POLITICS AND RELIGION By Obafemi Awolowo A lecture given Chief Obafemi Awolowo to students at the Adventist College of West African, Ilishan-Remo, on 27th January, 1961

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As a politician, the object of my daily vocational pursuit ispolitics. But the forum on which I speak this afternoon is that of an Institution of Higher Learning, sponsored by one of the famous Christian organisations in the world. I thought, therefore, that it might be appropriate, from the points of view of myself and yourselves, for me to address you on `Politics and Religion’.

There are many popular misconceptions about politics. I will relate only some of those of them that have come to my knowledge, and will also endeavour to show that they aremisconceptions.

We all have heard it said times without number that `politics is a dirty game’. The description of politics as
a game is `a felicitous one, and it looks as if it is a contradiction in terms to daub a game as dirty. Speaking
generally, any game at all, other than a game of chance, is good.
But the manner of playing it may be clean or dirty, all depending on whether or not the players observe the rules for playing the game which mankind has laid down in conformity with universally accepted standards of decency and ethics. In other words, whether the game of politics is clean or dirty will depend wholly and solely on the manner in which a particular set of politicians play it.

Those who hold that politics is a dirty game have reasons for their contention. But we will presently see from these reasons that it is the manner of playing it that they have in mind and not the game itself.

First among the reasons is that politicians are in the habit of criticising — indeed attacking, abusing and vilifying — one another both in private and in public. A proper understanding of the nature of politics will show that criticism is indispensable to the game of politics and that abuse, attack and vilification are its inescapable incidentals.

Politics is the science or the art of the management of public affairs. It is now a far cry from the primeval days when the entire members of a society tried to take part in the management of their affairs. In modern times a breed of people called politicians have emerged who claim to have the necessary qualifications for the efficient management of public affairs. Except in a totalitarian community where sectarian views and ideas are regimented or forcibly suppressed, these politicians naturally form themselves into groups called parties each with different ideas of its own an divergent methods of realising those ideas. In a democratic
society, it is open to the people to entrust the management of their affairs to one or more of the parties for a
stipulated period of time. The party or parties thus chosen become the government, and more properly the trustees of the people, enjoined for their term of office to administer the trust
with absolute prudence, probity and public-spiritedness.

It will be seen from what I have said that the final arbiters of
whether the ideas and methods or policy and programme of a
political party are relatively superior to, and likely to be more  beneficial than, those of others are the electorate, the voters.

In order to enable them to reach averdict which is fair to the contenders and most likely to be in the people’s own best interests, they must have all the facts placed before them. The qualifications of each politicalparty and of the individual candidates canvassing for votes on the platform of such a party must be established to the
satisfaction of the voters.

It is natural and legitimate for political parties to say the best they ever can about themselves and about the candidates they are sponsoring and to criticise one another most vehemently. The aim of healthy criticism is to spotlight defects and to prescribe means for removing them if that is possible. When the contending political parties do this honestly and conscientiously, the electorate are best placed to
make a choice which will rebound to the benefit of all.

In private life, before we entrust our personal or business affairs to anyone, we take steps to inquire into his
qualifications both as to competence and character. Such an inquiry as this is done in private, because what is at issue is a private concern. But the competence and character of politicians must of a necessity be examined in the full glare of public limelight Because what is at issue is the welfare of the community or nation. In the management of private affairs, a gross mistake would only affect the fortunes of one man or a family or a small group of persons. A serious error ofjudgement in the management of public affairs might adversely affect the lives and fortunes of millions of people.

For this reason, there is need for the competence and character of public men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny — and that mainly in public — than those of persons engaged in private concerns.

Abuse or vilification in private or public life is to be deplored, because it stems from a. mind which is depraved and warped. But the community which a politician seeks to serve is an amalgam of saints and sinners, with a sprinkling of the former as against an over-abundance of the latter. The gentle rebuke and occasional eulogy of the one may be fascinating, but the constant tauntings of the other must be accommodated.

Politicians are born not made; and anyone who has not the stomach for the railings of the masses and is only interested in their occasional hosannas, has no right to enter into public life.

Another reason given in support of the charge that politics is a bad game is that good politicians are few and far between.

The general run of them are irredeemably mundane: materialistic, atheistic, immoral, ruthless and unscrupulous.

All the great religions as well as the lesser ones recognise the absolute need for a government among men. We all do. Furthermore, we realise that only a small number of people should be entrusted at any given time with the apparatus of such a government. If the persons thus chosen are bad, it is not because politics is bad. The fault is in the politicians, in the members of government, rather than in politics or government
per se.

