What are we Celebrating , Is Nigeria Truly in Independence?
Given the fact that Nigeria is 55 years old on October 1 and it marks our Fifty five years an independent nation I believe that it is time to to set
the record straight and bring this matter to closure. And in order to do so successfully we must be guided by facts and historical records and
not by sentiment or political considerations. The moment we allow our recollection or knowledge of
history to be guided or be clouded by such perenniel considerations we are finished as a
people. The truth is that almost 90 per cent of
Nigerians have been brought up to believe that the
motion for Nigeria’s independence was
successfully moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro, a
man that is undoubtedly one of our most revered
nationalists and founding fathers.
Though nothing can be taken away from Chief
Enahoro in terms of his monumental contributions
in our quest for independence (I would argue that
he kicked off the process for that struggle with his
gallant efforts in 1953) the fact remains that he
was not the man that successfully moved the
motion for Nigeria’s independence.Another group
of Nigerians believe that Chief S.L. Akintola,
another great nationalist and elder statesman and
the former Premier of the old Western Region, was
responsible for the successful movement of the
motion for Nigeria’s independence.
Again, Chief Akintola played a major and critical
role in the whole process, he was not the one that
successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s
independence. There is yet another school of
thought that says that it was Sir Abubakar Tafawa
Balewa, the much loved former Prime Minister of
blessed memory that was the first to successfully
move the motion for Nigeria’s independence. Again
this is not historically accurate. Sir Tafawa
Balewa’s 1959 motion was not the first successful
motion for our independence and neither was it in
actual fact a motion for independence at all. It was
rather a motion to amend an already existing
motion which had already been successfully
moved and passed by Parliament and which had
been accepted and acquiesced to by the British in
1958.That successful 1958 motion was moved by
none other than my late father of blessed memory,
Chief Remilekun Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode QC,
SAN, CON, the former Deputy Premier of Nigeria’s
Western Region. Not only did he play a major role
in the movement of the motion for Nigeria’s
independence but, as a matter of fact, his was the
first successful motion for independence in
Parliament that was accepted by the British and it
was actually the one that got us our independence.
His motion, which was moved in Parliament on the
platform of the Action Group on August 2,1958,
was actually the landmark and most significant
motion of all when it comes to the issue of our
independence. Let us look at the history, the
records and the facts. You will recall that Chief
Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for ‘’self rule’’ in
the Federal House in 1953 which proposed that we
should have our independence in 1956.
Unfortunately it was rejected by Parliament and it
therefore failed. It also resulted in a walk out by
the northern NPC parliamentarians who were of
the view that Nigeria was not yet ready for
The tensions and acrimony that came from all this
and the terrible treatment that was meted out to
the northern parliamentarians and leaders that
were in the south as a result of the fact that they
would not support Enahoro’s motion resulted in the
infamous Kano riots of 1953. In 1957 Chief S.L.
Akintola moved a second motion for independence
in Parliament and asked for us to gain our
independence from the British in 1959. This motion
was passed by the Federal House but the British
authorities refused to acquiesce to it and
consequently it failed.
Sir Tafawa Balewa’s motion for amendment was
seconded by Chief Raymond Njoku, the Minister of
Transport, and it was acquiesced to by the British.
That is how we arrived at the date October 1 1960
for our independence. The details of all this can be
found in Hansard (which are the official record of
proceedings of Parliament) and they can also be
found in what in my view is one of the most
detailed, authoritative and well-researched history
books that has ever been written when it comes to
the politics of the 50’s in Nigeria titled “Nigerian
Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African
Nation” by the respected American historian,
Professor Richard L. Sklar. On page 269 of his
book Sklar wrote the following “in July 1958,
barrister Fani-Kayode had the distinction of
moving the resolution for independence on April
2nd 1960, which was supported by all the parties
in the Federal House of Representatives”.
