The term state of emergency can be defined as a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergence preparedness plans.
State of emergency can also be used as a rationale for suspending rights and freedoms, even if guaranteed under the constitution. Such declarations usually come during a time of natural or man made disaster, during periods of civil unrest, or following a declaration of war or situation international or internal armed conflict.
Nowdays, in some countries, the state of emergency and its effects on human rights and freedoms and governmental procedure are regulated by the constitution and/or a law that limits the powers that may be invoked. Rights and freedoms may be suspended during an emergency, for instance, freedom of movement, but not non-derogable rights. In many countries it is illegal to modify the emergency law or the constitution during the emergency.
To make comparative analysis of the emergency rules in Nigeria, detail of the emergency rules should be accounted for.
State of emergency in western Nigeria
State of emergency was not just imposed on western region like that some events evolving round the political sphere, are what led to that.
On May 13, 1962, enumeration during the first really Nigerian census segan, and continued for two weeks. As a result of several irregularities that were noticed, result were eventually nullified later conducted more than a year later, November 5-8 1963.
On May, 1962, at a meeting of the western and mid western executive committee of Action Group (AG), chief S.L Akintola, then premier of the Ag controlled western Nigeria was forced to defend himself for antiparty activities.
At the party’s annual convention held in January 1962 at Jos the bitter disagreements among the leaders of the party were brought into the open. The disagreement was caused immensely by differences on tactics between S.L Akintola, the then premier of the western region and the deputy leader of the party who advocated that the action group should enter a federal coalition government, and chief Awolowo Obafemi, leader of the opposition in the federal parliament, who strongly opposed this view and also supported a more radical policy in internal Affairs.
The conflicts involved more than party discipline and a power struggle between the two men. Since 1960, chief Awolowo, sensing the growing discontent and grumbling among Nigerian youth, had attempted to woo their votes by transforming the Action Group from a Yoruba-based, western regional party into a national party with a radical socialist outlook. He demonstrated that Action group had no future had no without it. The conflict within the Action Group became a battle between the young radical led by Awolowo and the businessmen and traditional rules led by chief Akintola. Later 1961, Chief Awolowo asked a group of young leaders to draft a series of working papers defining democratic socialism. These papers were brought before the Action Group Federal Executive in December when were divided by chief Akintola as the work of revolutionary babes who haven’t the political astuteness to gain the party a single vote.
Also Chief S.L. Akintola Nafusted to accept the continued push by Chief Abafemi awolowo and the youngmen to campaign both in the North and the East, S.L. Akintola argued that the Action group should face realities and stay in the west.
On May 201962, federal executive committee of Action Group decided to remove him as Deputy Leader of the party and premier. A majority of the legislative also signed a letter send to the Governor of the western region, sir Adesoji aderemi, requesting that chief Akintola to be dismissed. Accordingly, on may 21, 1962, sir Adesoji aderemi Obliged, stating that “he was connived that he (Akintola) no longer enjoyed the support of the members of the house of assemble”. Alhaji Dawodu Soroye Adegbonro was asked to form a cabinet, which was sworn in May 23. Rather than work from the premier’s office (which remained forcibly “occupied” by Akintola and his supporters) Adeghenro worked from his home residence. On Friday, may 25, a house of Assembly called to debata a motion of confidence in the new government ended abruptly with a free-for-all fight involving the throwing of chairs.
For this reason, the prime minister called for a special session of the federal parliament for 29th May.
On may 29th, 1962, in the Federal House in Lagos, the prime minister, sir, Abubakar Tafawa Balawa started a chain of events with the following statement------- I rise to move the resolution in my name which reads as follows:
“That in pursuance of section sixty-five 965) of the 1960’s constitution of the federation it is declare that a state of public emergency exist in the western region of Nigeria and that this resolution shall remain enforce until the end of the month of December 1962”. After this declaration, the prime minister went on to give historical reasons why he thought his motion should be supported by those present. After his lengthy speech, chief Obafemi Awolowo, leaderof opposition in the federal parliament, and leader of the Action Group that was the ruling (but then conflict ridden) party in the western Region, said--- I beg to move the following amendment to the motion already proposed by the prime minister:
“the delete all the works of the notion after, that and substitute. This honourable house declares that having regard to the provisions of section 65 of the constitution of the Federation o f Nigeria a state of public emergency does not exist.
He then went on to argue that the motion was discriminatory, and would amount to a gross miuse of power if approved. After voting, Ayes were 32, Noes were 7 and Abstention – 2, and the motion was passed, giving the federal Government constitutional powers to take over the administration of western Nigeria. Thirteen emergency powers (General) regulations 1962 were rapidly passed by parliament on the same day, and senator the Hon. Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi was appointed the administrator of western Nigeria.
CONDITIONS THAT LED TO DECLARATION OF STATE OF PUBLIC EMERGENCY BY PRIME MINISTER IN 1962
DEPARTMENT: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
FACULTY: MANAGEMENT SCIENCE
COURSE CODE: POL 242
COURSE TITLE: NIGERIA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
THE COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF 1962, 2004 AND 2006 ENFORCEMENT OF EMERGENCY RULE IN NIGERIA