The last of these popular misconceptions which I consider it worth mentioning in this talk is that Politics and Religion do not mix. Indeed, there are not a few who hold the view that Politics is so essentially materialistic and Religion so fundamentally spiritual that it is difficult for a man to be a successful politician and a good Christian at the same time.

I want to admit, without the least hesitation, that Politics is essentially materialistic and that Religion is fundamentally spiritual. But it cannot be gainsaid that living man is a combination of matter and spirit.

If a man is to live a full life and be the real image of God which he is intended to be, his Body — that is his brain and brawn — must not only be well-developed and healthy, but must also function in harmony with and under the control of his spirit or Soul. The Soul is ageless and pure, and does not need any development. But the Body must be trained, developed and disciplined to acknowledge both the existence and the supremacy of the indwelling Soul.

In the process of bringing out the best that is in man, and of enabling him to live a healthy and happy life, the agencies of Politics and Religion must work in close and harmonious co-operation. The eradication of ignorance, disease and want is a matter of the utmost concern to Politics as well as to Religion. As a matter of fact, in the early days the education of the young and old, and their health and general well-being were more or less the exclusive preserves of Religious Bodies and their offshoots and allies — the Charitable Organisations. In those olden times, the primary functions of Government (for the purpose of this talk I am equating Government with Politics) are the preservation of peace among the subjects at home, and the resistance of external foes. It is in modern times that Government has its functions beyond the limits of bare security for individual citizens, to
include their education and health; and their welfare and happiness.

In other words, Religion recognised from the beginning of times that unless the brain of a man is developed by education(secular and religious), and his body by physical exercise is well as by the nurture of good and adequate food, and by the comfort and self-respect of simple and neat clothing and shelter, man would be much more brutish and degraded than the lower animals. For His great purpose on earth, however, God needs the finest possible instrument, which is to be found in a healthy body and an enlightened and sane mind. For this reason, Religious Bodies down the ages have catered and still cater, in so far as their limited resources permit, for the material as well as the spiritual well-being of man.

The purpose of Politics is first and last the material well-being of man. The purpose of Religion, on the other hand, is to do this or to ensure by persuasion that this is done, and to cater in addition to the spiritual welfare of man. In many modern States, what we see is not a separation of Politics from Religion but a division of labour between them.

From what I have said, it will be seen that in modern times and in a democratic society, the functions of Politics
are complementary to those of Religion. I have used the phrase `in a democratic society’ advisedly. For in its attempt to evolve the best means of catering to the welfare of man, mankind has employed various devices. Some have turned out to he good whilst others are simply infernal. Examples of those that are in current use may be given: Democracy and Dictatorship; Capitalism, Socialism and Communism.

The terrestrial part of maxi is inherently selfish, tyrannical and corruptible. The ethereal part of man — that is the Soul — is pure, just, incorruptible, uplifting and ennobling.

Consequently, man is constantly subjected to internal conflict in which either the Body or the Soul must win. In the short run victory may go to the former, but in the long run it is the latter that tends to be on the ascendant.
It must be borne in mind that Communism or Marxism-Leninism which, in regard to the methods by which its declared
ideals are attained, is atheistic and evil, has dominated the minds and lives of more people than believe in Christ, and in the respect for human dignity which Christianity enjoins. This obvious ascendancy of an evil political system over the moral and ethical tenets of Religion is no evidence of antipathy between Politics and Religion. On the contrary, it is proof positive of the utter lack of spiritual discipline and of complete moral bankruptcy on the part of political leaders all the world over, and of want of dynamism and afflatus, and of exemplary leadership, on the part of Religious Bodies. Contemporary political circumstances demand that Religious leaders must recapture and relive the great and noble ideals and the militancy of those inspired and immortal Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists who had the divine courage to proclaim the truth as God gives it to them to know the truth, and to call cant, humbug, political murderers, and brutes and devils in human flesh, by their
proper names.

Apart from both being complementary, it will be seen from what I will say presently that the best in politics derives from and is firmly rooted in religious ideals. Four examples are enough to establish this assertion.

First, one of the aims of Religion is to teach a man to love his neighbour as himself and to do unto others as he would like them to do unto him. We are also taught that God is no respecter of man. All are equal before Him. It is a fundamental principle and an accepted practice under a good government that all citizens are equal in the eye of the law, enjoying and rendering reciprocal rights and duties. Negatively, every citizen is forbidden, under pain of legal sanctions, from so conducting his affairs that he becomes a nuisance or a menace to his neighbours. Positively, under law he must so live his life that he is at peace at all times with his fellow men.

