Western Nigeria Election Crises of 1965 and General election Crises of 1979, 1983


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In today’s class, we will be talking about western Nigeria election crises of 1965 and general election crises of 1979, 1983. Enjoy the class!

Western Nigeria Election Crises of 1965 and General election Crises of 1979, 1983

Western Nigeria Election Crises of 1965 and General election Crises of 1979, 1983 | classnotes.ng


The Action Group crisis broke out in 1962 as a result of the serious conflict within the party. The following factors contributed to the crisis.

  1. Personality clash: There was a personality clash between Chief Obafemi Awolowo the party leader, and Chief Akintola the party deputy leader.
  2. Factions: The party was divided into two main factions, one led by Chief Awolowo while the other was led by Chief Akintola.
  3. Adoption of a new ideology: A.G as a party later had adopted new ideology-democratic socialism, which advocates a mixed economy whereby it would combine elements of public and private enterprise. Akintola supporters did not receive this new ideology.
  4. Expulsion motion: The Governor dismissed Chief Akintola from office as Premier and appointed Alhaji D.S. Adegbenro the parliamentary leader of the House in his place.
  5. Alliances: Awo’s faction sought to form a progressive alliance with NCNC in order to get the conservative NPC out of power. Akintola’s faction on the other hand, sought to cooperate with the NPC.
  6. Tension: The tension and confusion in the region continued to grow wider and wider. The police were called in to stop the attempt by Akintola’s supporters to disrupt the proceeding of the House.
  7. State of Emergency: The federal government declared a state of emergency in the Western Region and appointed Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi, as the administrator of the region.
  8. Formation of new parties: On coming back to power, Chief Akintola and his supporters formed a new political party, the United Progressive Party and with some members of the NCNC with whom they formed a new coalition government joined together to form the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP).
  9. Creation of Mid-West Region: This was a crisis because A.G. did not support the creation of Mid-West from Western Region but Akintola government supported it.
The Consequences of the Action Group Crisis of 1962 on Nigeria
  1. A state of emergency was declared. This means dissolution of the Western House of Chiefs and House of Assembly.
  2. A temporal administration under a sole administrator under Dr M.A. Majekodunmi, the Federal Minister of Health, was constituted.
  3. Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his followers were charged with plotting to overthrow the Federal Government and were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
  4. The dismissed deputy leader of the party, Chief S.L. Akintola formed a new political party named United Progressive Party (UPP).
  5. A coalition government was formed by the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC).
  6. Formation of the two major alliances to contest 1964 federal elections, N.N.A. and U.P.G.A.
  7. The eventual overthrow of the federal government in the January 1966.
  8. The crisis brought about the weakness of the constitution, that the governor could not remove the premier.


Another crisis that shook the foundation of Nigeria and threatened the unity of the country was the crisis that arose from the general election of 1964. The federal election witnessed the formation of alliances by both the major and minor political parties. For instance, factions of A.G. and NCNC together with the Northern progressive front made up of NEPU-Northern Element Progressive United, Middle Belt Congress, joined together to form the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) under the leadership of Dr M.I. Okpara on June 3, 1964. On August 20 1964, the NPC, NNDP, the Mid- Western Democratic Front (MDF) and the Dynamic Party formed the Nigeria National Alliance (NNA) under the leadership of the Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

As the electioneering campaign commenced all sorts of crude and obnoxious methods were employed as campaign strategies. UPGA candidates complained of their inability to file nomination papers in the Northern and Western Regions controlled by the NPC and NNDP. Electoral officers were reported to be absent when UPGA candidates wanted to file their nomination papers. A delegation of UPGA met with the president protesting their grievances and that if not redressed, they would boycott the election. President Nnamdi Azikiwe requested the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, to postpone the election. However, the request was rejected by the prime minister. The election still held on December 30, 1964. Members of the UPGA in different parts of the country boycotted the election. Elections took place in Northern and Western Regions, some parts of Mid-West and Lagos, but it did not take place at all in the Eastern Regions.

The outcome of the election was favourable to the NNA. The president declared on January 1, 1965, that he found it awkward to exercise his constitutional duty of calling on the winning party leader to form a new government. There was a deadlock and for three days there was no government at the federal level. This forced some prominent Nigerians like the Chief Justice of the federation to intervene. At last, the president invited the out-going Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a member of NNA who promised to form a broad-based government. The government was made up of members of NCNC but no single member of the Action Group was included in the cabinet.

  1. State 5 causes of the Action Group crisis of 1962.
  2. What were the consequences of the Action Group crisis?
  3. Highlight the recommendations made by the Willinks Commission of Inquiry.
  4. State the effects of the recommendations.


In our next class, we will be talking about Kaduna State Executive/Legislative Crises of 1981.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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