Controversy: My father moved motion for Nigeria's Independence, not Enahoro - Fani-Kayode


Enahoro and the Fani-Kayodes

Enahoro and the Fani-Kayodes

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Controversial ex-Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has stirred the hornet’s nest again, saying that it was not the late Anthony Enahoro who moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence as widely claimed, but that it was his late father, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode who actually did.

“On August 2nd 1958 my father, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule,” he said.

He said nowhere had the confusion of Nigerians been made more manifest when it comes to history than on the vexed question of who successfully moved Nigeria’s motion for independence.

“There has been so much misunderstanding and disinformation about who actually moved that motion and I believe that it is time to to set the record straight and bring this matter to closure. In order to do so successfully we must be guided by facts and historical records and not by emotion, sentiment or political considerations. The moment we allow our recollection of events or our knowledge of history to be guided or beclouded by such perennial considerations, we are finished as a people.

“The truth is that almost 90 per cent of Nigerians have been brought up to believe that the motion for Nigeria’s independence was successfully moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro, a man that is undoubtedly one of our most revered nationalists and founding fathers.

“Though nothing can be taken away from Enahoro in terms of his monumental contributions in our quest for independence (I would argue that he kicked off the process for that struggle with his gallant efforts in 1953); the fact remains that he was not the man who successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence,” Fani-Kayode said.

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According to him, another group of Nigerians believed that Chief S.L. Akintola, another great nationalist and elder statesman and the former Premier of the old Western Region, was responsible for the successful movement of the motion for Nigeria’s independence.

“Again though, there is no doubt that Akintola played a major and critical role in the whole process, he was not the one that successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence. There is yet another school of thought that says that it was Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the much loved former Prime Minister of blessed memory that was the first to successfully move the motion for Nigeria’s independence. Again this is not historically accurate.

“Balewa’s 1959 motion was not the first successful motion for our independence and neither was it in actual fact a motion for independence at all. It was rather a motion to amend an already existing motion which had already been successfully moved and passed by Parliament and which had been accepted and acquiesced to by the British in 1958,” he added.

Fani-Kayode then said: “That successful 1958 motion was moved by none other than my late father of blessed memory, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode, the former Deputy Premier of Nigeria’s Western Region. Not only did he play a major role in the movement of the motion for Nigeria’s independence but, as a matter of fact, his was the first successful motion for independence in Parliament that was accepted by the British and it was actually the one who got us our independence. His motion, which was moved in Parliament on the platform of the Action Group on August 2, 1958, was actually the landmark and most significant motion of all when it comes to the issue of our independence.”

He explained further: “Let us look at the history, the records and the facts. Chief Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for ”self rule” in the Federal House in 1953 which proposed that we should have our independence in 1956. Unfortunately it was rejected by Parliament and it therefore failed. It also resulted in a walk out by the northern NPC parliamentarians who were of the view that Nigeria was not yet ready for independence.

“The tensions and acrimony that came from all this and the terrible treatment that was meted out to the northern parliamentarians and leaders that were in the south as a result of the fact that they would not support Enahoro’s motion resulted in the infamous Kano riots of 1953.”

However, Fani-Kayode said “If the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda continues I shall move the motion for Oduduwa’s independence from Nigerian colonial rule.”

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