Thursday, 7 September 2017

Two Premiers and a Governor: The Story of the Battle for the Premiership of Western Region By Onigegewura

Oba Sir Adesoji Aderemi, KBE, KCMG

It was three o’clock in the morning. The telephone rang in the Governor’s official residence in Ibadan. Who could be calling the Governor at this time of the day?  The Governor was told it was someone from Lagos and the caller insisted that he must speak with the Governor personally. The caller said it was urgent and important.

The Governor of Western Region, Oba Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, answered the phone. His Royal Highness recognized the voice on the other end. It was the voice of a royalty, a prince, a jurist and a Knight of the British Empire. The caller was His Lordship Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, the Chief Justice of the Federation.

“Kabiyesi, may I respectfully advise Your Majesty to vacate the Government House immediately.”

Oba Aderemi thought it must be a joke, and an expensive one at that. Vacate the Government House? And immediately too? As if reading His Majesty’s mind, Justice Ademola assured Kabiyesi that it was not a false alarm and that the Arole Oodua might be forcibly ejected from the Government House before the end of the day if he failed to leave. His Lordship was calling because as a prince himself he didn’t want Kabiyesi, and by extension, the throne of Oodua, to be disrespected.
Sir Adetokunbo Ademola

Kabiyesi did not bother to sleep again. Ilo ya, Onibode Apomu! He summoned his staff and with dignified calm and regal fortitude as befits the Oonirisa, the Arole Oodua directed them to pack his personal belongings. By 10 am, Baba Tejumade was on his way to his Royal Throne in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.

What could have caused the Ooni, the Supreme Representative of Oduduwa, the founder of Yoruba race to be asked to leave the Government House in the middle of the night. It was barely two years ago that history was made when he was appointed the Governor of Western Region, the first indigenous governor in black Africa and the Commonwealth.

It was indeed a joyous occasion for the whole of Yoruba race. Iya Agba told me that they were on the farm in Aba Alaro when Baba Dauda brought the news from Ife. They all abandoned the village and trooped to the Palace. Iya Agba said Kabiyesi personally waved his irukere at her, but Onigegewura won't swear to this fact in the witness box.  What Onigegewura is however sure of was that Haruna Ishola, the father of Apala music, released an album to mark the momentous occasion in which he sang:

“Ìjoba Westan Naijiriya won n pon oba le, Ooni je gomina, Dudupariola Baba Tejumade, Kofoworola Omo Adekunbi…

[Western Region Government of Nigeria dignifies Royalty, the Ooni is appointed the Governor, the handsome Ebony who begets Tejumade; Ooni who did't buy his honour, the son of Adekunbi]

Now, Kabiyesi was being ‘advised’ to vacate the Governor’s Lodge! What could have gone wrong? That midnight or early morning call was like no other call. It was the call that would alter both the political and legal landscapes of Nigeria forever.

The call was the climax of events which had begun as drizzle in 1960. By the time the call came in 1962, the drizzle had become torrential rainfall. Let's go back to 1960.

The Governor congratulating the Premier after the swearing-in
Cracks began to appear on the walls of the Action Group immediately after Chief Ladoke Akintola became the premier. He was sworn in by the Governor, Oba Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi.

In deference to the exalted throne and position of Oba Adesoji, the newly installed Premier took off his cap to shake hands with the Governor-King. It was a vintage expression of Yoruba tradition! Oba lo ba lori ohun gbogbo!

Following series of political actions and decisions taken by the new Premier who was also the Deputy Leader of the Party, it dawned on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Leader of the Party that Chief Akintola was “determined to run the show alone regardless of accepted Party conventions and procedure”.

These actions, according to Chief Awolowo, include the unilateral appointment of Ministers into the Cabinet of Western Region, reduction in the price of cocoa, reducing flat-rate tax from an average of #4.17.6d, exemption of women from taxation, and increases in Assumed Local Contributions in Western Nigeria’s secondary grammar schools, amongst others.

More importantly, Chief Akintola was of the view that the experiment of separating the leadership of the Party from the leadership of the Government in the Western Region had failed. What was left unsaid was that the Premier ought to be the Leader of the Party.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo
By the time the Party came back from its Jos Convention, it was clear to all and sundry that the festering wound of the Action Group had become an open sore.

Agba kii wa loja ki ori omo tuntun wo. Elders won't allow the neck of a newborn to go askew. On February 9, 1962, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi called a peace meeting of the party leaders in order to resolve the differences between the two great men. The Ooni was supported in this regard by some leading Obas and Chiefs in the region. The meeting however failed to conclusively effect a settlement.

It was becoming apparent that something must give. Àgbò meji ko le mu omi ninu koto kan naa. It is impossible for two rams to peacefully drink from the same saucer at the same time. 

On May 19, 1962, at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Action Group, Chief Obafemi Awolowo levelled three charges against Chief Ladoke Akintola. The Leader accused the Deputy Leader of maladministration, anti-party activities, and indiscipline. In support of the charges, Awolowo spoke for four hours. In his defence, Akintola denied the charges and spoke for three hours.

Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola
The jury of party executives listened to both the plaintiff and the defendant. A motion calling on Akintola to resign as the Premier was moved. The defendant’s group moved a counter-motion for the Premier to only be reprimanded and not removed. The counter-motion was defeated. The motion for the premier to resign was carried by 81 to 29! The meeting had lasted for 11 straight hours!

