National Independence Party

National Independence Party

In 1946 the Richards Constitution which advanced a regional political framework for the country to enhance regional political and economic autonomy became law. The constitution was made law without the proper consultation of Nigerians, leading to Nnamdi Azikiwe and Eyo Ita opposing the regional political arrangement, while they presented a minority report of a federation of eight states.

However, in 1951, the constitution was reviewed with minor changes to the original but opposed by Azikiwe. The major politicians of the time resorted to work within their ethnic and regional base as a foundation to gain political power, this led to regional politics and concentration of power in regional and federal ministers, who were largely nominated by the party and the regional House of Assemblies. In 1951, major elections were held in the Eastern region of Nigeria with Eyo Ita becoming leader of the Eastern government and Azikiwe, leader of opposition in the Western Regional Assembly, a potential obscure position in light of his national repute.

A few federal ministers, however, from the NCNC supported a trial run of the Macpherson Constitution of 1951, in contravention of Azikiwe’s view of opposition. The ministers had an ally in Eyo Ita. This led to internal wrangling, and a power struggle began, leading to the exit of some of the ministers and Eyo Ita. The new group later formed the National Independence Party, and Eyo Ita later became a member of the movement for the creation of the Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers State (COR State). He left the movement, however, and re-joined the NCNC in 1956.

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