, the PDP-dominated National Assembly sponsored a bill criminalizing homosexual relations, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The PDP advocates for state autonomy and religious freedom for Nigerian states. Despite sectarian violence triggered by the introduction of Islamic law in some Northern states, the PDP-led federal government sought a compromise where Islamic law would apply exclusively to Muslims.


2015, 2019, and 2020 Elections

In the 2015 elections, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP’s presidential nominee, was defeated by General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress. General Buhari secured 55% of the vote against Jonathan’s 45%.

In the 2019 elections, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s presidential candidate, rejected the election outcome due to pending official pronouncement by INEC. The PDP National Party Chair, Prince Uche Secondus, raised concerns about the accuracy of the announced results.

During the 2020 elections, Godwin Obaseki won re-election as the governor of Edo State with PDP support. The election took place amidst stringent security measures and COVID-19 precautions.


Alliance for Democracy (AD)

The Alliance for Democracy stands as a progressive opposition political party within Nigeria, originating on September 9, 1998. During the legislative elections of April 12, 2003, the party secured 8.8% of the popular vote. This success translated to 34 out of 360 seats in the Nigerian House of Representatives and 18 out of 109 seats in the Nigerian Senate. The party’s inception was a response to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was widely believed to have been won by Chief M. K. O. Abiola, a prominent Yoruba businessman. This move aimed to champion the Yoruba people’s interests within the Nigerian federation.


In 2007, Chief Dr. Christopher Pere Ajuwa, hailing from the Niger Delta region, participated in the presidential race but was unsuccessful in securing the seat of President of Nigeria.

Internal discord surfaced within the party due to a leadership dispute involving Mojisola Akinfenwa and Adebisi Akande. This contention persisted until September 2006, when the faction led by Adebisi Akande merged with other opposition parties to create the Action Congress party.


The Alliance for Democracy (AD) goals and aspirations

  1. Implementation of free education
  2. Establishment of a free healthcare program
  3. Pursuit of integrated rural development
  4. Commitment to achieving full employment



Action Congress (AC)

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), formerly known as Action Congress (AC), emerged as a Nigerian political party in September 2006 through the merger of a faction of the Alliance for Democracy, the Justice Party, the Advance Congress of Democrats, and several smaller political parties. The primary objective was to create a more substantial opposition to the centrally dominant People’s Democratic Party and the regionally concentrated All Nigeria Peoples Party. The party’s stronghold was in Lagos, and it was seen as a potential successor to the progressive political traditions linked with the Action Group and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo during the First and Second Republics.


However, critiques of the party’s pragmatic and less ideologically driven approach, in contrast to the principles of AG and UPN, led many to question its legitimacy as a true political heir. The ACN held significant influence in regions such as South West (with 5 Governors, 15 Senators, and 6 State Houses), Mid-West (1 Governor), and North Central (3 Senators). Notably, its presence and influence were most concentrated in states like Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, Bauchi, Plateau, Niger, Adamawa, Oyo, and Osun.

In February 2013, the ACN merged with the Congress for Progressive Change, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance to establish the All Progressives Congress (APC).


Formation in 2006:

The ACN was established in 2006 to counterbalance the dominant People’s Democratic Party and the regional All Nigeria Peoples Party. A coalition of parties, including a faction of the Alliance for Democracy, the Justice Party, and the Advance Congress of Democrats, joined forces to establish the ACN. During the party’s founding convention in Kaduna on May 12, 2006, provisional leaders were elected, with Bisi Akande becoming the National Chairman and Bashir Dalhatu the National Secretary.


Events in 2007:

In the 2007 presidential election, the ACN fielded Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its candidate after his defection from the People’s Democratic Party. Although initially disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Supreme Court overturned the disqualification. Notably, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was a prominent ACN member. The party secured 32 seats in the House of Representatives and 6 seats in the Senate during the April 2007 National Assembly election.