The party leadership waited patiently for Akintola’s letter of resignation. No letter was forthcoming. A ti ki òjé bo oloosa lowo, o ku baba eni ti o bo. Who is going to remove the charmed bracelet from the wrist of a chief priest? Akintola called a Press Conference and announced that he was not going to resign his post as the Premier. Instead of a letter of resignation, the embattled premier wrote two letters. The first letter was to the Ooni, asking the Governor to dissolve the House of Assembly. The second letter was to the Speaker of the House calling for an emergency meeting of the House for a vote of confidence or otherwise.
Sir Adesoji Aderemi back home at his Palace

The Ooni and the Speaker were perplexed. How could the House be dissolved and a meeting of the House still be called at the same time? O pe laye, oju re ko ni ri ibi, ikan ni eniyan yoo fi owo mu. It is either you live long and witness unsavoury things or die young and experience nothing. It was either for the House to be dissolved or for a meeting of the House to be called.

Awolowo was a legal practitioner. Akintola was a legal practitioner. They were both brilliant men trained in the finest tradition of the British Bar. They were both familiar with the Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria and the Constitution of Western Region (Yes, the Regions had their own constitutions then). They were also familiar with the common law of England as well as parliamentary practices in the Commonwealth. The question before Awolowo and the Party was how could a premier be removed from office? The issue before Akintola and his group was whether a premier could be removed from office.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo with his son, Wole

Awolowo knew that a barber needed another barber to barb his hair. He did the most natural thing. He requested two of the most brilliant legal minds in the Region to prepare a legal advisory for the Party. Chief Rotimi Williams, the Legal Adviser of Action Group and Mr. S. O. Ighodaro, the Attorney General of the Western Region accepted the assignment.

The two legal giants spent sleepless nights consulting books of laws from various jurisdictions. The contentious provision itself was simply worded. It was the proviso to section 33(10) of the Constitution of Western Nigeria which provides that:

The Governor shall not remove the Premier from office unless it appears to him that the Premier no longer commands the support of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.

Simple? Not quite!

The duo of Williams and Ighodaro were of the firm opinion (your lawyer will tell you that there is a difference between an opinion and a firm opinion) that the operative words in the provision were ‘unless it appears to him’. The legal experts concluded that as long as it appeared to the Governor in any form or format, the premier could be removed. It did not even have to be on the floor of the House.

Armed with this legal advice, a form was prepared and members of the House who wanted Akintola to be removed as the Premier appended their signature. They were 66 in number.  The form was sent to the Governor, His Royal Majesty, the Ooni of Ife.

Based on the signatures of 66 members out of 112 as contained in the form forwarded to the King, it then appeared to the Governor that the Premier no longer commanded the support of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly. The Governor exercised his constitutional power!

Sir Adesoji Aderemi removed Chief Ladoke Akintola as the Premier!
Men of History

Akintola was in the Premier’s Office when he was served with a letter from the Governor removing him from office. The premier who had just been removed as the premier did three things immediately he finished reading the letter.

He called a Press Conference to inform the world that he was still the premier.

He then called on the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to remove Sir Adesoji Aderemi as the Governor.

Finally he filed an action in court to restrain the Governor from removing him from office.

The Awolowo group was also not idle. Immediately they were informed that the Governor’s letter had been delivered to the ‘ex-premier’, the party’s Parliamentary Group elected Akintola’s Minister of Local Government, Alhaji Dauda Soroye Ishola Adegbenro, as the new premier of Western Region. 

The Governor was informed of the new appointment. Oba Adesoji Aderemi accepted the recommendation and His Royal Majesty promptly administered the oath of office to the new Premier. Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro, the Ekerin of Egbaland and the Balogun of Owu, had become the Premier! The Commissioner of Police soon arrived. He pledged his services to the new Premier.

The Commissioner of Police was just leaving the newly installed premier when a signal came from Lagos. He was directed to ‘forthwith withdraw his services, and should take no instructions whatsoever from Adegbenro’.

The people of Western Region woke up on that fateful day in May to find out that they had two Premiers. On one hand was Chief Akintola who was claiming that his removal as the Premier was ineffectual. On the other hand was Alhaji Adegbenro who had just been sworn in as the Premier and who had appointed his cabinet members.

Akintola Ta ku [Akintola Remains Adamant] was the headline of The Daily Times.

Across the Atlantic, the New York Times came out with a banner headline: Nigerian Leader Resists Ouster: Fights Removal As Premier of Western Region. According to the paper: “Samuel L. Akintola has stubbornly refused to accept his dismissal as Premier of Nigeria’s Western Region.”

 On May 23, 1962, the Western Region High Court in Ibadan was filled to capacity. It was the case of the century. The Governor had removed the Premier. In turn, the Premier had asked the Prime Minister to sack the Governor. The new Premier, Alhaji Adegbenro, was however not a party to the case at this stage.