Second, in all great religions, women are treated on the basis of equality with men. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the
most outstanding exemplar in this respect. Today, politicians all over the civilised world are eloquent in their advocacy for equal treatment for all persons irrespective of sex.

In doing so, they are merely reflecting in public life the unparalleled example of our Lord.

Third, many of the Fundamental Human Rights, particularly the three Freedoms of Conscience, of Association and
of Speech, have their origin in the great Religions. Many Prophets, Saints and Evangelists have suffered pain or death because they have dared to exercise their freedom of Conscience and of expression. It was for this noble and imperishable cause that John the Baptist was executed, that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, and Mohammed for a while fled his home in Mecca. Many great names in Politics drawing their inspiration from Religion also suffered or died for the same cause. It was for this cause that Socrates was
sentenced to drink the hemlock and to death.

Fourth, in my considered and settled opinion, the best, political ideal for mankind is Democratic Socialism which is founded, among others, on the principles of the well-being of the individual, and brotherhood among all men irrespective of creed, colour and race. The fundamental concept of socialism is: `From each according to his ability and to each according to his need.’ This concept has its root in the teachings and practices of great Religions through the ages.

Thus far I have endeavoured to show that Politics is not only complementary to Religion but also that the most
beneficial political system derives its strength from the tenets and practices of the great Religions.

Except under Communism where Religion or Belief in God is suppressed, and unless we wished to revert to Theocracy
which has long been out of fashion, Government (and hence Politics) and Religion must exist side by side working
hand in hand for the good of man. The tragedy of these modern times is that in some cases there is so much lack of
understanding among some religious leaders that they are intolerant of some of the manoeuvres of politicians. In other cases, religious leaders have allowed themselves to be completely subordinated to governmental institution to the extent that some Religious Organisations are mere arms or projections of the Government.

Religious leaders need not be intolerant of politicians or of their manoeuvres for vantage position. Our Lord lived in an age of political intrigues and tyranny of the worst kind. Yet He did not hesitate to say in reply to his tempters, `Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.’ There is more meaning to this famous saying of our Lord’s than a brilliant display of wit or a shattering out-manoeuvring of His adversaries. He does mean that His bearers should obey God as well as Government which is the constituted authority for the management of material human affairs. But since the earthly authority is ordained by God, it is easy to infer that where Caesar’s behests are manifestly repugnant to the injunctions of God, the latter must be made to prevail whatever the consequences. A Christian must, however, seek by Christian methods to make the Will of God sovereign and supreme m the society where he lives. The aim of Religion is the dissemination of truth — truth about the Will of God for the guidance of man. To know the truth and to uphold it is the only sure avenue to freedom and happiness.

It follows that in order that it may discharge its functions, a Religious Organisation must be independent of Government and its patronage and must never be subordinated to its dictates or whims. Otherwise, the sole compass by means of which the masses of believers must be guided in their Spiritual pursuits on the confused and stormy ocean of life becomes thwarted and unreliable. A Religious Organisation should never allow itself to be regarded as the mouthpiece arid instrument of the powers-that-be. If it did it would sink or swim with the Government concerned; and in any case it would no longer be well-placed to tell the truth as it knows it. It is incumbent upon Government and politicians to conduct their affairs in strict accordance with religious teachings and ethical standards. `Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong,’ says Daniel O’Connell. Therefore, when politicians do the right they can rest assured that they will be covered in a favourable manner by the non-partisan detached and fearless pronouncement of religious leaders of undoubted uprightness and godliness.

FREEDOM FOR ALL By Obafemi Awolowo First Address of Chief Obafemi Awolowo As President of the Action Group On 28th April, 1951 To the Conference of Party Members at Owo

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Gentlemen,
The pleasant duty of introducing the Action Group has been entrusted to me.

 

On the 21st March of this year, the Action Group was introduced to the public through the Press, and its aims and objectives were clearly set out.

 

Since then the Action Group has been unfolding itself and fulfilling its aims and objectives more by action than by words.  The most eloquent tribute to the growing strength of this young organization is that all those who are gathered here this morning – accredited representatives of the entire Western Region – are members of the Action Group.

 

The aims and objectives of the Action Group have not only been published as I said, but are contained in the Draft Constitution, copies of which have been forwarded to you.  I will not, therefore, take your time by repeating them.