Following the election victory of Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP, the ACN contested the results through legal channels and rejected the offer to join Yar’Adua’s government, citing concerns of a stolen mandate. However, internal conflicts arose over this decision, resulting in the resignation of National Secretary Bashir Dalhatu.


Successes in 2008-2009:

The ACN gained traction in 2008 by challenging the controversial results of the 2003 General Elections, which were criticized for being rigged. The party’s candidates, including Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State, achieved significant electoral successes through judicial processes. Notably, the party’s candidate Dr. Fayemi won in Ekiti State after court battles and a rerun.


Name Change in 2010:

In 2010, the party adopted the name Action Congress of Nigeria. It continued to challenge election results through legal means, leading to victories in Osun State and further consolidating its influence.


Merger and Transition in 2013:

The ACN merged with other parties, including the Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, to form the All Progressives Congress in July 2013. This marked a significant consolidation of opposition forces against established parties.





Theme 2    Political Crises and Military Rule in Nigeria      

  1. Major political crises in Nigeria


The Kano Riot of 1953 was a significant incident that occurred in the historic city of Kano in Northern Nigeria on May 16, 1953. The roots of this disturbance can be traced back to the political climate of the time. In March 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro, a member of the Action Group (AG) in the House of Representatives, put forward a motion advocating for Nigeria’s attainment of self-government by 1956. In response, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), proposed an amendment suggesting that self-government should be granted as soon as feasible. This divergence of opinions led to a contentious debate and strained relations between leaders from the northern and southern regions. Following the adjournment of the session, all AG and NCNC members left the house in protest.


As the northern delegates exited the assembly, they were met with unfriendly crowds in Lagos who subjected them to insults and mockery. This incident left the northern delegates feeling resentful, prompting them to outline their demands for secession in the Northern Regional Legislative House’s Eight Point Programme. The final catalyst for the Kano riot was a tour conducted by a delegation from the AG and NCNC, led by Chief S.L. Akintola. This tour aimed to rally support for the cause of self-government and directly triggered a series of disorderly events that culminated in the riot itself.


Political implications of the Kano Riot

The Kano Riot carried significant political implications, exacerbating the existing tensions between leaders from the northern and southern regions. It underscored the notion that a federal system of governance was essential to maintaining the unity of Nigeria. Moreover, the riot set the stage for the London Constitutional Conference of 1953, a pivotal event in Nigeria’s political history. Additionally, the riot fostered a temporary alliance between the NCNC and the Action Group, uniting them around shared concerns.



During 1962, Nigeria conducted a population census which received widespread criticism due to doubts about its validity. Accusations of manipulation led to calls for its annulment, resulting in the government’s decision to cancel the census. As a response, plans were made for a new census in 1963.


Under the leadership of the prime minister, a census board was established to oversee the 1963 population count. This culminated in a fresh census taking place in November 1963, with the publication of preliminary figures in February 1964. These provisional statistics indicated Nigeria’s population to be 55.7 million. The distribution showed the northern region at 29.8 million, the eastern region at 12.4 million, the western region at 10.3 million, the mid-western region at 2.5 million, and Lagos at 0.7 million. These figures garnered acceptance from the federal government, as well as the northern and western regions.


However, the eastern and mid-western regions rejected the data outright, alleging inflation, significant irregularities, and insufficiencies. The Eastern Region took the matter to the Supreme Court, challenging the accuracy of the results and the federal government’s endorsement of them. The court ultimately ruled in favour of the federal government, determining that the Eastern Region lacked the legal standing to litigate the matter. Consequently, these figures were upheld as the official dataset, forming the foundational basis for various development-related projections, parliamentary seat allocations, boundary adjustments, and other relevant considerations.


1962 Action Group Crisis

The crisis within the Action Group erupted in 1962 due to a severe internal conflict within the party. Several factors contributed to the emergence of this crisis.


Clash of Personalities: A clash of personalities emerged between Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the party, and Chief Akintola, who served as the party’s deputy leader.

Factional Divide: The party became divided into two main factions, one led by Chief Awolowo and the other by Chief Akintola.