The Chief Justice of the Western Region then was My Lord Justice Samuel Quarshie-Idun. (At the time, head judges of the regions were also called Chief Justices. They are now addressed as Chief Judges). Of course you know Mr. Justice Quarshie-Idun now. That was the trial judge in the case of Adegoke Adelabu! Ha! You remember him now! His Lordship was however not in Ibadan at the time the suit was filed. The CJ was on tour of the Midwest area of Western Region. Justice Olujide Somolu quickly sent message to His Lordship to come back to Ibadan for the very important case. 
Mr. Justice Quarshie-Idun

Chief Akintola’s legal team was led by a Queen’s Counsel, Chief Ladipo Moore, the brilliant son of the legendary lawyer, Eric Olawolu Moore. (You know Eric Moore Road in Surulere, Lagos? The street is named after the formidable advocate). Eric Moore’s daughter, Miss Kofoworola Moore (later Lady Ademola), was married to Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, the Chief Justice of the Federation. Lady Ademola was reputed to be the first black African woman to earn a degree from Oxford University.

The Ooni was also represented by a Queen's Counsel, the indomitable Rotimi Williams whose brilliance was unparalleled. Of him, Chief Awolowo said: "Timi's output, in any assignment, was always as big as his physical stature."

The proceedings had hardly begun when Chief Akintola’s counsel fired the first salvo. Chief Moore objected to the competence of Chief Williams to appear for Sir Adesoji Aderemi. The Court agreed with his submission. Chief Williams was refused permission to continue to act as counsel for the Ooni. The Governor promptly instructed another brilliant counsel, Barrister Akinyele to lead his defence.

It was at this stage that Chief Ladipo Moore advised his client on the need for them to join Alhaji Adegbenro as a Defendant. Immediately he was joined, Alhaji Adegbenro filed a counter-claim against Chief Akintola. It was now a case of Two Premiers and a Governor! Where would the pendulum swing?

Alhaji Adegbenro - The Ekerin of Egbaland
Whilst the case was going on, Alhaji Adegbenro had moved into the Premier’s Office. He had started functioning as the Premier and he was also using the Premier’s official car. In fact, when he was later restricted under the Emergency Regulations, it was the official car of the premier that took him to Osogbo, his place of restriction.

On the adjourned day, Chief Moore argued his application for injunction to restrain Sir Adesoji Aderemi from purporting to relieve Chief Ladoke Akintola of his office as premier in the absence of a resolution of the House of Assembly.  The motion was opposed by Mr. Akinyele who argued that to the extent that Chief Akintola was no longer the premier, there was nothing for the court to restrain. It was classical advocacy at its best.

His Lordship listened to the arguments from the two brilliant advocates. It was indeed a very difficult case. The Court then made two rulings. In respect of Chief Akintola’s motion, His Lordship granted the injunction prayed for by the man who would later become the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. Justice Quarshie-Idun ordered Alhaji Adegbenro not to assume the office of Premier. In other words, Chief Akntola was to continue in office. At least, pending the determination of the suit itself.
 With regard to the substantive suit, the Chief Justice referred the case to the Supreme because of its grave constitutional importance.

At the Supreme Court, it became a battle Royale! The apex Court itself admitted that it was being “called to perform a difficult duty.” Something like that had never happened before. There was no precedent to be followed.

The Supreme Court then did something. It invited all the Attorneys General in the country to appear as amici curiae. Onigegewura had already explained the meaning of this expression in Sunny Ade’s story. It was however only the Eastern Nigeria Attorney General that sent his Solicitor General to assist the court.

Four Lord Justices sat to hear the case. Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, a Prince of Abeokuta and a Knight of the British Empire, presided as the Chief Justice of the Federation. Also on the panel was Honourable Mr. Justice Lionel Brett, a World War II veteran, who was the last expatriate to serve as Nigeria’s Solicitor General. Mr. Justice Idowu Taylor was also on the panel. The Magistrate Court Complex at Igbosere, Lagos is named after him. Another Knight, Sir Vahe Bairamian, was the fourth Justice.

The question before the Court was whether the Governor could remove the Premier based on a letter signed by a body of members of the House and not as a result of a vote of no confidence on the floor of the House. In other words, how would it appear to the Governor that the premier no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of parliamentarians?

After exhaustive deliberations, My Lord Justice Adeokunbo Ademola held that the Governor exceeded his constitutional powers. According to His Lordship: “The Governor cannot validly exercise power to remove the Premier from office except in consequence of proceedings on the floor of the House.” Justices Taylor and Bairamian agreed with His Lordship.

My Lord Justice Brett, the World War II veteran, was however unable to agree with the reasoning of the majority. In his dissenting judgment, the former Solicitor General of Nigeria held that: “the Constitution does not preclude the Governor from acting on any information which he considers reliable.”

Chief Akintola’s group erupted with happiness. Official’s Removal Reversed in Nigeria screamed the New York Times’ headline of July 8, 1962.

Chief Akintola, the master linguist, didn’t allow the moment to go without poking fun at his opponent. The middle name of Alhaji Adegbenro is Soroye which could be literally interpreted to mean ‘do you see honourary title?’.  According to various accounts, Chief Akintola quipped: Sóoróyè kii je oye. Yio ma roye ni, ko ni je oye. (‘Do you see honourary title can only see title but he cannot become a titleholder!).

Onigegewura had earlier told you in Adelabu’s story that the Federal Supreme Court was not the final court of appeal at the time. Alhaji Adegbenro appealed to the Privy Council in London.