 

There are, however, two items in the aims and objectives which I should like to emphasise, since they are the very basis of the Action Group.  I refer to items (1) and (3).  The two are complementary and they read as follows:

 

(1)    To bring and organize within its fold nationalists in the Western Region, so that they may work together as a united group, and submit themselves to party loyalty and discipline

(2)    To prepare and present to the public programmes for all Departments of Government, and to strive faithfully to ensure the effectuation of such programmes through those of its members that are elected into the Western House of Assembly and the Federal Legislature.

 

The attainment of these two aims implies [identification] of adherence to basic principles, and [identification] of methods in the application of the principles.

 

If any group of people fail to agree as to basic principles and as to the methods to be adopted in applying those principles, it is impossible for them to work within the same fold, and to submit themselves to party loyalty and discipline.

 

The basic principles which have brought the members of the Action Group together are summarized in the following motto:

 

LIFE MORE ABUNDANT

FREEDOM FOR ALL

 

It is our belief that the people of Western Nigeria in particular, and of Nigeria in general would have life more abundant when they enjoy:

 

(i)                  Freedom from British Rule

(ii)                Freedom from Ignorance

(iii)               Freedom from Disease and

(iv)              Freedom from Want.

 

In our view, the rule of one nation by another is unnatural and unjust.  It is maintained either by might or by complete subordination, through crafty means, of the will and self-respect of the subject people to the political self-aggrandisement of the tutelary power.  There can be no satisfactory substitute for self-rule.

 

Therefore, British tutelage is to be denounced without any reservation.  In principles,  it is indefensible.  In practice, it has been characterized by extreme planlessness and disregard for the vital interests of the people.

 

After almost 100 years of British Rule, our land is still riddle with unspeakable ignorance, disease and want.

 

An ignorant and poverty-stricken people are the easiest preys to political enslavement and economic exploitation.  Diseases of all kinds follow in the wake of ignorance and want.

 

The basic principles which, therefore, have brought us together within the fold of the Action Group may be stated in the following words:

 

1)      The immediate termination of British Rule in every phase of our political life.

2)      The education of all children of school-going age, and the general enlightenment of all illiterate adults and all illiterate children above the school-going age.

3)      The provision of health and general welfare for all our people.

4)      The total abolition of want in our society by means of any economic polity which is both expedient and effective.

 

Having agreed on these basic principles, it becomes necessary to take the next step, namely:  to agree as to common methods in the application of those principles.  This is a very important step:  because, even though people may agree as to principles, if they don’t agree as to methods of application it would not be possible for them to work together.

 

It is in order to evolve those common methods that some members of the Action Group were commissioned to prepare papers not only on Government Departmental subjects but also on the organizational problems of the Action Group.

 

It will be our duty at this at this Conference to declare our irrevocable adherence to the principles already enunciated and to fashion out from the papers which are already submitted on various subjects what our common methods of application shall be.

 

Once we have succeeded in doing these two things the fulfillment of our aims and objectives is well-nigh achieved.  All that we would need in addition would be persistence and consistency in the pursuit of our principles, and resolution and discipline in the execution of our common methods of application.

 

I would like to say that this, in my humble opinion, is the first time in the annals of Nigeria that a political party is reared on a really scientific basis.  For if all the leading members in the Action Group have more or less identical conceptions as to the principles which shall guide their activities, and jointly evolve common methods of applying those principles, it is my firm conviction that the organization will be successful and lasting.

 

Only we must make sure about two things, namely:  that our principles are just, and that our methods are practical.  For nothing defeats their own ends so easily as unjust principles and impractical methods of approach.

 

With these few remarks, I believe that I have succeeded in portraying to you the rock-sure foundation on which the Action Group is erected.  We are here in this historic Conference to reinforce and to add to the superstructure already built, by the pledge of the leaders inhabiting the two Zones (YORUBA AND MIDWESTERN or WESTERN AND EASTERN) of the Western Region.

 

It is true we speak different languages;  but it does not require any laborious research to discover that, broadly speaking, we originated from common stock; and that in any event our political and cultural associations have been of such long standing as to make us look upon one another as close relations.  And above all, we are Nigerians whom both Nature and Constitution have joined together.  It is within our power to remain together.

 

In the first release of the Action Group it  has been made abundantly clear both in item (5) of the aims and objectives and in the body of the release that it is not the intention of the Action Group to embark on Regional politics exclusively.  It is sheer necessity that has compelled us to decide to get together to put our own house in order.

