Nigeria as a Federation was granted Independence on the 1st of October 1960. The Country gained Her Independence under a constitution that provided for a substantial measure of self-government, and a parliamentary system of government for the country’s three regions. Before the country’s Independence, several motions were moved by notable Heroes to instigate the country’s freedom from British rule.
By an act of the British parliament, the country Nigeria became independent within the Commonwealth on the 1st of October 1960. Nigeria then became a full-fledged republic within the Commonwealth in the year 1963. This change in status called for no practical modification in the constitutional system. The President was to be elected by a collective agreement of the parliament to a five-year term. The President replaced the British monarch who was the symbol of authority. Nigeria’s first president was the person of Nnamdi Azikiwe.
On several occasions, motions for the Nation’s Independence suffered several setbacks in parliament with the northern members of the parliament staging a walkout as an immediate consequence of the motion. As a result of the independence motion, a popular movement began to build pressure against colonialism despite the consecutive defeats in parliament, leading to Nigeria’s independence.
Who Fought for Nigeria’s Independence?
Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro born on the 22nd of July 1923, became the first person to move the motion for the independence of Nigeria which was eventually granted in the year 1960 after a series of political setbacks and defeats in parliament. Samuel Ladoke Akintola resolved to reopen the motion for the Nation’s Independence in the year 1957. Despite his motion passing the parliament, the British colonial authorities did not permit it and as a result it fell through.
Enahoro’s motion was again reopened by Remi Fani-Kayode. Although the motion was passed by the parliament, the British colonial authorities did not approve its date. Remi Fani-Kayode in his motion, had requested that independence be granted Nigeria on the 2nd of April 1960.
The pressure of gaining independence was sustained and a motion was proposed to the parliament by Sir. Tafawa Balewa in the year 1959 in futherance of Enahoro’s reoccurring motion and the motion was passed. Because of the persistence and surmounted pressure, the colonial governor announced the decision made by the British government to grant Independence to Nigeria in the year 1960.
The Collective Effort af a Team of Heroes
It is easy to say that Enahoro singlehandedly fought for Nigeria’s Independence by first raising the motion. But on the contrary, the fight for Nigeria’s independence was indeed a collective effort. Nigeria had knowledgeable Patriots who were ready to give their all to see the people gain freedom. As a nation under British rule, gaining independence from her colonial masters wasn’t the easiest task.
As at the time, Nigeria was in fire need of selfless people who could stand up and make sure she was granted Independence. Three are a number of persons who worked tirelessly for Nigeria’s independence, some of whom may not be included in this list but remain heroes nonetheless. They are the heroes who fought for the Independence of Nigeria.
Chief Eromosele Enahoro raised the motion of Nigeria’s independence which was passed by the British parliament. In the fight for freedom, someone has to instigate the agitation, and Enahoro was that person. He’s heroic activities gave him the title of the ‘Father of Nigeria’.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, born on the 16th of November in 1904, Zungeru — now Niger State, was the co-founder of the National Union of Nigerians And Cameroons (NCNC). The Union which was founded in 1944 played an important role in ensuring that Nigeria gained her independence.
Besides being a member of the NCNC, Nnamdi Azikiwe was also a member of the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) which was founded in 1935. Nnamdi Azikiwe was among the persons that kicked against the Richard’s Constitution of 1945. He contributed to building up the pressure that eventually led to the country’s Independence.
Born on the 14th of November 1894, Sir Herbert Macaulay was the founder of NCNC, and Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1923. Although he did not have a strong national outlook, he was a man of the people and a strong agitator against the colonial masters and their policies.
Other notable proponents that fought for Nigeria’s independence include the likes of; Ahmadu Bello, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Obafemi Awolowo and Hezekiah Oladipo Davies among others.
Although British colonialism created Nigeria, the inconsistencies in the policies reinforced cleavages based on religious animosities by attempting to influence the indigenous cultures using approaches that were considered rather unpleasant.
The independence of Nigeria paved the way for a lot of opportunities and privileges for Nigerians. Today we celebrate the selfless heroes who against all odds fought for the freedom of this Nation.