Adoption of New Ideology: The Action Group adopted a new ideology of democratic socialism, advocating for a mixed economy that blends public and private enterprise. However, Chief Akintola’s supporters did not embrace this new ideology.

Expulsion Motion: Chief Akintola was removed from his position as Premier by the Governor, and Alhaji D.S. Adegbenro was appointed as the parliamentary leader of the House in his stead.

Divergent Alliances: Chief Awolowo’s faction aimed to forge a progressive alliance with the NCNC to dislodge the conservative NPC from power. Conversely, Chief Akintola’s faction sought collaboration with the NPC.

Escalating Tensions: The tension and confusion in the region escalated, leading to the intervention of the police to prevent disruptions of the House proceedings by Akintola’s supporters.

Declaration of State of Emergency: The federal government declared a state of emergency in the Western Region and appointed Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi as the region’s administrator.

Rise of New Parties: After regaining power, Chief Akintola and his supporters established the United Progressive Party, forming a coalition government with some members of the NCNC, resulting in the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP).

Creation of Mid-West Region: The creation of the Mid-West Region deepened the crisis as the Action Group did not support this move, while Akintola’s government endorsed it.


Impact of the 1962 Action Group Crisis on Nigeria

A state of emergency was enforced, leading to the dissolution of the Western House of Chiefs and the House of Assembly.

Temporary Governance: A provisional administration, led by Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi, the Federal Minister of Health, was put in place.

Legal Action and Imprisonment: Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his followers were accused of plotting against the Federal Government, resulting in various imprisonment sentences.

Formation of United Progressive Party: The ousted deputy leader, Chief S.L. Akintola, established the United Progressive Party (UPP).

Coalition Government: A coalition government emerged involving the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC).

Formation of Major Alliances: Two significant alliances, N.N.A. and U.P.G.A., were formed to contest the 1964 federal elections.

Toppling of the Federal Government: The crisis indirectly contributed to the overthrow of the federal government in January 1966.

Exposing Constitutional Weakness: The crisis exposed the limitations of the constitution, particularly the inability of the governor to remove the premier.



One of the pivotal moments in Nigerian history that significantly unsettled the nation’s foundation and imperiled its unity was the turmoil stemming from the general election held in 1964. This federal election marked a period when major and minor political parties forged alliances that had far-reaching consequences.


To illustrate, factions of the A.G. and NCNC, alongside the Northern progressive front consisting of NEPU (Northern Element Progressive United) and Middle Belt Congress, united to establish the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) on June 3, 1964, led by Dr. M.I. Okpara. On August 20, 1964, the NPC, NNDP, the Mid-Western Democratic Front (MDF), and the Dynamic Party formed the Nigeria National Alliance (NNA), with Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the Northern Region, at the helm.


As the election campaign kicked off, various crude and objectionable tactics were employed as part of campaign strategies. UPGA candidates faced difficulties filing nomination papers in regions controlled by the NPC and NNDP. Absent electoral officers hindered UPGA candidates attempting to submit their nomination papers.


In response, a UPGA delegation met with President Nnamdi Azikiwe to express their grievances and threaten election boycott if their concerns weren’t addressed. President Azikiwe urged Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa to consider postponing the election, but the prime minister declined the request. Consequently, the election took place on December 30, 1964. UPGA members across different regions abstained from participating, resulting in elections being held in the Northern and Western Regions, parts of the Mid-West, and Lagos, while the Eastern Regions saw no elections at all.


The election’s outcome favored the NNA. On January 1, 1965, the president announced his discomfort in executing his constitutional duty of inviting the winning party leader to form a new government. This led to a deadlock that endured for three days, causing a governmental void at the federal level.


In response to the crisis, prominent figures such as the Chief Justice of the Federation intervened. Eventually, the outgoing Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a member of the NNA, was invited by the president to form a diverse government. While the new government included members of the NCNC, notably absent were any representatives from the Action Group in the cabinet.