 

As an earnest of our good faith, the subjects on which policy papers have been prepared are not confined to Regional subjects but cover Central subjects as well.

 

Furthermore, the Action Group is not meant to be an ad-hoc or temporary organization.  It has come to stay and it will live forever.

 

We have promised, and we mean to abide by our word, that if a countrywide organization acceptable to all is established, we would not hesitate to become the Western Regional Working Committee of such an organization.  But it is clear now from all accounts that such an organization will not emerge before the general elections under the new Constitution.

 

It must, therefore, be our hope and our endeavour that as soon as we have duly consolidated and strengthened our position throughout the Western Region, we should, in cooperation with nationalists in other Regions, influence the formation of a countrywide organization on the same realistic and scientific lines as the Action Group.

 

I have no doubt that we all know that the realization of all our aims and objectives depends chiefly on our having a substantial majority in the Western House of Assembly.  With unity, determination and hard work, it should not be difficult for us to get all our candidates elected into that Assembly.

 

We are not fighting for seats in the House of Assembly because we desire power for its sake.  We believe that, in a partial sense though, the new Constitution affords us an opportunity to be of better service to our people.  We are a party – in fact the only party in Nigeria definite ideas and practical programmes for the advancement of Nigeria towards early freedom and prosperity.

 

Our enemies and detractors are already at work.  They are seeking to dwarf our stature in order to delude the public that they are taller than we are.  They are also seeking to divert us from our noble and constructive courses in to the barren land of petty strife and fruitless controversy.

 

I believe I am voicing your sentiments, when I say that we do not  grudge other parties their professed popularity and excellence.

 

But it is mean and cowardly, and an evidence of weakness and utter demerit, for any group of people to attempt to commend themselves to the public by the negative process of belittling and condemning others.  Strong, courageous, resourceful and self-confident people are never afraid of rivals or competitors.

 

It is not an easy matter to resist the temptation of being dragged down the drains of bitter recriminations and press war.  But if we are to attain our objectives we must resolve to pursue our course unflinchingly without paying the slightest heed ‘to the envious, and the asses that bray.’

 

What our people want to know above all things else is not the defect or incapacity of this or that organization, but the plans and programmes which we have for improving their lots and the relative merits of such plans and programmes.

 

Such plans and programmes we have;  and what is more they are plans and programmes which could be put into execution within a period of five years.

 

Our line of action is therefore clear.  Whilst our enemies and detractors busy themselves with abusing and decrying us, we should direct all the machinery of our publicity towards the propagation of the excellence and the relative superiority of our programmes and the suitability of the men who will put forward to execute them.

 

In this way we would succeed in commending ourselves to the public by our sheer merits and our merits only.  This in my view is a nobler attitude;  and if we remain true to it, we are bound to succeed where our detractors fail.

 

 

Taken from  “Voice of Reason:  Selected Speeches of Chief Obafemi Awolowo” Vol. 1, Fagbamigbe Publishers (1981) Pages 195-200

(1953) Nnamdi Azikiwe, “Speech on Secession”

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In 1953 when Northern Nigerians were beginning to consider secession from the Nigerian colony that would soon be a nation, Nnamdi Azikiwe gave a speech before the caucus of his political party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in Yaba, Nigeria on May 12, 1953.  That speech, while not disallowing secession, suggested that there would be grave consequences if the Northern region became an independent nation.  Ironically, fourteen years later, Azikiwe led his Eastern Region out of Nigeria and created Biafra, a move that prompted a bloody three year civil war.  Azikiwe’s 1953 speech appears below.

I have invited you to attend this caucus because I would like you to make clear our stand on the issue of secession. As a party, we would have preferred Nigeria to remain intact, but lest there be doubt as to our willingness to concede to any shade of political opinion the right to determine its policy, I am obliged to issue a solemn warning to those who are goading the North towards secession. If you agree with my views, then I hope that in course of our deliberations tonight, you will endorse them, to enable me to publicize them in the Press.

 

In my opinion, the Northerners are perfectly entitled to consider whether or not they should secede from the indissoluble union which nature has formed between it and the South, but it would be calamitous to the corporate existence of the North should the clamour for secession prevail. I, therefore, counsel Northern leaders to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of secession before embarking upon this dangerous course.

 

As one who was born in the North, I have a deep spiritual attachment to that part of the country, but it would be a capital political blunder if the North should break away from the South. The latter is in a better position to make rapid constitutional advance, so that if the North should become truncated from the South, it would benefit both Southerners and Northerners who are domiciled in the South more than their kith and kin who are domiciled in the North.