On May 27, 1963, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council delivered its judgment. Five Lord Justices heard the appeal which had come all the way from the Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria.

I hope you recall that Chief Rotimi Williams and Mr. Ighodaro had opined that the Governor could exercise his power to remove the Premier as long he was convinced that the premier no longer commanded majority support. I hope you also remember that the dissenting judgment of Brett FJ agreed with this reasoning. That’s good. It shows that you are following me.

The Privy Council held that the Federal Supreme Court misapplied the law. The PC agreed with the legal opinion of Chief Williams and Mr. Ighodaro. The Council therefore allowed the appeal and reversed the majority decision of Ademola, Bairamian and Taylor. The council upheld the minority decision of Brett FJ. In effect, the Council held that Oba Adesoji Aderemi exercised his power to remove Akintola constitutionally!

Adegbenro has won!
Alhaji DS Adegbenro

The Privy Council did not stop there. It also directed Chief Akintola to pay Alhaji Adegbenro the sum of #1,140:8s: 5d as the costs incurred in prosecuting his case from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.

This time around, it was the turn of Alhaji Adegbenro’s group to erupt with joy!

But it was a short-lived joy. As the Privy Council Lord Justices were signing off on their judgment in London, something was happening back home in Nigeria. On the same day, the Western House of Assembly amended its constitution.

I hope you have not forgotten that the decision of both the Supreme Court and the Privy Council was based on the proviso to section 33 (10) which Onigegewura had quoted above. Minutes after the Privy Council had announced its decision, the provision was amended by adding the following phrase: “…in consequence of the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House”.

That’s not all. The amendment was also backdated by three years. It was deemed to have taken effect from October 1960! I hope you are not becoming confused with the legal theatrics. In other words, the decision of the Governor taken in 1962 was now null and void because it was not in consequence of the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House! The decision of the Privy Council delivered in 1963 was also of no legal effect.

The long and short of it is that Chief Akintola had never been removed as the Premier! Legally speaking!

Adegbenro had scored his goal in London. Unfortunately, the goal post had been moved in Ibadan. Ibadan lo mo, o mo láyípo!

That however was not the end of the story.

Alhaji Adegbenro, the Ekerin Egba, had lost the premiership but he was not about to lose the costs awarded in his favour by the Privy Council. He filed an application at the Supreme Court of Nigeria for the Court to direct the Premier to pay him his costs. He was represented this time by Chief Akin Olugbade. Chief Akintola was represented by Chief Moore.

Chief Akintola argued that he should not pay any costs because his government had nullified the decision of the Privy Council. The court disagreed. The apex court found merit in the application of Alhaji Adegbenro. After all, aya òle la n gba, ko si eni ti o n gba omo òle. A lazy man can only lose his wife and not his child. The court ordered Chief Akintola to pay Alhaji Adegbenro the costs incurred in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the sum of #1,140:8s: 5d being the costs of his appeal to Privy Council in England. Onigegewura is able to confirm that Chief Akintola paid the costs.

The story did not end there…

You are wondering why appeals were still being taken to the Privy Council notwithstanding Nigeria's status as an independent country. Onigegewura will tell you the reason. It was because the country remained a Commonwealth Realm with the Queen as her Head of State. Nigeria was not yet a republic.

Following the decision in the Akintola case, Nigerian Government felt the time had come to become a full republic. Ti a ba fi agbo fun egun, a fi okun re le ni. When you give a ram to the masquerade, you ought to leave the rope. Why was Her Majesty still holding on to the rope after giving us the ram? The time had come to cut the political umbilical cord. The 1963 Republican Constitution was promulgated. With that singular act, Nigeria became a Republic and appeal to Privy Council was abolished. The Supreme Court became the final court of appeal for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

And it all started with that midnight call.

That however was not the end of the story…

I thank you very much for your time.

-Olanrewaju Onigegewura©

The right of Olanrewaju Onigegewura© to be identified as the author of stories published on this blog has been asserted by him in accordance with the copyright laws. 


  1. Well only a lawyer can understand the import of the legal battles, and gimmicks used.. Don't know what to say but Kudos.. Speechless

    1. Onigegewura did an excellent job in his historical account of the political turmoil in western Nigeria 1960 to Jan 1966
      Shortly after Chief Awolowo lost the Federal Nation wide election..He became the Leader of Opposition in the Federal Parliament.While Awolowo was the Leader of the National party ( AG) Akintola became the Premier and the deputy leader of AG
      Chief Awolowo wanted to have total control of the party at the National level & at the regional level. thereby usurping the power & authority of the incumbent Premier Akintola.That was the crux of their conflict.
      All your write up were correct on the legal front but you were silent on the political maneuvering on the ground.
      Immediately Chief Akintola was deposed as Premier... he left the party( AG) and overnight formed NNDP Popularly called. DEMO with the Palm of the hand as the political symbol
      A NNDP emergency meeting was called and all AG members cross carpeted to NNDP. Governor Aderemi was removed and Governor Fadahunsi was appointed by Akintola to replace him.
      In the mean time Chief Akintola was fluent in HAUSA LANGUAGE and consequently in collusion with NPC to undermine Awolowo & AG.
      The treasonable Felony charges against chief Awolowo had the hands of Awolowo's traitors.
      There was more to the history you are writing about...Please keep up the Good work

    2. Unintentionally diasporan9 September 2017 at 11:21

      Thanks for filling in the gaps. Otherwise a good write up would lack a great understanding..

