Baldly stated, "the central political PROBLEM in NIGERIA arises from the fact that the country includes three main ethnic groups -  the Hausa people of the North, the Igbo people of the East and Yoruba people of the West." The difficulty has been to find a means of binding them together to form a nation.  

By 1906, the British millitary power had been firmly planted in the territories now known as Nigeria, but the conquered communities were different in race and language and in social and political organisation. The emirates of northern Nigeria were mohammedans. They had been under the impact of islamic culture for over six centuries and had little in common with the Yoruba and Igbo tribes in the South. 

The situation created the problem of how to merge the discordant elements into a coherent whole while preserving for each sufficient autonomy to satisfy cultural aspirations. From the occupation of Lagos in 1857, the main emphasis in Nigerian constitutional developement has been towards unification and development of a common nationality. 

The first attempt to build a nation by the British colonial masters started in 1906 when the Colony and protectorate of Lagos and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria were amalgamated with the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
The second attempt was made in 1914 when the two administrations of Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated and named the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. 

The third attempt was in 1951 when a Federal constitution was introduced, but it soon became clear that the three regions with their wide differences in character and developement could not work well in any closely knit Federation. 

From 1951 to 1960 Nigerian leaders negotiated soberly for Federal Constitution based on parliamentary system of Government. 

The feeling among Nigerians was strong that whatever the odds, the new Nigerian nation would prove a unique success. 

There was full justification for this feeling. As stated above, the Federal Constitution had been soberly negotiated over a period of 10 years. At times, temper was high; and once in 1956 it appeared as if the country would end up no stronger than a customs unification. But in spirit of rare mutual respect, the leaders of the main political parties often managed to find a solution in compromise. Now, we can see that Nigeria can never exist as one nation, until REFERENDUM is conducted.

Written by Chukwudi Prince Okeze
For Abia Media Team.

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