Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation

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Africa World Press, 2004 - Nigeria - 578 pages
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This important work, originally published in 1963, examines the social bases, strategies and structures of Nigerian political parties during the final phase of British colonial rule. As Professor Sklar explains in a new introduction for this edition, the defining characteristics of political parties today have been shaped by the intellectual origins of the independence era parties. This seminal volume is an essential tool for understanding the political and social reality of contemporary Nigeria.

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When Nnamdi Azikiwe ("Zik") launched his West African Pilot in 1937, dedicated to fighting for independence from British colonial rule, the newspaper was an immediate success.[4] Zik, an Ibo, found a ready-audience in the non-Yoruba people of Nigeria, including many in Lagos. He introduced militant racial consciousness to the NYM, and expanded its membership with large numbers of people who had previously been excluded. H.O. Davies returned to Nigeria in 1938 from a spell at the London School of Economics (LSE), becoming a leading figure in the movement until he resigned in 1951. At the LSE, Davies had roomed with Jomo Kenyatta and had absorbed the socialist views of Harold Laski.[5]
In October 1938 the NYM fought and won elections for the Lagos Town Council, ending the dominance of Herbert Macaulay and the National Democratic Party.[6] The newly self-confident members of the Nigerian Youth Movement objected to the system of indirect rule through traditional tribal leaders. The Youth Charter published in 1938 said: "We are opposed to the term "Indirect Rule" literally as well as in principle. Honest trusteeship implies direct British Rule with a view to ultimate self-government...".[7] The Charter set out goals of unifying the tribes of Nigeria to work towards a common ideal, and educating public opinion to develop the national consciousness needed to reach this ideal. The goal was spelled out as complete autonomy within the British Empire on a basis of equal partnership with the other member states.[6]


The SocioPolitical Setting
Nationalism and the Roots of Partisanship in Southern
Regionalism and the Emergence of a ThreeParty System
The National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons
The Struggle within the National Council of Nigeria
Guided Liberalism
IbadanA Study of Party Conflict at the Local Level
Party Competition in the Northern Region
Political Parties
The Unofficial Dimension of Party Structure
The Social Basis of the PartyPower System
The National Executive Committee of the Northern
National Officers Principal Advisers
Bibliography 13

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About the author (2004)

Richard l. Sklar is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was founding co-chair of the interdepartmental degree program in Development Studies. He is a past president of the African Studies Association (U.S.A) and has taught at several universities in Africa, including the University of Zambia, and as a Fulbright Professor, the University of Zimbabwe. In addition to Nigerian Political Parties, originally published in 1963 and republished in Nigeria in 1983, his published works include Corporate Power in an African State (Zambia), 1975; African Crisis Areas and U.S. Foreign Policy (co edited, 1985); Postimperialism and World Politics (co edited, 1999); African Politics in Postimperial Times: The Essays of Richard L. Sklar (edited by Toyin Falola, 2002), published by Africa World Press.

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