    3. Babatunde Ogungbamila(Babs Mila)10 September 2017 at 00:55

      "Chief Awolowo wanted to have total control of the party at the National level & at the regional level. thereby usurping the power & authority of the incumbent Premier Akintola.That was the crux of their conflict"
      With respect this is not correct. AG had a manifesto. A policy document guiding the operation of the party. Therein contained the fundamental objectives for the creation of the party. Chief Akintola a man with intellect of first quality wanted a change. The change would radically deviate from the fundamental objectives. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the finest of his generation and leader of the party kicked against it. That is the crux. It has nothing to do with Awolowo wanting to control all. But the finest practice of democracy, to wit, implement the party manifesto.

      We need to get it right at all times. Thanks for your contribution.

    4. The AG Manifesto of 1952 was drafted by Dr. Onabamiro; Rewane: Anthony Enahoro, Chief SL Akintola; Adeleke Adedoyin; Chaired by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The AG Manifesto was an improvement on the EGBE OMO ODUDUWA London (1948-1951) Manifesto .The Egbe Omo ODUDUWA were a group of YORUBA students studying at the time in London UK.
      These people on returning home gathered to form a political party to challenge the NCNC ...a party formed and trunkated by Herbert Ex-Slave.
      We should not try to rewrite history to suit our political postures.
      In addition the postopost of the Premier carried with it some political benefits...which were automatically usurped by Faderera Akintola immediately her husband became the Premier. Some of these benefits were previously enjoyed by Mrs. HID Awolowo. The Gbagi textile market previously monopolized by Chief HID Awolowo and some I.Muda, Humani Alaga & others were reorganised to HID disadvantage by Chief SL Akintola. The issue was the first crack of a tight relationship between Awolowo & Akintola. This pitched the market women at the time into two warring sides.
      A national meeting of the party was held in Okebola at chief Awolowo's house..where Akintola was ready to apologise and reconciled with Awolowo for Party unity....Among the Arbitrators were Onitiri; D'S Adegbenro; Oba CD Akran. etc..but Chief Awolowo refused to bulge...The result was the TABLOID HEADLINE....AKINTOLA TAKU

    5. How could the headline have been 'Akintola Taku' if it was Chief Awolowo that refused to bulge? I think Onigegewura's position that Chief Akintola refused to accept his removal is a more logical explanation of the sobriquet 'Akintola Taku'

  2. Unfortunately, the Western region which was the pacesetter in the real sense became the veritable ground for all kinds of experiments in the ill-fated first republic.

    The ignoble role played by the external factors aided by our own leaders quickened the demise of that republic.

    When the stories are told to generations yet unborn, they will remember that greed, avarice and covetousness destroyed the nation set on the path of glory at its birth.

  3. Babatunde Ogungbamila(Babs Mila)8 September 2017 at 01:40 it was in the beginning so it is now...may God help us all. Many thanks Onigegewura for showing us the foundation of a building that we are all papering its cracked walls...

  4. This is one of the best historical/legal piece I have read in a while. Many thanks sir

    1. Oga lawyer Lekan, you don forget your Adegbenro V Akintola in PUL 201 - Constitutional Law and JIL 201 - the Nigerian Legal System ni? Our law reports are replete with many historical tales.

  5. Esoteric, nice historical line and the paradox of political manipulations in Nigeria

  6. Esoteric, nice historical line and the paradox of political manipulations in Nigeria

  7. Most times that law is made to have a retroactive effect, Injustice seats on the throne of Justice!
    Thanks so much Onigegewura for data exposition which is so vividly painted that I'm personally angry at the manipulations!
    Did I miss the reason why Chief Williams couldn't appear for the defendant?!
    I can't wait for the end of the story!

    1. I too wondered why FRA Williams couldn't represent Oba Aderemi. See injustice oooo, laws having retroactive effects.... Hmmm

  8. Wow. The theatrics is something else.

  9. Like my friend Lekan Ashas opined above, this is one of the best legal-historical piece read in a while. I agree with him completely. Just as your conclusion suggested, this could not have been the end of the story. I believe some events later happened that warranted that nocturnal call. I trust you will give us the part two of this story - the story that signify the beginning of the end that no one could predict.

  10. What a wonderful political cum legal history. Politics has long been dirty from the inception of Nigeria's independent. God save our land.
    What could be the ratio for the disqualification of Timi Williams from representing the Governor, is it because he's the legal adviser to Action Group?. Good job Mr. Onigegewura

  11. Uhnmmmmm....

    Now, I know the reason the Awolowos and Akintolas are two parallel lines that can never meet.

    Apart from betraying Awolowo, Akintola also disorganised the Western region leadership with his greed; by turning a simple democratic process to "roforofo" fight that made the Governor-King Soji Aderemi flee the statehouse in the middle of the night.

    To the best of my understanding, S.L Akintola did more harm to the Western region's growth than good.

    Thanks for the historical fact sir; more power to your elbow.

