The Eastern Nigerian regional crisis of 1953 started on January 30, 1953 and ended on May 6, 1953. The National Council of Nigerian and Cameroon (NCNC) majority turned itself into an opposition and as such killed the bills that was brought to it including the appropriation bill.
The governor had to use his reserve powers to decree appropriation for the running of the government. The crisis arose because the internal split and power struggle within NCNC. In the first place the party members from Lagos failed to elect their party leader Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe into the House of Representatives in Lagos. In the second place, the party leaders did not agree on whether or not they should continue to support the MacPherson Constitution. The party members who were holding ministerial positions supported it while others did not.
Later, the party central ministers were expelled. But some regional ministers did not support the expulsion and there were moves to reshuffle the posts of the regional ministers with a view to replacing the six expelled ministers at the centre. This brought about ‘the Eastern Nigerian regional crisis of 1953′ when the six withdrew their original letters of resignation to make the reshuffling possible. When it became impossible to carry on the business of the house, the House was dissolved on May 6, 1953.
The after effect of the Eastern Nigerian regional crisis of 1953 are mainly three:
On February 23, 1953, the National Independent Party (NIP) was formed in the Eastern Region by the expelled regional and central ministers and their supporters outside. In the new government that was elected in 1953, the NCNC formed the government and the NIP the opposition.
Secondly, the efforts of the Cameroon’s representatives in the Eastern Region for Cameroon’s autonomy from the East were intensified.
Finally, the third effect of the crisis is the general loss of confidence in democratic institutions, not only in the East but also in the whole country. People generally became disillutioned about these institutions.
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– Professor Seun Babatunde Oyediji