Kano riot of 1953: A Reminiscence


By Yusuf Mubarak Authority

In 1953, there was an uproar at the National Assembly in Lagos over the motion moved by Honourable Anthony Enahoro of Action group — a socio-political group of Yoruba inclination.

Enahoro had proposed a motion to grant Nigeria Independence in 1956 at the floor of the house only to be greeted by the booing of the Northern Honourable members on seat. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the Northern region and Sardauna of Sokoto moved a counter-motion that Nigeria should be granted independent “as soon as practicable.”

The Northern elders, on their way out, met an unfriendly crowd outside the chambers calling them all sort of unprintable names. They were termed “retrogressives” and “colonial dogs”, and this does not go well with them, they all left Lagos angrily.

Months after the incident, S.L Akintola led a delegation of Action group members to Kano in order to sensitise the populace on the need for self-government and sovereignty.

The Northern elders see this as a threat and decided to attack, which they did, and the situation went bloody. Many lives were lost in the process, and Akintola barely escaped unscathed.

The situation led to a strained relationship between the North and the Southern part of the country politically. Political manoeuvring equally set in, the South and the East created a temporary working alliance (AG and NCNC) just to have their way. The motion was later suspended, and independence came years after the incident.

After gaining independence, there’s a need to form a national government, and none of the three parties could boast of a majority vote in the election. The parliamentary system requires that the party with the absolute vote in an election controls the government. The need to form a coalition government thus arose!

The NCNC of the south got the second highest votes after the NPC of the north, and the two parties formed the national government in 1960.

In 1953, NCNC and AG worked towards the same goals, and in 1960 the ball changed, NPC and NCNC controlled the government. That’s the nature of politics. It’s on interest aggregation, and that’s exactly what matters if the game is to be played in its real sense.

The march towards 2023 won’t come without its drama and politicking, but the best strategist wins the election, not always!

I don’t foresee the collapse of APC but some sort of reshuffling will come and ward off some highly placed personalities.

The PDP will take advantage of APC’s lapses and launch her image more progressively, but a third force of eminent Nigerians youth will be inimical to the progress of PDP.

Alliances will spring up, but youths will be willing to join forces with APC than the PDP, and that will be advantageous to the house of broom. Like I said earlier, the year won’t come without its own politicking. I pray we make the right merging and alliances!

Mubarak writes from Ilorin, Nigeria. You can reach him via 08085427244.


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