    Sincere regards,
    Ola' Marcus

    1. You need to balance your understanding of history not what you read on the surface.
      Read wider to balance your views.

    2. You need to balance your understanding of history not what you read on the surface.
      Read wider to balance your views.

    3. Betraying Awolowo in which way? Do you sit down to analysis the great gred of Pa Awolowo also? You should read broad history not this one sided history to understand what went wrong before your conclusion.

    4. Why don't you tell us about Awo's greediness?

    5. @Akintola it's normal to defend your father, grandfather or relative. I want to believe you have inside info. So you can as well right a rejoinder to balance the story.

    6. Mr Akintola!!!
      Pls do not continue where your late grandfather stop. It is a road that will not lead you to anywhere.
      Your grandfather, late Premier Akintola destroyed the western Region through his connivance with the Northerners.

  12. Thanks Onigegewura I'm a fan!!!
    Point of addition.... Omo Adekunbi Ipetumodu. Because the King's mother is from Ipetumodu.

    “Ìjoba Westan Naijiriya won n pon oba le, Ooni je gomina, Dudupariola Baba Tejumade, Kofoworola Omo Adekunbi Ipetumodu…”

    [Western Region Government of Nigeria dignifies Royalty, the Ooni is appointed the Governor, the handsome Ebony who begets Tejumade; Ooni who did't buy his honour, the son of Adekunbi Ipetumodu]

    1. I say kudos to you Onigegewura. This is a history in the making. In 40 years time, people will be making reference to all these write ups of yours. However, my Grandfather was heavily involved in the Western region politics as he was one of the Top Cocoa Producers of this era. I remember him always giving his wives the political updates every evening while we as Toddlers would sing to support Baba Awo. Those were good times in the Western Nigeria. I was part of it. God bless Onigegewura, God bless Nigeria.

  13. Interesting read! However, I understand the governor was equally removed from office that same year. My government textbook says there were two premiers and two governors that time in western region.

    1. Sir Odeleye Fadahunsi became the Governor after Kabiyesi Adesoji Aderemi in 1963. They were not in office at the same time. Thank you.

  14. Thanks for this. The narration was as if I attended the court sessions!

  15. The master himself. History is not was. More ink in your pen.

  16. The complicity of Balewa Govt wrecked the first republic. Akintola would have been removed as Premier, but The Fed stepped in changing the rules. We are still having the same problem today, unwillingness to follow the rule of law.

  17. The role Fashola and Fayemi played in the just concluded Ekiti polls shows that Yorubas have not learnt any lessons. A people easily divided

  18. The role Fashola and Fayemi played in the just concluded Ekiti polls shows that Yorubas have not learnt any lessons. A people easily divided

    1. Please educate us on roles played by fashola and fayemi because I can see any ignorable roles played

  19. Undoubtedly, a brilliant telling of one of the most consequential events that precipitated the downward spiral into the abyss of Nigerian social and political life as a young independent country.

  20. Institution of theatrics in legal profession is a bane of the advocacy. How could the members of the house of assembly backdate an amendment that pervert the course of justice in a contemporary case? Onigegewura,may continue to grow in wisdom, I never had the narrative of the great event in a concise form.

  21. Exciting, but for the pervasive self preservation mentality triumphed. As it was in the beginning so it is now!!!
    When will Nigeria take that turn for common good of all?!!

  22. The political elites and their accomplice in the legal profession has been the bane of progress and development of this country. May God replenish your knowledge Onigegewura

  23. Very Great Piece! Could you please continue to the "wet e" and 1966 demise of Akintola.

  24. More ink to your pen. As the saying goes, "when men don't learn from history, they are bound to repeat it." as it was then, so it is now! I dare say that even now, a lot more intrigue and impunity have been thrown into all the greed, avarice and treachery of yore. I really hope some day, all this history will be taught in our schools, not to open old wounds but to equip the younger generation with the facts and the unpleasant fruits they bore, in the hope they can be properly guarded. It's still a long way for us as a people. All the shenanigans still going on in Yorubaland and Nigeria hold little hope, UNFORTUNATELY. If we have no consensus on where we should go as a people, how do we even begin reconciling our disagreements on how to get there?

  25. Brilliant piece.My father gave me his own account of this history as The late Ooni was his father.It tallies a lot with what you have written.Kudos to you

    1. My Prince! I am most obliged, Your Highness.

    2. You're a prolific story teller.

    3. A very wonderful piece. Really waiting for the concluding part. Very intriguing.

  26. Yoruba west Nigeria have always been a pace setter. Thanks for this history. Pls continue to educate. History is so good

  27. In spite of everything,the old days were still good, at least on the legal front. Who will take a governor (or an ex governor) to court today and expect to get sound judgement?

  28. It gave me a vivid account of the genesis of Nigeria's political problems and the complicity of the North in settling back the clock of our political advancement. Good piece sir Onigegewura!!!

  29. Kudos to you sir. Your pen will never lack ink. Please sir I will still like to read the rest of the history

  30. History is your endowment, may your days be long and full of blessing

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  32. A timely warning from the past, thanks to the Golden Penman, that the ghosts of regional and federal hegemony still haunt the entire country, and not just the "Wild Wild West"!

