To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - From Nnamdi Azikiwe: " a lamp to guide our feet..." & history that vindicates the just
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:47:07 +0000
"As the hierarchy of our great party, the National Executive committee meets today to tackle some of the burning political problems which confront our country. The composition of the Federal House of Representatives has been determined. The personnel of the council of ministers is yet to be decided. You have a rare privilege in deciding who should be ministers of state to represent the Eastern and Western regions of the federation of Nigeria. I hope you will discharge this sacred duty patriotically and realistically.
The results of the Federal elections have placed the parties roughly as follows: Northern Peoples Congress, 84, NCNC 63, Action Group 20, KNC 6, UNIP 5, Idoma States Union, 2 Middle Belt Peoples Party, 2, Igbirra Tribal Union 1, Nigerian Commoners Liberal Party, 1. This means that no one political party has established a clear majority over the other parties. According to the Royal Instructions to His Excellency, the Governor-General, if such a situation arises then he shall consult with leaders of the majority political parties in each region in order to appoint the ten ministers, of whom the NCNC will be entitled to six.
It is true that this constitutional pattern will present a situation in which the NCNC will have a majority in the executive and the Northern Peoples Congress will dominate the parliament. The question arises: can the NCNC and the Northern Peoples Congress operate a government in which either party is in a position to paralyze action? If so, can such a government be stable enough to win the confidence of the peoples of Nigeria and the outside world? Otherwise, must Nigeria be subjected to another spate of conferences for the revision of its constitution?
I believe the NCNC and the Northern Peoples Congress can work a government by agreement in which the former dominates the executive and the latter controls the legislature, provided that both parties intend to give the new constitution a fair trial. I have two reasons for subscribing to this view. In the first place, the leaders of the two parties have publicly expressed the desire to give the new constitution a proper chance of survival. The resent hiatus is an opportunity for both parties to demonstrate good faith. In the second place, the present constitutional situation is not unique in the political history of mankind. I want you to realize that in the United States today, the Republican Party controls the cabinet, and the Democratic Party dominates the Houses of Congress. The question of whether such a hybrid government can be stable has been answered in the United States, whose constitution, by the way, is partially our model, and where the Democratic and Republican parties have bridged the gulf of their differences by establishing an accord based on bi-partisanship. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a lamp to guide our feet towards the building of goodwill and understanding in Nigeria, in spite of our political differences.
I will admit that there is an ideological chasm between the NCNC and the Northern Peoples Congress, but I will submit that, in the realm of practical politics, such a chasm can be bridged by a span of mutual respect for each other, based on a bi-partisan policy of government by mutual accord. Therefore, the fact that the NCNC is in a position to dominate the Council of Ministers, and the Northern Peoples Congress is poised to control the House of Representatives does not preclude the possibility of a bi-partisan policy which should enable each of the cooperating political parties to co-exist and exert salutary influence on policy, be it at the executive or legislative level.
Having dispelled the mist from the atmosphere, we can now see clearly enough to enable us to se who will be our standard bearers in the Council of Ministers appointed from the Eastern region and from the Western region. As soon as this has been done, we shall charge our ministers with the responsibility of maintaining cordial relations with their colleagues in the Council of Ministers. They should be warned that, whilst they would not expected to compromise on fundamental issues on which the party feels strongly, they should not hesitate to consult the party hierarchy for guidance and direction so as to avoid unnecessary embarrassment. The same goes to those of you who are members of the House of Reresentatives.
The NCNC believs that there is room in this country for different shades of political opinion. Unlike a certain other political party, we shall not seek to destroy our identity; rather we will gladly cooperate with any political party which is honest in it intentions, sincere in its outlook, and genuine in its programme. But the NCNC will not encourage any form of Nazism in this country, no matter whether it rears its ugly head in form of intolerance, bigotry, or terrorism."
· Nnamdi Azikiwe addressing the joint meeting of the NCNC Federal Parliamentary parliamentary caucus and the National Executive Committee, Jan. 8, 1955 in Lagos.
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogueemail@example.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.