On the 14th of June, 1955, an Action Group member of the then Western Region House of Assembly, Honorable M. S. Sowole tabled a motion at the sitting of the house. The motion reads: “I beg leave to move that this house prays Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to make necessary constitutional arrangements at the proposed conference for a separate state of Benin and Delta provinces.
That motion, which was in line with the demand of the top leaders from Benin and Delta provinces, gave a sort of legislative recognition to the issue. The motive behind the motion, coming from a Yoruba member of the House, offered itself to several interpretations. While a school of thought believe that Sowole’s was to call the bluff of those Mid- Westerners at the vanguard of the agitation for a region of their own, another school felt that it was just a pride and arrogance.
However, the agitation for the creation of Mid- Western region began in 1948 with the formation of the Benin community under the leadership of Oba Akenzua II of Benin. The organization had demanded for the creation of a Benin- Delta or Mid- Western region. In 1951, Chief Anthony Enahoro, a member of the Action Group called a meeting of Mid- Western leaders at Sapele on the creation of the proposed state.
On April 4, 1961, history was made when the federal House of Representatives, unanimously endorsed the demand of the people of Mid- West areas for a separate region of their own. The people of the area were overjoyed, parties were held and traditional dances were staged to mark victory.
* Joke Jakobs; Nigeria Today- Student’s handbook on current affairs, general knowledge and moral values [ii]; Glow Communications; 2001