Nigeria gained independence on 1 October 1960. A new law established a federal system with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state.
NCNC, now traveled by Azikiwe (who had taken control after Macaulay’s death in 1946), formed a coalition with the Balewa NPC after no party won the majority in the 1959 elections. Balewa continued to serve as a Prime Minister, a position he held since 1957, while Azikiwe was mainly the president of the Senate.
Following a referendum supervised by the UN, the northern part of the territory of Cameroon joined the northern region in June 1961, while in October, southern Cameroon joined Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
After a brief honeymoon period, long-standing regional tensions in Nigeria, caused by ethnic competitiveness, educational inequalities, and economic imbalances, reappeared in the controversial 1962-1963 census. In an attempt to avoid ethnic conflict, the Midwest region was created in August 1963 by dividing the western region.
Despite this division, the country was still divided into three large geographical areas, each controlled mainly by one ethnic group: West by Yoruba, East by Igbo and North by Haoussa-Fulani. Conflicts were endemic, with regional leaders protecting their privileges; the south complained of northern dominance, and the north feared that the southern elite would be determined to capture power.
In the west, the government collapsed in 1962, and the boycott of the December 1964 federal election put the country on the brink of bankruptcy.
The period of no return was reached in January 1966 when, after the fall of the West following the fraudulent elections of October 1965, a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the federal government and the Prime Minister.
Balewa and two other prime ministers were killed. A military administration was created under the command of Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, but his plan to abolish the regions and impose a unitary government sparked anti-Igbo riots in the north of the country.
The military intervention aggravated the political situation, while the army itself was divided into ethnic groups, its officers clashed for power and the instigators and leaders of the January coup d’etat were accused of favoring Igbo domination.
In July 1966, the northern officers organized a reaction in return, Aguiyi-Ironsi, and the lieutenant. Colonel (later General) Yakubu Gowon came to power. The crisis has been aggravated by inter-communal clashes in the north and threats of secession in the south.
Gowon’s attempt to hold a conference to resolve Nigeria’s constitutional future was dropped after a series of ethnic killings in October. The last effort to save the country was made in January 1967, when the delegation of the East, led by the lieutenant.
Colonel (later general) Odumegwu Ojukwu agreed to meet the others on the neutral ground in Aburi, Ghana, but the situation deteriorated as a result of divergent interpretations of the agreement. In May, the Eastern Region Consultative Assembly authorized Ojukwu to establish a sovereign republic, while the federal military government issued a decree dividing the four regions into 12 states, including 6 in the north and 3 in the north, in an attempt to break the power of the areas.
The Second Republic
Obasanjo pursued Mohammed’s desire to send the country back to civilian rule. As a first step, a new law was adopted to replace the British-style parliamentary system with a presidential system. The president was given greater power, but could not take office until he won a quarter of the vote in two-thirds of the states of the federation.
Political parties emerged, but only five were enrolled: the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the Party Unit of Nigeria, the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), the Popular Party of Nigeria and the People’s Party of Nigeria. Nigeria. All pledged to improve education and social services, provide social assistance, rebuild the economy and support the private sector and implement a radical and anti-imperialist foreign policy. The PRP was remarkable for expressing socialist ideas and discourses. Shehu Shagari, the dominant party candidate, the right-wing NPN, narrowly won the 1979 presidential election, defeating leader Obafemi Awolowo.
NPN party leaders used political power to gain access to public treasures and distribute privileges to their supporters. Members of the society were angry, and many openly questioned the relevance of a democracy that could not produce leaders who would improve their lives and give them moral authority.
However, even in this climate, Shagari was re-elected president in August-September 1983, although his overwhelming victory was attributed to flagrant irregularities in the vote. Shagari was unable to handle the ensuing political crisis or curb Nigeria’s continued economic decline, and the military seized the opportunity to give a coup on December 31, 1983, which brought the power of General Muhammad Buhari.