  1. Military rule in Nigeria


The emergence of the first military regime in Nigeria took place on January 15th, 1966, orchestrated by a group of five Majors led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. This coup marked a gruesome event in Nigeria’s political history as it resulted in the deaths of prominent politicians, including the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Premier of the Western Region, S.L. Akintola, the Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the Northern Region, and several high-ranking military officers.


Following the coup, General Aguiyi Ironsi assumed power. However, on July 29th, 1966, a counter coup led by Northern officers overthrew the Ironsi government, resulting in Ironsi’s death. Colonel Yakubu Gowon then assumed control of the country. On July 29th, 1975, another coup ended Yakubu Gowon’s nine-year rule while he was attending the O.A.U. summit in Kampala, Uganda. General Murtala Mohammed, the leader of the coup, took over as the Head of State. However, his leadership was cut short when he was assassinated in an attempted coup led by Lieutenant Colonel Buka Suka Dimka on February 13, 1975. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the next in command, assumed the role of Head of State. Ultimately, General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to a democratically elected government led by President Shehu Shagari on October 1st, 1979.


On December 31st, 1983, a coup led by General Mohammed Buhari terminated the civilian government. General Ibrahim Babangida, who served as Chief of Staff to Mohammed Buhari, assumed the presidency on August 27th, 1985. In December 1985, an unsuccessful coup led by the late General Mamma Vatsa took place. Another unsuccessful coup was led by Major Gideon Orka in April 1990. Babangida retired from the army after handing over power in 1993 and established an interim government with Chief Ernest Shonekan as the Head of State. However, General Abacha dismissed the interim government and assumed the position of Military Head of State. Abacha passed away on June 8th, 1998, and was succeeded by General Abdulsalam Abubakar, who eventually handed over power to a democratically elected president on May 29th, 1999.



  1. Uncertainty in the process of changing political leadership can prompt military intervention.
  2. Politicization of the army.
  3. Nepotism, tribalism, and favouritism lead to a perversion of justice.
  4. Regional differences and acute crises that require direct assumption of power.
  5. Mismanagement of the national economy, as seen during Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration.
  6. Corruption and abuse of office by political leaders in the 1st and 2nd Republics.
  7. Poor handling of census exercises, such as the ones in Nigeria in 1962 and 1963.
  8. Lack of free and fair elections, exemplified by the Western Nigeria election of 1965.
  9. The desire of Nigerian leaders to retain power indefinitely and become life presidents.
  10. Ineffective governance and administration in Nigeria, which have contributed to frequent coups in the country.



  1. Preservation of the unity of Nigeria through the civil war fought to maintain national unity.
  2. Infrastructural development, including the construction of roads, bridges, airports, and the establishment of institutions.
  3. The creation of more states, allowing different ethnic groups in the country to exercise self-determination.
  4. The establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to foster unity among diverse ethnic groups.
  5. Positive changes in Nigeria’s foreign policy under military rule.
  6. The formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by General Gowon and Eyadema.
  7. Implementation of changes in driving patterns, such as the switch to driving on the right side of the road on April 2nd, 1972.
  8. Creation of a new federal capital territory, as initiated by the Murtala/Obasanjo military administration.
  9. Establishment of teaching hospitals, polytechnics, colleges of education, and universities..


Weaknesses of Military Rule:

  1. The military lacks training in governance, making them ill-equipped for effective administration.
  2. Military regimes are inherently autocratic, disregarding the opinions and demands of the people.
  3. The Nigerian civil war serves as an example of the military’s responsibility for a conflict that caused significant loss of life.
  4. Military rule relies on fear and coercion, with the possession of weapons as a means of control.
  5. Mismanagement and squandering of public funds are common under military rule.
  6. Crime rates tend to increase under military regimes.
  7. Fundamental human rights are often violated under military rule.
  8. The rule of law is undermined, as military rule operates without a constitution and lacks respect for legal frameworks.
  9. Harsh and retroactive laws, known as draconian laws, are frequently enacted by the military.
  10. Failure to conduct reliable population censuses is a characteristic of military rule.


