chapter  3
18 Pages

Call to Politics

WithDavid Williams

Shehu Shagari’s first real political experience was in the national discussions which began in 1949, on reform of the “Richards” constitution. That constitution, introduced in 1947 and named after the then Governor, Sir Arthur Richards, was the first which, however tentatively, treated Nigeria as a single political entity, and brought the “north” and the “south” into an administrative and, for the first time, legislative union. The most important political influence in Nigeria’s Northern Region in the late forties, however, was probably the Northern Teachers Association (NTA), formed originally in 1947, when he was on a course at the London University Institute of Education, by Malam Aminu Kano. Shehu Shagari joined the NTA. More important, he became Sokoto secretary of the Northern People’s Congress. At the time this was - insofar as any non-official association in the Northern Region could be - non-political; but the leaders of the various discussion societies had tried to bring them together into a regional organisation.