 

There are seven reasons for my holding to this view. Secession by the North may lead to internal political convulsion there when it is realized that militant nationalists and their organizations, like the NLPU, the Askianist Movement, and the Middle Zone League, have aspirations for self-government in 1956 identical with those of their Southern compatriots. It may lead to justifiable demands for the right of self-determination by non-Muslims, who form the majority of the population in the so-called ‘Pagan’ provinces, like Benue, Ilorin, Kabba, Niger and Plateau, not to mention the claims of non-Muslims who are domiciled in Adamawa and Bauchi Provinces.

 

It may lead to economic nationalism in the Eastern Region, which can pursue a policy of blockade of the North, by refusing it access to the sea, over and under the River Niger, except upon payment of tolls. It may lead to economic warfare between the North on the one hand, and the Eastern or Western regions on the other, should they decide to fix protective tariffs which will make the use of the ports of the Last and West uneconomic for the North.

 

The North may be rich in mineral resources and certain cash crops, but that is no guarantee that it would be capable of growing sufficient food crops to enable it to feed its teeming millions, unlike the East and the West. Secession may create hardship for Easterners and Westerners who are domiciled in the North, since the price of food crops to be imported into the North from the South is bound to be very high and to cause an increase in the cost of living. Lastly, it will endanger the relations with their neighbours of millions of Northerners who are domiciled in the East and West and Easterners and Westerners who reside in the North.

 

You may ask me whether there would be a prospect of civil war, if the North decided to secede? My answer would be that it is a hypothetical question which only time can answer. In any case, the plausible cause of a civil war might be a dispute as to the right of passage on the River Niger, or the right of flight over the territory of the Eastern or Western Region; but such disputes can be settled diplomatically, instead of by force.

 

Nevertheless, if civil war should become inevitable at this stage of our progress as a nation, then security considerations must be borne in mind by those who are charged with the responsibility of government of the North and the South. Military forces and installations are fairly distributed in all the three regions; if that is not the case, any of the regions can obtain military aid from certain interested Powers. It means that we cannot preclude the possibility of alliance with certain countries.

 

You may ask me to agree that if the British left Nigeria to its fate, the Northerners would continue their uninterrupted march to the sea, as was prophesied six years ago? My reply is that such an empty threat is devoid of historical substance and that so far as I know, the Eastern Region has never been subjugated by any indigenous African invader. At the price of being accused of overconfidence, I will risk a prophecy and say that, other things being equal, the Easterners will defend themselves gallantly, if and when they are invaded.

 

Let me take this opportunity to warn those who are making a mountain out of the molehill of the constitutional crisis to be more restrained and constructive. The dissemination of lies abroad; the publishing of flamboyant headlines about secessionist plans, and the goading of empty-headed careerists with gaseous ideas about their own importance in tile scheme of things in the North is being overdone in certain quarters. I feel that these quarters must be held responsible for any breach between the North and South, which nature had indissolubly united in a political, social and economic marriage of convenience. In my personal opinion, there is no sense in the North breaking away or the East or the West breaking away; it would be better if all the regions would address themselves to the task of crystallizing common nationality, irrespective of the extraneous influences at work. What history has joined together let no man put asunder. But history is a strange mistress which can cause strange things to happen!

 

Sources:

Nnamdi Azikiwe, Zik: A Selection from the Speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria formerly President of the Nigerian Senate formerly Premier of the Eastern Region of Nigeria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961).

1886-1960

 

Change: By Anastasia Ruth and Arinzechukwu Patrick

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Anastasia:

Brother abeg send me something.

Dis tin no easy

Abi,

Dem say make we vote change,

We no know sey e go be like this

Abi make una help me see na

Tins hard the more

And dem say na change

My brother you dey  far

You no go understand

The man sey change

But suffering and smiling

Dem sey people take the money wey E wan use for change

Okay, E don catch people

Make E collect the money share na

Abi, my brother, wetin you tink?

 

Arinzechukwu:

My sister

To think tire me

I for reason the matter

But strength dey expensive

And food scarce these days.

Presido no try,

The change E promise change everything,

Naija cast,

Street cast,

Citizens cast.

Crime don increase,

Petty thefts,

Kidnapping,

Shuffering and shmiling

But

Pope dey enjoy,

Senator dey enjoy

Imam dey enjoy

Change or army arrangement?

Soldier go, soldier come

to teach change

But,

Teacher no teach us nonsense

Sai Baba-nla nonsense.