Azikiwe, Nnamdi
April 1965
Foreign Affairs;Apr1965, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p447
This article discusses a number of strategies for resolving the Nigerian crisis. The election to our Parliament, which took place in December 1964, brought some problems into sharp focus and precipitated a crisis. Whether the containment of the crisis will be permanent or temporary depends upon how those in authority take cognizance of the forces that are working to undermine the security of the state and the stability of the government. The immediate causes of the crisis were the incompetent manner in which the electoral machinery was operated, the undemocratic nature of the electioneering campaigns which were featured by violence and lawlessness, the boycotting of elections in one-fourth of the constituencies and the threat of secession by one of the four regions forming the Federation. But there were remote political causes which accentuated the problems of federalism in the Republic and ultimately precipitated the December crisis. These were related to the exercise of executive, legislative and judicial power, the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, the creation of more states and the status of the Head of State. The main political lesson learned from this Nigerian experience is the premium placed on collective leadership. A strong monarch might find himself in trouble if he did not respect the collective views of his council of elders. The word council is antonymous to individual. Its operation is collectivist and not individualist.


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