Measures to Prevent Military Intervention in Nigeria’s Politics:

  1. Combatting corruption among politicians can reduce the likelihood of military intervention.
  2. Ensuring accountability and transparency in governance can act as a deterrent.
  3. Creating an environment conducive to free and fair elections helps prevent military intervention.
  4. Elected officials should be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people.
  5. Establishing laws to separate the military from politics and depoliticize its role.
  6. Politicians should avoid mismanaging public funds to maintain stability.
  7. Peaceful mass disobedience by the people can resist military rule.
  8. Respect for fundamental human rights by all, including politicians and the military, is crucial.
  9. Providing political education to the masses empowers them to defend their rights.
  10. Avoiding ethnic politics can help avoid triggering military rule.


Structure of Military Rule:

  1. The Armed Forces Ruling Council: The highest decision-making body consisting of the Head of State, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and the Secretary to the military Government.
  2. The Council of Ministers: Composed of the President, Vice President, and ministers, responsible for executive functions.
  3. The Council of States: An advisory body to the ruling military council, comprising the Head of State, Chief of General Staff, Minister of Defense, service chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General, and military governors.
  4. The Judiciary: Headed by the Chief Justice and comprising judges from the Court of Appeal and high court.
  5. The Civil Service: Consisting of the Secretary to the military government, the Head of Service, and a structure similar to the civilian regime’s civil service.




Conflict resolution in Nigeria

  1. Conflict Resolution and Management:

Conflict resolution and management refer to the process of addressing and handling disagreements, disputes, or clashes between individuals, groups, or entities in a constructive and productive manner. It involves identifying the underlying issues, finding solutions that satisfy the needs and interests of all parties involved, and maintaining or restoring positive relationships. Effective conflict resolution and management techniques aim to prevent escalation, promote understanding, and create an environment where conflicts can be resolved without causing harm or disruption.


  1. Definition of Conflict:

A conflict is a disagreement, clash, or struggle between individuals or groups with differing interests, needs, values, or perspectives. It can arise from various sources and may involve emotional, intellectual, or material issues. Conflicts can occur at personal, interpersonal, organizational, or societal levels and can lead to tension, stress, and disruptions if not managed appropriately.


  1. Types of Conflicts:

Conflicts can be categorized into several types based on their nature and context:

  1. Interpersonal Conflict: Arises between individuals due to personal differences, communication breakdowns, or varying goals.
  2. Intrapersonal Conflict: Occurs within an individual, usually involving internal struggles or conflicting emotions.
  3. Inter-group Conflict: Involves clashes between different groups within an organization, community, or society.
  4. Intra-group Conflict: Refers to conflicts within a single group, often due to differences in opinions or approaches.
  5. Organizational Conflict: Arises within an organization, often related to power struggles, resource allocation, or differing objectives.


  1. Causes of Conflict:

Conflicts can have various causes, including:

  1. Miscommunication: Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements.
  2. Differing Goals: When individuals or groups have conflicting objectives or priorities.
  3. Scarce Resources: Competition for limited resources can lead to conflicts.
  4. Power Struggles: Conflicts can arise when there’s a struggle for authority or control.
  5. Value Differences: Conflicting beliefs, values, or cultural norms can lead to disagreements.
  6. Personality Clashes: Incompatible personalities may lead to interpersonal conflicts.
  7. External Factors: Societal, economic, or political factors can contribute to conflicts.


  1. Conflict Resolution:

Conflict resolution involves strategies and processes to address conflicts and reach mutually acceptable solutions. Some common approaches include:

  1. Negotiation: Parties discuss the issues to find a compromise or agreement.
  2. Mediation: A neutral third party helps facilitate communication and resolution.
  3. Arbitration: A third party makes a decision to resolve the conflict, often binding.
  4. Collaboration: Parties work together to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.
  5. Compromise: Both sides give up something to reach a middle ground.