    When the demon of unitary constitution has been exorcised and true confederation is established, how many more demons will come rushing in, having hidden behind the impasse all these years?

    A timely warning from the past, courtesy of the Golden Pen!

  33. I wish this narrative becomes spiced into Civic education / Government /History curriculum/syllabus​. It's apt to learn from antecedents

  34. Brilliantly written political/legal history of Western Nigeria. I wish it could be made into a film or drama for greater understanding and enjoyment of larger population. Many thanks Onigegewura.

  35. Thank very much for this great narrative, appreciate the effort of the educational piece. It's now obvious to me, how the Yoruba culture got debased. It sure took a plunge by our respected Royal Fathers' involvement into politics.

  36. Mr. Onigegewura, several things stand out concerning this piece :
    > The Historiography
    > The Nuggets of info that bestir curiosity, interest and wonder
    > The high stakes Legal jousting as well as
    > The readable prose style.
    I hope that sooner, rather than later, you will Compile these writings into a small Book which can be used in Schools, Colleges and Universities to teach about Politics and Sociology in Nigeria.
    This "Rear view Mirror" Image is so crucial to navigating our forward journey as a country generally and Yoruba Nation in particular. Funso Famuyiwa.

  37. Quiet an interesting piece of historical facts. However seems the Yoruba race has learned nothing from this epic events

  38. This very interesting always says the SW, is the most complex region inNigeria, God bless Nigeria

  39. This very interesting always says the SW, is the most complex region inNigeria, God bless Nigeria

  40. By virtue of clan, I am an owori man from Lagos.
    Reading people's comments , I saw the comments of direct relation of affected parties in the story. This touched me and makes me ask the obvious questions, where was aworis, where was my grandfather, my father entire awori race...where are they?. Don't get me wrong my dad gave me the best education he can muster. Why do they sit on the fence, why are they not involve in all this intrigues...God bless all the actors... both the victors and verguish including all the go between...God bless Onigegewura.


  41. Thank you my brother.
    Dear Olanrewaju,

    Thanks for invoking the spirit of our ancestors. This is a very timely piece considering the latest move by the current governor of Oyo state, in regards to the limits of jurisdiction and his violation of the boundaries between, the church, the culture and traditions, and the state.

    I liked your piece thoroughly good and thank you for it. As a matter of fact, we must talk!

    The governor of Oyo state, Ajimobi just installed various kings within an existing kingdom, which has a living and competent king and without the agreement of the Olubadan, the king of Ibadan land.

    The main point of your story, while the narrative is informative and refreshing, is the call for the separation of powers between traditional ruling and civic governance. Hence the call to the Ooni of ife, Adesoji Aderemi was the point of the story. It changed everything for good.

    Our ancestors were brilliant, but many of our intellectuals, transactors, and politicians today are shameless gluttons with unprecedented overreach of infectious dismayal. Otherwise why would we, today, be more hungry amidst plenty offood, lack energy amidst plentiful energy, lack of order amidst enormous intelligence, immense poverty in spite of knowledge.

    The move from Ajimobi diminishes the potential of Ibadan in size and figure, but more importantly it shows recklessness on behalf of the governor as a temporary political appointee to distort and dilute the brilliance of our well established African heritage, and even more so reveals the Nigerian political anomalies. We signed up for the separation of church and state, that really means cultures and traditions are off limit to civic governance. We must not let him get away with it.

    Compared to those days, Nigeria has more brilliant scholars and professionals, but I would argue that most of us are rendered to the indoctrination system of hypocrisy where the vision or understanding of success is warped with toil and greed.

    I am proud of you dear brother. I do see an African development material in your literature, and would love to share it as such. I represent African Views and we could engineer a proposal to conduct a truth and reconciliation ceremony with the embattled ancestral houses. There is value in it!

    Thanks again for writing things and thank God that your words are landing on fertile grounds.

    If we promote the piece we would need your bio and picture and you would be partner. Let's connect.

    Fight for the olubadan. We are once again at the juncture of the risk of bastardization. We are the contemporary. Ko ni ba je ni igba ti awa no o!

    1. This same question was asked in the 60s and 70s when the Western Region government decided to elevate the Baale of Ibadan and that of Ogbomosho . Both were elevated as The Olubadan of Ibadan and the Sound of Ogbomoso respectively. Why create new kings within an existing kingdom that has a living king? In this case the Kingdom of Oyo and the Alaafin. My answer to this is political evolution. Nothing is ever static.

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  43. Onigegewura, please collaborate with Engineer Akintola and Prince Aderemi. Both of have commented on this thread. The children and grand children of Chief Awolowo are still with us for a balanced and elaborate view of the events. I am sure an adaptation of history into a movie produced by the duo of Kunle Afolayan(who is currently busy promoting a movie now) and Uncle Tunde Kelani,with a didactic message of what our future should look like as a people,would be very helpful. This project could be expensive and time- consuming but I am sure it would be worthwhile. This is the way my mind is working. I will be willing to work with you on this. Here is my Email address; - Kayode Adeniji [Authour, Righteous Man in Power]

  44. I can see real tug of war and power play here. Each party involved pulling strings to ensure their interest was protected. They used all instruments at their disposal to get what they wanted. This to me laid the foundations for the legal political battles the nation has been going through since independence.
    The British didn't help matters enough by given the country, at the time, half sovereignty and real republic that reflects her true culture. I'm afraid the nation will continue to suffer these shaky foundation unless the republic is truly defined.