Another excellent book that covers this topic and
era very well is titled “Glimpses into Nigeria’s
History” and was written by Professor Sanya
Onabamiro, a highly distinguished elder statesman
and nationalist in his own right who was also one
of the main political players at the time. At pg.140
of his book and in reference to Sir Ahmadu Bello,
the Premier of the Northern Region, Onabamiro
wrote: “he was the bridge between the north and
the south, between the old and the new, between
the fast and the slow. Without such a bridge to
swing the votes of the Northern members of the
House of Representatives in support of the
southern members, there was little hope that the
crucial motion on “independence on April 2nd
1960” moved by an Action Group member of the
House of Representatives in July 1958, would
receive the unanimous endorsement of all the
parties in the House as it did”.
Professor Onabamiro was writing about the Fani-
Kayode motion of April 2nd 1958 andthe “Action
Group member” that he was referring to was
myfather. This is contrary to the assumption of
some, including my dear and late Chief Ladi
Akintola (the distinguished son of the late Chief
S.L. Akintola) who, in an article titled, “Between
Akintola and Enahoro” which was written in 2001,
wrote that when Onabamiro wrote this he was
writing in reference to the motion that his father
had previously moved on the same issue in 1957.
Ladi Akintola was wrong. The 1957 motion which
Akintola moved had asked for our independence in
1959 and though it was indeed passed by the
Federal House it was not accepted or acquiesced
to by the British. Consequently, just like the
Enahoro motion of 1953, it failed and this is why
we did not get our independence in 1959.From the
foregoing you can see that the successful
movement of the motion for our independence in
Parliament was as a result of the collective efforts
of a number of prominent and notable people from
different parts of the country and from different
political parties that worked closely together on
this issue over a period of time in the Federal
House and that my father was one of those people.
As a matter of fact he played a key and critical role
in the proceedings. His 1958 motion for
independence was highly significant because it
was the only successful one and it was the one
that actually got us independence in 1960. As I said
earlier Tafawa Balewa’s motion was not a motion
for independence but rather a motion to slightly
amend the original one that had already been
approved by the House and acquiesed to by the
Candidly speaking, the recent low keyed
celebrations of independence and the apparent
lack of enthusiasms shown by the generality of the
citizens across the length and breath of the
country, have amply demonstrated the extent to
which Nigerians have become disenchanted with
the hopeless situations in the polity. Today,
Nigerians no longer celebrates 1stOctober with the
usual pomp and pageantry. The solemn
determination and deep reflections about the state
of the nation usually associated with the period is
no longer tenable. But what is the reason for this?
Could the failure of Nigerians to take adequate
stocks of their live be attributed to lack of
patriotism as some people are wont to?
Like earlier stated, many analysts have attributed
the new phenomenon to lack of patriotism and
corruptions, which has completely hampered
meaningful progressing the last 48 years. The
reasons for the new reality however, goes beyond
that realm. In my own view, the clues can be glean
primarily from the nature of the flag independence
we attained in 1960 which simply transferred the
baton of leadership from the white British
administrators to their local- blacks’ surrogates,
with her majesty the queen of England effectively
on the driving seat. Indeed, if it is possible for our
nation’s patriotic founding fathers to rise from the
dead in order to take a thorough look at the now
completely bastardised country they have
sacrificed virtually every things important to
liberate from the shackles of British colonialism;
the first thing that will readily come to their fertile
minds is an instant feeling of dejections and
lamentations about the lost opportunities to place
Nigeria on a higher pedestals among the comity of
advanced and prosperous countries. And contrary
to popular perceptions, the exigencies of the pre-
independence period were the sole reason that
forced the highly exploitative colonial powers to
finally free their erstwhile colonies from their
hegemonic control. However, in order to safeguard
their voracious demands for mineral resources for
their industrial complex, there is the need to
devices a new exploitative mechanism to
guarantee cheaper supply of raw materials without
immediate and long term threat to their survival;
Hence, the so-called partial independence which
has over the years denied us the chance to attain
true national self sufficiency in many aspects of
our evolutions as a nation. Retrospectively, any
time I have caused to look at the so-called
Nigerian national flag; the green-white-green, what
came into my subconscious mind was simply a
red and white coloured union Jack of the British
kingdom flying at full mast in the nation’s public
administrative offices. Because, this ‘invisible’
union jack said to have been lowered permanently
In October 1960 and replaced by the ‘apparent/
visible’ green-white-green that, contemporary
Nigerians usually see adoring our administrative
offices is as a matter-of-fact just a smokescreen
or rather, a camouflage. Because, the texture and
substance of the flag has never change since 1903
when the last portion of the famous Sokoto
caliphate was forcefully subdued! May the souls of
our heroic fore-fathers who gallantly resisted the
marauding invaders continue to rest in absolute
peaces, Ameen. By subjecting many factors of our
existence in the last 48 years into perspectives,
we can clearly perceive a nation still under
extreme colonial bondage! Yes, we are not yet
independent in the true sense of the word. Our
country lacks so many characteristics of a truly
independent and sovereign nation. There is no
economic independence of the types practice in
some truly independent countries like china, North
Korea and Russia that have successfully taken
control over the exploitations of their natural
resources without undue meddling from any
extraneous power. The development plans of
yester years were jettisoned in favour of foreign
ideas such that an average Briton walking on the
street of London is better positioned to enjoy the
resources of our country than an average Nigerian.
