The problem is that after Azikiwe won in the Western House as a member of the House and his party was to form the government, Awolowo who brought federalism as a form of governance reverted to the game we are playing in Nigeria today, which is tribalism,quite different from federalism. 

I just want people not to be too angry with themselves. Awolowo felt, as the strongman of the Yoruba, Azikiwe should not have won the election in his place, and he could not countenance an Igbo man coming to be the premier or the first minister or prime minister. Night came, and when day broke, Zik discovered his majority had collapsed. The Yoruba abandoned him and went to a strange person they did not know ideologically, that is Awolowo, on the basis of tribe. So, Zik was forced to rethink as an intelligent person, to relocate. He went back to became the first Premier of Eastern Region. 

Some of us sprang up too, in going with Awolowo’s tribal division, that the notion that there are only three tribes or sections in the country was so fundamentally defective that we called on the metropolitan power, Britain, to correct this before they would leave. So, we in the Middle Belt of Nigeria came together and decided that we would call ourselves ‘people in the middle’ and that we were not Hausa, we were not Fulani. At that time, we told Britain, Nigeria had over 250 tribes but that we could not dissect Nigeria into 250 nations. We told them that what has happened in Western Nigeria where an Igbo man was rejected

Nobody questioned the fact as at then that Zik was the leader of Nigeria and then suddenly, having won victory, which would have been a great thing for Nigeria, in a predominantly Yoruba region, because the Yoruba were extremely sophisticated and they were the most developed part of Nigeria, and they voted on the basis of ideological orientation. Zik’s party produced a Zik premiership in Western Nigeria and in the night, Awolowo went round to convince the Yoruba that, ‘you are a tribe. Your tribe is called Yoruba. Zik’s tribe is called Igbo. Do not allow this to happen. Whether you like me or not, it is better to have a Yoruba man to rule’.  THIS WAS THE STARTING POINT OF OUR PROBLEMS. So, he succeeded, and Zik was forced to go to the east to become a little tribal leader.
By Dr. Paul Unongo- Second Republic Minister and ex-Chairman of Northern Elder’s Forum

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