Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960, thanks to a British Act of Parliament. Jaja Wachuku was the first Nigerian Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament, often known as the “House of Representatives,” from 1959 to 1960. Sir Frederick Metcalfe of the United Kingdom was succeeded by Jaja Wachuku.
History of Nigeria Independence
Jaja Wachuku received Nigeria’s Instrument of Independence, commonly known as the Freedom Charter, from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen’s delegate at the Nigerian independence celebrations, on October 1, 1960, as First Speaker of the House. Nigeria’s monarch and head of state were Queen Elizabeth II, and the country was a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Nigeria’s monarchy remained in power, but a bicameral parliament, a prime minister and cabinet, and a Federal Supreme Court exercised legislative, executive, and judicial authority. Political parties, on the other hand, tended to reflect the ethnic composition of the three major ethnic groupings.
The Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC) represented the Northern Region’s conservative, Muslim, predominantly Hausa and Fulani interests. Nigeria’s northern region accounts for three-quarters of the country’s land area and more than half of its people. As a result, the North has controlled the federation government since its inception.
The National Council of Nigerian Citizens, the second-largest party in the newly independent country, won 89 seats in the federal parliament (NCNC). The NCNC was formed to represent the interests of the Igbo and Christian-dominated peoples in Nigeria’s Eastern Region. The Action Group (AG) was a left-wing political group that supported Yoruba interests in the West. The AG won 73 seats in the 1959 elections.
Nnamdi Azikiwe was appointed Governor-General of the Federation, while Tafawa Balewa continued to lead a democratically elected parliamentary administration that was now entirely sovereign. The Governor-General was nominated by the Crown on the suggestion of Nigeria’s prime minister, in collaboration with the regional premiers, to represent the British monarch as head of state. When there was no parliamentary majority, the Governor-General was in charge of naming the prime minister and selecting a candidate from among competing leaders. Aside from that, the Governor-post General’s was largely ceremonial.
The administration was accountable to a Parliament made up of the 312-member House of Representatives, who were elected by the people, and the 44-member Senate, who were chosen by the provincial legislatures.
In general, both structurally and functionally, regional constitutions followed the federal model. The most notable exception occurred in the Northern Region, where special measures aligned the regional constitution with Islamic law and custom. However, the similarities between the federal and regional constitutions were deceiving, and the practice of public affairs showed significant regional disparities.
A vote was held in February 1961 to decide the fate of the Southern and Northern Cameroons, which were administered by Britain as United Nations Trust Territories. By an overwhelming majority, voters in Southern Cameroons chose to join historically French-administered Cameroon over unification with Nigeria as a separate federated entity. The mostly Muslim voters in Northern Cameroon, on the other hand, preferred to unite with Nigeria’s Northern Region.