Furthermore, since the attainment of the so-called
independence, our beloved country has not been
able to develop a home grown political systems of
governance as happens in most countries with
similar colonial history like Iran and to some extent
the republic of Sudan. Every thing from the various
constitutions to the civil service rules and
procedures and administrative systems
(parliamentary and presidential) has been an alien
and un-African contraption. And apart from late
Murtala Muhammed, general Buhari, late general
Abacha andto a large extent the pioneer leaders of
the first republic, our subservient leaders both
military and civilians generally lacks self esteem
and proud and independent thought and
temperament of the type shown by their
contemporaries like Mahmood Ahmedinejad of
Iran, Chavez and Vladimir Putin of a resurgent
Russia among several others. And this often made
them to shiver with tails in-between their legs
amidst their peers! The shameful behaviour of the
last expired dictator of Otta in front of world
leaders, which thoroughly bastardized the honour
and esteemed position of the exalted chair he once
occupied, is a clear example.In addition, most of
the developed countries around the world use their
native languages to realise their full potentials in
many facet of life like: technology, medicine and
arts. if Nigeria had gotten a true independence as
some people stubbornly believed, what prevented
her from changing her name from the meaningless
‘Niger-Area’to something more appropriate and
reflective of our diverse cultures and history? Why
the foreign language which was imposed on us by
the colonialist has not yet gives way to a native
language or languages as the case may be in
order to begin the process of ascending the ladder
of true and all encompassing development? And
why do we have to continue with our membership
of a colonial contraption-the commonwealth
despite having outlived its usefulness and the
purpose for which it was originally set up? Why our
leaders can not assert their independent
judgements on many vital issues of national
importance? To buttress my points further about
our nagging colonial bondage, the oil explorations
in the Niger-delta is totally control by the western
powers. We have never known the actual amount
of crude oils that is being exploited on a daily basis
to-date. In fact, ours has always been a sorry
dependence on the mercy of the multi nationals
who simply capitalised on our ignorance to exploit
as much oil as they so desire leaving our
beleaguered country with a mere stipends! Could
this be possible if our leaders are not remotely
control and have the courage to assert their
independence?And tell me, which independent
country on the surface of earth will condone such
atrocious negligence and theft of its resources
without the least resistance? And which country
apart from Nigeria will subjects her citizens to un-
warranted sufferings amidst abundant resources
and expect them to be patriotic? And can the
recent ceding of bakkasi peninsular to our long
term enemy-the Cameroon be possible if we are
free from colonial subjugations?
Think deeply, fellow Nigerians!In conclusion, the
aforementioned factors are some of the reasons
that forced Nigerians to have less regards to the all
important date in the history of their beloved
country which will have otherwise meant so much
to them.
Nevertheless, we should all give thank to almighty
Allah (S.W.T.) for the superficial independence we
now enjoy and even taken for granted. For at least
we are a little bit better up than the unfortunate
Palestinians. And on this note, I wish our
compatriots a happy Eid-el-Kabir and 55th
independence celebration in tears!!!!

Solanke Taiwo Teemoney,
Secretary General National Association of Nigerian Youths Nigeria.
08060158155, 08139267127
PIN: 2B420A8B

fani kayode

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