Emergency rule: From Tafawa-Balewa to Jonathan


*May 29, 1962

*May 18, 2004

*October 19, 2006

*May 14, 2013



By: Gabriel Akinadewo


GIVEN the spate of mindless killings of innocent Nigerians and security agents in the last few months, the declaration of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states by President Goodluck Jonathan today did not come to Nigerians as a surprise.

Incidentally, the three states are in North-East.

Jonathan is not the first Commander-in-Chief to declare a state of emergency in some parts of the country.

Fifty one years ago, the late Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa declared an emergency rule in the defunct Western Region.

Following the protracted crisis in the defunct Action Group (AG) between the then Opposition Leader in Lagos, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Premier of the Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA), Tafawa-Balewa declared emergency rule on May 29, 1962.

He said: “In pursuance of Section 65 of the Constitution of the Federation, it is declared that a state of public emergency exists (IN THE WESTERN REGION OF NIGERIA) and that this resolution shall remain in force until the end of the month of December, 1962”.

Dr. Moses Majekodunmi was appointed the Sole Administrator of the Region and the emergency rule ended on December 31, 1962.

Following the sectarian crisis in Plateau State which led to the killing of hundreds of people, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in the North-Central state on May 18, 2004 and announced Major-General Chris Alli as the Sole Administrator.

Obasanjo said: “This decision would, without doubt, enhance security as well as protect the stability and corporate existence of our nation for which many have died. It is my hope and prayer that this six-month period will be used by the administrator and all peace-loving people in and outside the state to bring peace and join hands to promote democratic values and enshrine the values of transparency, accountability, social justice, love, good neighbourliness and good governance.”

On October 19, 2006, Obasanjo also declared an emergency rule in Ekiti State.

He declared, in a broadcast, that he was declaring the emergency “to ensure that peace and orderliness return to the state.”

He announced Major General Tunji Olurin (rtd) as the Sole Administrator.




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