  1. Peace Mechanisms for Promoting Peace:

Peace mechanisms are strategies, structures, and efforts aimed at promoting peace and preventing conflicts. These can include:

  1. Diplomacy: Negotiation and dialogue between countries to prevent war and resolve disputes.
  2. International Organizations: Bodies like the United Nations work to maintain global peace and security.
  3. Conflict Prevention: Identifying and addressing underlying causes of conflicts before they escalate.
  4. Peacekeeping: Deploying international forces to maintain peace in conflict zones.
  5. Peace Education: Promoting understanding, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence through education.
  6. Human Rights Protection: Ensuring the rights of individuals to prevent oppression and conflict.
  7. Economic Development: Addressing socio-economic disparities that can lead to conflicts.


These mechanisms collectively aim to create a stable and harmonious environment, reducing the likelihood of conflicts and promoting lasting peace.


Nigeria as a nation has witnessed or experience a lot of conflict. For example

The civil war between 1967 and 1970

Students not starting from Ali must go

Inter – tribal wars – ife – Modakeke war

Religious riot and wars particularly in northern part of the country (Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Maduguri) and issue of Boko – Haram

Workers strikes and protest e.g. the judiciary and the health officers strikes

Electoral protect leading to burning of valuable properties and destruction of lives.





  1. Peace Education

Peace education is an educational approach that aims to foster a culture of peace, nonviolence, tolerance, and understanding in individuals and societies. It goes beyond the traditional academic curriculum to teach people the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values necessary to prevent conflicts, resolve disputes peacefully, and promote social harmony. The ultimate goal of peace education is to create a world where violence is minimized, and cooperation, empathy, and respect for diversity are maximized.


Key components of peace education

  1. Conflict Resolution Skills: Peace education equips individuals with the ability to identify, analyze, and address conflicts in constructive ways. It teaches techniques for negotiation, mediation, and compromise, enabling individuals to find peaceful solutions to disagreements.


  1. Critical Thinking and Empathy: Peace education encourages critical thinking by exposing individuals to multiple perspectives on historical events, social issues, and conflicts. This helps develop empathy and the ability to understand different viewpoints, reducing the likelihood of prejudice and stereotypes.


  1. Communication Skills: Effective communication is central to resolving conflicts and maintaining peaceful relationships. Peace education focuses on teaching active listening, clear expression, and nonviolent communication techniques.


  1. Human Rights and Social Justice: A cornerstone of peace education is the understanding and promotion of human rights, social justice, and equality. It encourages individuals to recognize and address systemic injustices that can lead to conflicts.


  1. Cultural Awareness and Diversity: Peace education emphasizes the value of diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. By fostering an appreciation for cultural differences, it helps prevent misunderstandings and xenophobia that can lead to tensions.


  1. Global Citizenship: Peace education promotes a sense of global citizenship, encouraging individuals to think beyond national boundaries and take responsibility for creating a peaceful world. This involves understanding and addressing global issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, and human rights violations.


  1. Media Literacy: Peace education teaches individuals to critically analyze media messages and representations of conflicts. By understanding how media can influence perceptions and attitudes, individuals can make more informed and empathetic judgments.


  1. Nonviolence and Ethics: Peace education emphasizes the principle of nonviolence as a means of conflict resolution. It teaches the ethics of nonviolent action and the importance of ethical decision-making in personal and societal contexts.


  1. Education for Sustainable Development: Peace education often integrates concepts of sustainable development, highlighting the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental factors. This encourages individuals to consider long-term well-being and the impact of their actions on future generations.


  1. Community Engagement: Peace education often extends beyond the classroom, encouraging individuals to actively participate in their communities to address social issues and promote peaceful coexistence.


Peace education can take various forms, including formal classroom instruction, workshops, seminars, and community-based initiatives. It can be integrated into existing subjects like history, social studies, and ethics, or taught as a separate curriculum. The overarching aim is to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute positively to their communities and work towards a more peaceful and just world.


Ways of promoting peace

Peace can be promoted in the society through:

  1. Tolerance
  2. Fairness and justice
  3. Protection of human rights
  4. Communication
  5. Peace should be encouraged
  6. Proper utilization of resources

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