  45. Lovely piece. Thanks

  46. A very good historical piece. A glimpse into the political intrigues that culminated in the demise of the first Republic. Please consider expanding this work into a full-fledged book for posterity. Good job! well done.

  47. A very good historical piece. A glimpse into the political intrigues that culminated in the demise of the first Republic. Please consider expanding this work into a full-fledged book for posterity. Good job! well done.

  48. AWOLOWO.... Nigeria's finest.

    1. Its interesting to see how long the effect of propaganda would last. You made me wonder, if truth actually ever matters if its all justified by the winning side.

  49. This educative and historical for enrichment of knowledge.

  50. Wonderful little piece. Highly Educating. So the western region initiated the move for republic of Nigeria????? Good move .

  51. Brilliant and educating piece. Also a good material for legal practice, keep up the good work.

  52. It is unfortunate the country became a republic for the sole reason of subverting justice. What a shame.

  53. If these people had channelled all the energy in this matter on bringing civilization to nigerian people, focused on development rather than who would hold the title and eventually got credit for what, Nigeria would not be a 3rd world country today. Long before I read this piece, I had always believed that SLA and Awo were enough to steer the country toward the prosperity we deserve. But unfortunately, pride, self righteousness, love of power among others things are the attrition that kept us behind even until today not the brains and resources; those we already got. Same thing is still happening today, obasanjo has handed over to hausa men twice. Handing over to hausa men wasn't the issue, neither is it that hausa men are not worthy of leading the country; the problem with them (hausa) is that they have no program or quality of leadership and they never will. Their lack of leadership skill and maleability is the reason past leaders (british and obasanjo) handed over to them so they could continue meddling in the governance after their tenure.

    Can you imagine the kind of brilliant recipe for a successful sovereignty all the parties (mostly yoruba) here would have been had they put the well being of nigerian people on top of their priority list and agreed to support one premier after the other instead of fighting for title with every breath in them?

    You notice that i only memtioned the yoruba frontiers (awo & sla)? Yes, because this duo was so brilliant. popular and liked to the point that breaking the tribal barriers in nigeria would have been a piece of cake for them. Look up Awo and SLA's campaign in the north, you would be shocked by how much people embraced them even outside yoruba land. But they put their very selves first instead of supporting each other and focusing on helping Nigerians. And our politicians today are still doing the same thing.

  54. May the ink in your pen never dry.Amen

  55. Quite an educating piece. Why is this piece not a script for Nollywood? This will make a good movie and will replace the trash they churn out every now and then. Thank you!

  56. Great piece of history. Thanks for giving life to the cases in the law reports by your unique style of writing.

  57. The relative civility of readers to this piece in spite of their disagreements is very commendable. We can disagree and still be civil. Thanks for your very interesting narrative style, who won't love history with you as the bard

  58. Thanks for the exposé.
    I am not a lawyer but I'm interested in the genesis of the retroactive law. Who were the people behind it?
    I feel the PC was right in their ruling which was unfortunately thrown overboard by the law.
    Those behind it should be held accountable for the ensuing crises which have persisted till today.
    Personal interest rather than justice has been upheld.

  59. This raises a dundamenral question.
    Should traditional rulers simultaneously hold political offices?
    My answer is NO!
    They should remain fathers to all irrespective of political inclination.
    It is quite humiliating for the Ooni to hurriedly vacate office at 3.00am!
    Supposing he 'taku' like Akintola, what could have happened?

  60. Good, informative and educative piece. May ink continuously run in your pen. Pls complete this historical and legal education by giving us part two and very soon. Thank you sir and remain blessed.

  61. Educative, revealing and wholesome. I sure love your storytelling style. So readable and relatable. More ink to your pen, Onigegewura.

  62. Once a friend sent me the King Sunny Ade and Abioro the Balogun of Ipokia story, i have not been able to go a day without reading a piece from this blog daily. Very educative, inspiring, brilliant and knowledge sharing with a comic angle to every story.
    This clearly shows that we are a people with rich historical background and i must say Onigegewura is a source of inspiration to me personally with his deft mastery of story telling.
    Kudos and more ink to your pen.

  63. Just saw the photo of my father in your blog! 'Two Premiers and a Governor: The Story of the Battle for the Premiership of Western Region' (Photo marked SAL)
    He was SL Akintola's Deputy and Parliamentary Secretary in Western Nigeria (Chief S A Tinubu)
    Can i have a hard copy of the photo if possible?

  64. Just saw my father in your blog 'Two Premiers and a Governor: The Story of the Battle for the Premiership of Western Region'
    He was Deputy to the Premier and Parliamentary Secretary in Western Nigeria (Chief S A Tinubu)
    Can i possible have a hard copy of the photo please? (marked SAL)

  65. Please read:
    Oil, Politics & Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976) by Max Siollun and
    Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an emergent African Nation by Robert Sklar

  66. what is the decision of the supreme court

  67. what is the decision of the privy court of appeal

  68. I am fast becoming acquainted both with fascinating history and the Law with your posts...Thank you